From the frivolous to the depraved

Even though not much time has passed, few people seem to remember the alleged milk cartels and high-level corruption that recently dominated the news agenda. And it is true that they only held people’s attention as long as they were being covered by television channels, with all the bias and excess that they tend to attribute to their subjects. Exactly the same thing is likely to happen with the alleged rape of the 16-year-old Bulgarian schoolgirl on Evia. But as soon as the TV cameras shift away from this case, we can be sure that the stigmatized «protagonists» – both the alleged perpetrators and victim – will be promptly forgotten about and left to their fates. But this time, private television has managed to plummet even further than its already low levels. One channel moved beyond its classic tactic of using distortion to boost ratings and actually reached the point of airing a soft-porn movie during its airtime (footage theoretically recorded by schoolchildren and not directly related to the case of the alleged rape). The worst thing is that the presence of Deputy Health Minister Giorgos Constantopoulos and former defense and economy minister Yiannos Papantoniou, along with several lawyers and teachers, effectively legitimized the program. No one really protested and any disgust anyone displayed appeared to be fake. These individuals, who are theoretically authority figures and models for our society, became accomplices in this wretched display and effectively condoned this voyeuristic mentality. Subsequently, no member of the government or main opposition PASOK took umbrage at this prostitution of television. Indeed the state was absent from this affair from the very beginning when it should have appointed social workers to protect the children involved and prevent them from becoming the center of a national scandal. In view of this, it was reassuring to hear the interjection by President Karolos Papoulias, who condemned the hidden side of the ugly affair, that of racism.

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