Media cliches

The only thing certain so far is that the rocket that hit the US Embassy in Athens was packed with weakened explosives. That, perhaps, is why the impact – on practical, political and emotional levels – was rather weak. As for the rest – whether the grenade was fired by terrorists or provocateurs, whether the whole operation would have been possible had the administration not been so keen to replace figures in the anti-terror squad with its own people, whether the attack had a domestic or an international slant – there are about 18 conflicting interpretations, one from each alleged source inside the intelligence service. And one more thing is certain: During the investigations, it will be the foreign officials who will have the final say. It’s as if we’re still back in 2002, before all the extensive criticism of the media’s coverage of the November 17 dismantling. True to form, journalists have mobilized their «exclusive information,» «reliable sources,» «high-ranking officials» and many other pompous yet vacuous cliches. The so-called «investigative» virus causes a fever, muddies the mind and loosens the tongue. Journalism becomes a game of disclosure, where practically everything is a scoop. Five days on, reporters continue to air live broadcasts for the eight-o-clock clock news bulletins from opposite the embassy. What is the point of this daily show? The government is caught up in its own stereotypes. Officials get tired of proclaiming that «terrorism is too important to fall prey to political expediency.» All good stuff. But first, conservative officials should admit that repeated allegations made during their tenure in the opposition, implicating PASOK’s role in domestic terrorism, were well-meaning criticism and not petty politicking.

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