Sad spectacle

Greek television is what it is and unlikely to change anytime soon. But what really irritates the average viewer is the posturing of certain ministers. No one expects them to dodge confrontation when it comes to defending their beliefs. But one does not expect to hear a minister using vulgar language or coffee-shop arguments. This administration was elected with a mandate to convey an image characterized by humility and modesty. And now we have to put up with the pathetic spectacle of ministers parading on television, exchanging barbs and accusations. Paradoxically, the more a minister is taunted, the more often he or she gets to appear on news panels in the hope of boosting ratings and his or her own political stock. The arguments are pathetic too. One minister said he had chosen not to enforce an international agreement allowing cruise ship rescue operations by port authorities, as he was concerned it might trigger Turkish interference. The average viewer is deeply concerned when it comes to our politicians. A deputy minister could be seen behaving toward journalists with inappropriate familiarity, like an old group of pals, in the midst of a crisis. And if the TV personas are just doing their job, what can one say about the politicians? Why should the viewing public be subjected to a spectacle that discredits politicians? Of course, there is an explanation for all this. When ministers and journalists together visit nightclubs or downtown cafes at weekends, why should they act any differently on air? After all, it was television that made them the stars they now are, so how could they possibly be weaned off it now? The prime minister should recall them from the airwaves. Perhaps it would be better if the government were not represented on TV at all, rather than arousing the indignation of the average viewer.

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