Who shapes our public discourse?

The poor-quality television we see in Greece cannot possibly be a natural phenomenon. It cannot even be called a product of the free market. What ultimately defines the quality of programming is a private monopoly that is very close to spinning completely out of control. Endless talk-show windows, reality shows and the sight of people tearing into each other on our screens have not appeared miraculously, while they are further rewarded by ratings whose true provenance is open to debate. The problem does not end there, however, because the mass media in general – and television in particular – are also responsible for shaping the quality of the political process. Greece must be the only country in Europe where the core of its political system, the place where the heart of democracy beats, is a private monopoly that uses unreliable numbers to shape public discourse and has such a catalytic effect on the markets. We often wonder if we perhaps get the television that we deserve. But maybe we should also wonder about whether we know exactly what and how much of it we are getting.

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