OPINION

Cheapness

In a show of its inexhaustible ability to adapt to a changing landscape, Greece’s bad-taste television journalism has discovered a brilliant new arena. The stars who parade on our television windows forgot the humiliation to which their scenarios of the fate of Dimitris Koufodinas were subjected when the elusive gunman turned himself in to the authorities. With relentless passion, they rushed to interview the terrorists while the rest of them, that is those who failed to get an exclusive, indulged in popular psychoanalysis and the presentation of the family or personal dramas of the suspects’ relatives. Proving that there is nothing to stop the downward competition between television channels, even those who try to come across as serious journalists appeared willing to taste the fruit of vulgar television programs hosting rows between the protagonists of this base drama. As with the outrageous scenarios which foresaw Koufodinas’s arrest by the CIA, debates over the interviews of November 17 inmate Savvas Xeros or the analyses of the psychological profile of the «heartless mother,» our television of poor taste manages to feed itself by a process of recycling: First, it broadcasts something trivial or vulgar (or preferably something which combines both) and then it promotes it into the main focus of discussion, often favoring critical discussion on whether it is, in fact, a serious issue or not. This method reflects not only the poor quality but also the cheapness of television programs. Greece’s television channels have found the cheapest solution in the face of television windows. Time is not expensive; time is endless. Demand for guests is high. And since cheap programs aim to compensate the lack of entertainment shows, they are inevitably cheap in terms of quality as well. A look at the identity of those who appear most on our television windows is indicative of the above. The list is topped by the publishers of two low-circulation newspapers, followed by the casual commentators. This is not the first time that our country finds itself faced with the consequences of its deficient code of television ethics. The issue, however, is not only a legal one. Even if a code of ethics were adopted, the quality deficit would remain unless spectators were offered a serious, high-standard alternative. State television is, perhaps, the only network that could take the leap.