Italy's Mogul

Friday, October 02, 2009


According to press freedom advocates, journalists in Italy are now only "partly free." In recent weeks, a petition protesting government control of the media has garnered 450,000 signatures, and protesters plan to march in Rome this weekend. The target: Italy’s media mogul, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Reporter Megan Williams has the story.

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Comments [5]

Chris Gray from New Haven

After all the reporting on FDR's and JFK's personal lives, Clinton's impeachment, and the charitably described "near miss" that the Edwards are now experiencing but which we might all have suffered with them, the "personal" corruptions (rather than some of the more obvious public corruptions evident in both parties) of our own elites who dominate the political life of our culture and our own tolerance for both kinds should be clear.

Can we say Mark Sanford, Jim Vitter, or John Ensign? I mean, the closest thing to an average Joe or Jane in our government is the fellow who yelled out "Lie!" at Obama! Average, but wrong.

Oct. 09 2009 02:49 AM
Mark Richard from Columbus, Ohio

Mainstream journalism frequently adopts the European framing device that Americans are prudish, puritanical, etc. But I'm intrigued by the way that Berlusconi's personal behavior is invariably reported with lip-smacking disapproval, including by NPR. Europeans are more tolerant, it is true, of personal corruption in their political leaders, always have been. That's one reason many out there are reading this from the States instead of from Europe. But often the outcome is a Berlusconi.

A certain sort of 'sophisticated' American should be aware that western European politics is largely the plaything of a distinct elite much more so (due to our decentralized federalism) than here, and that the European public wearily tolerates a degree of corruption (not only on the part of Berlusconi, but also France's Chirac, Germany's Schroeder, and on & on) by both Left and Right parties that makes our home-grown variety look tame. They apparently do this in return for a social-contract relationship with a nanny state. Sounds like a cultural inheritance from the medieval past.

Oct. 08 2009 01:02 PM
Daniel Freedman from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Oh, those colorful Italians! They just love melodrama, but don't much care for democracy. After all, it's not a "normal" country, according to one person you interviewed. So it's perfectly fair to compare Berlusconi to Mussolini.

And Bush was pretty much like Hitler. And Americans are cowboys who like to shoot each other.

And the world would be better off without the foolish stereotypes perpetuated in your very silly and superficial story.

Oct. 05 2009 03:29 PM
Giorgio Pogliano from Turin, Italy

Several inaccuracies. E.g., the editor of the Catholic paper resigned after the Berlusconi-owned newspaper, "il Giornale", published a court verdict condemning him to pay a sum for HARASSING the fiancée of his bi-sexual lover.
The Italian character is about "melodrama"... Why not say "spaghetti and mandolin"?
The parallel between Berlusconi and Mussolini... Mussolini was a 39 year old extremist who seized power in the aftermath of the Great War. Berlusconi is a 73 year old businessman who has been elected three times to the top post and headed the opposition as many times. Mussolini ruled a party that was a reflection of himself. Berlusconi's party is the result of the merger of seven parties. The seven parties merged but are keeping up a debate on just about
anything. Berlusconi heads not a party government but a coalition government, which further weakens his control. Under Mussolini all papers wrote that Mussolini was the greatest. "Under" Berlusconi all papers except his own write about him with varying degrees of irreverence. TV in Italy hosts political programs that are overwhelmingly critical of Berlusconi and his government. Did you know that he busted the monopoly on information previously in the hands of the parties of the center-left?
The only similarity is that they are both Italian, don't you think? Is this kind of typecasting acceptable in your organization?
Furio Colombo, whom you interviewed, is a political opponent of Berlusconi's, a former Communist. He used to be the editor of the ex-Communist paper "L'Unità", which Berlusconi is suing for libel because he didn't like being described in it as impotent. And why didn't you give any room to a debate, for example by asking one of many men of culture (and better English) who contribute to Berlusconi's overwhelming majority in what way they disagree with Mr. Colombo?

Giorgio Pogliano
bemused in Turin, Italy
p.s. for Robert: Berlusconi never saluted in the Fascist way

Oct. 05 2009 10:26 AM
Robert from NYC

Il Gran Buffone. Berlusconi=Burlescone. The clown-like, mussoliniesque Prime Minister! Has no one else picked up on his constant wearing black shirts and giving a fascist salute often at the end of a speech? I never hear it mentioned and it is so obvious.

Oct. 04 2009 10:26 AM

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