A Citizen’s Guide to Greece 2015


April 23, 2014

Look who’s running! (journalists and politics)

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Written by: Politis

Politis asked Maria Patsarika, Krysta Kalachani, and David Wisner to comment on a recent article on tvxs.gr by journalist Stelios Koulouglou, a candidate for Syriza for the European Parliament. How compelling are Mr Koulouglou’s arguments likely to be among Greek voters? What does the inclusion of several journalists on the lists of the political parties portend for the Greek political system?

MP: Compelling? Not at all! I’ve respected Koulouglou for his journalism and followed him on his interesting travels and quests. His decision to join ΣΥΡΙΖΑ is also something that one would respect.

What I do not expect a thinking and common-sense person to accept, however, is this argument of his explaining the seriousness of ΣΥΡΙΖΑ: “Τις τελευταίες πέντε μέρες στη Γαλλία, η «Liberation» [the French center-left daily] είχε δύο φορές πρωτοσέλιδο αφιέρωμα στον Τσίπρα και στο κόμμα του.”

That a political party becomes headline on Liberation is not convincing enough. That all the rest of the political competitors are not to be trusted is a much better argument to vote for ΣΥΡΙΖΑ (and, ironically, not a good reason to do so.. !)

DW: Koulouglou has been out of the public eye for most if not all of the crisis. He had an investigative journalism program but always struck me as being a little too obvious in his leftist orientation. Opportunism?

MP: Perhaps he’s found his vocation. It still amazes me that he brings forward such a simplistic argument — he’s definitely not naive. It’s like saying I like Lady Gaga because she’s No. 1 on the charts!

Anyway, it’s definitely opportunism. ΣΥΡΙΖΑ has promoted itself like the new ΠΑΣΟΚ.

KK: I like some of Koulouglou’s documentaries and have been following him from time to time. Journalism and the media are becoming more and more problematic every day in this country, though.

He says ” Δέχτηκα να βοηθήσω την προσπάθεια ως προβληματισμένος πολίτης που διατηρεί την ανεξαρτησία και το κριτικό του πνεύμα. Και το ίδιο θα κάνουν τα επόμενα ντοκιμαντέρ μου και το Tvxs, που θα συνεχίσει την έγκυρη και ανεξάρτητη παρουσία του.” Yeah, right! He is doing us a favor.

DW: Seems to me that everybody and their brother is running for something. Like the journalist on Mega TV, Maria Spyraki. Salary?

MP: Opportunism, salary, fame, they are all playing heroes, but above ALL they are in search of the votes they know they have lost.

What’s even more interesting is that this breed of journalists-cum-politicians portray themselves as the current intelligentsia. I’ve never understood this. A man with leftist orientation is seen as having an inherent air of intellect, while a common-sense, well-grounded democrat with civic values is seen as simply conservative.

DW: A bit like the east coast liberal in the US — Princeton educated, high brow, and condescending. In the US this persona is now being challenged, if not displaced, by the self-righteous zealots on the left, however. Maybe some of the recent anti-junta rhetoric on the left is indicative of a similar challenge in Greece.

What interests me in this particular case is the question of participation and the degree to which one loses sight of what is essential in a democracy. Right now I sense a lot of opportunism and worry that people, young people especially, will eventually see the plethora of new candidates and parties as yet another turn off.

The River, maybe? That is for another forum…



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