Shut yo’ mouth, Part Two

Silvio Berlusconi has just taken the extraordinary step of suing Repubblica on the grounds that the ten questions the newspaper has been asking him (click to embiggen above or see here) since the Papi-and-Noemi shit hit the fan last February are ‘diffamatory’. His argument, or that of his weasel-faced legal adviser, Ghedini, is that the questions are ‘rhetorical’ and designed ‘not to obtain a response’ from Berlusconi but to ‘insinuate in the reader the idea that the person “interrogated” refuses to respond’.

This is the kind of casuistical horseshit lawyers are paid to produce – it ought to be clear to anyone that Berlusconi’s refusal to respond is not an ‘idea’ but a fact – so we shouldn’t be surprised. What is surprising is that Berlusconi should have chosen to kick up a legal fuss now, with Repubblica beginning to feel more and more like a voice in the wildnerness here, the RAI increasingly weakened by external and self-censorship and personnel changes, and his own house rags ever more virulently on the attack, slavering and snarling like cornered rats.

The last straw appears to have been a recent piece in which a number of articles from highly-regarded foreign newspapers are quoted, describing the man as a sex-dependent tin-pot dictator in the claws of the Russian mafia. SB, who continues to insist that he has brought nothing but lustre to the image of Italy abroad, a claim that would be laughable if it weren’t so readily believed and repeated here in Italy, seems to have decided to try and clamp down on the right of Italian journalists to refer to the work of their colleagues in other countries, isolating the country even more.

In the meantime, the Viagra-riddled geriatric’s plans to get a little Vatican cred by dining with some cardinal or other amid the rubble of L’Aquila have been blown away, possibly by Bossi’s recent attacks on the Church, guilty of taking a soft line on immigration (!) and attacks on the Vatican-controlled publication Avvenire by the Berlusconi-controlled rag magazine Il Giornale. Let them fight it out among themselves, say I.

This entry was posted in berlusconi, freedom of speech, politics, vatican. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Shut yo’ mouth, Part Two

  1. Anne says:

    What do your neighbours think of the man? It seems astonishing that he could continue to be as popular as claimed.

  2. Good question, Anne. My neighbours here in Fondi never buy newspapers and spend all day with the television tuned to Mediaset. The only papers they see, in bars, are the local one, produced by an ex-fascist for electoral purposes and distributed with Il Giornale, the most arrogant and aggressive of all the papers controlled by Berlusconi. As a result of this, nost people in Fondi, I've discovered, have no idea that B's seen as a criminal buffoon beyond the national borders, and don't believe me when I tell them. No one has heard of the Mills verdict. When I mention women, they point out that Kennedy was also a womaniser… Berlusconi has the sort of grass-roots popularity enjoyed by household-name entertainers, successful criminals, jack the lads, etc. In many people's eyes he's still more important as the owner of the Milan football team, to whom all is forgiven, than as the Italian PM.

  3. Anne says:

    How depressing. I see La Repubblica has a falling circulation (though I'm guessing the internet has had less effect than here in England) but at 650,000 still twice that of The Guardian. You'd have thought some of it would filter through. (Don't teachers ever go to bars?)

  4. I went into a local shop here with a copy of Repubblica a month or so ago and the youngish man at the till looked aghast. 'That's the paper that's attacking our premier,' he said. He may also have made the sign against the evil eye.One of the interesting aspects of Italian journalism is that papers that represent the viewpoint of a political party are subsidised by the state, ostensibly to ensure plurality of opinion. Another Berlusconi-owned rag, entitled – with deep irony – Libero, claims to represent Italy's Monarchist party (no, I've never heard of it either) and receives over 6 million euros a year to do so… People might not read the papers, but they're certainly paying for them.

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