The kakapo is a bird that forgot how to fly. It landed on an island with no predators. Over many years its meals got bigger, its flights shorter. Wings weaker. Now when a cat chases a kakapo, the flightless bird will climb up a tree and jump down to its death. It still thinks it can fly…
It is inevitable to an extent. Old media is crumbling. A lot of journalists for many years lived rather comfortably with little stress, excellent wages and a lot of freedom. The media was sponsored by business people who used it to pressure the governement as and when necessary. Like the Kakapo, they have simply forgotten what journalism is all about.
Their current frenzy is over the so called “right wing extremists” of “Golden Dawn”, a party which got more than 6% of the vote in the recent elections, thus becoming entitled to 21 MPs in the Greek Parliament. It is common in many European countries to worry about right wing extremism. It is indeed in many cases a serious threat to civil liberties and even a terrorist problem. Not so in Greece.
There are two ways to try and approach this issue. If you do it with objective analysis, you will come to the conclusion that journalists are over reacting and that there is no real evidence. “Alleged” and “seems to show” are the kind of words you would expect to find in this sort of “journalism”. More like low quality blogging I would say. Here’s a great example, an article in the usually quite serious “Kathimerini” by Xenia Kounalaki. She suggests that “Golden Dawn” is “shut out of the public sphere”. Doesn’t sound very democratic does it? She writes about the “criminal activity of its members” but doesn’t cite any examples. This kakapo is as flightless as they come… “Ι am all for censorship and very strict isolation of this group; when fascists speak, I don’t want to listen” notes a popular editor in chief.
The second way to approach the matter is straightforward conspiracy theory. Right after the people that are sure we are being sprayed with secret chemicals to make us submissive. Or they confuse the issue with a theory that Greek police are somehow secretly linked to this organisation. Vague videos on YouTube, blurry pictures and close ups that supposedly “prove” it. Wait a minute! Aren’t journalists the people that are meant to find evidence and proof? If the police is somehow secretely involved, can’t journalists produce some definitive evidence?
Worse still they recycle ridiculous half baked “proof” which would make any real journalist cringe. For example today the “evidence” that at specific polling stations in the recent elections where police officers voted “Golden Dawn” had higher success. If this was true it would be a terrible encroachment on the right to a free vote! How would journalists like us to know what they voted?
Extremism, and even more so right wing extremism has always been used in Greece as a bogey man. Much like Mr Laliotis, allegedly the most corrupt Public Works minister in the entire EuroZone, when pressed on some question would always revert to his glorious past in helping overthrow the military regime in 1974… “The people don’t forget what The Right means” is still chanted in protests implying rather vaguely to some time in the past when the military or the police cracked down violently. Could be the civil war they are reffering to; they don’t really care. It works!
If some members of “Golden Dawn” are involved in gang type violence in the centre of Athens they should be arrested. It has absolutely nothing to do with ideology or fascism. If the police is covering for them, the police should be improved. But anything more is right out there with alien abductions and secret sects ruling the world. Yes, they have tried to associate “Golden Dawn” with them too! If they bothered to look around Europe they would see that other countries have had far right groups in their Parliaments for many years. LePen’s type of “civilized face” to the movement is a much greater threat than black shirt wearing thugs.
The whole discussion is a horrible reminder of just how hypocritical certain self professed libertarians really are. They say “fascists should be killed!” or “they shouldn’t be allowed to speak in public!” Rather selective sense of democracy it seems to me…
P.S. Just because I know some people jump to conclusions I need to make clear that I do not condone racist violence and illegal acts in any way. But you really need to differentiate between acts (punishable by law and so they should be) and free speech. “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me”, eh?