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TV manifestations of political extremes provoke highly controversial reactions

26 October 2012 / 17:10:42  GRReporter
5769 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova

Two interviews - one of which was completed and the other interrupted in the middle - provoked hundreds of violent reactions in the social networks and in some electronic media in Greece within just a few hours.

One of the emerging new TV journalists decided to start his talk show with Golden Dawn leader Nikos Michaloliakos. The programme hadn't yet finished when the first angry comments on Twitter and Facebook started. Most of the viewers criticized Konstantinos Bogdanos and Skai TV for having provided to "a fascist the opportunity to make his propaganda on a national television."

Some criticized the choice of TV owner Yiannis Alafouzos to "turn Skai into Jungle and Alter", making an association with the now closed television, which was not held in high respect, and Makis Triandafilopoulos's show of the same name - Jungle. This was, and still i,s one of the most controversial shows in the history of Greek TV, with its questionably investigative reports, mainly filmed by a hidden camera.

"Journalist Bogdanos versus neo-Nazis leader Michaloliakos looks like Lassie versus a group of Rottweilers," wrote a blogger.

The more serious criticism, however, was directed towards the reactions of the journalist, who failed to "press" his interlocutor, as was expected in an interview with a representative of the specific ideology.

But according to experienced journalist and commentator Grigoris Valiyanatos, Konstantinos Bogdanos's debut was nevertheless successful. "Yesterday, Konstantinos Bogdanos, in his capacity as a journalist, dared to oppose Nikos Michaloliakos from Golden Dawn with the specific goal of bringing down the image of an ideologist of fascism, in his attempt to appear as a popular favourite and a patriot. He succeeded, unlike many of his colleagues. Since few would dare to do it directly because of their personal independence and professional competence."

The majority of comments focused on Golden Dawn's ideology and missed the answer to probably the most important question. When Konstantinos Bogdanos asked Nikos Michaloliakos what the party's proposal about Greece's exit of the economic crisis was, the latter ceased being so glib and said he wasn't an economist. Then, he mentioned in very broad terms, that a national rescue plan should be created and the banks should be nationalized.

As analysts note, it is unlikely that almost half a million Greeks, who voted for Golden Dawn, support Nazism. Most of them claim that they have supported the, until recently, marginal organization only "to punish the politicians who have ruled the country for the last 35 years." Therefore they think that the media will have to focus less on the Nazi ideology and militant actions of Golden Dawn and show that the xenophobes have no political proposals about the essence of the problems in Greece.

It is worth noting that a few months ago the journalist, who was accused of partiality to Golden Dawn, was beaten by unknown people in the neighbourhood of Exarcheia, which is famous for being a den of anarchists.

The main heroine in the other case was known Communist Party MP Liana Kannelli. A few hours after the interview with Michaloliakos, she was a guest of the morning show again on Skai TV.

Viewers didn't realize anything until one of the commercial breaks lasted longer than usual and exceeded the 10 minutes. Then Liana Kannelli appeared on the screen in tears and sobbing.

She said she wanted to explain to the viewers why she hadn't continued her participation in the discussion with two other representatives of other parties. "While I was leaving the studio, I suddenly encountered a tall man in black clothes, who was wearing the national flag wrapped around his shoulders. He was also wearing boxing gloves and he was heading towards me," she said.

As became clear, the potential "beater" in question, disguised as a supporter of Golden Dawn, was one of the collaborators of the satirical show Sintelia. He was staging the "attack" against her for the new episode of the show that night.

Liana Kannelli said she became very scared, especially after Golden Dawn spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris had hit her on-air before the elections in June. At the same time, she did not miss the opportunity to make a political manifesto and to warn viewers that "the dreadful starts when the monster of violence begins smiling at us."

The incident sparked a wave of comments. The authors of some of them were of the opinion that the reaction of the deputy was completely normal because all people are more or less subject to fear.

But others identified her crying on camera as an attempt to manipulate, especially given that in the former case she did not take any legal actions against Ilias Kasidiaris, but only tried to draw maximum political dividends from it. Even then, many users commented that in fact she provoked him, because she was the first to have hit him, namely on the hand with a newspaper.

Without any doubt the extremes managed to settle in Greece's political life. The rise of Golden Dawn is recent, but very closely related to the hegemony of the misunderstood left ideology, which lasted more than 30 years. The outcome of the situation is not clear and a lot of people think that the clash between the two extremes is inevitable. On the other hand, it may not take place, if the majority of society understands that violence is violence and no ideology can justify it. Because the attacks by Golden Dawn members against illegal immigrants do not differ at all from the attacks by leftists and anarchists at times of protests. Such was the case of the fire in Marfin Bank, caused by Molotov bombs, which killed three of the employees, accused by the "revolutionaries" of being strike-breakers.

Tags: Politics Society Golden Dawn Liana Kannelli political extremes violence
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