Tag Archives: SKAI TV

Same old shit

Lots of you have asked me why I haven’t been writing any more in the past three or four (or five?) months of this blog’s hibernation. My answer is “same old shit”. Like this one.

It’s been a bit more than a year since the government decided to suddenly close down ERT, the public broadcaster. One of the main arguments was that the government wanted to create something new, a new broadcaster without the political dependencies of the past. Today they have proved (once more) what a big fat lie that was. So here’s the story.

There’s this journalist and anchorman called Nikos Evaggelatos. NERIT, which is the brave new sister of the old corrupt ERT, announced today that it’s hiring him for a news show. Credible Typologies blog wrote that initially NERIT’s BoD was a bit wary of the deal because (wait for it…) New Democracy approved him but PASOK (New Democracy’s government partner) didn’t! 

The happy end was announced today with PASOK’s acquiescence, God knows in exchange for what.

But who is Nikos Evaggelatos and why would a newly-born broadcaster hoping to gain back its lost credibility and the society’s trust, hire him?

Evangelatos

He is one of those journalists for who Wikipedians dedicate a special, not so honorary, paragraph titled “Problems of deontology”.

In 1998 Nikos Evaggelatos forgot that he was an anchorman for SKAI TV’s news bulletin and was self-proclaimed negotiator when he started talking live on TV with Sorin Matei, a Romanian fugitive who was holding a hostage. His negotiating skills, together with those of the then leadership of the Greek Police, were bad enough to get the hostage killed. BBC and Channel 4 have made documentaries about this case. Evaggelatos went back to journalism. 

In 2001, during the bombing of Afghanistan, Evaggelatos was the main anchorman and News Director of Tempo TV. He aired a show which he called “In the camps of the Taliban” claiming that his team managed to get access to these camps. In fact, it was later proved that they never visited these camps. They never managed to enter Afghanistan either. They were so naive that they thought they could film places in Pakistan and sell them for the Afghan warzone. I still remember the shot of a Coca-Cola ad in that report – despite how few things I knew about Afghanistan back then, I was aware that they’d never have the evil drink sold on the streets.

Apart from the case above, he has been suspended from the Athens Journalists’ Union three more times. For involving someone’s name in the case of November 17 terrorist organisation, for using an actor in what was a fake interview and for accepting to star in a commercial advertisement (a practice prohibited by journalists’ unions in Greece).

And the funniest thing? During the discussions about his new job, I read that he proposed to work without pay. In exchange, he wanted to advertise his (and his wife’s) websites through NERIT. Can you imagine NERIT, with its own news portal, advertising another news portal?

Instead of the epilogue, check this out – another reason for the government’s decision to close down ERT was that it was loss making. Typologies blog published today its budget for 2013. Guess what. It was still making profit!

So, “same old shit” as I said. May we have a nice (and warm) winter!

 

You can’t be serious!

Two opinion polls were published yesterday (one by Public Issue and one by Pulse). Both had two notable changes.

1. SYRIZA was around 1% ahead of New Democracy

2. Golden Dawn was the other party with an increase, it scored some 13%-13,5% (NB it got 7 % in the 2012 elections)

The neo Nazi party is now stabilised in the third position and many people wonder… What the fuck?

I was speaking with a foreign correspondent here in Athens about these polls and she was telling me that most polling companies (which are not the most trustworthy institutions in this country) tend to play down the actual ratings of Golden Dawn in order to avoid the furore. She also told me that the actual ratings of Golden Dawn were rather closer to 16%. But still, one could say, they are too small and no one would cooperate with them in government.

No one? Well, just the other day, Babis Papadimitriou, a presenter of SKAI TV and a longtime supporter of all austerity measures since the beginning of the Greek economic crisis (with whatever this may mean about his political affiliation), threw the idea. “If SYRIZA can discuss the possibility of a coalition with the Communist Party, why couldn’t New Democracy discuss the possibility of a Conservative cooperation with a more serious (sic) Golden Dawn?”

I am not sure what exactly he meant by “more serious” but it seems that he at least recognises the fact the neo nazi party has had a pretty indecent behaviour so far, linked to all sorts of abuses, racist violence, populist rhetoric and foul language inside the parliament. He indeed admitted it in a later TV show. But can they become serious, Mpampis? Are you serious?

In any case, speaking of seriousness, there has been a more serious aspect in the afore mentioned opinion polls that few media have highlighted, or even discussed. It’s the qualitative analysis of the party ratings in specific age groups. According to the Pulse poll, Golden Dawn was the second party in the age groups of 18-29 and of 30-44. It makes you think that Greece is lucky to have an ageing population with more old people than young ones, that births have dropped by 10% this year according to some reports yesterday, that younger people are less inclined to be bothered to vote and that older people still tend to vote the same party that once hired them or gave them a good pension. All these, otherwise negative characteristics, are saving this country from becoming officially fascist.

I got a very dark feeling in my guts when I saw this table. Check for yourself and tell me how you feel.

Pulse Age Groups

The colours (from left to right) represent New Democracy, SYRIZA, PASOK, Independent Greeks, Golden Dawn, Democratic Left, Communist Party, Other party. Blank vote/Invalid vote/abstention, Undecided voters.

And when you try to describe to people, in and outside Greece, about what is to come in the near future, they read your blog posts or look at you, with a puzzled face, and say: You can’t be serious!

The Daily Threat Show – If SYRIZA wins… 2

Here are some internet memes on the possibility of a SYRIZA victory in the June 17 elections. They’re all from Greek TV channels.

SKAI TV – Nikos Evaggelatos presenting his news show

The headline says: The Earth might exit the solar system if SYRIZA forms a government

Mega Channel – Olga Tremi presenting the evening news

The headline says: The coming of the Antichrist is inevitable if we exit from the eurozone

Mega Channel – Olga Tremi presenting the evening news

The headline says: Bloodthirsty extraterrestrial zombies will be sucking our blood for a thousand years and then dead alive rapists will sodomize the carcasses of our soulless bodies if we exit from the eurozone.

The Daily Threat Show – If SYRIZA wins… 1

Former vice-chairman of the government and a veteran politician, Theodoros Pangalos is known for not really being careful of what he says. As Minister of Foreign Affairs in the 1990s he called Germany “a giant with the brain of an infant” causing diplomatic mayhem. During the economic crisis he has become more than famous (and hated) by his phrase “we ate them together” which became the single most descriptive motto of the government’s campaign to impose a collective guilt to the Greek society.

When invited to a SKAI TV talk show, Pangalos started the usual anti-syriza terrorizing crescendo which  climaxed with this quote:

The Greek people are discovering the arbitrariness of [Mr. Tsipras’] reasonings but also the arbitrariness of his behavior. The country is all of a sudden full of  [SYRIZA] people who give orders, snub their opponents and correct them by only having 16% [of the votes]. Imagine, if this 16% becomes 20% or 24%, they will start executing people…

Here’s the video. It’s from May 17. The above quote, for the Greek speaking people, is at the end of the clip.

Like a virgin

This is a great example if you want to see how a responsible Greek politician behaves in times of crisis. In May 2010, when Greece was about sign the IMF/EU/ECB Memorandum, Michalis Chrysochoidis was not just another Socialist MP but the Minister for Citizen Protection (one of the high profile government posts). Yesterday he was invited to talk to a news program at SKAI TV. The discussion was around a recent criticism on the terms of the Memorandum, highlighted by former Prime Minister Kostas Simitis’ speech at a conference in Berlin. This is the video excerpt from SKAI TV and below a quick translation.

Journalist: Let me ask you directly. How many hours did it take you to read the Memorandum? Because Mrs [Louka] Katseli (the then Minister for the Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping) said yesterday that she was given the Memorandum on Saturday night and spent two hours on reading it and this is how she went to vote on it. Have you read what the creditors have written down and did you have a different opinion than theirs? Were you aware of what you were about to sign?
Chrysochoidis: Are you serious?
Journalist: Absolutely.
Chrysochoidis: These things were discussed in the Parliament… No, I haven’t read the Memorandum at that time because, simply, I had other obligations. I had other duties…
Journalists: Excuse Mr. Minister, this is very serious. How did you sign it? Did you sign a text that commits the country for an eternity and that is responsible for the mess in which we are now and you are telling us that you didn’t read it? How can you say this so easily?
Chrysochoidis: Look, in politics things are not like that. 
Journalist: How are they?
Chrysochoidis: Some of my colleagues had negotiated, some of the responsible members which represented the government had negotiated and brought that legislation into the Parliament and, as you remember, it was voted by the majority of the Parliament, by PASOK and LAOS if I remember well.
Journalist: Is there a direct responsibility on the economic staff of the then government [i.e. the Minister of Finance George Papaconstantinou]?
Chrysochoidis: As I told you before, it was done so under a state of panic in view of a possible suspension of payments which was a threat over our head. My job at that time was to re-organize the Police, the Fire Brigade, to create the DIAS team [a Police group which patrols in motorbikes], to fight crime. It was not my job to study the Memorandum.

So Mr. Chrysochoidis just said that he signed one of the most important legislation passed in this country without even reading it. He just went the next day to the Parliament and voted for it like an amateur politician. Like a virgin! He didn’t have the time because he was re-organizing the Police which indeed showed a great zeal to crush the demonstrations taking place in the center of Athens. It was the same days when three people were burned in the fire of Marfin Bank, a collateral damage of that day’s violent chaos. The DIAS team were roaming the streets like horses of the Apocalypse, attacking protesters. And yes, crime, there wasn’t much of it that day because the political head of the Police devoted all his time on the issue rather than having a look at the Memorandum.

Katseli & Chrysochoidis

Louka Katseli and Michalis Chrysochoidis getting bored during some speech (it was probably an important one)

Some key things to note which will make some (more) sense. There is a widespread criticism on the terms of the Memorandum even by PASOK MPs, now that the old PASOK (that of George Papandreou) is crumbling. Everyone one is trying to clear his/her name, to distance themselves from the shame of “having been part of it”, preparing for the next day, or simply for the coming elections. Let’s not forget that Mr. Chrysochoidis has declared that he intends to challenge for the PASOK leadership which will be decided very soon. But let’s not be in a hurry and put all the blame to Chrysochoidis for simply telling us the truth. Most, if not all, of the MPs had literally a few hours to read the Memorandum. Among the virgins, there were some prostitutes too.

Here’s an excerpt from an older post that I’ve wrote (The run up to the Greek economic crisis) – it is a translation by an article of To Vima’s journalist Pavlos Papadopoulos.

“We were like prostitutes after their first time” a top government official confessed in his attempt to describe the Cabinet member’s psychological situation during their meeting to sign the Memorandum, on the 5th of May 2010. “We were looking at each other and we were all pale” he says. “We felt very ashamed since we couldn’t believe that we, PASOK, led Greece to the IMF, having chopped the salaries and the pensions”. And then he concludes “Since then we have been completely prostituted. We’ve done the same things over and over again without feeling any shame”. Almost all PASOK politicians admit in private that the Memorandum, despite its provision of some necessary reforms, is synonymous at the same time with the sentencing of the economy to a prolonged depression and with the mortgaging of the country to its lenders. However they recognize that it was the last choice in order to avoid bankruptcy and to secure the savings and the pensions, especially since the government had previously failed to implement the prior solutions.

“The Memorandum was hastily written by us and the troika” admits a high-ranking government official who participated in the (so-called) negotiations. “We had no idea of what we were writing and the troika experts were equally confused, working under great pressure from the European Commission and the IMF”. According to first hand accounts, the slightest preparation hasn’t been made and simply, on the last moment, they isolated part from older IMF Memorandums as those with Turkey, Mexico or Hungary and they would hurriedly adapt them to form the Greek Memorandum. “It’s a bad compilation, a Frankestein-styled Memorandum” says a Minister who admitted that he had less than three hours to read, understand, evaluate and approve the part of the agreement which would commit his Ministry for the next four years.

Obviously this Minister was not Chrysochoidis.

Michalis Chrysochoidis is currently Minister for Development, Competitiveness and Shipping.

Because you’re on television, dummy!

Now here’s a news item that went largely under-reported in the international news last week. The Greek PM, George Papandreou, was handling a mini crisis. He was ahead of a hot week, a 48-hour general strike, the voting of the latest round of harsh measures at the Parliament and the preparation of the government for the meetings in Brussels last weekend. So he decided to meet the Head of State, President Karolos Papoulias, and then he planned to have separate meetings with the leaders of the political parties that form our Parliament. At some point between these institutionally legitimate meetings he decided to invite the chairmen of the nationwide tv and newspaper networks.

Now in which democratic country does a PM do such an openly Orwellian thing? And what could have been said in these meetings? No one knows. But the PM’s office never denied their occurrence. As Matina Papahristoudi wrote, “the PM has met the real bosses of the country; the Publishers”.

With the current situation of the media companies, most of which are on the verge of bankruptcy due to the decrease in private and more importantly public advertisement funds, the once super-powerful Greek media barons could not deny the PM’s invitation. Meetings were held with Stavros Psycharis and Fotis Bobolas (co-owners of MEGA TV and Publishers of To Vima, Ta Nea & Ethnos newspapers), Minos Kyriakou (owner of ANT1 television), Yiannis Alafouzos (owner of SKAI TV), Themis Alafouzos (Publisher of Kathimerini newspaper). As Matina Papahristoudi noted “we know what Mr. Papandreou asked from them. What we don’t know is what they asked in exchange”.