Monday, July 07, 2003

Berlusconi Keeps Racking Up Points

Even though seemingly unable to recognize his fate should he continue to be a pretentious billionaire oligarch, Berlusconi keeps racking up victories at home, which is always instructive to keep an eye on because it underscores the struggles we are enduring here at home (in America).

As especially in regards to the media, and who owns it, either Berlusconi will soon be a relic, or a signal of the troubling future.
While European leaders fret about Silvio Berlusconi's conflicts of interest and legal problems, the Italian government is pushing legislation that would allow his already dominant media empire to grow more rapidly.

The Italian Senate's public works commission on Thursday approved a wide-ranging media bill that would remove prohibitions on Fininvest, the Italian prime minister's media holding company, from directly owning newspapers.


Mr Berlusconi is accused by many Italians of influencing 90 per cent of the country's television market and its news coverage through Mediaset and RAI, and of further propounding his views through numerous newspapers and magazines controlled either by Fininvest or his family.

The accusation appeared well-founded on Tuesday when the news show of RAI Uno, the main state channel, gave little air time to the diplomatic clash caused by the premier's "Nazi" slur against a German member of the European parliament. Canale 5, Mediaset's main channel, presented a more forthright news programme, although the newsman for Rete 4 continually defended Mr Berlusconi and attacked his critics.

We can at least be happy about one thing. Well, actually two. Neither Berlusconi or Rupert Murdoch were born in America, so we know they won't ever become president. As far as being the future governor of California though, who knows?