So there we have it. On Tuesday evening, while we were harmlessly flicking channels and watching the idiot box, ERT became their own biggest news story and were shut down live on air. The reason? The government says they lack transparency and are far too wasteful an organization.
As opposed to the government itself, I suppose. A Greek government organisation that’s wasteful? Is this some kind of sick pre apocalyptic joke?
What’s not to love about this story? After 6 years of a crippling debt crisis, the Greek government magically decides that the only TV outlet not stuffed to the gills with 15 minute add breaks, split-screen screaming matches cunningly disguised as news reports and mindless viewing junk food is too wasteful to keep running and without any debate or negotiation, ERT is given the chop. As for other wasteful state bodies like all of the public sector, DEH or OTE, let’s not mention it and maybe it’ll go away.
Since then, there has been a blanket strike on Greek TV, meaning we’ve had to get our news from satellite channels.
Now, there are two things to remember when the shit hits the fan in Greece like this. Someone somewhere will always find a way to say it’s either got something to do with the foreigners or the Turks.
I was watching Euronews and I must applaud the old Greek papou who was quoted as saying “What are the Greeks on the islands going to have to watch now? Turkish television?”
Heaven forbid! I hate to tell you this, gramps, but with the sheer volume of Turkish soaps on Greek television, Greeks on the islands and the mainland are already doing that.
Then of course there’s our good old dash of hatred, Golden Dawn, who took time out of their busy schedule of immigrant-beating and found the perfect chance to play a game of The Good Greek Next Door by ranting and raving in parliament about how undemocratic the move was and that politicians should get a pay cut, blah blah blah. Don’t you have brainwashed old grannies to be escorting to ATMs or something? Stop pretending like you care!
As for what the government did, the journalist in me was horrified. Samaras was quick to point to the inflated pays and cronyism going on at the state channel, without pausing to remember that ERT has long been a job factory for chums of the government. Those who kissed the right backsides got the top jobs. I’ve heard stories of fantastical salaries of EUR 15,000 a month for some presenters. I have no way to verify if they’re true.
And so now we have no state TV and just got downgraded to emerging market status. I love the smell of a meltdown in the morning.