Baseball91's Weblog

January 15, 2013

Greek Mythology

Filed under: euro,European Union,New York Times — baseball91 @ 3:31 AM
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On Monday, all of Greece’s opposition parties – Syriza, Independent Greeks, Golden Dawn and the Communist Party – condemned the shooting which occurred in central Athens before dawn, adding to a wave of politically motivated violence in recent days as Greece struggles with its continuing EU economic crisis based upon currency. “Gunmen” allegedly sprayed bullets into the headquarters of Greece’s governing New Democracy party, though no journalist sighted the gender of the folks pulling the trigger. “Urban political violence has tended to flare in Greece at moments of political chaos and economic deterioration,” Liz Alderman of the NYTimes writes. There was no mention if she speaks Greek, or has studied Greek history.

“Democracy will not be terrorized,” the president said on Monday. According to the New York Times, the latest wave of violence followed the arrest of 101 “suspected anarchists” last week, with “firebombs” confiscated in an operation of riot police in central Athens at a building called Villa Amalia, “a longtime gathering point” for students and far-left groups. This protest in downtown Athens by the so-called “anarchists” ended when police fired tear gas into the crowd. Not to let details get in the way, but Liz Alderman failed to report that what had been confiscated were some 1,500 empty bottles, a canister with flammable substance, helmets and gas masks, along with other material which raised police suspicion. No description has been given how the bottles got there — if plastic water bottles bought by squatters in the building? What does seem apparent is sloppy reporting. What exactly would “long-time” mean in a place like Athens? The YouTube video would suggest that this was a simple demonstration by opposition and dissenters. And some of the confiscated material would be what a prudent protester might bring along.

Publication of a list of more than 2,000 Greeks with bank accounts in Switzerland, which the government was given but did little to investigate, had touched off “a scandal and galvanized public opinion in recent weeks, according to the NYTimes. This news item sounded like the Occupy Wall Street Movement, since it was Goldman Sachs which helped the Greek government hide from public view a transaction treated as a currency trade rather than a loan, as Greece quietly borrowed billions over a decade. With help from the wizards of Wall Street, the Greece government engaged in an effort over a decade to skirt European debt limits. So no wonder the lingering anger by the populace. (Not all that dissimilar to what had happened to those items in the budgets approved by the U. S. Congress that had kept the cost of war in Iraq off the books.)

This attack on Monday morning at the office of the New Democracy party followed attacks on “other symbols of the Greek establishment which are believed to have been carried out by far-left militant groups,” the New York Times reports, without mentioning who it is that believes that ‘far-left militant’ groups were involved. Those attacks over the last week involved home-made gas canister bombs at the homes of five Greek journalists on Friday as well as canister bombs detonated at several government office and banks last week. A Google search to find where exactly the places of “the spate of attacks on other symbols of the Greek establishments” occurred, clarified to be “several government offices and banks”, fails to find any specific mention anywhere else by news media. I wonder if Liz Alderman of the NYTimes would one day cite a specific place in a follow up story.

Claiming unbalanced coverage of the Greek financial crisis to be sympathetic to the imposed austerity programs of foreign lenders and imposed by the Greek government, Lovers of Lawlessness claimed responsibility for Friday’s attacks. In a statement posted on the internet, this group said the news media are the “main managers of the oppressing state designs, manipulating society accordingly.”

After the fall of the country’s military junta in 1974, Greek police in 2002 crushed the November 17 group after decades of attacks “against politicians and businesses. Other groups however have since sprung up, throwing firebombs during anti-austerity demonstrations, attacking police.” In writing about this “mounted” terrorism by “anarchist groups,” Liz Alderman of the NYTimes earlier misstated that Military Minority-Lovers of Lawlessness claimed responsibility for Friday’s homemade gas canister bombs attacks. A correction stated that a group called “Militant Minority-Lovers of Lawlessness, not Military Minority-Lovers of Lawlessness” claimed responsibility. Hmmmmmmmmmmm. Greek is a very tough language to master.

According to the New York Times, a government spokesman warned on Monday of a “dangerous escalation of spreading terror.” The New York Times writer did not seemed concerned how a government might try to use more police powers to capture more political power. Have you ever covered the Republican National Convention in the United States, with mention of what a police state looks like with helicopters flying overhead to protect the delegates and maybe the media? In September 2008 there were more than 800 arrests made during the political convention in Minnesota, with one conviction which in hindsight calls the question of the use of police power; there were homes raided and the same kind of alleged evidence reported by the news media.

What is clear is that at least since World War II, it has never been more dangerous to be a journalist in Europe. “These attacks,” Reporters Without Borders said in a statement, “are the most visible expression of an increasingly dangerous climate for all journalists, who are being turned into the scapegoats of a crisis they are just analyzing.”

Perhaps the people in Greece expect journalistic standards to be elevated to reflect a society based upon civility, when journalism rises above the market tensions of those who were forced to sell ads. The same forces of lobbyists trying to affect legislation are at work each day in the world of television news. And this was more and more a generation which got its news from radio and television. There should be a concern, not just between all Greeks, about the fairness and understanding of the talking heads taking in money, paying for all the commercials on radio and television, and somehow capturing the Truth. Referring to dissenters as “anarchists” at a time when everything was being devalued — and you were so personally touched when everything here was devalued — was playing into the hands of those already in power. When some of those in power had along the way just quit doing their job(s).

Yes, stories of terrorism increase viewership/readership in the short-term, before the long-term affects set in on a civilization. Just like the affect of economic unification with continued political independence of nation-states which had fueled this identity crisis for the European Union. Those same factors had fueled a lot of divorces in my neighborhood with affects which lasted a lifetime, among individuals who had lost power in some kind of relationship, in most cases without adding to a “wave of politically motivated” violence.

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3 Comments »

  1. Did this journalist Liz Alderman have a realization that this financial situation was IN ITS FIFTH YEAR in Greece? I pondered the meaning of the old title about the VANITY in the title of “The Bonfire of the Vanities.” When the writer if not the readers of the New York Times just did not get it – how personal this really had become. And the journalist did so little to investigate?

    Religion Blogs

    Comment by baseball91 — January 15, 2013 @ 3:42 AM | Reply

  2. Would you ever allow, as an editor, a reporter to cover the political goings-on in a nation unless she understood the language? Could a journalist from a wealthy family ever understand the reality of a “cash crunch.” This “financial situation” was now in its SEVENTH year. And after reading the coverage by the New York Times of this protest by the “left-wing,” I wonder in retrospect if they missed what had been going on on the right wing at the time. And then there is the issue of self-defense in matters of domestic abuse. Today was the start in Greece of what was expected to be a twelve-month trial of a neo-Nazi Party called the New Dawn. Any wonder why I will not be reading the coverage through Liz Alderman of this trial?

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/20/greece-far-right-golden-dawn-nikos-michaloliakos-trial-start

    Comment by baseball91 — April 20, 2015 @ 4:40 PM | Reply

  3. In the style of the The New York Times, trying to cover all the world with their own hidden bias, comes the following apology from The New York Times, concerning their criticism of the tragedy in Berkeley, California when six Irish students died, and another seven were injured. “We understand and agree that some of the language in the piece could be interpreted as insensitive, particularly in such close proximity to this tragedy,” said NYT Vice President Eileen Murphy. “It was never our intention to blame the victims…”

    The Irish Ambassador to the United States wrote to the New York Times: “At such a time, we found some of the language in your article today (“Six Deaths in Berkeley Cast Pall on Program”) both insensitive and inaccurate. No one yet knows what caused the collapse of the fourth-floor balcony; the matter is under urgent investigation by structural engineers. The implication of your article – that the behavior of the students was in some way a factor in the collapse – has caused deep offence.”

    The Equality Minister of Ireland Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, in a tweet sent to The New York Times, branded the article a “disgrace.” The piece by the NYT reporter, described as “insensitive,” focused upon the birthday party in Berkeley taking place as the balcony collapsed –a party loud enough to keep neighbors awake — created a flood of comments on social media. Yes six people were dead, and in the freshness of death this small-minded reporter wrote with accusations about the joy and the weight of joy carried and shared by these young Irish people just before they had died. And her editor not only went with but embraced her viewpoint, in this time of tragedy. Some Americans, like those involved in producing this news story, could be interpreted as living life with stone-cold hearts, in such close proximity to extinguished joy, just going about doing a job. It was an example of what could happen –what did happen — in a police state, as people so thoughtlessly used their pens and just went about doing their jobs, gaining access if not quite proximity. And did you see the irony that a woman named Eileen Murphy was asked to respond to all the criticism and all the shame on behalf of The New York Times? So compare the coverage of the New York Times and the veiled apology here to what happened in Berkeley to Eileen Murphy’s tweet about the coverage in the Charleston deaths: “Charleston Newspaper, Covering the News, and Choking Back Tears.”

    Comment by baseball91 — June 22, 2015 @ 6:00 PM | Reply


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