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"Dilettanti". Bush's press office and its unprofessional behaviour
by Newropeans-Magazine
2008-07-25 09:41:04
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If an Italian writes about Berlusconi, he has to be in favour or against.  You cannot say "this is good, this is bad...", you cannot argue normally. There are several reasons for that (the main one being that the situation, seen from one side or from the opposite side, is anyway not "normal"). And, if there's any non-Italian writing about him (instead than just translating any Italian opposition paper), he or she has to be negative: seen from abroad, the Italian situation is even less "normal", and anyway Berlusconi's re-election is taken as un-understandable.

But I don't want to open a discussion about this, nor about Berlusconi or the Italian government: I prefer to spend some words about the amusing performance of a very, very important press office.    I'm amused, but in the same time worried, by the American Presidency's press office: if you're in politics, the things you do count far less than the things people know, and having an under-performing press office means being an under-performing politician.   Especially if you are President of the United States.  

So, sorry, Mr Bush, but... maybe you're not such a good President anyway, but please, take care at least of your press officers!

While Mr Bush was travelling towards Japan, to take part in the latest G8 summit, his press office distributed a wonderful kit, with some information about the President's activities, but also about the other leaders he was going to meet.     Berlusconi's biography was -euphemistically said - quite insulting: not only for him, but also for his country, and Bush's services had to formally excuse: White House spokesman Tony Fratto apologised: "A biography of Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi included in the press package used language that is insulting both to Prime Minister Berlusconi and to the Italian people. We apologise to Italy and to the prime minister for this very unfortunate mistake.

The sentiments expressed in the biography do not represent the views of President Bush, the American government, or the American people".

How could it happen?   Well, the information included in the press kit was apparently just a copy and paste from the Encyclopedia of World Biography  (but there's no Berlusconi profile in the on-line version: was it taken away?).  I will paste some excerpts from the press kit at the end: it's a non-balanced, in some parts uncorrect biography, anyway not false in its main elements but certainly not written with a polite approach towards Italy's Prime Minister, his electors, his workers, his country.   It's an interesting stuff you could publish in a blog, certainly not in a press kit. 

But the worst is: that's not the first mistake!  

Just less than one month before, Mr Bush travelled to Italy, and he met Berlusconi (and other personalities): guess what?   The press kit presented the Italian Government as leaded by Romano Prodi, and went on naming  Massimo D'Alema as Italy's foreign minister. 

Italy had a new government since more than a month, the President of the United States was travelling to Italy, he was going to meet someone whom he met a lot of times before, one of his closest allies, a leader of one of the seven richest countries in the world, and Bush's press office was not aware of all that?

Ok, huge mistake.    So, what do they do three weeks later, preparing Bush's trip to Japan?   They finally take in count that Berlusconi is now and again Italy's Prime Minister, and they just paste an article taken from anywhere else, without even reading it before!   

I don't think there's an ongoing plot in Bush's press office: they're just amateurs, 'dilettanti', like it was written in Berlusconi's profile.     And a President who tolerates such a level by his press office is, at his turn, a "political dilettante". 


3Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is one of the most controversial leaders in the history of a country known for governmental corruption and vice. Primarily a businessman with massive holdings and influence in international media, he is regarded by many as a political dilettante who gained his high office only through use of his considerable influence on the national media.

Hated by many but respected by all at least for his bella figura (personal style) and the sheer force of his will, Berlusconi has parlayed his business acumen and influence into a personal empire that has resulted in Italy’s longest–running government ever and in his becoming the country’s wealthiest man. Bursting onto the scene with no political experience in 1993, he campaigned—using his vast network of media holdings—on a promise to purge the notoriously lackadaisical Italian government of corruption. He won appointment to the office of prime minister in 1994. However, he and his fellow Forza Italia Party leaders soon found themselves accused of the very corruption he had vowed to eradicate. Charges of bribery, extortion, and other abuses of power trailed the leader until he was forced to resign later in 1994. Despite convictions on a number of corruption charges that were later overturned, the suave Berlusconi was again elected prime minister in 2001, and remained in that post as of late 2004. […]

At this point, Berlusconi found himself increasingly hounded by demands from all quarters that he break up his media empire for violating virtually every anti–trust law in the books. As these pressures increased through the first part of the 1990s, he made a decision that some saw as foolish but that others perceived as an effort to grab the power of the very forces opposed to him: he announced that he would run for prime minister. In typical aggressive fashion, Berlusconi handed over to close friends all his positions at Fininvest and other companies to avoid political conflicts of interest and immediately organized a political coalition named Forza Italia (after the ubiquitous soccer chant meaning “Go Italy”). He appointed himself as its leader.

Allying the new grouping with a federalist party and the remains of a disbanded neo–fascist group, he geared up his media companies to begin a television and print blitz to advertise his candidacy. Several editors of his press concerns resigned in protest at being told whom to endorse in the typically free–for–all run–up to elections.”

Diego Malcangi
Milano - Italia

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Get it off your chest
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Emanuel Paparella2008-07-25 12:14:42
Is this a case of the kettle calling the pot black? Jung would probably call it a projection.

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