Over the past 48 hours, as Greek voters are mulling over their options prior to entering the polling stations, the international media have indulged in a frenzy of disinformation and scaremongering. Gone is the nuanced reporting of the BBC, nowhere to be seen the critical approach to the Euro Crisis that the rest of the international media have shown over the past few weeks. As if united behind a common cause, the hordes of international TV and Radio reporters are now peddling a simple line: Today, the Greek people are choosing between ‘Reason’ (meaning the pro-bailout New Democracy party) and ‘Indulgence’; between staying in the euro and leaving on a whim. In moment of greater exuberance, they add that, today, Greeks can deal a decisive blow at the Eurozone by voting against the European Union’s strategy for dealing with the Euro Crisis. What utter nonsense!
This is nothing but an Assault on Truth. First, Greeks are NOT voting on whether they want to stay in the Eurosystem or to leave. They are voting between two different programs on how to survive within the Eurozone. On the one hand, there is the discredited ‘establishment’ line which has it that, to stay in the Eurozone, Greeks should simply do as they are being told by the troika. On the opposite corner, there is the Syriza position that doing as we are told is guaranteed to lead to the wholesale and final collapse of what is left of the Greek social economy, thus leading us out of the Eurozone by default. Their recommendation is that Greece should adopt a determined bargaining stand.
While legitimate questions can be asked as to which of the two programs of staying in the Eurozone is more apposite, this is not the way that the BBC and the rest are reporting them. Violating every journalistic standard and principle known to man or woman, they are insisting on a portrayal of an electoral tussle between pro-Euro and anti-Euro parties.
Moreover, a mindboggling inconsistency is running through their narrative. On the one hand, it is abundantly clear to them (and they actually let it be known that it is their view too) that the current EU policies of bailouts-plus-austerity are killing the Eurozone. Witness the brilliant cover in last week’s Economist (featuring a sinking tanker with a bubble asking: “Can we switch on the engines now Mrs Merkel?”). On the other hand, however, in the same breath, they argue that failure by Greek voters to support this ruinous path may lead to the collapse of the… Eurozone. So, my message to BBC journalists and other reporters is simple. Decide folks: Either the present course is ruinous and Europe’s peoples (including the Greeks) must abandon it. Or it is a decent policy mix which we ought to consent to. You cannot have it both ways, unless of course your only concern is how to alarm your audience via intentional disinformation while treating the Greek people like swine that need to be beaten into submission.