The spring awakening of the Slovak political and church elites this year has been associated with a strong feeling of injustice at the hands of the media. PM Fico, defending his ministers, has spoken of a "media witch-hunt". Cardinal Korec has identified "a disgusting conspiracy against the Church in Slovakia". Other bishops (Sokol, Tondra) said in their Easter addresses that "the Church is being attacked and libelled". Is this mournful song, rising from the builders of the 'social state' as well as from our spiritual leaders, justified?
No one forced Fico and his ilk to take power, and if they didn't like media attention they could easily have kept on going to their factory jobs every morning with their leather briefcases on their local buses. Religious leaders could also have stayed back at the local parish, and not poked their noses into top Church politics. In taking the jobs they have, they also committed to letting the public's watchdogs bark at them from time to time.
The mistake that these officials keep making is that they identify themselves personally with things like the social state, democracy or morality. They don't understand that the media are amused by Fico's verbal aggression and his ignorance of the topic at hand, or Sokol's pathos and the empty phrases other Church leaders use. The pity of it is that people who would handle their media presentations far better are written off beforehand by those in power, and prevented from ever getting their hands on the wheel.
Leaders like Fico and Sokol should be glad that journalists are not better at their jobs than they are, because the picture they presented would be even worse. The work of the media is not, as our leaders say, proof of the decadence of the nation, but precisely the opposite.
Sme, April 11
16. Apr 2007 at 0:00 | Ľubomír Jaško