I got a glimpse this morning of the cozy fascinating relationship in Italy between the media... and the mafia. And I hadn't even had coffee yet.
In case you can't tell, and I know it's hard to, this is a long list of published names. They're people who wrote in as part of a petition against Roberto Saviano -- you know, the guy who's currently risking his life to speak out against mafia infiltration in Italy and who authored Gomorrah. Yes, you read that right. They're against him.
Why? Because he made the mistake of saying, on the popular new television show Viene Via Con Me, that the mafia has infiltrated northern Italy. And that high-ranking politicians, including those in the ostensibly anti-mafia Lega Nord, are in on the whole game. These signers* say that he's wrong. (That's despite the fact that there is a ton of evidence to the contrary, including facts and figures gathered by the DIA, Italy's official anti-mafia organization).
*As the article linked to above points out, the petition can be "signed" by e-mail, text or fax -- so who knows who exactly is behind the names.
What's fascinating to me isn't so much that the mafia's (almost) as pervasive in northern Italy as it is in the south, or that politicians are involved. (I'm surprised that surprises anyone, except for the most anti-southern and myopic northern Italians). It's that you would see a major national newspaper in Italy getting up in arms about somebody actually having the guts to say this. And calling for a petition against him.
If you don't have eagle-eye vision, let me spell it out for you: Il Giornale is published in Milan, which happens to be both the major (mafia?) hub in the north... and the hometown of the Berlusconis. Not only that, but some of the names are pretty interesting. At the top, there is, of course, Vittorio Feltri, the paper's editor and such a longtime loyalist to Berlusconi that when he recently told a rival paper that Berlusconi "didn’t do a lot of things that he should have done," it was seen as such a sign of change that the New York Times used it as an example of how Berlusconi's allies are defecting.
Listed under consiglieri, meanwhile, are personalities like Fedele Confalonieri, chairman of Mediaset and the guy behind the quote "If Berlusconi had not entered politics, today we would all be in jail or under some bridge." And then there are the Berlusconis themselves, three of them: Paolo (Silvio's brother) and his two daughters, Alessia and Luna.
But none of this should surprise you, really. After all, Il Giornale was owned by Silvio Berlusconi until 1994, when he sold it to his brother.
And you know who really doesn't like hearing crap about his hometown of Milan... or bad things about his politician buddies in the Lega Nord or elsewhere... or anything at all about his own enthusiastic involvement in inability to root out corruption in Italy?
Yep. That'd be the prime minister.
See, I told you it would be interesting.