As many will be aware, gossip surrounding Italy’s current prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi’s activities, both public and personal, seem to be making the headlines at the moment, and not just in Italy.
Recent events in Iran have tended to overshadow Berlusconi related news somewhat, but the country’s top politician is still mentioned several times daily here in Italy. Ironically Berlusconi has been criticising the Italian press for writing gossip inspired rubbish. Why is this ironic? Well, it has to be said that the Italian television channels which he founded were, and still are, quite gossip oriented. As far as Silvio seems to be concerned, gossip is fine when it is selling lots of advertisements on his own television channels, but a distinct no-no when he is the subject of all the tittle tattle.
The gossip surrounding Berlusconi’s alleged misuse of official aircraft, which sprang from chatter caused by the release of photographs of goings on at Berlusconi’s Sardinian palace, led to Italy’s prime minister’s use of official airplanes being investigated. Now though, the aircraft misuse accusations case has been dropped.
Just when you might think Berlusconi fuelled gossip might be about to drop from the front pages of Italian newspapers, yet another potential scandal involving Italy’s premier is starting to break the surface in Italy. This affair will probably ensure that Silvio Berlusconi continues to appear in the Italian media spotlight for a good few weeks to come. Then there is my six year old son’s latest insult.
Berlusconi Allegedly Favouring Prostitution
Maybe Berlusconi is right to be hinting that there is a serious and sinister plot to overthrow him.
Leading on, one might say in a form of natural progression – for everything seems to have arisen from Berlusconi’s suspect relationship with 18 year old Noemi Letizia, plus raunchy parties in Sardinia, the latest accusations about to be levelled at Berlusconi involve some of the girls who attended official ‘functions’. Reports carried by a number of Italy’s newspapers state that investigators in Bari uncovered an apparent high class prostitution ring as a result of listening in on conversations concerning suspected attempts to fix tenders for contracts for the supply of hospital equipment by the owner of a business in Bari.
The person who was allegedly manipulating tenders also happened to mention in overheard telephone conversations that he was involved in procuring girls for certain parties. These girls were paid to participate and the insinuation is that they were prostitutes. It was revealed from further overheard chit-chatting that some of these young ladies were supplied to events in Rome, and Sardinia. It is in Sardinia, you will remember that Berlusconi possesses a palatial mansion which he often uses to entertain official guests of Italy.
Berlusconi, according to certain reports, attended, such events, and the press seems to want to give the impression that he was the one who ordered these paid female party goers. Hence the eruption of yet another potential scandal revolving around Italy’s prime minister who may face allegations of, albeit indirectly, aiding and abetting prostitution.
One of the girls who apparently appeared at Berlusconi’s parties was Patrizia D’Addario, a former model, television presenter and showgirl, who has also been described as being a high class prostitute. D’Addario claims to have a video of herself in Berlusconi’s bedroom.
Some Italian press reports state that the video is currently being examined to check whether it is authentic, whereas an article in English on the ANSA.it press agency site reports that the tapes of the recorded telephone conversations and the video have all been ‘locked away‘.
The only thing that is clear is that whatever happened, is happening, or what might happen, is annoying Silvio Berlusconi greatly.
Will Berlusconi weather this new storm? Probably, but it’s starting to look as though the people towards whom he has been slinging copious amounts of mud, namely journalists and Italy’s judiciary, are starting to sling bucket loads of mud back.
When Mud Sticks
Through his enormous and combined media resources, Berlusconi has been repeating accusations concerning communist inspired plots cooked up by journalists and judges alike, over and over again, to the extent that some people now believe that such plots really do exist. The mud Italy’s seemingly paranoid prime minister threw, has started to stick, to the extent that Berlusconi bashing is not considered to be such a positive act by some Italians. Some though, argue that it was Berlusconi’s aim to ensure that the mud stuck.
Those to whom the mud is sticking, the alleged commie plotters, are unlikely to be happy with Berlusconi’s continual accusations, and it is conceivable that whereas plots may not have existed before, now they do. After all, if you feel as though you are about to be punished for a crime regardless of whether you committed such crime or not, you may just think ‘what the heck’ and actually start plotting away. It’s the ‘give a dog a bad name’ scenario.
By endlessly having a go at people such as journalists and judges, it is possible that they have become rather offended by what they view as being name blackening and unfounded criticism. What with the imminent introduction of laws designed to curb the use of phone tapping in Italy, which may also have consequences for investigative journalists, in terms of large fines and even jail terms, the rats, in the form of the miffed judges and journalists may well feel as though they are being well and truly cornered. And it can be dangerous to mess with cornered rats.
The mud which is being slung towards Berlusconi at the moment by Italy’s non-Berlusconi controlled media, which, incidentally, appears to be cooperating whole heartedly with the media beyond Italy’s shores, could well be a form of swan song on the part of the cornered rats. Rats placed in such a position tend to put up a fight. Hence the mud being hurled at media mogul, but not freedom of the press friendly, Silvio Berlusconi.
Just what the mud slinging cornered rats next move will be, remains to be seen, but one imagines that if the accusations of favouring prostitution do not manage to fatally wound Berlusconi, something else will be pulled from the hat. As to what, well, that is anyone’s guess.
Berlusconi Enters the Psyche of Six Year Old Italian
Such is the regularity with which bad news about Berlusconi is appearing in the Italian news, that even my six year old son has picked up on what he appears to be the negativity which Berlusconi represents. Indeed, he has come up with a puerile new insult: ‘Sei Berlusconi‘ – ‘You are Berlusconi’!
Before you retort, ‘he got it from you’, I honestly don’t believe this is the case. After all, one does not usually discuss politics with six year olds! It is possible that he has come up with this new insult from his mother, who is a self-confessed commie, but I’m not convinced that this is the case either. My six year old loves to hurl this curious new insult at his little school friends too.
Maybe he got this anti-Berlusconi tendency from his teachers, who, it has to be said, are not overly happy with Berlusconi government inspired reforms to Italy’s education system.
Whatever, Silvio Berlusconi appears to have entered my son’s psyche.
Further reading and Sources – in Italian and English:
“Pagata per andare a Palazzo Grazioli” A Bari un’inchiesta che scotta “Paid to go to Grazioli (Grazioli is Berlusconi’s rented home in Rome)” An scaling inquiry in Bari – La Repubblica
Patrizia e le agendine sui viaggi a Roma “Sono stata da lui con un’amica modella” Patrizi and her Rome trip diaries “I went to him (Berlusconi) with a friend who was a model”- La Repubblica – about one of the girls who apparently attended Berlusconi functions
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