Brazilian Soreness

Some things just don’t agree with me; like runny eggs, jellied eels, soggy aubergines, and Brazilians.

I also don’t like most flavours of politicians, but come election time, I start suffering from the self-destructive need to follow and scrutinise them.

I convince myself of course that I need to do this in order to decide where to eventually cast my vote, but probably it’s because there’s a Christian Grey in all of us, making us love a good dose of self-flagellation every once in a while.  

So, as far as my gag reflex allows me to, I am currently watching and reading everything that could help me decide which party is the least self-absorbed, who is less likely to bring us down on both knees begging for a hand out, and who will embarrass us the least with the international community.

I’m also trying to figure out who is more likely to stand up for the voiceless (with more than lip service), and who will finally do away with religious mantras and start treating all humans equally.  

And, because I’m one to learn from experience, I’m trying to figure all this by listening to what politicians do NOT say, as opposed to what they emphasise and overstate.

After last week’s political debate on Xarabank, my stomach wasn’t stable enough for another attack this week, so for health and sanity I decided not to watch yesterday’s show which was a discussion about last Friday’s debate.

Resilient as I am though, this morning I tried to watch the online repeat of the programme , but I had to give up only seconds after it started.

You see, I soon landed on the part where Claudine Cassar couldn’t for the life of her get a word in edgeways - the part where the other Neanderthals (except for Mario DeMarco) were shouting over each other like a pack of hoarse geese, callously ignoring Claudine’s polite pleas for order and decorum.  

I’d like to point out in fact that if we ever want to see more women in politics we need to do one of two things – we need to either stop this unrestrained savage way of discussing things in public or stop bringing up our girls to behave like proper ladies.

But I digress.

Though I didn’t watch yesterday’s show, I’ve singlehandedly decided that it was the PM who scored the most goals during the debate. I’m sure of this because even though he tripped in his own Brazilian, and even though his bluff was sheared off later on in the week, he still won the numbers game.

Just like he’s a hands-down winner when it comes to the economy and our financial numbers when compared to other European countries, he’s also a winner when it comes to audience numbers.

Purely from a public relations point of view, and purely from what is supposedly non-partisan media, the PM’s message reached more ears than the rebuttals against him.

Here’s how:

On Friday the PM embarrasses Joseph Muscat in front of 180,000 viewers (this is approximately how many people would have watched Xarabank that day).

On Sunday, I out the Prime Minister’s Brazilian faux pas on my blog on the Times, maybe reaching a few hundred readers.

For some reason this is not picked up by the mainstream media until Tuesday, when finally TVM’s 8 o’clock news covers the story making Oderbrecht Solutions Malta sound like the be all and end all of all construction companies. It uses footage of employees from other countries making it look like this is footage from Malta, and in its relatively long feature it fails to mention the crucial bit of information that Oderbrecht had only ever employed a handful of Maltese people and is now closed down. That’s another 140,000 viewers duped thanks to our national broadcaster.

On Thursday morning, Tonio Fenech (not the PM) finally admits that the company has closed down but, by this time, most people and the media have lost interest, thus the news only gets a fraction of exposure that the original debate did.

So there, as far as numbers go, the PM came out a sure winner. As I said he’s also a winner when it comes to the economy, but does this mean that he’ll also be the final winner of votes?

Are there more people who value a healthy democracy than people who value a healthy economy?

Do the majority think that the two can be separated or do most think that there isn’t one without the other?

How many think that the PM did not lie, but simply didn’t say everything, which makes it ok?

Should we blame Joseph Muscat for not knowing how to react and letting the PM pull a fast one?

Did the national broadcaster purposefully leave the most crucial bit of information out, or was it a question of incompetent journalism?


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