Invariably in journalism, reporters seeking an interview will be asked to provide questions in advance for subjects afraid of impromptu peppering they can’t answer. It’s just so embarrassing to be asked what is the capital of Uzbekistan and look like Donald Duck trying to come up with the answer.
Usually, the bigger the Muckety-Muck is, the more certain it will be they want to know ahead of time what’s going to be asked of them so their staff can provide canned, sterile answers, the lifeblood of politicians and people without a clue or an original thought.
Prime Minister and New Democracy Capitalist leader Antonis Samaras, who went to college at Amherst and knows something about the Diaspora, now has forgotten it, as did a fellow alumni of the school and his predecessor, then-PASOK Anti-Socialist leader George Papandreou, hounded out of office in 2011 after relentless protests, strikes and riots against austerity measures he imposed on orders of international lenders.
Both don’t mind giving interviews to big media but are afraid to talk to Diaspora newspapers at the same time they profess their love for their fellow Greeks around the world. Papandreou would talk only to Big Media and Samaras is just the same.
Nothing personal for us, but it should be for you because you’re the ones being dissed here. When Samaras comes to the United States, its for power lunches with the rich, not for a souvlaki in Astoria, New York, where he should take his entourage if he really wants to know what Greek-Americans think (along with reading The National Herald).
His press office wouldn’t even give the courtesy of a “no,” or fake some sincerity that he couldn’t do it because blah blah blah, some phony reason why he doesn’t want to take tough questions instead of softballs he prefers.
Since Samaras won’t talk to us, we’ve broken our Cardinal Rule about not preparing questions in advance so that he can have time to scrutinize them and have his staff tell him what to say. We’ll even take the answers in writing so that you can see the platitudes, non-answers, self-aggrandizement and weak rationale for yourselves.
Better yet: if you really want him to talk to you in the Diaspora, email his office, write him, phone him and let him know what you want to know. You can even send us some questions to add to this list so that we can keep his minions busy and add to the questions he won’t answer, even if Groucho Marx was peppering him on You Bet Your Life.
Mr. Prime Minister:
-Why wasn’t Interior Minister Argyris Dinopoulos fired for not paying his health insurance while being covered and asking for the rate for unemployed journalists? You said you would have no tolerance for wrongdoing by ministers. Why don’t you?
– Why didn’t you keep your promise to hold harmless those in the Diaspora who put their money and faith into buying Greek bonds but got stiffed with 74 percent losses, nearly wiping out some of them?
-Why did you oppose austerity while out of office but embrace it the moment you took office
– Why did you have an advisor who was close to the neo-Nazis of Golden Dawn and had your ear
– Why did you tolerate Golden Dawn until one of its members killed a Greek citizen?
– Why did you cave in to Parliament workers who have been exempted from more austerity measures and threatened to strike if they weren’t?
– If they did strike, would you issue a civil mobilization order to force them to return as you did with Metro workers, unpaid dock workers and teachers?
– When you were Foreign Minister two decades ago you took a principled stand and quit when the government allowed the use of the word “Macedonia,” to be taken by the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). Every offer on the table would still keep that word. Why don’t you reject it out of hand?
– When Turkey invaded Cypriot waters with three warships and a research vessel in search of energy in sovereign Cypriot territory why did you leave it to your coalition partner and PASOK Socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos to make a weak statement instead of demanding the ships be pulled out immediately?
– Why do you want to take an early exit from the country’s deal with international lenders and nearly double in the markets what they charge in interest?
– Why don’t you get out of your limo and take a ride on the Metro and talk to people? It was good enough for Michael Dukakis when he was Governor of Massachusetts.
– Do you think, as a rich and privileged person, you can relate to people eating dog food because you’ve cut their pensions so much to satisfy bankers?
– Why is it in an economic crisis the first reaction is always to cut people’s pay?
– Why is your government interfering in the operation of the new public broadcaster NERIT after promising to butt out when it was formed?
– Have you personally, or through an emissary of any kind, asked for people to be hired, promoted or otherwise to benefit from your friendship with them?
– Have you been to a movie or summer cinema since taking office in 2012?
– Why are you preparing legislation to let big debtors go free and for lesser sentences for corruption?
– Will New Democracy and PASOK pay the 250 million euros it owes banks?
– Do you sleep well at night?