Tuesday, November 19, 2002
I was going to mentally file away today’s Mino Pecorelli murder story into the “Those Wacky Italians – NFA” category until I saw a brief blurb on it in today’s MX (Melbourne) newspaper.
If you are unfamiliar with the story, here are three links to fill you in:
Normally, of course, the murder conviction of the (former) prime minister of a major western democracy would be big, BIG news. Clearly – and reasonably – counting against it being big-N news are (i) it happened a long time ago (1979), and (ii) the high likelihood that the 83 y.o. Senator Giulio Andreotti will yet be (a) duly acquitted, or (b) die during the slow processes thereof.
On the other hand – piquing my own interest, if not exactly making an objective case for the big-N news “side” – is the coming together of both right and left in Italy to deplore the verdict:
"Andreotti is a victim of a crazy justice system that is in need of reform," Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said. He accused the judges of "trying to change the course of democratic politics and rewrite Italian history".
The head of the Margherita coalition of left-wing parties in the lower house, Pierluigi Castagnetti, deplored the "incredible sentence".
- Former Italian PM guilty of murder
By Natasha Bita, Florence
Aust’n, November 19, 2002
These are big claims by politician and media magnate Berlusconi, with a conversely gutless, irrelevant observation by the supposedly left-wing Castagnetti [Hint: it’s about the verdict, not the sentence, dummy.]
Adding to the piquancy is this further gem, again in defence of the Senator:
Churchmen likewise leapt to the defence of the devout Andreotti. Cardinal Fiorenzo Angelini compared him to Jesus Christ. "Without a doubt, at the end there will be a resurrection."
- Andreotti jail term stuns Italy
By Shasta Darlington and Crispian Balmer in Rome
SMH November 19 2002
Piquancy does not always a stench maketh, however, so that’s where I was about to leave things, until – as I mentioned – I saw the short Mino Pecorelli story in today’s MX (Melbourne) newspaper. The article first quoted Andreotti’s lawyer in airborne high dudgeon, vowing an appeal, and paraphrasing Berlusconi’s remarks (above) about the verdict rewriting Italian history. So far, so good. Then in its wrap-up sentence, MX casually lets out that Pecorelli was a “scandal-sheet reporter”.
None of the three (two of them only a matter of hours) earlier references alluded to the “scandal-sheet” aspect. Clearly, these two words add more than just colour – a “scandal-sheet reporter” can be presumed to have many enemies, including among the amorphous and miscallaneous low-life; while an “investigative reporter’s” enemies, on the other hand, tend to stick out like the proverbial.
In summary, MX’s adjectival sleight (which I’m sure will be duly picked up in/by tomorrow’s quality press) has brought an unmistakable odour to the Mino Pecorelli story. In answer to Berlusconi and his parrots, I say that there exists a far worse thing than rewriting history – to wilfully bury a murder story and investigation in an unmarked grave.