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2004-12-20

Very smart of you, Mr. Schüssel 

Austrian chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel is an intelligent man, I grant him that. Yet sometimes his joyful manipulations of public perception are extremely tedious. Michael Völker gives an accurate account [DE] (in DerStandard) of Schüssel's management of political news creation within a single day last week, combining 1. his--expected--defeat in Brussels over the Turkish EU-entry negotiations, 2. his sensational if insubstantial announcement of an Austrian referendum over Turkish membership in ten years time, and 3. the nomination of a female former track-and-field champion as the new interior minister.

As Völker writes, it doesn't even matter whether the softy interior minister overshadows the referendum story or vice versa, as long as the really significant event, the go-ahead for Turkish entry negotiations, is suitably obfuscated. Völker is quite right - at the end of the day, what the chancellor does is to intentionally mislead the public. And that can hardly be considered appropriate. Is it the job of the chancellor to prove every day that his constituents are dumber than he is? To whom exactly is he trying to prove that?


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