Political bribes and the Icelandic media

This does not seem to stop.  Wrote before the Easter holiday that political sleaze in Iceland was hitting new heights. The sad thing about this is the fact that nobody is taking responsibility. In the UK for example, people are either fired or they have the decency of resigning.

What is happening here is the massive payments from banks and companies to political parties. The year 2006 is what most of the fuzz is about understandably. See this entry here. The media and the politicians try to focus the discussion towards that year alone, there is little pressure on figuring out what they got last year, or the year before that. What seems abundantly clear is that the money given to political parties is in many cases nothing else than pure bribe money. This is of course denied by the politicians.

The media is not asking the right questions and pressing the matter. They just eat up what the politicians say. Serious lack of ability for critical thinking is extremely destructive for Iceland. People are angry for sure, but they still vote for the same parties and continue to accept this as anything other than a minor inconvenience.

Even the best media people don’t investigate properly, they just ask questions and make no attempt to answer them. The questions themselves are powerful, but day after day of questions written in 3 minutes is not serious journalism. It is blogging at worst. Not even good blogging for that matter.

While this lack of serious critical thinking and serious journalism is absent, the politicians run riot and create there own versions of events that they feed to the media.

The bribes, or financial support as it is called, gets lost in the discussion. It is the main issue today in Iceland but it feels like its somehow strangely absent from the discussion.

The” financial support” has been known for years. When it finally is put out there for all to know, formally at least, the pawns are sacrificed. Andri Ottarsson the day to day office operator of the Independence party just resigned. All the major players in the party blame each other or claim that they didn’t know about the money. Then they get their own versions not exactly right, and that is a clear cut case of being caught lying.  They claim that this was a mistake, and the new party chairman even said that he was seriously pissed off that the matter of the money turned out this way. Not that it was wrong, immoral, barely legal and totally out of order in general was not an issue, just the way things turned out.

This matter is tearing Iceland apart, and heads should roll if everything is normal, but it isn´t. The only one blamed is the ex minister of health, Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson. The main reason for that is a rift in the Independence party itself. They are going to sacrifice their own man, because he is not in the right gang within the political party.

The spin is that he is to blame because he asked for the money. Nobody claims to know anything about it. The media are up in arms either blaming him or defending him. At the same time the issue of opening the books and clarifying everything takes a back seat and almost becomes a footnote under all the spin.


About this entry