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Weapon X

Berlusconi Storms Out of Interview

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Berlusconi storms out of election TV interview

 

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, facing parliamentary elections next month, stormed out of a television studio on Sunday when pressed in an interview about his relations with George W. Bush and conflicts of interest.

 

"This channel is a war machine set against the prime minister," Italy's media tycoon shouted, before gathering up his papers and marching out of the studio.

 

"Goodbye madam. If you won't let me answer the question, I'm getting up and I'm off."

 

Berlusconi's center-right coalition government is lagging behind the opposition center left by 3.5 percentage points in opinion polls.

 

Berlusconi, who controls Italy's largest private broadcaster, has banked on his media appearances helping to close the gap.

 

But he had not factored in Lucia Annunziata, a former head of state broadcaster RAI and longstanding foe, employing a confrontational interview style familiar in the United States and Britain but rarely seen in Italy.

 

Annunziata, an opposition supporter, challenged Berlusconi on the RAI 3 program to explain why to people outside Italy he was known only for his support of U.S. President George W. Bush in the Iraq war and for the conflict between his business and political interests.

 

Berlusconi, visibly irritated, refused to discuss his relationship with Bush further.

 

His support for the Iraq war is unpopular with most Italians and he has played it down during campaigning.

 

EQUAL SPACE

 

After failing to get a word in about his government's achievements, he accused Annunziata of being biased toward the left and said the left had occupied state television.

 

Berlusconi staged a broadcasting blitz at the start of the year, appearing on television and radio shows almost every day for five weeks to spread his feel-good message.

 

Strict campaigning laws have since swung into place, forcing the media to give equal space to Italy's many political parties, squeezing Berlusconi's air time.

 

Cracks have started to show in his usually buoyant television style, before he faces opposition leader Romano Prodi on Tuesday in a U.S.-style television showdown on RAI.

 

"You are not used to taking journalists' questions, this is my show, I'll decide what questions I ask," snapped Annunziata, who quit her RAI job two years ago claiming it had become just a "mail box" for requests from the government.

 

However, Berlusconi still managed to get in the last word.

 

"And they say I'm the one who controls RAI!" he could be heard shouting through his still hooked-up microphone after he had left the set.

 

Copyright © 2006 Reuters Limited.

 

Dude can't handle it when a channel asks an unscripted question, eh?

 

I'm an admirer of Berlusconi, somewhat. He went from a cruise ship singer to PM of Italy. He once said that one should always walk as if they hold the Sun in their pocket, which is good advice. But I think he left the Sun at home this time.

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Berlusconi storms out of election TV interview

" madam, I'm getting off."

 

 

oh snap!

 

i read an interview with him in newsweek

he really struck me as one of those 'i'm so suave, i'm president' type of politicans (a la reagan)

really though, i don't know shit about him except what i read in that interview.

 

 

i do know we need more politicans who can actually be held accountable.

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The guy owns a huge percentage of the media outlets in Italy. So he's not used to someone questioning him like this in front of a camera. But it is a legitimate question during campaign time.

 

I'm an admirer, but certainly not a follower.

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