Berlusconi Rules the Waves

MASSIMO SAMBUCETTI-AFP

SINGLE VISION: The Premier already controls Italy's three private national networks

Grasping the scope of Silvio Berlusconi's conflict-of-interest problem requires a hypothetical analogy. Parallels in the real world simply don't exist. Business media mogul Michael Bloomberg becoming mayor of New York, for example, is small polenta compared to the Italian Prime Minister owning his country's three major private television networks. Imagine instead Bloomberg as majority shareholder in both CBS and NBC making a successful run for the U.S. presidency — and then refusing to give up his stake in the networks once he moved into the White House.

Eight years after entering politics and almost a year after sweeping back into...

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