Berlusconi's Remote Control

Silvio Berlusconi's dominance over Italian television news is both obvious and surprisingly subtle. It's hard to miss the fact that he owns three of Italy's seven biggest channels and has indirect control over three more, but sometimes the effects of that can be harder to spot. When the Prime Minister addressed the U.N. General Assembly last September, for example, the news broadcasts on state-run RAI 1 seemed balanced. But viewers didn't know that the cutaway shots of a full-house audience listening to the Italian leader had been spliced in from Secretary-General Kofi Annan's earlier remarks. Berlusconi had given his speech to...

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