Thursday, September 30, 2004

Departure of Political Commentator

Croatians now have three instead of one national television stations and for the first time they are able to witness phenomenon usually associated with soccer clubs – major rivals exchanging their personal assets.

One of the most spectacular transfers is arrival of HRT (state television) news anchor Iva Gačić (Iva Gacic) to Nova TV. Gačić is going to run Nova TV's news programme.

This meant bad news for Branko Vukšić (Branko Vuksic) who lost that position.

Many welcomed this change because they didn't like Vukšić's daily commentaries. Many thought of them as "too Communist" – not in their political content but in style. According to many Croatian, "modern European media" is incompatible with newsmen expressing their own political opinions.

On the other hand, I am led to believe that political commentaries do appear in Western news programme. Most spectacular was Walter Cronkite's commentary in which he had pleaded for negotiated settlement in Vietnam and which is often viewed as the decisive moment of Vietnam War.

Vukšić, of course, didn't and, in most likelihood, couldn't make anything of such importance. Closest thing, at least in my mind, was his explicit opposition to Sunday shopping ban – it was the first time that a television news personality (and even employed by TV station usually associated with Croatian right wing) explicitly stood up against Catholic Church. Vukšić's stance allowed other, more squeamish journalists and public personalities to join the overwhelming chorus of disapproval.

But something like that was rare. Recently, Vukšić's commentaries gave impression of quality being sacrificed for the sake of quality – something most bloggers are very familiar with. His comment on Beslan tragedy, for example, was nothing more than a rehash of all major newspaper editorials.

I'll miss Vukšić. Even when I disagreed with his views or didn't like the way of their presentation, he gave impression of consistency.

I can only hope that Iva Gačić could live to such standards.


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