mediaset, or der schwarze kanal (italian style)


I’m reading Anna Funder’s Stasiland and it’s very enlightening. My DDR penpals never bothered to describe this TV program, der schwarze Kanal, probably because like millions of other DDR citizens, they switched off the TV-set on Mondays and wrote letters instead.


Well, now that I discovered the content of this program I must say it’s a familiar feeling. I realize that I have at least 3 schwarze Kanal on my non-flat, beer-bellied TV set: Canale 5, Rete4 and Italia1.

The real McCoy schwarze Kanal is the illegal Rete4 network, in particular the Telegiornale of Emilio Fede, the novel Karl-Eduard von Schnitzler. Here Fede in a schwarze Kanal top performance, producing his brand of murky innuendo on Roberto Saviano.

Of course Fede is kein Stasi bureaucrat, quite to the contrary he embodies the quintessential Berluscones style. Nice suits, hyperrealistic tan, slimy rictus, oily and obsequious. The PM’s running dog.

Rete4, but also Canale5 and Italia1 offer on top their schwarze Kanal their share of  female buttocks nervously-shaken in silly sexed-up dances, very different from the DDR’s chastened and sanitized Lipsi dance.

We also have U-boot schwarze Kanal inside RAI1 and RAI2: the telegiornale. And the newspapers! But the rationale of the schwarze Kanal Made in Italy is the same of the DDR. Trying to keep the information outside, and when they can’t, shout at it.

Basically RAI 3 plays the ARD role. Everything said by RAI3’s Milena Gabbanelli, RAI2’s Michele Santoro, Sergio Ruotolo and Marco Travaglio, is attacked by the schwarze Kanal. Or even the strips of Vauro, who was censored last week.


The Stasi created the first pioneering derivatives of the news programs with the schwarze Kanal. Italy created a real subprime flourishing derivative market of information sewers.

A friend told me yesterday he only watches the news on Al Jazeera. Sign of the times.

The funny thing is, The Guardian online edition now has italian politics articles in italian…will Il Giornale o Il Foglio start to write in french against Le Monde, in english against The Economist?

Goodnight from the Divided City…(yes, on top of everything we’ve got also Popetown, something that the DDR tried to copy, but couldn’t match!)

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