The political meaning of C. T. Popescu’s resignation
The reason of Cristian Tudor Popescu's resignation seems to be the difference between his beliefs and the ones of the newspaper owners as far as the commercial performances were concerned.
In the middle of the Bogdan Chireac scandal I asked myself why Cristian Tudor Popescu had to answer questions as well. Even if we take into consideration the latest things that happened to Bogdan Chireac, he is still one of the great personalities of the Romanian press, the best external affairs analyst. At “Gandul”, Cristian Tudor Popescu was a simple colleague of his, from the payment check point of view. Why should Cristian Tudor Popescu be held responsible for the accusations against a colleague with his own personality? On Sunday, the 13th of January 2008, Cristian Tudor Popescu resigned from the “Gandul” newspaper. The reason of his resignation seems to be the difference between his beliefs and the ones of the newspaper owners as far as the commercial performances were concerned.
As a person that resigned from several press institutions before and after the Revolution, I don’t believe the departure of Cristian Tudor Popescu from the “Gandul” leading board doesn’t have any political meaning. However, I am not saying Adrian Sarbu followed any direct political order when he dismissed C. T. Popescu. I am just saying that no matter what happened actually, the resignation of Cristian Tudor Popescu is strongly related to the electoral year 2008, with the latest aspect of the press – President relationship, with the entire recent climate of the press. Why did the enemies of Bogdan Chireac ask questions to Cristian Tudor Popescu but not to Adrian Sarbu? Because the public opinion didn’t see Gandul as the newspaper of Adrian Sarbu, but as the one of Cristian Tudor Popescu.
Even if Gandul was written by editorialists like Bogdan Chireac, Cristian Tudor Popescu supervised all the articles that appeared in the newspaper. This is not the first time when this happens. “Evenimentul zilei” was considered Ion Cristoiu’s newspaper between 1992 and 1997, for the readers, for the politicians, for the businessmen. Similar cases were Dumitru Tinu and “Adevarul”, Petre Mihai Bacanu and “Romania libera”, Horia Alexandrescu and “Cronica romana”. This happened because the leaders of those newspapers were people with strong personalities that had taken part in the making or in the recovery of the respective newspapers. The owners preferred to stay in the background. This situation started to change in time. The media stopped living just from the sold newspapers. The owners, especially the new ones, paid a lot of money for media concerns. In the same time, they stopped feeling inferior as compared to the journalists.
Only three publications remained to be recognized from their directors: “Jurnalul National” (Marius Tuca), “Ziua” (Sorin Rosca Stanescu), “Gandul” (Cristian Tudor Popescu). The other televisions and newspapers are recognized from the name of their owners: Realitatea TV – Sorin Ovidiu Vantu, Adevarul – Dinu Patriciu, Evenimentul Zilei – Ringier, the Antena concern – Dan Voiculescu, the National concern – the Micula brothers. The current directors of most of the newspapers are persons that simply follow orders. After the departure of Cristian Tudor Popescu, “Gandul” became the newspaper of Adrian Sarbu. Sorin Rosca Stanescu and Marius Tuca are the only ones that remained. Sorin Rosca Stanescu is a very good businessman as well and Marius Tuca is still wanted by Dan Voiculescu. The disappearance of the publications recognized from the name of an important journalist is convenient for the politicians, for Traian Basescu especially. The electoral year 2008 will be the year of the media diversions. Two of them, Ludovic Orban and Norica Nicolai, already took place. The person that will setup the main diversions of 2008, Traian Basescu, doesn’t need any publication identified with an important personality of the media.
A diversion with the help of the media, like the above mentioned cases, can be done in a media environment directly led by the owners. They can be blackmailed by Traian Basescu. A newspaper or a television led by an important journalist risks to counterattack the obscure intention of a diversion. By not taking the baits offered by Traian Basescu or by making their investigations. Of course Cristian Tudor Popescu and other editorialists like him could write for other newspapers or say their opinions on talk-shows. There is no danger for Traian Basescu’s plan. Their columns and interventions will get lost in the noise making machine of the newspapers commanded by the owners.
- Translated by Sorin Bălan