The setting: Slovene state television, Monday night’s prime time slot.
The players: On one side, Boško Šrot of Laško Brewery and Igor Bavčar of Istrabenz and economists Bogomir Kovač and Jože Mencinger on the other.
Hiding in ambush: Zoran Janković, mayor of Ljubljana and former CEO of Mercator retail chain
The question: Are Šrot and Bavčar selling Mercator because they’re in deep financial doo-doo as a result of a credit crunch and should the state buy Mercator back.
Statement of the day: Boško Šrot: “I’m not blackmailing the state. It would be blackmail if I said that I’m selling Mercator to a foreign owner if the regulators continue to terrorise Laško. But I’m selling after a careful consideration, because regulators continue to terrorise Laško”
The fact that Boško Šrot and Igor Bavčar appeared on TV screens together speaks volumes. Either that the crisis is hurting them bad and they can no loger protect their position with money but have to resort to PR instead, or that they think that with Janez Janša gone, they’ll be operating in a friendlier media climate.
Well, the latter was definitely not the case. The show was interesting but not brilliant. The moderator held her own, but there was precious little being said that we did not already know about. And then she cued in mayor and former CEO of Mercator Zoran Janković, whose appearance visibly upset both Šrot and Bavčar. Zoki (who was implicitly labeled as a good guy in this story) did not say anyhing new either, but it was clear that neither Šrot nor Bavčar expcted him to be on the show. Even more: while I cannot say this for certain, I can totally imagine that both Šrot and Bavčar appeared under condition that Janković is nowhere near the studio. Well, he wasn’t. He was patched through via a videolink.
This is true television. Grill your guests on live TV and when they think they’re in the clear, drop a bomb.
Of course, the Mercator affair is highly political and yesterday’s show would not have been possible before the elections and quite possibly not after the new government is sworn in. Thererore it is only obvious that it was done during interregnum, when Janša’s goverment is no longer a factor and Borut Pahor‘s goverment still hadn’t become one. This is one of the better examples why RTVSLO should be purged of political influences: this way RTVSLO could actually produce wathcable and relevant content.
P.S.: Sorry about yesterday’s MMM (or the lack thereof). Things just kept – well – popping up!