Silvio Berlusconi has just taken the extraordinary step of suing Repubblica on the grounds that the ten questions the newspaper has been asking him (click to embiggen above or see here) since the Papi-and-Noemi shit hit the fan last February are 'diffamatory'. His argument, or that of his weasel-faced legal adviser, Ghedini, is that the questions are 'rhetorical' and designed 'not to obtain a response' from Berlusconi but to 'insinuate in the reader the idea that the person "interrogated" refuses to respond'.
This is the kind of casuistical horseshit lawyers are paid to produce - it ought to be clear to anyone that Berlusconi's refusal to respond is not an 'idea' but a fact - so we shouldn't be surprised. What is surprising is that Berlusconi should have chosen to kick up a legal fuss now, with Repubblica beginning to feel more and more like a voice in the wildnerness here, the RAI increasingly weakened by external and self-censorship and personnel changes, and his own house rags ever more virulently on the attack, slavering and snarling like cornered rats.
The last straw appears to have been a recent piece in which a number of articles from highly-regarded foreign newspapers are quoted, describing the man as a sex-dependent tin-pot dictator in the claws of the Russian mafia. SB, who continues to insist that he has brought nothing but lustre to the image of Italy abroad, a claim that would be laughable if it weren't so readily believed and repeated here in Italy, seems to have decided to try and clamp down on the right of Italian journalists to refer to the work of their colleagues in other countries, isolating the country even more.
In the meantime, the Viagra-riddled geriatric's plans to get a little Vatican cred by dining with some cardinal or other amid the rubble of L'Aquila have been blown away, possibly by Bossi's recent attacks on the Church, guilty of taking a soft line on immigration (!) and attacks on the Vatican-controlled publication Avvenire by the Berlusconi-controlled rag magazine Il Giornale. Let them fight it out among themselves, say I.