90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Italy’s Crisis And The Berlusconi Saga

With Anthony Brooks in for Tom Ashbrook.

Italy’s crisis and the end of the  Berlusconi era. We’ll have the latest from Rome and the global markets.

 

Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, right, enters his car at the end of a meeting with his allies in the Italian Senate in Rome, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011. (AP)

Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, right, enters his car at the end of a meeting with his allies in the Italian Senate in Rome, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011. (AP)

Silvio Berlusconi dominated Italian politics for a generation with a cult of personality that rivaled Mussolini’s. His TV stations, publishing houses and newspapers turned customers into political supporters and made government an extension of his business. He pledged to modernize Italy’s corrupt politics, but was ensnared in one corruption case after another.

There were also the showgirls, wild parties and charges of sex with prostitutes. But what finally brought him down wasn’t bunga bunga it was the bottom line of Euro-zone economics.

This Hour, On Point: arrivederci Berlusconi

-Anthony Brooks

Guests

Sylvia Poggioli, senior European correspondent for NPR’s foreign desk covering political, economic, and cultural news in Italy.

Beppe Severgnini, Italian journalist, author and columnist. He writes the daily “Italians” column for Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper. Author of: “Mamma mia! Berlusconi’s Italy Explained for Posterity and Friends Abroad.”

James Walston, Professor of International Relations at the American University of Rome, and an expert on Italian politics.

From The Reading List

The New Yorker In 2008, during his fourth campaign to become Prime Minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi released a video in which a beautiful blond woman, standing in a grocery store beside a pile of bananas, sings, “There’s a big dream that lives in all of us.” A throng of women belt out the chorus together under a cloudless sky: “Meno male che Silvio c’è”— “Thank God there’s Silvio.”

Slate How was it that Silvio Berlusconi—Mr. B. for short—was voted into power (1994), voted in again (2001), and voted back in (2008)? The hammerings he took in the administrative elections and referendum (2011) hint at change, but the question remains: Why does a majority of Italians support and/or put up with him?

The New York Times In the aftermath of a budget vote on Tuesday that made clear he no longer had a majority behind him, Mr. Berlusconi declared that he would resign as soon as Parliament passed a slate of economic reforms demanded by the European Union. That does not mean, however, that Mr. Berlusconi won’t retain a considerable part of his power and continue to affect Italian political life.

 

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Dec 22, 2014
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual news conference in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014. The Russian economy will rebound and the ruble will stabilize, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. (AP)

A weak ruble and a turbulent economy. We look at Putin’s Russia and what its economic free fall means.

Dec 22, 2014
A sample of some of the costumes on display at the fall 2014 "Dance & Fashion" exhibition at New York City's Museum at FIT. (AP)

Couture fashion exhibits are drawing record crowds at museums. We’ll look at the beauty and the art behind the glitz.

RECENT
SHOWS
Dec 19, 2014
Soledad, and from left, Nina Pastori, and Lila Downs perform on stage at the Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year Tribute honoring Joan Manuel Serrat at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014, in Las Vegas. (AP)

From crossover hits to hip-hop to soul, we look at a big year in the wide world of Latin music.

 
Dec 19, 2014
Alan Gross, waves as he and his wife Judy leave following his statement at his lawyer's office in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. Gross was released from Cuba after 5 years in a Cuban prison. (AP)

Cuba reset. Russia’s rubble troubles. School massacre in Pakistan. Jeb explores 2016. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: December 19, 2014
Friday, Dec 19, 2014

Rage, shortlinks and things you people seem to be into, we guess. Also, Putin.

More »
Comment
 
Cosby Accuser Beverly Johnson: ‘He's A Black Man. I Had To Separate The Trayvon Martins, The Michael Browns From What Happened To Me’
Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014

Beverly Johnson accused comedian Bill Cosby of drugging her in a high-profile Vanity Fair column. She tells us why she waited so long to share her story, and why it was even harder to share now.

More »
3 Comments
 
Our Week In The Web: December 12, 2014
Friday, Dec 12, 2014

On listener engagement, the meeting of trans-Atlantic royalty and the elusive origins of the chicken. (We promise this feed hasn’t been taken over the BBC…yet)

More »
Comment