Augusto Minzolini (right), director of the TG1 news program of Rai 1, the most followed public italian TV channel, is under siege in Italy, accused of hiding the news of the embarassing story of Berlusconi and the call girl Patrizia D'Addario and the surrounding affair, which continued to make headlines on World press, but was utterly absent from Rai 1 TV news for over a week.

Forced to justify the lack of information from Tg1, and accused of appeasement with Berlusconi, Minzolini defended himself by saying that he did not want his network to discuss the private life of the Premier, especially given the unconfirmed nature of the allegations. "It is just gossip" was his trench line.

Here is what the same Minzolini, then a reporter from "La Stampa"  (an italian newspaper) declared fifteen years ago in an interview with Repubblica:

[...](A)bbiamo una classe
politica nuova che non ha ancora assimilato il fatto che un politico è un uomo pubblico in ogni momento della sua giornata e che deve comportarsi e parlare come tale. […] Oggi penso
che se noi avessimo raccontato di più la vita privata dei leader
politici forse non saremmo arrivati a tangentopoli, forse li avremmo
costretti a cambiare oppure ad andarsene. Non è stato un buon servizio per il paese il nostro fair play: abbiamo semplicemente peccato di ipocrisia. [...]  La distinzione fra pubblico e
privato è manichea: ripeto, un politico deve sapere che ogni aspetto
della sua vita è pubblico. Se non accetta questa regola rinunci a fare il politico."
"[...](W)e have a new political class which has not yet come to terms with the fact that a politician is a public figure in any moment of his day, and who needs to behave and speak like one. [...]Today I think that if we had told more the private life of political leaders maybe we would not have gotten to tangentopoli [the huge bribe scandal of 1992 in Italy, TN], maybe we would have forced them to change or to leave. Our fair play was not a good service for the Country: we simply acted as hypocrites. [...]The distinction between public and private is manichean: I repeat, a politician must know that every aspect of his life is public. If he or she does not accept this rule, he should give up politics."

Not bad! It took him 15 years, but he showed us he changed his views by 180 degrees. It reminds me of a more famous sentence: "Consistency requires you to be as ignorant as you were a year ago".

Thank you Minzolini, for your exceptional display of consistency and integrity. You of course do not want another tangentopoli, and go as far as to deny italians of their right to be informed of relevant political events. The country is grateful for having been spared the stillicide of details about Berlusconi's sex life.