FEMFACTS
24 Apr 2019

Greek tabloids sharpen their skills in character assassination

In Greece, some in the media are quick to reproduce fake news and lies. Such was the case with this attempt to discredit the current administration by attacking a young woman.

Dialekti Angeli
Dialekti Angeli NewsMavens, Greece
Greek tabloids sharpen their skills in character assassination - NewsMavens
Konstantina–Maria Roubou, http://allosdromos-symbouloi.blogspot.com

Much like everywhere else, the digital propagation of malicious gossip and lies, misinterpretation and deductions without any proof is commonplace in Greece these days. In addition to tirades and unsubstantiated accusations, “character assassination” is a favored strategy. The tactic of "keep on lying and something will eventually stick” has long been part of public discourse, and is alive and well, as this story shows.

WHAT’S THE CLAIM?

On April 4, the website Voice News published an article claiming that the Prime Minister of Greece, Alexis Tsipras, had appointed a 25-year-old woman without any work experience or university degree to be his advisor. The article also claimed that she was overpaid and that her only qualifications were that she was “an activist for the left”. The headline with this claim reads:

Tsipras has appointed a 25-year-old in his office -- without any degree -- with only the unique qualifications of participating in KEERFA & publishing articles in Anticapitalista ...

The “news” did well on their Facebook page and it was quickly picked up by “To Makeleio” (literally translated as “The Carnage”) which is renowned for its fascist content. There the article appeared under a another headline:

LOOK AT WHAT WE’RE PAYING FOR! Tsipras appointed a 25-year-old in his office – without a university degree – and with only the unique qualifications of participating in KEERFA & some articles in Anticapitalista…”.

After that, the news continued to spread on many websites such as amazonios.net, theonlinepress.gr, kwloxaneio.gr and oparlapipas.gr (none of which is a valid source of information) as well as some tabloid newspapers.

The articles include a photo of the young woman with a short biography and a document as “evidence” of Tsipras’s alleged nepotism and incompetence. While the text itself made no explicit claims that she might have gotten that job by trading sex for employment, the implicit message was easily understood by their readers.

Many of the comments on the “Makeleio” website attacked the woman with vulgar insults, one of them writing: “Girl, are you good at giving blowjobs???? If yes, then Tsipras is justified”. Another one, posted on Twitter, writes: “It’s ok that Nadia Roubou doesn’t have a university degree. She has a cunt, which is more important…”.

Similar comments about her “other qualifications” could be read all over social media. These websites did nothing to discourage or remove them.

WHAT ARE THE FACTS?

But let’s see what was really going on.

Greek fact-checking website Ellinika Hoaxes published an article about the “news”, stating that on November 19, 2018 Konstantina Maria Roubou was appointed as a non-permanent member of staff at the Press Office of the General Secretariat of the Prime Minister. So the claim that she was appointed as the “Prime Minister’s advisor” is false.

This is proven by the official document that was published in the Government Gazette Sheet 762.

The claim that she is “highly paid” was also debunked. Ellinika Hoaxes published the pay slip, which shows that Roubou’s salary is within the legal pay range for someone who does not have a university degree --  708 EUR.

As for the third claim that the young woman is completely unqualified, this is based on a short bio which listed her political activities and engagements. However, the information it presented is five years old and was taken from a brief profile she published in 2014 -- also the source of the headshot they used. 

Since this short bio was published 5 years ago, Konstantina Maria Roubou has, in fact, worked as a journalist at the website The Press Project  as well as the radio station "Sto Kokkino". So, she does possess the relevant work experience for working in a Press Office.

Furthermore, while she may not have a university degree, she has studied Journalism and Reporting at a private college. When Ellinika Hoaxes contacted her, she provided the relevant certification.

To sum up, Konstantina Maria Roubou was indeed appointed to the Press Office of the General Secretariat of the Prime Minister, but not as Alexis Tsipras’s advisor, as a non-permanent member of the staff. She gets paid 708 euros per month, which is the basic salary for someone without a university degree. She has experience as a journalist and she has a journalism degree from a private college in Greece. And she most likely did not apply for this job on the basis of a four-year-old description of her activities and general interests, as claimed by these media sources.

CONCLUSION

These claims have all proven to be false and we rate them as fake news. Whoever wrote it has purposely manipulated the facts from Roubou’s biography in order to politically assassinate Alexis Tsipras’ character, as well as that of Roubou herself. The “subtle” hints such as emphasizing her age, inexperience and physical appearance -- explicitly understood by their readers -- were obviously there to indicate that she has gotten this job based on her looks and/or sexual favors, which we rate as an example of the sexual objectification of women.

WITH FINANCIAL SUPPORT FROM:
SUPPORTED BY:

Project #Femfacts co-financed by European Commission Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology as part of the Pilot Project – Media Literacy For All

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