After Austria’s cabinet passed a special law creating an unusual haircut for some of the enormous debt incurred by the bank Hypo Alpe Adria, Austria’s finance minister appeared on an evening talk show to discuss the decision. The show’s host, said the Frankfurter Rundschau, is “loved and feared for his critical questions and his tendency to bring things precisely to the point.” The finance minister was not pleased with the broadcast.
Then an Austrian tabloid Österreich, said to have good connections to the chancellor’s office, reported that voices in government were pushing for the moderator’s removal. “It was supposed to happen in a typically Austrian style: Apparently he was to be ‘praised away’ into the post of a senior commentator or television director.”
The finance minister’s party, Ö.V.P., said the rumor was untrue. The ORF moderator responded to the wave of solidarity flowing in his direction by tweeting a Mark Twain quote.
Later, in a newspaper interview, the moderator said his questions weren’t that tough. The finance minister just reacted “unusually emotionally” to a “necessary interruption.”
“And when a guest doesn’t answer my questions, or answers with false facts, I have to interrupt. I know that bothers some spectators. But if I didn’t care whether my question got answered, I wouldn’t have asked it.”
(VECK geh LOBED.)