In American politics there are certain issues which are considered the "third rail". You touch them, you might die.
There is an economic bill working it's way through the system here. One of the items is an increase from 10% to 20% of the VAT tax that SKY subscribers have to pay.
SKY (owned by Rupert Murdoch) controls 92% of the pay satellite TV market. Mediaset (owned by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi) just stared a pay -cable division. Hmm. The left (led by former Rome Mayor Walter Veltroni) said the tax is being raised become SKY is a competitor.
Berlusconi says no, that is not true. His own cable company's customers will also have to pay more. One of Berlusconi's colleagues said the left has traded in their parka jackets for cashmere coats. The left said come on, most of the people who have to pay more are just regular soccer fans, not rich elites.
The head of SKY Italia said doubling the tax is b.s. SKY has created over 3000 well paying jobs, and during an economic crisis why raise taxes on something like this?
I think the reason this is getting so much press is because many people who pay for SKY, individuals and bar/caffes, do it for the soccer/football/calcio matches.
In fact, popular soccer presenter Ilaria D'Amico slammed the planned increase at the start of Sky's flagship soccer show. That is deep.
We'll see how this shakes out. I don't have the soccer or cinema channels. My bills will go up a few euros a month. I don't have a dog in this fight. That said, what surpised me is how someone so media savvy would be tone deaf about this issue.
Soccer here is is the third rail. It's not just a sport. It crosses class lines unlike skiing, golf or tennis. Trying to paint the center-left as elitist on this issue is not going to work.
PM Berulusoni controls most of the non paid media (his Mediaset empire and as PM, the state channels) however, he is going to have a hard time controlling the spin on this soccer debacle. He said the Italian people have more important things to worry about. Of course they do, but I still wouldn't mess around with folk's soccer, especially during tough times.