Salvini Strikes Back Against Headline, Calls Italian Newspaper ‘Scum’

Italy's Interior Minister and deputy PM Matteo Salvini gestures as he speaks during a press conference in Rome January 17, 2019
AFP/Alberto PIZZOLI

ROME — Italy’s pugnacious leader of the populist Lega Party, Matteo Salvini, called the Repubblica newspaper “scum” Wednesday, after the daily ran a massive headline “Erase Salvini.”

“Front page of the Repubblica: ‘Erase Salvini,’” the former interior minister tweeted. “This is incitement to crime. Then they talk about hate and violence… The only ones who incite hatred and violence are them.”

“They should be ashamed of themselves,” Salvini told a major gathering of his supporters in Emilia Romagna Wednesday, while holding up a copy of the paper.

Mr. Salvini has been campaigning furiously in preparation for January 26 regional elections in Emilia Romagna, a traditional left-wing stronghold in the country. If the Lega were to win the elections, many analysts believe that the present national government would fall and national elections would be called within the year.

“We live in a strange country where today one of the main newspapers on newsstands has ‘Erase Salvini’ as a 9-column mega title. I think it’s a title of unprecedented violence,” he told fans.

“They call themselves Democrats. But these gentlemen are the only ones who incite hatred and violence, they should be ashamed,” he said. “I wonder if the order of journalists exists and if It is normal for a newspaper that sells hundreds of thousands of copies to attack a person personally, physically, and morally by writing ‘Erase Salvini,’” he said.

In an uncommon move, the newspaper’s management posted an online statement defending its actions.

Senator Salvini is making a mountain out of a molehill: Repubblica has reported and summarized in a front page title the sense of an interview with the leader of the Democratic Party in the Chamber Graziano Delrio on the issue of migration policies to be changed, starting from the security decrees – which later became law – which were already criticized by the Quirinale [president’s palace]. Turning the summary of an interview into a personal attack is uncalled for and even a little indecent.

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