Just hours before dawn on July 1, the day Greece would officially fail to repay a loan to the International Monetary Fund and face bankruptcy as a consequence, CNN had the controversial idea of inserting a countdown clock counting the minutes remaining until the deadline.
Unsurprisingly, there was an immediate reaction by Greek netizens across the world, who found the decision either offensive or made in comically bad taste.
User Spiros Fotis Jr. wondered:
Θα σκάσει βόμβα κ μέτρα αντίστροφα το #CNN ;
— Spiros Fotis Jr.® (@SpirosFotisJr) June 30, 2015
Is there a bomb ready to explode and CNN is countdowning?
While Johnny Favorite announced:
— Johnny Favorite (@JohnnyHatz) June 30, 2015
Brothers, even CNN is ready to “celebrate” with us our official exit from the Memorandums.
User @drinucci described CNN as “oppurtunists”, in response to another user's previous comment:
— Energy Field D (@drinucci) June 30, 2015
Ioanna Mamai raged:
— Ioanna Mamai (@IoannaMamai) June 30, 2015
CNN, YOU BASTARDS! COUNTDOWN ΤΟ OUR BANKRUPTCY?
User Keep Talking Greece ironically compared the event to a New Year's Eve celebration:
— Keep Talking Greece (@keeptalkingGR) June 30, 2015
Vassiliki highlights with irony the fact that ‘USA’ is concerned about keeping Greeks well-informed:
— Vassiliki (@vasskal) June 30, 2015
According to USA's updates, we are now officially bankrupt.
Helena Descou points out the lack of respect and dignity:
Countdown for our final bankruptcy on #CNN. Nobody respects the Greek people.
— Helena Descou (@Helena_513) June 30, 2015
@to_papagalaki made fun of the situation, proving that Greeks never lose their sense of humor:
— Το Παπαγαλάκι (@to_papagalaki) June 30, 2015
Listening to “The Final Countdown” and waiting to go bankrupt!
Despite all the clever comments, the idea of inserting a countdown for news on such a serious and critical matter — the future of a whole country is not a joke — seems somewhat inappropriate.
But CNN is a network that has made quite a few serious mistakes in recent memory.
Last month, for example, it mistook a dildo banner for an ISIS flag at a gay pride parade:
— Daniel Hopper (@DanielH_LUFC) June 28, 2015
And let us not forget the channel's sketchy knowledge of geography, as noted in the recent Global Voices piece Dear CNN, Uganda is not Tanzania.
On the evening of June 29, the future of Greece was at stake. Tens of thousands of Greeks rallied supporting a rejection of a tough international bailout after a clash with foreign lenders. At the same time, a shutdown of the Greek banking system brought financial chaos throughout the country while domestic political parties traded accusations about political responsibility.
But for some Greeks watching the channel's coverage of the debt crisis, the overall message to CNN might actually be one of thanks for providing a moment of comic relief during such harsh times.