“Look those people in the eye” – Libero Quotidiano

“Look those people in the eye” – Libero Quotidiano
“Look those people in the eye” – Libero Quotidiano

Francesco Specchia

05 April 2021

The cup of steaming coffee to swallow with the news already had it, the joke in office as well. She lacked a David Letterman-style desk, a very cool ergonomic chair (given the shoulder paralysis live on TV due to a spectacular expelled cervical hernia, the orthopedist banned the stool) and a very American stroboscopic study to celebrate the return of L’aria che pulls. The restyling of the La7 day time battleship announces that Myrta is back. Myrta Merlino is back.

Dear Myrta. Apart from the Renaissance hero gesture of the arm tied to the scarf live, in the eyes the spectators have your conduction from home, in quarantine. It almost seems like a fashion: you, Berlinguer, Tiziana Panella. Do you do it out of a spirit of service or fear of losing control of the program?

«Well, Cairo (the publisher of La7, ed) when he saw me on TV he called me: ‘What can I do, can I buy you an orthopedic chair?’. For the rest, I now have a sentimental relationship with the public, it is my first family unit. It happens that Francesco Magnani (author and alternate presenter of the program, ed) takes Covid and they put me in isolation. But there were letters from spectators: “We need your voice.” So I try to lead from home, and the public – I didn’t expect it – is enthusiastic: they were curious to see my sofa, my cushions, my dog. This personal relationship engages you: we have fought, from there, many battles, such as the one to vaccinate 4000 patients with pulmonary fibrosis … ».

L’aria che tira has been on the air since 2011. At the beginning many skeptics (myself included), in the midst of all these talks, did not see its usefulness. Yet now you make 200 bets a year with 7%. And you tried to decline it even on Sundays

«… and there are still three months of broadcasts left, not counting the April Specials. These months without an audience in a climate of war, with only connections, the authors at a minimum, have been hell, I made myself a bunch like that. It was a right idea, colonizing the Sunday space, I put my all into it, we got a good 2.9% share. But, at a certain point, I had to choose between the formats: and I don’t feel like giving up in the morning. And to say that when we started Lillo Tombolini (unforgotten director of La7, ed) told me: “Try it, it’s an experiment, that time slot, it’s the Marianne pit”. Today we do the best plays of the day time ».

…well. But I wanted to ask you another, more personal question. Doesn’t this visceral relationship with your audience preclude you from taking care of the family? I mean, you have three kids …

«Yes, but they are now grown up: one works in London, the other two do their masters. I can manage it, also because I have a partner, Marco Tardelli, who, in turn, already has a structured life of his own. It’s not like when he was young and Giovanni Minoli or Alan Friedman massacred me with work and I didn’t know where to turn … ».

You even wrote a book about mothers, about women who “will save the country”. Will they still save him, with Covid?

“Covid for women was a huge thing; it made us rediscover the care that was an ancillary activity but it has brought to the head all the frailties of work. In my “Tell Myrta” channel there are heartbreaking tales of daughters who lost their mothers in the RSA, or of children stuck in Dad like crazy butterflies. Indeed, there was a girl who worked the shift at the Amazon parcel department at 5 am and took her child with her in the crib. But I want to think that, like all systemic changes, after the earthquake society can change certain balances. If women are treated better we will have more birth rates, fewer femicides, more GDP. While I was at home I thought of a project to tell the extent of Covid on women ».

You were one of the first journalists on TV to filter the news with the economy with formats such as Maastricht, Italy or The sign of command, Effetto Domino. How do you feel today about an economy ravaged by the virus? For example, vaccinations are still inadequate as they were with Arcuri, your ex-husband

«I don’t want to talk about Arcuri, sorry. There are two middle children; it has already been complicated even for myself while, as a journalist, I had to give the news. But the economy does not recover mainly because the procedures in Italy are surreal. Whoever makes the laws must put a hand on his conscience. Take the Ateco codes, a sesquipedale bullshit (in fact there will no longer be in the Sostegno decrees, ed): since they were not foreseen for profitable professions such as wedding planners, they had to close. I told the Minister of Labor Orlando: if you want we can provide you with a list of people and cases that are off your radar ».

For example?

“I have plenty of examples. In a country that continues to suffer like this, any inequality becomes disfigurement. There is the case of the 97-year-old lady who does not receive the vaccine, unlike a teacher who teaches 4 hours a year at the university. There is that of the supermarket cashier without vaccine, and the magistrates who if they do not receive it threaten not to work. Then there are those of Federalberghi pissed off because the state authorizes holidays in Spanish hotels. Too many contradictions risk becoming gunpowder. I would advise Draghi to travel around Italy and look people in the eye ».

They want to make you an Oprah Winfrey, someone is joking the “Urso of information”. There is a change. But I don’t understand if your plans have changed or you, compared to the slightly cool beginnings …

“I have changed. For the better. I was the classic student of Giovanni Minoli, daughter of intellectuals, excellent studies, masters in Brussels, head set, I prepared my interviews with care in elite TV programs. That background served me, but now I have put my hands and arms inside humanity. I have abandoned myself to the principle of reality, I enter the cases I take them to heart. The comparison with d’Urso does not offend me. On the contrary, I am happy … ».

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