The article examines the different responses of Italian journalism to the political debut of Silvio Berlusconi and the birth of his own political party, Forza Italia. Starting from an organized reading of the press of the time, the text therefore analyzes the major national newspapers’ points of view on the main themes of the political debate from the Italian political campaign of 1994: the controversial endorsement in favor of post-fascist Italian Social Movement’s (Msi) leader Gianfranco Fini, the theme of the dual role of media businessman and politician (i.e. conflict of interests), the new, unconventional for Italian politics, structure and means of Forza Italia, the attempt to build a new liberal-conservative alliance after the crisis of the Italian party system, the struggles of this political coalition during the campaign, the beginning of judicial investigations into alleged bribery in the Fininvest media group. The author eventually proposes some observations in order to evaluate how newspapers understood the innovation embodied by Forza Italia and its founder Silvio Berlusconi, as a groundbreaking element in the Italian political scene.
Keywords: Silvio Berlusconi, Forza Italia, Italian journalism, 1994 Italian political campaign, end of Italian First Republic, the Nineties in Italy