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Comments

You won't like it, but there's a simple explanation: Any interview has to be edited before it can be printed. Parts of answers will be omitted when the text is too long for the page, short questions will be inserted when an answer is too long. This is just how it works in the media business, always and this is not limited to Karen Hughes.

Because interviews are always edited, by german law and press code every person being interviewed always gets the final version of the interview to review it and to make some changes. An interview is never a one on one transcript of a one hour talk.

This interview was part of the title story, which I have read. It is printed as a five column article over two and a half pages. The parts which have been omitted were probably omitted out of the simple reason that the text had to fit the layout.

And now why would Spiegel Online print a different version in english? Manipulation? I don't think so. They just printed the original english transcript of the interview, probably because it was easier to do so than to call their translators and put the edited print version back to english.

With any interview printed anywhere you could do such a list of changes, if you had a previous version. Usually you don't. Spiegel Online was obviously too kind to deliver you one.

As I said, you won't like the simple explanation - but I'm sure it's the right one.

(btw. No, i'm not a Journalist, no, I don't work at Spiegel - and no, I'm not a leftist)

No Way... If you're german you know what you're doing when you write a caption about a "Bush-Freundin" who says that he's a great "führer". Führer is definitely a indirect reference to Adolf himself. And the term "Bush-Freundin" will make almost every Spiegel-reader hate her instantly. It's sad but true. The translation of their articles show their bias towards america as clear as any of their covers, articles or whatever.

My German is hardly fluent...but I suspect that there is another German word for "leader" OTHER than Fuhrer. If so, that choice speaks volumes for the intent of the article.

One wonders how ofter the former or current German president was referred to as "Fuhrer"?

"One wonders how ofter the former or current German president was referred to as "Fuhrer"?"

Exactly! You beat me to the punch. I was going to ask if it is standard practice to refer to Kanzlerin Merkel as "Die Fuhrerin"? Is Chirac the "Fuhrer" of France? Do they refer to Putin as the "Fuhrer" of ROS-SI-YA?

(Sorry, that last bit was my Olympic enthusiasm taking over.)

Hmmm, according to the dictionary, "Fuhrer" does seem to be the correct word to use for "leader," I guess. There are other words, but in this context none of them seem appropriate.

Oh well. Live and learn.

I have a little red book in my library which calls itself a 'führer'. No, not Mein Kampf. It's the 2003 Michellin guide to Germany. Apparently führer means guide in German.

Note from David: That's correct, Don. But "Führer" is rarely used in contemporary Germany in the context of German politicians (or businesspeople). The slant in the SPIEGEL quote ("Ein wunderbarer Führer") is obvious for Germans, in particular for SPIEGEL readers. No way you would call a German politican "ein wunderbarer Führer". I guess a Nazi propagandist like Leni Riefenstahl would have called Adolf Hitler "ein wunderbarer Führer".

One more brilliant example on how news and therefore opinions are made at DER SPIEGEL. Thanks for your awesome research and effort!

OT: http://stripes.com/article.asp?article=35252&section=104

If you follow the link to the Stars-and-Stripes, it takes you to an article mentioning Cindy Sheehan is coming to Germany in March to do what she does best. With these little statements:

“Germany has the power to stop the further use of U.S. bases in Germany for illegal wars and criminal methods of warfare — the power and the right to just say no!”

I am sure she will be a big hit with the EU media. Not sure what the wounded in the Landstuhl military hospital will have to say, where she is holding her "tribute", but its not about them anyway. They are props for her well sponsored hate-Bush-road-show.

What really struck me is this snippet:

"Beginning March 9, Sheehan’s European visit will take her to Frankfurt, Aachen, Landstuhl and Ramstein in Germany. On March 13, Sheehan is scheduled to have a news conference in Paris, and the following day will address the European Union parliament in Strasbourg, France. A protest organizer in Landstuhl said he was asked by others, including some of the 732 members of the European Union parliament, to arrange the protest involving Sheehan."

I find it odd she gets to address the EU parliment like some kind of visiting foreign dignitary, but members of the EU parliment asked that Sheehan protest to be arranged outside of a US military hospital?

@ archilochos:

That does not explain the use of loaded words like, "Führer". That is never used in German to describe leaders, for obvious historical reasons (a less loaded word would have been, "Chef"). In addition, some of these "omissions" are particularly egregious, as they change the menaing of the thoughs which she was trying to convey. The worst is clearly the "Führer" comment, in particular the addition of, "das sei ein Gefängnis in rechtsfreiem Raum" (this changes the tone of the entire question) and the omission of, "any more than the people of Germany would want your country to be defined by pictures of crimes."

If you could chalk that up to lazy editors, then they ought to be fired right now. No, it's probably a case of translators who are likely some combination of partisan and lazy in their work.

@ archilochos

When I first compared the English version to the German version, I asked myself if all of the omissions and differences could be explained by normal editing practices. In a few cases that may be so. But if you look carefully at how the translations have been cut and adjusted, a clear pattern emerges: The segments cut from the German version often have to do with friendship, understanding, hope, etc.

The selection of "Ein wunderbarer Fuehrer" for the ending (by cutting the last line) and the photo caption is hardly the result of innocent editing. Someone had to consciously put that photo up there and cut and paste that line into the caption. And if you think the selection of those three words is an innocent happenstance, you are entitled to your opinion, but please don't expect me to buy it.

I may be wrong, but I think der Spiegel has just "jump the shark."

I believe this for the following reasons:

1. The Paris riots and the cartoon riots have psychologically effected Germans.

2. Merkel is still enjoying a honey moon with the German public. Merkel is more willing to reach out to the U.S. than the Russian state oil executive, (Schroeder).

3. Germans are getting shot at and bombed for the first time in Afghanistan. Having your own shot at puts a different perspective on the war against terror.

I may be wrong, but I believe that many Germans are ready to "move on." Hateing George Bush is not a priority.

archilochos

So you are saying the German version was edited for print, while the english version destined for on-line publication was barely edited at all?

perhaps, but it is indeed odd that they ONLY took out anything remotely postive for the US, don't you think?

Also, it does not explain why some things are missing from the English version (i.e. the "full" text was NOT printed). Or why the truncated German interview instead of the full text could not be printed in the on-line version of the German version. After all there is plenty of space on line.

Most of the time reporters or editors will vet the quotes with interviewees. I wonder if they only vetted the English version?

@ archilochos

I find it difficult to believe that Spiegel was operating under such severe space restrictions. To make room for _all_ of the omitted text pointed out by Ray D. the magazine need only have shrunk a few of the large photos included in the issue.

Somebody needs to get both versions of the Spiegel interview to Karen Hughes.

Was this already discussed? Germans here better watch what they say:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060223/wl_nm/crime_religion_germany_dc_2

Insulting the Prophet could land you in prison for 1 year in Germany.

If, as archilicos says, german law requires the interviewee a chance to review the final version, then didn't they notice the use of "fuhrer"? Or did they not get to see the German version? I don't know how you'd find out without asking Hughers herself, or an unusually honest Spiegel editor.

The New York Times has been known to pull sleazy tricks like this. There is no doubt that there was selective editing going way beyond what is needed to fit in a printed page.

Listen, folks. This is a tempest in a teapot. The Speigel writer gets a half point for being more subtle than a German journalist normally is capable of. The norm is closer to chanting 'Hitler Hitler Hitler'. Only half a point because it's not all that subtle. Chris Hitchens he's not.

Living in the UK I see this kind of crap all the time. It's nothing new. I've been called a Nazi more times than I can count but it slides off my back. In fact it's an expression of utter incompetence and impotence if anything because obviously these nincompoops have no influence at all and are reduced to gibes like this. Remember the letter-writing campaign the Guardian started to try to influence the Ohio vote? It probably lost Kerry votes in Ohio - and they know it.

So why not let them stew in their own bile?

(Not to hijack the thread, but...)

LouMinatti,

It's interesting, in a way, to see these sorts of issues come up. We're starting to see just exactly what "free speech" does and, more importantly, doesn't mean in many countries.

First, many people (well, Americans, anyway) just assume that all western countires have a "First Amendment" right to free speech. What a silly notion, huh? Couldn't be further from the truth.

Second, many folks are discovering that lots of countries still have blasphemy laws. It seems that prosecuters are starting to dust them off as they search for ways to punish folks for daring to ridicule another's religion. Another silly notion, huh?

I wonder if it's against anyone's laws to ridicule their laws?

>>"You won't like it, but there's a simple explanation: Any interview has to be edited before it can be printed. Parts of answers will be omitted when the text is too long for the page, short questions will be inserted when an answer is too long. This is just how it works in the media business, always and this is not limited to Karen Hughes..."

Sure, archilochos, everything's nice and legal, right? After all, German newspapers always referred to Schroeder as "der Fuehrer," right? And its just an odd coincidence that all the editorial changes, which, of course, were only made so the article would fit the available space, all tilt in the direction of the same political agenda. No matter how "in your face" Spiegel gets with its "translations," no matter how blatantly tendentious, no matter how crude and obvious the Bush/Hitler allusions, you can always be certain of one thing when Medienkritik calls them on it. Some casuist will always come along and claim its all just a coincidence. BTW, archilochos, there's a bridge in New York I'd like to sell you, cheap...

I love the first part of Spiegel's interview with Hughes in the last article, BTW: "But Europe is deeply concerned that America has lost the moral high ground in dealing with these problems. After 9/11 almost the entire world stood behind the United States, but now we see an historic level of anti-Americanism. How could you squander this capital so quickly?" Is it possible to pack more blatant, mendacious hypocrisy in only two sentences? Do they think we were all born after 9/11 or something? If memory serves, Spiegel was firmly in the camp of the terrorist "but" collaborators within 48 hours after the fall of the twin towers. You know, those people who, after a few perfunctory, mealy-mouthed platitudes about how tragic it all was, invariable added the big BUT, and then launched into a pious lecture about some "root cause" rationalization for the butchering of civilians. Spiegel had a whole stable of them, in the usual guise of "Friedensforscher," "Politologen," etc., etc. Then there was the famous "Spielchen mit den Beweisen." No matter how massive the mountain of evidence became, it was never enough to "prove" al-Qaeda involvement for Spiegel. Even after al Jazeera and the Arab world had long thrown in the towel, they were trotting out their own "Arabic scholars" to create "alternative translations" of the famous videotape on which bin Laden practically jumped up and down, waved his arms, and shouted, "I did it! I did it!" I can just imagine how "deeply concerned" the editors of Spiegel were that America had lost the moral high ground after 9/11. Can't you just see them, wringing their hands, agonizing about the growth of anti-Americanism? Surreal! These people were the epitome, the paragons, the avant garde, and the ringleaders of anti-Americanism long before anti-Americanism was "cool" in Germany, and most definitely before 9/11. The hypocrisy is enough to choke a horse.

@archilochos
When you say:
"They just printed the original english transcript of the interview, probably because it was easier to do so than to call their translators and put the edited print version back to english."

and Ray found out

"In the German version, Hughes is asked: "Und Sie schicken Ihre namhaftesten Muslime nun als Botschafter rund um die Welt?" This question does not appear in the English version."

Means this - they have add/made up a question/answer only for the german (printed) version (in your logic)? You state the "english version" is the original - so why is this question not in the "original"? Remember your statement: "they just printed the original english transcript of the interview"

The same for: "The third question in the German version: "Sie hatten ihre Gründe dafür." does not appear in the English version."

First of all, the translation "er ist ein wunderbarer Führer" is absolutely correct. The word "Führer" wasn't erased from german language after World War II, it simply means: "leader". Try a dictionnary. Of course it will always have the Adolf-connotation, but it's a matter of context. In this context I really don't see a problem. There is no other direct translation for the phrase "he's a wonderful leader". Anything else would be a circumscription. Someone recommended the word "chef". But then she would have said "he's a wonderful boss", which is something completely different. The word "Führer" is still in use in Germany - be it a "Wirtschaftführer", a "Gewerkschaftsführer", a "politischer Führer" or even a "Oppositionsführer". Somebody made a point by saying that no german politician would be referred to as "der Führer" - but it goes deeper: Nobody in Germany would ever use the words "he's a great leader" for a politician, neither in English nor in German. And this of course is a heritage of the Third Reich. But as I said: "Er ist ein wunderbarer Führer" ist the correct translation - and it does not imply Adolf in this context.

Did you read the entire interview? Do it. It's a great platform for her, for her position and for the president. I don't see why this should be anti-american. Why would they interview one of the president's closest friends, if they wanted to bash the US?

And finally: Helian - I think you are talking about a different Spiegel than the one I know. The Spiegel I know always wrote a lot of very well researched stuff about Al Quaida or about the Hamburg connections of Atta and his friends. Spiegel-Reporters wrote the best book about 9/11 ever - It received many awards, also in the US. So probably the Spiegel you're talking about is a different magazine.

Note from David: "First of all, the translation "er ist ein wunderbarer Führer" is absolutely correct."
No, it's not. A translator worth a dime wouldn't translate "he's a wonderful leader" as "er ist ein wunderbarer Führer". Such a word-by-word translation - taking the connotation of "Führer" in German in consideration - is grossly inappropriate. A good translation that covers the meaning of what Hughes said would be "er ist eine großartige Führungspersönlichkeit". Also, the intentions of SPIEGEL are obvious, since in the German version the "wunderbarer Führer" translation was put right under the picture of Hughes, while in the English version a completely different text ("our opponents want to make this bout faith, but it's really about a political ideology.") was used.

Further, I'm glad to learn that SPIEGEL has a hidden pro-American agenda.

>>"And finally: Helian - I think you are talking about a different Spiegel than the one I know. The Spiegel I know always wrote a lot of very well researched stuff about Al Quaida or about the Hamburg connections of Atta and his friends. Spiegel-Reporters wrote the best book about 9/11 ever - It received many awards, also in the US. So probably the Spiegel you're talking about is a different magazine."

All the working people of the world ardently love and adore Chairman Mao tse Augstein!

@ archilochos:

Did you miss the scan of the 20 covers above? Are you honestly trying to assert that SPIEGEL is America friendly? Why are you such an apologist for the magazine when it is so obvious that they went very wrong?

Many of the covers you posted surely are not America friendly, why should I deny that? (But by far not all of them. What's the problem with "USA vs. Iran - The next war?" for example?) Btw. There were also America friendly covers - why don't you show those?

But it's one thing to disagree with the political views of this magazine - and it's a completely different thing to claim they're manipulating interviews. I don't see a proof for manipulation and I don't see anything about this particular interview that could be regarded as anti-american. I mean Hughes gets a hell lot of space to tell her views and Bush's views to the readers of Der Spiegel.

I just think you're painting a wrong picture here: Der Spiegel is a lot better than Time or Newsweek, it has fine reporting and profound research. Apart from the Economist I don't see a better magazine in Europe.

That's interesting, archilochos.

So from your perspective, a smiling thumbs up to the prospect of another war is a postive thing, because to cast the President of the USA doing that, is a friendly thing. Apparently we have a wider gulf between our world views than I thought. You see, conservatives are all too aware of the painful costs of war, and are not happy about the prospect. If you don't agree with that, then there isn't much to talk about.

Even the American left wing is known to oppose war, on occasion, due to its terrible consequences. True, usually only when Republicans are in political power, but they do use the argument. It is tremendously sad, and not a cause for smirky good humor, that there exist alternatives worse than warfare.

However, what I'm more struck by in your comment, is that Der Spiegel is among the very best on offer from European print journalism.

Is this true?

>>"I just think you're painting a wrong picture here: Der Spiegel is a lot better than Time or Newsweek, it has fine reporting and profound research. Apart from the Economist I don't see a better magazine in Europe."

That's right, archi, they were simply forced to chop that sentence in half so the part equating Bush with "der Fuehrer" would come as a zinger at the end, and then slap it onto a graphic of Hughes as the caption. They couldn't possibly have avoided it by any conceivable exercise of human ingenuity or creativity.

Time and Newsweek are lousy news magazines. They're infinitely better than Spiegel, though, because they don't peddle hate.

Fine reporting and profound research, indeed! Tell me, archi, why did they say nothing about the intellectuals on the left in America who supported the war. Why don't they fully inform the German people about the debate over torture in the US? Why don't they tell the German people why Kyoto is unacceptable to America? Why don't they report in detail on the intellectual and political arguments against the ICC? Why does every one of their reports about America consist of nothing but half truths? Why do they work so assiduously to reinforce quasi-racist stereotyping of Americans and prudish, religious fanatics, gun nuts, etc., etc.? Why do they refer to any friend of America as a "poodle" or a "vassal?" Need I go on? You need to extract your head from the very dark place it's in archi.

As for the "America friendly" covers, I'd love to see them. Why don't you post a few of them for us? If that's beyond your talents, just tell us the dates. I'll be glad to go get a scan and post it here for everyone's amusement. We're waiting!

Stop shilling for Spiegel, archi. You're trying to defend the indefensible. Find yourself a more worthy cause.

archilochos is using a version of the argument "Because they are not always completely biased, therefore they can never be called manipulative." Color me unpersuaded.

Nobody in Germany would ever use the words "he's a great leader" for a politician, neither in English nor in German. And this of course is a heritage of the Third Reich. But as I said: "Er ist ein wunderbarer Führer" ist the correct translation - and it does not imply Adolf in this context.

Thanks for that explanation, Archilochos. I wasn't sure because my vocabulary in Deutsch may reach 20 words, but I thought something like that might be the case. And thank you for your other comments as well.

Folks, there is a major difference in world view between the German chattering classes and the US public and the government. This was made much worse by the late unlamented SDU/Green government and their habit of slagging Bush and the US people off at fairly frequent intervals. But it doesn't necessarily represent the opinions of the bulk of the German people. Or rather those opinions may be there but without the heat that RayD's collection of der Speigel covers would indicate.

I see similar things in the UK. The Independent newspaper, home of the infamous Robert Fisk, takes a back seat to no one in US and Bush slagging. The Guardian has a mixed personality on such matters being split between the Old Labor crowd who traditionally have hated the US, but the Guardian also has a major Blairite faction which presents a much more balanced POV. The same division exists within the Beeb.

The person on the street doesn't like the war much the way Americans don't like it - although they turned against somewhat sooner than in the US. But they aren't rabid about it.

Remember the great Wine and cheese boycott of 2003 in the US. I've seen a lesser form of that in the UK in my favorite food store, Marks & Spencer. In 2002 they had a whole line of quality upscale French produce (meats, cheeses, chickens, ducks, etc). What you see today is that these have been comprehensively replaced by quality British-sourced produce. M&S still sell French wine, but the offerings from Italy, Spain, Australia, South America, and even the US have grown at the expense of the French wines. The British public didn't announce a boycott - but a boycott there has been. And German produce? Not much, though this may be in part because of British ignorance of the quality of the best German products. I swear there is as much Belgian beer at my supermarket as German beer - despite Germany's justly famous brews. OK by me, I love Belgian beer, which is the best in the world.

I know some Germans personally, and they hold a range of views of course. But a lot of them support the war. or freiends opposed the war. But they cringe at every piece of anti- Yankee boobery they see in the press - because they still regard the US as friend, ally, and saviour of modern Germany. I've had apologies for some of this stuff.

London is quite a polyglot and these days you see a LOT of the 'best and brightest' young French come to live and work in London because of much better opportunities. These people both love France and detest the Ancien Regime which holds France in the 1970's. The French economy is so screwed that the starting salary of the French equivalent of a Harvard MBA might be 25% of US levels - if she can find a challenging position at all! So they come to London wher good jobs at good pay are available. But the holy grail for many of them is getting a US Green Card.

They may oppose the war - but they want to come to America. The same goes for Italians and increasingly even Germans. Germay is losing doctors and skilled medical staff to the US and even to the NHS! If you know how challenged the NHS can be - that speaks volumes about the system in Germany.

My point? I guess that someone who dislikes Bush is not necessarily the enemy. Many of them appreciate the US for the fundamental shared principals of American life which underly all the politics. They are damned useful people.

Ray, I would enjoy seeing a selection of Speigel covers which are pro-US or even just neutral. It might show a more complete picture.

"archilochos is using a version of the argument "Because they are not always completely biased, therefore they can never be called manipulative."

As they say, you can't get a little pregnant.

Don,

Sorry, but you're way off base.

Czech beer is the best in the world !

Cheers,

The apologists here remind me of the apologists for the Inquisition, who still keep saying the Church never executed anybody. What mockery.

"Fuhrer" is a word that has entered English (just as "okay" has entered every other language in the world). There is no danger that she said "The President is a wonderful fuhrer." Because in English, "fuhrer" means "Hitler."

Germans don't call their own leaders "furhers," either.

And any half-competent translator knows that. And any half-competent editor knew exactly what he or she was doing with those edits.

By the way, thanks Ray. Americans need to see and hear what our "friends" and "allies" are doing behind our back.

Kathy, "A Wonderful Führer" is Medienkritik's headline. The English Spiegel article does not use the word "Führer", it uses "leader". And of course, Germans call leaders Führer, even the pope does it. Well, maybe he's not the best example, but still, if you do a google search for "politische Führer" you will find that it's not an uncommonly used term. That still doesn't explain any of the other alterations RayD pointed out, though.

Note from David: We had some confused and confusing comments, but this one tops it all. Ray had re-translated the German version of "a wonderful leader" ("ein wunderbarer Führer") just to demonstrate SPONs attempt to put a negative touch to the original English wording of Hughes. The caption of the Hughes picture in German clearly has a negative connotation: "Bush-Freundin Hughes: "Ein wundervoller Führer"". Why Hughes would be a "Freundin" of Bush and why this would simply be a neutral description of her relation to the president is beyond me.

@ Flux,

You are wrong. Germans would never use the word "Fuhrer" to describe a politician because it does denote "Der Fuhrer," the Nazi's affectionate term for Hitler.

The reason why the English article used “leader” instead of "Fuhrer" is because they know it was over the top. They did not want to alienate their English speaking readers.

Also, describing Karen Hughes as "Bush Freundin" has the same connotation as "girl friend" would have in English. It implies that they have a sexual relation.

Der Spiegel would never call Angela Merkel a former "Freundin" of Helmut Kohl, even though Kohl helped her with her political career.

OK help me here, please.

Is it the Frua Fuhrer or the Fuhrer Frau?

Thanks

@George M

Thank you for the German lesson. Didn't know "Freundin" had a sexual connotation.

Note from David: "Bush-Freundin" may not have a sexual connotation, but it certainly has an emotional connotation that in the context of SPONs reporting style is meant to belittle and to denigrate Hughes.

Ray, I would enjoy seeing a selection of Speigel covers which are pro-US or even just neutral. It might show a more complete picture.

Hi Don. I can only tell you from my personal experience concerning "Der Spiegel" covers. I've been scanning several book stores (including international) in the Frankfurt area for about 3 and a half years now for anything that may resemble a positive view when it comes to America, American conservatives, or GWB (and I'm not talking about the once-in-a-blue-moon articles stuck on page 150 in a magazine). The pickings are extremely slim. I do not remember a single pro-American cover from Der Spiegel, or any other major German magazine for that matter. However, as you can see here at DMK, there are at least 20 negative covers printed over a 3-4 year time span by "Der Spiegel" alone.

I've still got a bet going with several of my German friends. If they find a book in a local book store (internet orders are not allowed) that you would typically find in an American Conservative Book Club(Hannity, Coulter, Limbaugh, Gertz, Savage, Levin, etc...), I will not only pay them back for the book--I will also buy a book of their choice from the same book store. Well, it's been a year now...still waiting.

You can find both Clinton biographies, Jimmy Carter, Moore, Chomsky, Soros, etc... You get the picture.

Of course, this bias does not stop in the German printed media. It extends through the entire msm--with few exceptions.

Czech beer is the best in the world !

Sorry, Rofe - can't agree. The Czech's do the best Pilsners in the world. Good for the young, but as one learns more about beer one learns to appreciate the sophisticated.... ;)

James W, I've seen the same thing in London. Or more accurately - I used to see the same thing in London. In 2003/2004 Morre and his various imitators were all the rage. Prominently displayed for months on end in all the best bookstores.

at least 20 negative covers printed over a 3-4 year time span

A weekly magazine will run 156 covers in a 3-year timespan. Twenty covers are a lot but don't necessarily qualify as an obsession.

The Economist has been known to run the odd provocative cover about Bush, Blair, Iraq, etc. Not 20 of them, but 2-3 a year about Bush anyway. For me this is always offset by the consistently well-balanced content within. They can be sharp, sometimes a little unfair I think. But mostly worth reading. They understand the world far better than the German press seems to.

There is legitimate realm to criticize Bush. Where I differ from the Germans is that I don't see US foreign policy as a determinative factor in the fate of Germany. The rhetoric is both offensive and comically wrong - as are the assumptions which seem to underly it.

I'm reading a book by Norman Podhoretz, a prominent anti-Vietnam radical in the 60's who later migrated to the right. He and many others had equally opposed the Communists and the US government during the war and hoped for a 'third way'. The aftermath of Vietnam convinced him that he'd been wrong, that in the real world one has to choose between the real alternatives - and that a US victory had been far preferable to a North Vietnamese victory.

I think the present situation is similar so far as the intellectuals are concerned - they can't abide the thought that Bush's Amerika (sic) will prevail and therefore work for a US defeat with all their strength without facing the implications of what that would mean.

Reading the book reminds me that there are times when a lot of well-educated people walk arond with their heads in a very unusual place - and that this is nothing new....

(Don, London's propaganda offerings are as irrelevant to this issue as the fact that Spiegel ran 136 covers not related to the US. Arschilochos, if you're as gullible as you sound (as opposed to an apologist who knows what he's doing, which i suspect), it explains a lot about PISA and why so many opinion poll results from Germany sound like Leno's "jaywalking" interviewees)


Folks, have a long look at the pictures: the English article has a far-away, smiling, busy-working, arms-full-of-papers picture.
The German article's picture is an unattractive mid-speech shot, which makes her look unpleasant, and as if she's arguing for some non-nice policy decision.
...but they probably just picked it (despite the fact that it's taken at a stupid moment) because the red/white background flag stripes and red/black shirt color work ever so nicely with the "Bush-Freundin" and "Fuehrer" caption to evoke a feeling of a modern-day, vocal/active Eva Braun. No, I don't think I'm reaching here.


...and just in case any of the many non-native-German-speakers here are still unclear on this, perhaps due to the native apologists: no, you sure as hell don't call a politician (with power) Fuehrer. Oppositionsfuehrer yes, but not even Fraktionsfuehrer (similar to a senate min./maj. leader).
Yes, the "leader" sentence is indeed impossible to translate exactly, precisely because you cannot use the word Fuehrer without adding the Hitler connotation that wasn't there in the original sentence. There are any number of imprecise translations that could be used ("ein wunderbarer Praesident", "ein wunderbarer Regierungschef"). In this case, I don't think she was particularly talking about his specific leadership abilities as much as him being a great person to have in this position - if she had been, though, "grossartige Fuehrungspersoenlichkeit" would have been the words to use.

...and it's not like this was going to be the first time ever that he's been compared to Hitler, and they just didn't think of.

A weekly magazine will run 156 covers in a 3-year timespan. Twenty covers are a lot but don't necessarily qualify as an obsession.

Don, your point is understood; however (you just knew that was coming ;-)), there were no attempts to balance the 20 covers that I’m aware of. In other words, I’m suggesting that the remaining covers in that time span had little or nothing to do with America—although I have no proof except for my own memory. Furthermore, please don’t underestimate the power of a picture. While, what is it, 7-8 million people read “Der Spiegel” regularly, how many millions more see the covers as they’re walking by or searching for something to read? By the way, many of these covers are enlarged to posters to advertise the magazine—it seems to me that they mostly do this when it’s time to bash America (again, unfortunately no official numbers).

I have to believe that all this, coupled with the remaining msm, has an effect on the German public opinion as a whole. My (anecdotal) proofs for this are found in the comments and responses I receive from Germans when the topic is America. I also believe that the effect of this propaganda is stronger on the German youth (the future of Germany) than it is with older generations, because the youth do not have much of an alternative reference.

Ciao!

James W, othercoast,

I agree that there are a lot of ways the news can be slanted. My epiphany on that point came about 12 years ago when I learned how the Ruby Ridge coverage had been slanted by the New York Times and the rest of the MSM. Although I've been a conservative far longer than that and have known that the networks were slanted forever, I still believed in the Times till then.

I think people in the US have learned this. It may be that many in Germany still need to learn. I think they will, perhaps painfully. Reality has a way of biting painfully.

I'm not that worried about the young, James. I think one of two things will happen. Either Merkel or someone else will have an Reaganesque impact or there will be a period when the German establishment (not excluding the MSM) will become the enemy - a backlash not dissimular to the 60's but quite possibly a right-wing rather than left-wing radicalism.

Look at the US experience. US teacher's are as left-wing as they come and many slant the curriculum outrageously, a phenomena which only intensifies when people go to university. Therefore the US populce must be left wing when they grow up? Well, no. I was a lefty at age 14, but when I matured I looked around and realized that the existing system didn't offer me much hope. So I listened to and voted for Reagan despite everything all my lefty professors were telling me.....

One more thing. I think it's likely that Speigel is slanting this story. But I'm not that worried about it. I think every time they run one of those covers they are edging closer to the precipice. Abandoning balance in one's news coverage is a perilous thing to do, as some in the US MSM might tell them....

Either Merkel or someone else will have an Reaganesque impact or there will be a period when the German establishment (not excluding the MSM) will become the enemy - a backlash not dissimular to the 60's but quite possibly a right-wing rather than left-wing radicalism.

I would love to share this optimism with you, Don. When I think of the political parties in Germany, I just don’t get that warm fuzzy feeling—yet. I used to believe that the CDU was the party that mostly resembled the American Republican party. Well, after further research, I now believe the FDP is the party that fits the description—they received around 10% of the vote if my memory serves me. This tells me that we may have a long wait ahead of us if we’re going to experience a Reaganesque leadership here. Remember, Die Linke party also grew in the last election.

Of course, the backlash you’re speaking of may just get a booster shot from blogs like DMK (not unlike the talk-radio boom in America), and this may be just what the doctor ordered. In addition, recent events in Europe (namely France, Denmark, and Holland) just may warm some European hearts to GWB’s foreign policy.

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see….

I'll have to repeat myself. But anybody who speaks german knows that "Führer" is the only direct translation for "leader". In english "Der Fuhrer" is of course Adolf, in german it is still the only word for leader we got. There is no other way to translate Karen Hughes phrase.

Those are just a few Spiegel covers I found to show that they run a lot of stories. That they run also America friendly stories. That they run well-investigated stories about terrorists and that they are critical of Europe too.

The first cover on the upper left: "The Landfall – when America saved Europe". Then "Bill Clinton: My Story" (a preprint of his autobiography). "Al Qaeda Base Germany". "Terror in Europe - a new dimension of violence". "Hillary Rodham Clinton: My different America". "America's victory: Between war and peace" (right after they occupied Baghdad). "Clan of slayers" (Saddam). "Is Europe past remedy?"

Let me add, that the covers Ray loves to present date back to 1997, and in my opinion by far not all of them are as anti-American as he claims.

Der Spiegel is a very well respected magazine in Germany, it played an important role in post-war Germany - it was a sentinel of democracy and uncoveres political misconduct and scandals until today.

And if you could read German, you knew that the picture of Spiegel that is being painted here, is simply wrong.

>>"I'll have to repeat myself. But anybody who speaks german knows that "Führer" is the only direct translation for "leader". In english "Der Fuhrer" is of course Adolf, in german it is still the only word for leader we got. There is no other way to translate Karen Hughes phrase."

"Fuehrer" is not a correct translation of "leader" in the context in which Spiegel uses it. Many of us do speak German, and there are Germans commenting on this thread. It is obvious to us that Spiegel's translation is not only incorrect, but that it could not have been unconsciously incorrect, or a simple mistake. Spiegel's editors are not that stupid. You are failing to listen to what the other people here are saying. Instead, you keep blindly repeating the same things. Good, we know your opinion, and are aware that you are impervious to reasonable arguments, because you have not attempted to address any of those made here, other than to repeat yourself. It has been pointed out that there are many ways to translate what Hughes said in a way that approaches her actual meaning correctly and accurately. You have not so much as taken note of any of these arguments, but go on blindly insisting that translations can only be correct if they are taken literally, word for word, from a dictionary. To me, to many of the other German speakers here, and, I daresay, to any competent philologist, this argument is absurd. Nevertheless, we are aware that that is what you believe, and we have taken note of the fact. There is no need to keep repeating yourself.

I must reserve judgment on your Spiegel covers, because I do not remember them in detail. From the titles, however, the results of your search do not appear promising. Two of the covers deal with leftist American politicians, and another apparently deals with events that happened hundreds of years ago. I await with interest hearing how they can be construed as "pro-American." I suggest you simply type in the link so we can copy it and paste it in our browsers.

I take note of the fact that you consider Spiegel the greatest and most wonderful news magazine of all times and lands. There is a mountain of evidence in the archives of this blog that demonstrates conclusively that it is anything but that, but is, in fact, a propaganda rag that plies its readers with comfortable half truths in place of facts. That it is a very successful propaganda rag I won't deny. It has, obviously, been remarkably successful in your case.

@ archilochos

"Let me add, that the covers Ray loves to present date back to 1997."

Actually, only one cover from the twenty depicted above is from 1997 (with the boots). The other nineteen are all from 2001 to 2006. Sixteen out of twenty are from 2003 to 2006. So your attempt to imply that these covers are no longer recent is totally off the mark archilochos. Readers can see the covers for themselves here. And by the way, did you notice how the positive covers are mainly about the Clintons? No bias there right? Somehow you come across as a total shill for SPIEGEL archilochos...and no, we won't allow you to advertise for them here with links to their products.

So you say SPIEGEL is really America-friendly? (laugh) OK: I'd like to challenge you to link to all of the positive stories you claim SPIEGEL has done on America. They have a website so it should be easy for you. Happy hunting...we won't hold our breath. In the meantime, have a look at our SPIEGEL archives. (scroll down)

Note: Archicholos we will allow you to publish links that relate to your point. However, we won't allow you to post advertising for Spiegel or personally insult those who run this site as you have done in your most recent comment (now deleted). That is explicitly against our comment policy. If you want to post a comment with links to "friendly" examples as you said you would, please do so and we will gladly post it. That said, I have already provided a link to all of the SPIEGEL covers including the "Clinton covers." (Near the top of this comment, click the word "here")

now believe the FDP is the party that fits the description—they received around 10% of the vote if my memory serves me. This tells me that we may have a long wait ahead of us if we’re going to experience a Reaganesque leadership here. Remember, Die Linke party also grew in the last election.

Another term was Thatcheresque. Neither Reagan nor Thatcher were representative of their political party in the 70's. Indeed, both of them seem to have been heavily influenced by the failures of the 70's.

Thatcher was a middle of the pack Tory until the early 70's when she was converted to become a free marketer by Sir Keith Joseph. In fact Thatcher was an unlikely standard-bearer in a way, being only the deputy leader of the free-marketers when Heath lost the second 1974 election. Joseph declined to challenge Heath for the Tory leadership, so Thatcher stepped up and unexpectedly won. Most of her reforms were introduced against the best advice of most of the Tory grandees of the 70's, so she gradually got rid of most of them.

Reagan was elected not because the American public chose Reagan but because we rejected Jimmy Carter. Some of the reforms were actually started under Carter, but Reagan deepened them and supported them in a way Carter never could have.

Both Reagan and Thatcher were elected more in an inchoate national recognition of 'we can't go forward like this' than upon a specific reform program. Both leaders engineered an economic boom with deficit spending and by breaking a major labor strike. Their economic reforms came after the boom made them politically possible. Note also that Reagan himself wasn't able to implement much of his program. That came later under Clinton (welfare reform) and even President Bush. But the ideas were popularised by Reagan. The rest is history.


My point is that it's hard to predict a 'Reaganesque' revolution based upon the policies and the views of the political parties before it happens. Much depends on the political leadership. If Merkel can generate an economic boom she may be able to accomplish serious reform in a second term.

What I am saying is that I think the climate now exists in Germany where 'Merkelism' is possible. I think that dissatisfaction is widespread and pervasive enough among the people. I also think a German economic boom is possible - in part because of reforms Schroeder helped put into place. Ironically.

While I agree with the anti-American bias of the German media and this article, I do not agree that Führer was inappropriately used in the caption.

"Führer" obviously stands out when it's not a part of a compound noun, but an example of "Führer" used in every day language is "Parteiführer," which means the head of a political party. The only other word I can think of putting in its place would be Leiter, like in Schulleiter, but that sounds really weird to me.

I suppose Der Spiegel could've just chosen not to run that caption, and I'm sure some Germans are making jokes about the caption, but I don't think it was intended to refer to Hitler.

>>"While I agree with the anti-American bias of the German media and this article, I do not agree that Führer was inappropriately used in the caption."

Another one chimes in! This is getting a little weird. I'm sorry, but it's just really hard for me to believe that anyone above the imbecile level who speaks German and has actually lived in the country more than a few months can really believe this. There's no question that the editors of SPON knew exactly what they were doing. An orchestrated campaign on one of David's comment threads? Maybe I'm paranoid, but now two excellent English speakers in a row have denied the obvious. Hey, andy-at-tin, I'm game. Give us one, single example in Spiegel or SPON from the last decade where an article has referred to a politician anywhere to the left of center, not in Spiegel's dog house, as a "Fuehrer" without qualifying adjectives such as "politische." I'll even throw in FAZ, SDZ, and Die Welt, again, with the caveat that the editors or author of the article didn't have an ax to grind with the politician referred to. Just one example, andy!

@Helian

LOL!!! I just had this picture of andy-at-tin searching the archives. Years have gone by, and he's old and gray--looking for that needle in a haystack...

Well, it was funny to me anyway.

@Don

Hmmm, I was only a teen when Raygun was prez. So, I didn’t have the opportunity to vote for him. As far as Thatcher goes, I heard her speak at Ronny’s funeral. She sounded so sincere. I’m sure she’s a fine woman and leader. (Billy-boy Clinton couldn’t even keep his eyes open…probably too busy with an intern the night before)

It seems you have a bit more experience than I do—to include your knowledge of history. You’ve made your point well, and I hope the hell you’re right about Germany!

Ciao!

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