(By Ray D.)
Remember when the lights went out in New York? The reaction at "Der Spiegel" was outrageous yet predictable. The outage was described as evidence that America was a faltering superpower with a third rate power grid.
World Power Without Power: Appearances and Reality in the USA (2003)
The New York outage was simply further evidence for German media elites that America was in decline and Raubtier capitalism and privatization were all to blame. German media consumers were assured that such a massive failure could never happen in statist Europe.
In fact, the lights did go out just a few weeks later in Italy and Switzerland and Scandinavia, but the reaction in German media was neither sensationalist nor alarmist. There were no scandalous covers deriding the failures of the European economic model or way of life.
Now the lights have gone out again in Europe. This time Germany is in the midst of the outage. According to the BBC:
"An overload in Germany's power network triggered outages leaving millions without electricity on Saturday night. (...) Power failed first in Cologne, Germany, before shutting down across parts of France, Italy, Spain and Austria. Belgium, the Netherlands and Croatia were also affected."
But how could that be possible in the wonderful land of social-democratic Oz? How could a nation that has rejected brutal capitalism and amerikanische Verhaeltnisse suffer such an outage? Where are our beautiful windmills when we need them? It just isn't fair. Oh yeah, by the way: Could Bush be to blame? Maybe this is CIA sabotage...
Changing the Subject: Election Coverage Spiegel Style
Spiegel coverage of US midterm elections has also been remarkably predictable and can be summarized as follows: Republicans = Bad. Democrats = Good.
Take Marc Pitzke's two most recent articles. The first was on the so-called "dirt campaign" of the Republicans. The second, entitled "Republican Scandals: Sex, Drugs and Bribe Money," was on the supposed hypocrisy of the Republican party and summarized the corruption and sexual scandals that have harmed the GOP of late. While there can be little doubt that the Republican party has run its share of negative ads and suffered any number of scandals, the Pitzke articles leave readers with the impression that only Republicans have been engaged in mud-slinging and scandals.
In his "Republican Scandals" piece, Pitzke systematically chronicles half-a-dozen Republican scandals through the opening twenty-one paragraphs of his article before making one brief mention of the problems facing Democrat Bob Menendez of New Jersey in the second to last paragraph. Naturally, there is no mention of Harry Reid's questionable land deals or William Jefferson's cold hard cash stash.
There has also been little mention of the current unemployment rate in the United States: At 4.4%, national unemployment is at its lowest levels since 9/11. The stock market has reached historic highs. What ever happened to that old saying?: It's the economy stupid...
The problem with Pitzke's "journalism" is that it makes no effort whatsoever at objectivity or balance. In Spiegel-land, you are either with us (as are the Democrats) or against us (as are the Republicans) and ideology trumps intellectual integrity. News that might shed a positive light on Republicans is systematically ignored while news that casts a negative light on Republicans is given overwhelmingly disproportionate coverage. An honest journalist would point out the mud-slinging on both sides. An honest media publication would point out the scandals and hypocrisy on both sides. Honesty, however, is not something we have come to expect from Marc Pitzke or SPIEGEL ONLINE.
Poll Reveals Attitudes of America's "Allies"
The unbelievable results of this poll can be attributed in large part to the biased, black-and-white, sensationalist stupidity of the European media in its reporting on the United States over the past several years. The results show that those polled see President Bush as a greater threat to world peace than Kim Jong Il or Iranian President Ahmedinejad. Whatever you may think of George Bush, these results can be evaluated only as a sign of profound and dangerous ignorance on the part of many Europeans. For Americans one can only say: With "allies" and "friends" like these, who needs enemies?
Oh yeah, and here is more evidence the US media is gleichgeschaltet and in lock-step with Bush and the Republicans...