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Checking into your blog after months of being away.

Although I commend your efforts and appreciate your good will toward the US, I'm not sure why you bother with all this. The German media will never be objective in their American reporting... that is a given. Such reporting does more damage to Germans than Americans, but the German people are responsible for themselves and it's not clear that they want to know what really goes on in America. Learning that the US is growing beyond any interest in Europe is surely not something they want to hear.

After ten years of living and being educated in Europe I, like many Americans, just ignore the old continent now and do all my international business in Asia and South America. The returns are better and the people are more pleasant.

I tend to agree with Tom Barnett, who says that America's "allies" are not the old democracies of Europe, but the newly developing capitalist countries. I know that when I do business in Brazil, Korea and China, not only do the people appear and act more like Americans than do Germans and French, but they tend to have more similar values.

As such, I wish the German people well with their new allies who, I can only imagine, are Russian, or something.

I noticed, with some amusement, that Italy's Premier, Romano Prodi, wasted no time in calling for a single European authority to be established to govern the electric grids of all countries, presumably because he believes something like that would prevent future outages. I'm sure he has no idea what happened -- even the E.On folks have no idea why something they do all the time suddenly resulted in a cascading of power sub-station shutdowns -- just as I'm sure an additional layer of European-style bureaucracy will not make things better.

@Scott H

I know just what you mean. When I first came to Germany in 2000 as an exchange student, a couple of German students asked me what Americans are thinking about Germany. I told them that we aren't, really, and that since the wall came down, Americans have been pretty much indifferent towards them. I don't have a problem with this. I spent five years living in Germany, but I left because I just could not find much common ground or shared values with the average people. I don't feel like these people are our "friends and allies" in any particular sense, the only thing we have in common is that both Europeans and Americans live in industrialized societies.
I am now living in China. I've been here over half a year, and I actually feel like I have a lot more in common with the folks here. Of course they're so different in so many ways, but there is a certain basic warmth and optimism to them that was sorely missing during my time in Germany. To be sure, I won't be spending the rest of my life here, since I know that America is where my heart and my home is, but I do feel that my ties to Asia are only just beginning to form, whereas those to Europe are quickly coming undone as the months go by.

Oops, that last post was directed to Jake, not Scott

@ScottH
I noticed, with some amusement, that Italy's Premier, Romano Prodi, wasted no time in calling for a single European authority to be established to govern the electric grids of all countries,

That's perfectly logical, considering the original rational for the EU was that complete integration of the coal and steel industries would be an obstacle to war.

So has anyone figured out yet what happened to the grid?

Although I commend your efforts and appreciate your good will toward the US, I'm not sure why you bother with all this. The German media will never be objective in their American reporting... that is a given.

Jake

You make a good point. There are absolutely no signs that the German media will regain its dignity and offer the German people a wider view of America and Americans. They will not do that because, unlike American media, they are not under pressure from alternative media sources to regain a certain balance.

The main thing that Medienkritik can do is to give the world a view of the troubled soul of the German media. The readers will use the information in any way they want. Some will open their eyes, and some will ignore reality and blame Medienkritik. You have Eberhard Piltz, the embodiment of the MSM journalist, who speaks clearly about "ideology" in German journalism, about "intellectual "arrogance", "socialist dreams" etc. and you have a German commenter who basically reacts with "so what" and with contempt for ...Medienkritik.

Medienkritik can not force anyone to face reality, but it should keep a record of the degradation of the German media and German media defenders.

Strom, Strom, Strom. Der kommt aus der Dose...

I like this blog a lot!!! I come here almost every day ...
Please Ray and David: don't let American people discourage you! Go on blogging!

Ich informiere mich täglich zu 50% aus den Tageszeitungen (Die Welt, FAZ, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Spiegel) und zu 50% aus Blogs - Davids Medienkritik ist seit einiger Zeit ein fester Bestandteil, den ich wirklich ungern missen würde! Danke für Eure Arbeit!

It should be noted that the German media actually covered the blackout extensively. I am mentioning this to prevent the impression that the media in Germany are iqnoring the incident, as one might think after reading this article. Also, this (albeit serious) incident was still small compared to the North American blackout which occured in 2003.

However, it is true that the German media would never suggest that an incident or desaster which strikes Germany could be related to the German socio-economic system, while many German media (Spiegel, Stern and Süddeutsche as far as I can tell) do not hesitate to draw this conclusion when the USA are struck by a calamity.

The cause for this behaviour is not primarily anti-americanism, since the German media behave like this also when reporting about, say, riots in France and politics in Italy or Poland. The primary cause is much more complicated and probably related somehow to the German inferiority-superiority complex.

Then again, I fully agree with Ray D. on the quality of Pitzke's journalism, which is truly catastrophic.

The spin just keeps coming.

One would have to assume that Wermut was referring to the effects of this blackout on Germans.

A bit of research would yield that the 2003 Italy blackout effected more people than the 2003 Northeast blackout.

@ Wermut,

It is obvious that the German media is covering the outage. That's not the point. It is how they are covering it (compared to how they covered the US outage) that is significant.

I did not mean to initate a discussion about the largest power outage in history. I just wanted to outline that the 2003 North American blackout and the 2005 German blackout are not comparable and therefore one should not expect an overly dramatic reaction from the German media. The paragraph was just intended as a side-note to prevent misuderstandigs. I did not contest that the coverage of American affairs by Spiegel et. al. is far from being balanced or insightful.

I wonder if this black out will make the cover of Der Spiegel? Wait, the latest cover looks like Europe falling off the edge of the universe.

Fact is: Germany has a 99.996 % "reliability rate" for electricity. I don't know where the US stands but other European countries are not as good. And, like it or not, another fact is that it was even better before the privatization of energy companies.

http://www.ewe.de/download/pdf/Fakten_Energiepreise_April06.pdf (page 15)

I agree though that the power outage in the US was not necessarily worth a cover story. On the other hand it was during the summer hole... (I know, Spiegel had a lot of such covers.)

At this point, the reason for the blackout isn't perfectly clear. There is still speculation going on. Initially, it was believed that switching off a power cable across the River Ems to allow a cruise ship to pass on Saturday evening was the reason. However, this had been done before without causing any harm, and it has been done again on Tuesday, again without causing problems.

An article in the German newspaper "Die Welt" today quotes sources saying that the failure might have something to do with a malfunction of GPS-satellites which occured at the exact time of the blackout.

The blackout (at least in Germany) wasn't really that widespread and it didn't last very long (unlike the big US blackout in 2003). Supposedly, my neck of the woods (near the western part of the Ruhr area) should have been affected, but in fact, it wasn't.

Power outages are extremly rare in Germany, really. During my whole lifetime (I am rapidly approaching middle age;-) , I can remember may 2 or 3 occasions.

The power companies, by the way, have been harshly criticized by the media and by politicians: Critics said the companies have been overcharging their customers for years and not been investing enough in the power grid.

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