Here's a question for you: Do you remember seeing an extreme cover like this at Der Spiegel when the Euro was weak just a few years back?
Dollar Nosedive: The Downfall of the US Currency and the Dangers for the World Economy
Not only did Der Spiegel not run a derisive cover on the Euro currency in its weaker days - it virtually gushed-over with propaganda-like enthusiasm at its introduction:
Der Spiegel in 2002: Euroland The New Money Power
Viewed in isolation - the Dollar cover might not be considered anti-American. Given the larger body of work of Der Spiegel over the past decade - however - it is difficult to characterize the "Dollar Nosedive" cover as anything but a further manifestation of the festering Hate-America bias that plagues the magazine.
Exaggeration and Sensationalism
Particularly dubious is the use of extreme vocabulary including "downfall" and "dangers". All too often, we have seen Spiegel highlight isolated or temporary problems with the American economy in an effort to convince readers that the overall US economy was on the verge of disaster and collapse. One need only recall the infamous article on unemployment in Kannapolis, North Carolina or the exaggerated claims that the American power grid was on the brink of collapse when the lights went out in New York or the claims that the US infrastructure was in "collapse" after the Minnesota bridge incident.
Euro-Nationalism as Substitute for Forbidden German Nationalism
At the same time, Der Spiegel has repeatedly avoided heaping the same sort of scorn or using the same extreme tone in highlighting the various troubles of the European economy, power grid and infrastructure despite relatively similar conditions (a weak Euro not too long ago) and incidents (power outages, train crashes, faulty infrastructure). Instead - when publishing covers on Europe - they've repeatedly engaged in overt cheerleading - (just compare these covers to these covers). Let's not forget SPIEGEL ONLINE's primative excitement when a Eurofighter apparently defeated two F-15s in a mock battle. This thinly veiled Euro-Nationalism is desirable and useful - in part - as an acceptable alternate outlet (along with large sporting events) for forbidden German feelings of national pride. Unfortunately, the Euro-Nationalism of publications such as Der Spiegel almost always counts anti-Americanism as one of its key ingredients.
Perhaps Der Spiegel could - just once - run a story on America's remarkably low unemployment rate (and the jobs it has created for millions of legal and illegal immigrants) despite record high oil prices. But let's not forget - that would call into question the carefully crafted ideological caricature of the United States as hopeless social wasteland and home to predatory global capitalism.
Of course one can never underestimate the bipolar inconsistency inevitably on display at Der Spiegel. (Eventually what is reported must - in some way - conform with reality - after all.) In 1999, one cover asking if Europe was a new superpower was followed only weeks later by another cover asking whether Europe could still be salvaged. The extreme contradiction can only be explained by the magazine's habitual use of the extreme to sell magazines combined with the publication's utter lack of intellectual consistency. This is nothing new - and we have seen the same sort of journalistic manic-depression on Iraq in recent weeks and months - with reporting swinging like a pendulum between utter doom and gloom - including a cover declaring the Iraq war "lost" - and reports detailing progress in Iraq and the alleged comeback of the Bush Presidency.
Der Spiegel in a Journalistic Nosedive?
The record lows experienced by the Dollar are unquestionably significant for the world economy. Unfortunately, a factual analysis of the economic advantages and disadvantages of a weaker Dollar has been obscured by the blinding light of media hyperbole and anti-American sentiment at Der Spiegel. This potent combination has worked to sell millions of magazines in the past - and there is no doubt that it will continue to sell millions of magazines in the future - as a significant segment of the German population continues to indulge its voracious appetite for virtually anything that casts the United States in a negative light.
In the case of Der Spiegel's journalistic standards - it would be quite tempting to characterize them as being in a "nosedive." That would not - however - do the magazine justice. One must, after all, attain an altitude slightly above gutter-level to first make such a drop-off possible.