(By Ray D.)
Today I attended a seminar at the Goethe Institute in Washington DC on Germany and the challenges of terrorism. In attendance was Stefan Aust, until recently the editor-in-chief of Der Spiegel. During the questions-and-answer period, I introduced myself and asked him whether he thought it would be fair to say that Der Spiegel and other German media had sometimes veered from legitimate criticism and questioning of the United States over the past few years into anti-American populism designed to profit from some need of the readership. Not surprisingly, he replied with a "no" and went on to say that he felt that his publication's coverage of the run-up to the Iraq War was fair and included voices from both sides - even those who supported the war!
It is interesting here to remember Jeff Gedmin's encounter with a Spiegel reporter a few years back. A look at our archives and the covers below may also lead some to question Herr Aust's conclusion.
Nope. No anti-American populism in sight...
Endnote: The Goethe Institute organizers did mention that recordings from the seminar would be on NPR. I just hope they don't play the question asked by a woman before me - which was an embarrassing monologue that went on with no real point for nearly 10 minutes.