I just watched on Frontal 21 - a news magazine from German public tv station ZDF - a completely one-sided and biased account of the situation in Iraq ("War could have been avoided"). The basic message of the report was - predictably, since we are talking about an analysis of a left-wing media outlet - extremly pessimistic about the situation in and the prospects for Iraq. Scores of Bush-critical "experts" were presented. A typical product of German tv.
I will do a detailed analysis of the report later this week.
Guess what: This will really surprise you...According to the left-of-left cranks on ZDF's weekly investigative news program "Frontal 21", George W. Bush is under "pressure" again. If I had a dime for every time Bush and Blair were under pressure in the German media, I'd be a rich man. And of course, Gerhard Schroeder, the head of an imploding wreck of a government, is rarely if ever under pressure. Ah, the delightful and contradictory fantasy world of the German media.
ZDF and many in the German media criticize George W. Bush for being overly simplistic, for repeating the same message over and over again. They also criticize him for "lying" on Iraq as they just did in a two-part "Frontal 21" piece entitled "The Lies of the White House." In fact, the people at ZDF are more guilty of those very offenses than anyone else.
For example, they incessantly repeat the claim President Bush "lied" on weapons of mass destruction. That has been clearly disproved by numerous investigations carried out by committees in both the US and the UK and there is absolutely no evidence that supports such a claim. But it continues to appear over and over again in the German media. The fact that Bush was provided flawed intelligence upon which he acted is simply overlooked and ignored. The fact that John Kerry, the United Nations and the German intelligence authorities also believed until the war broke out that Saddam had WMDs and posed a threat is also conveniently forgotten.
"Frontal 21": Americans Motivated by Fear, Isolation
ZDF goes on to portray Americans as motivated by fear and isolation in this election. "Fear is the message" of the Bush campaign, and Americans are looking for a strong leader after 9/11 according to "Frontal 21". The program concludes that "the truth gets lost along the way." According to ZDF, most Americans do not own a passport and can't understand what is going on in the rest of the world. It is further claimed that Americans have been cowed into supporting Bush by the notion that it is "unpatriotic" to criticize the President in a time of war. ZDF clearly implies that Americans are ignorant, fear-ridden little robots who simply aren't as enlightened, lucid and courageous as their European brothers.
ZDF also conveniently ignores the fact that Saddam Hussein was just waiting for sanctions to be lifted to restart his WMD program. And here is a glaring contradiction: Many in the German media would have us believe that Saddam was harmless and would have never developed WMDs. Yet we now know that nuclear materials have gone missing in Iraq. Well, what were nuclear materials doing in Iraq if Saddam had no intention to build a bomb? Atomic power in a land overflowing with oil?
Ironically, it seems that ZDF believes that if they repeat their distortions and hate towards President Bush enough that the German people will come to accept them as fact. The unprecedented character assasination perpetrated by the German media since 9/11 against the President of the United States has born ample fruit. Only 4% of Germans approve of President Bush. This uniformity of opinion harkens back to Nazi times. It is an indicator that the German people have been misinformed and disinformed on a massive scale. They are the victims of a bias so large and pervasive that it has permanently damaged German-American relations.
Has the German Media Learned Nothing from the Holocaust? Why Won't They Tell the German People the Truth about Saddam's Iraq?
If you visit ZDF's website, you will see virtually no mention of the recent discovery of a series of mass graves in Iraq containing mothers still holding their children. While the US media is giving top priority to the story, it is largely being swept under the rug in Germany. One might ask how a German state news program could ignore or downplay mass murder after the Holocaust. Yet that is exactly what the network and many others in the German media have done. Just look at SPIEGEL ONLINE: Currently, there is no prominent link to the mass graves story on the homepage, but at the very top of the page, for the third day in a row they have a featured story on conspiracy theories claiming that Bush was wired for the debates. This is yet another telling example of the warped priorities in the German press. An unsubstantiated conspiracy theory is given priority over the discovery of mass graves. Why? Because one story does harm to Bush and the other clearly does not. This is more of the shameful, arrogant and disgusting bias that characterizes SPIEGEL and ZDF.
But the truth and reality have all been pleasantly drowned out by the steady drone of Bush lied...Bush lied...Bush lied...and the German people keep on buying it. Sad but true.
The German Media's Big Lie: Iraq Was Better Off Under Saddam
The Horror: German Media Don't Want to Show You This. Hundreds of Thousands of Dead Lie in Saddam's Mass Graves. Some Will Never Be Found.
You would think that a media obsessed with every civilian death in Iraq following the war would also be deeply troubled by the genocide carried out by Saddam Hussein's regime. Think again. Just look at what Medien Tenor, a media research institute had to say on the subject:
"As long as German TV journalists don’t return to their real task of the neutral selection and presentation of news, the worked up mood will not quiet itself. ARD and ZDF presented Germans the situation in Iraq under Saddam Hussein as significantly better than that since the end of his dictatorship. If the Germans were respected before the national elections of 2002, it was the fact that Schroeder and Fischer made the German house at the UN into the central location for the organization of resistance against the politics of George W. Bush and Colin Powell which tore open a deep gap. Especially German TV broadcasters worked less in that situation as news reporters and instead came across as part of “their” government.” The consequences are shown by the current (January 2004) Medien Tenor analysis.
The portrayal of the four players (Gerhard Schroeder, George W. Bush, Tony Blair, Saddam Hussein) on the political world stage in the German TV news decisively contributed to the fact that, on the German side, no understanding of the fundamental decisions made by America and England could come into being. In the relevant weeks before the second Iraq War, ARD through PRO 7, RTL, SAT 1 all the way to ZDF barely drew a distinction between democracy and dictatorship in their news coverage. As a result, large parts of the German public only had concerns about America. This evaluation barrier, that until now was only speculative, has now been made visible with data from continual analysis of media content."
Given this state of affairs, how can Germans and Americans possibly engage in a constructive debate on Iraq? Maybe the German media doesn't want us to...