(By Ray D.)
Media Research Institute Confirms Long-Term Negative Trend in German Media's Reporting on the United States
Day for day we at Davids Medienkritik point out examples of anti-Americanism in the German media. We report these examples because we know, through our own experience and observation, that they are part of a larger trend that is seriously damaging transatlantic relations.
Many of our strongest critics, however, suggest that the examples we present simply represent isolated incidents in the German media and that our postings are little more than anecdotal. They deny that anti-Americanism is widespread in the German media and claim that German media sources are fair and balanced. Unfortunately, such critics are often very short on convincing evidence.
The Evidence Is In
Just two days ago, an independent German media research institute, Medien Tenor, released the results of a major, long-term study on seven major German television news programs that examined over 14,000 individual television news reports. The results overwhelmingly confirm what Davids Medienkritik has argued all along: That Germany's largest, most influential media outlets are pervasively biased against the United States.
Here, now, are the Medien Tenor study results translated exclusively for our audience:
US Protagonists in German TV: News Reporting Continues to be Negative
Bush visit in February does not bring a sustainable change
Despite the short-term positive reporting of the Bush visit at the end of February, the negative trend in the portrayal of US-American protagonists and institutions that has been ongoing since 2002 continues in German television. This is shown by a current, long-term analysis done by the independent Bonn media research institute Medien Tenor of the main news programs of ARD, ZDF, RTL, SAT1 and PRO7. "Since the German federal government backed away from its 'unconditional solidarity' in the year 2002, the rating has gone continually downwards in the television news," explains Roland Schatz, the Director of Medien Tenor. The short "Bush-Schroeder pageant" in Mainz also did not bring a sustained change to the news reporting.
The negative trend was also not limited to political figures, but also encompassed news reporting on business. Scandals and crises have predominantly marked the picture of the American economy since 2002. "Successful developments clearly stand in the shadow of scandals and are barely portrayed," Schatz analyzes. The news prefer to repeatedly present their viewers with information on Enron or the investigations of Eliot Spitzer instead of reporting on success stories like those of Dell.
For the analysis, Medien Tenor evaluated 14,703 news reports in seven German TV news programs. ARD Tagesschau and Tagesthemen, ZDF heute and heute journal, RTL Aktuell, SAT1 NEWS (18:30), Pro7 NEWSTIME. Time period: January 1, 2002 to March 31, 2005.
And here is a graph of the negative trend from Medien Tenor:
Steady Trend: German Television Media Have Grown Increasingly Negative Towards All Things American Since 2002
The results of this study also emphatically contradict the claim that German media are simply "anti-Bush" and not "anti-American." The study clearly shows that major German television news programs suffer from a pervasive, across-the-board bias against the United States in reporting on both political and non-political matters.
Bearing these results in mind, is it any wonder that the United States has grown less popular in the eyes of the German people? How would the American people view Germany if they were bombarded daily with increasingly negative television images of German society, politics, culture and business? When will the leaders of both nations properly recognize this issue and the impact it is having?
Finally, as a concerned observer, one has to wonder how the German government could possibly be taking out expensive, full-page color ads in American newspapers claiming that Germany and America are "united" and "partners" while failing, completely, to criticize the media bias in their own country that is slowly destroying German-American friendship. Why, for example, has Gerhard Schroeder's so-called "Coordinator for German-American Cooperation" Karsten Voigt been so deafeningly silent on this vital matter? Could it be that Gerhard Schroeder and his Socialist-Green coalition know that they may, again, have to rely on anti-American media and voters to put them into office come election time, as they did in 2002?
You be the judge...