Thanks to Davids Medienkritik and other blogs, we have a window on the media scene in Germany. To be pro-America is considered a negative? We maintain 70,000 American service men and women in your country so you can be free enough to proclaim your anti-Americanism. Without the American military there, you would be writing in Russian. But, that probably would be OK with you.
I can almost understand your and Germany's envy and jealousy. You live in a country that is running a ponzi game for an economic system. You aren't producing the next generation that is supposed to fund your retirement and healthcare. Instead, you'll probably have to depend on an imported workforce–mainly Muslim. Unfortunately, It seems to me that the expression "rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic" sums up Germany.
Germany running a ponzi game... Looking at some of the political decisions and developments in the country, I suggest this is an undeserved insult for Mr. Ponzi.
"And as we think about rebuilding New Orleans, surely God is mad at America, he's sending hurricane after hurricane after hurricane and it's destroying and putting stress on this country. Surely he's not approving of us being in Iraq under false pretense. But surely he's upset at black America, also. We're not taking care of ourselves. We're not taking care of our women. And we're not taking care of our children when you have a community where 70 percent of its children are being born to one parent.
We ask black people: it's time. It's time for us to come together. It's time for us to rebuild a New Orleans, the one that should be a chocolate New Orleans. And I don't care what people are saying Uptown or wherever they are. This city will be chocolate at the end of the day.
This city will be a majority African-American city. It's the way God wants it to be. You can't have New Orleans no other way; it wouldn't be New Orleans." (emphasis ours)
Of course Stern probably won't make a big deal out of "hero" Nagin's comments. No need to criticize his lunatic statements now that he is officially a cannonized martyr. No need to mention those school buses either. After all, it's all Bush's fault...
Before Christmas, Davids Medienkritik published an article on a Stern commentary entitled "America is Destroying the West" by Florian Guessgen. Guessgen responded to our article with a second piece of his own that actually addressed a few of our arguments. Ray then promised a prompt response which was subsequently delayed by Christmas and New Year's related travel and family gatherings. But now the holidays are past and our response is here.
Guessgen's Predictable Smear Attempt
Not surprisingly, we at Medienkritik have already been attacked and called names on numerous occasions by members of the mainstream German media. SPIEGEL ONLINE labeled us the "conservative click guerilla" and the former America correspondent for the Tagesspiegel, Malte Lehming, associated us with right-wing "Krawallos" or "ruffians."
Florian Guessgen recently joined the club in his response, labeling Davids Medienkritik "decidedly conservative" and perhaps "neo-conservative." He further pointed out that our site is (gasp) pro-American, pro-Israeli and pro-capitalist. Unfortunately, for the average Stern reader, those are all quite negative characteristics, which is why Mr. Guessgen brings it up. And that, in itself, says quite a lot about Mr. Guessgen, his publication, and his target audience.
Guessgen's Big Rowback
In our first critique of the article, "America is Destroying the West", Davids Medienkritik pointed out several weaknesses with the arguments put forth by the author. To his credit, Mr. Guessgen actually made several rowbacks in his second piece, entitled "Is America Destroying the West?", including a major one on the death penalty in the United States. Furthermore,his tone was decidedly more reserved, humble and introspective the moment he realized that Davids Medienkritik had exposed his writings to a broad, English-speaking audience. Here is a little sampling of that:
"With this argument Ray D. actually weakens my critique of the government of George W. Bush. He makes clear that the death penalty is not to blame on any single president or even one party, but instead obviously reflects the broad, consistent political will in the USA."
Guessgen goes on to mention that "55 percent of Germans questioned (in 1998) would favor the introduction of the death penalty in certain instances." Despite that fact, however, Guessgen continues to insist that the death penalty contradicts what he calls the "European canon of values" and therefore represents an "ethical rift" between Europe and the USA. Here again, Guessgen presumes to speak for all Europeans, not imagining that anyone within a thousand miles might disagree with his interpretation of "European values." He also maintains, rather unconvincingly, that he was not in the midst of a tirade of moral indignation directed at the Bush administration in his first piece, but instead simply attempting to define what he sees as an increasing divide between the US and Europe.
Guessgen also continues to defend his argument that the "US government is systematically attempting to circumvent international human rights." As evidence, he refers to CIA renditions and the incarceration of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. What Mr. Guessgen fails to acknowledge is that there is an intense and ongoing debate in the United States, and within the government itself, on that very issue. He fails to consider, even for a moment, that international agreements drafted well before the Second World War, including the Geneva Conventions, may no longer appropriately address the problems associated with the capture and detention of terrorists and other combatants who have no affiliation with a national army and themselves feel no obligation to international regulations or laws of warfare. Mr. Guessgen would be well advised to consider the opinion of Jeffrey Gedmin, who writes:
"Critics argue that the United States cannot have carte blanche to do whatever it wants in Guantanamo. The Bush administration says, Read the Geneva Convention—it does not apply to Al Qaeda prisoners. Both are right. Why does it take so long to get to the inevitable: the development of international law to meet the needs of the current era. We have done this before. That's how we got the Geneva Conventions. Now we need laws that apply to combatants who do not wear a uniform, who hide among civilians and who deliberately target unarmed innocents. These are not the criminals our domestic judicial systems or the international law have been equipped to deal with."
But instead, like so many other leftists, Guessgen wields the issue of Guantanamo as a convenient baseball bat with which to beat his political enemies. There is no real attempt made to reconcile the issue on his part, simply moral indignation. There is no real attempt made to acknowledge America's numerous contributions to international law and human rights, simply a vindictive, one-sided accounting of America's sins.
Additionally, Mr. Guessgen exhibits a blind, irrational faith in the United Nations as the singular source of international law and justice without so much as considering its many flaws, weaknesses and failings. Not once does he discuss the failure of the United Nations to hold Saddam Hussein fully accountable on its many weapons resolutions. Not once does he discuss the genocide that took place in Rwanda in the mid 1990s because of the inaction of the United Nations and key member states. Not once does he discuss the genocide taking place today in Sudan and the United Nations unwillingness to intervene. Not once does he discuss the Srebernica massacre in Bosnia that onlooking UN peacekeepers allowed to happen because they were too weak to act until the United States and NATO finally showed up. Not once does he bring up the massive oil-for-food corruption scandal that recently rocked the UN. Sadly, for people like Mr. Guessgen, international law has devolved into little more than a hollow ideal to be paraded around on the moral high ground by holier-than-thou media and political elites unwilling and unable to solve the world's real problems with anything more than high-handed condescension and a slavish dedication to the letter of a law that no one enforces and few take seriously.
That leads us to another issue: In his first article, Guessgen constantly refers to "George W. Bush's Amerika". In both articles, he also frequently substitutes the "US government" or "state" for the Bush administration. In so doing, he overlooks the fact that the Bush administration represents but one of three branches of the US federal government. Of course this gross oversimplification helps the author make a more dramatic, emotionally pleasing point to his readers, but it also belies his ignorance of the American system and its many checks and balances.
On Iraq, Guessgen rejects any reference to human rights, stating that the justification for war was based on Saddam's possession of weapons of mass destruction. To be honest, most of the world, including German and French intelligence, believed Saddam had WMD back in 2003. If he didn't, why wouldn't he simply cooperate with UN weapons inspectors and avoid the prospect of war and his own downfall? That question continues to baffle. And that brings us to a highly important technicality. The Iraq War was actually triggered by Saddam Hussein's refusal to fully comply with over a dozen United Nations Security Council resolutions on WMD over the course of twelve years, not by Mr. Hussein's alleged possession of WMD. Mr. Guessgen, himself a self-proclaimed advocate of international law, fails to recognize that the United States went to war to uphold international law as expressed in numerous documents (including UN Resolution 1441) and was repeatedly rebuffed by other member nations including France, Russia, China and Germany who refused to hold Saddam accountable with anything more than a flimsy, ineffective regime of inspections.
The Main Problem: Guessgen's Tone
But the issues discussed above, as important as they are, do not represent the main problem with Guessgen's work. We could all debate endlessly about going to war in Iraq, Guantanamo, torture, the death penalty and other hot-button issues. Intelligent people can and do continue to come to different conclusions on all of these issues. It is certainly also the case that Americans and Europeans will never completely agree on all issues (or even most issues) all of the time. This is nothing new, unusual or troubling.
What is troubling is the morally indignant, self-righteous tone assumed by so many German journalists when writing on the United States. Guessgen's first article is a prime example. The headline says it all: "America is Destroying the West." Mr. Guessgen's attempted rowback in his second article hardly undoes the damage of the first.
This sort of biased, America-bashing journalism, so common in the German media because it sells so well, is cynical sensationalism at its worst. (Just look at these covers and the sidebar of this website if you need any more evidence.) Guessgen goes on to fallaciously blame the Tookie William's execution on "George W. Bush's Amerika". And here we must ask ourselves: What exactly is "George W. Bush's Amerika" other than a convenient "Feindbild" for Stern readers? What exactly is the repeated "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth" reference other than a perverted attempt to frame the United States as a land seething with hatred, paranoia and bloodlust? What is the comparison of the United States to the Russian mafia other than ridiculous slander? What is the characterization of the USA as the land of "baseball bat democracy" other than a one-sided denial of obvious fact? What is the pandering suggestion that Germans partake in greater exchange in an attempt to teach the American friends the so-called "European canon of values" other than thinly-veiled moral condescension? What is the proposition that the transatlantic bridge is crumbling and it's all America's fault other than a thoughtless, self-righteous tirade on Mr. Guessgen's part?
Medienkritik Readers Respond to Guessgen
To conclude, we would like to point out that our readers made many a comment on the Guessgen articles and a number were both passionate and eloquent. We felt that two, in particular, should be included in our response:
David Gillies writes:
"Güßgen says you're pro-America, pro-Israel and pro-capitalist. For shame! With credentials like those you're quite obviously beyond the pale.
Actually, I'm fairly serious here. That those attitudes should be seen a pejorative is, to my mind, extraordinary. It's axiomatic among so many on the Left (and their witless hangers-on) that it is wrong to lend one's support to the sole oasis of democracy and human rights in a desert of barbarism, or that America is apodictically malevolent or that the ills of the Third World stem from the market and not from the mixture of warmed-over Marxism and feudal hegemony with which it is afflicted. Such a confident non-examination of one's Weltanschaung (sorry) could only come from the mind of a bigot.
There's also, as I note here, the Left's typical double standards at play, especially when it comes to its accommodation with the forces of Islamofascism. To characterise the US as being in the Hobbesian state of 'all against all'—nothing could be further from the truth—and ignore the fact that life in the Third World is indeed 'solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short' is such a fantastical inversion of the facts as to invite gape-mouthed incredulity."
"Funny what happens when you shine the light of day on hate peddling rats like Guessgen, isn’t it? What a rowback! The same guy who had just bashed America with all the usual half-baked, self-righteous moral certainties that characterize today’s German mass media is suddenly contrite, conciliatory, reaching out his hand to his dear American “friends.” It should come as no surprise that someone so palpably out of touch would try to trot out the old “objective criticism” alibi as his main defense, never mind that it has been thoroughly and repeatedly demolished for the last decade. What a travesty that this little collaborator and stooge in the German media's creation of “Feindbild Amerika” dares to speak of friendship.
Of course, as Doug pointed out, hatemonger Guessgen starts with the usual smear: "Mir eröffnen die Reaktionen die Möglichkeit, mich mit dezidiert konservativen - vielleicht sogar neo-konservativen - Argumenten auseinanderzusetzen." Oh my God! Even Neo-conservatives! We’re dealing with the devil incarnate here. As EABinGA noted, SPIEGEL tried the same...
Davids Medienkritik Upsets Stern, Guessgen - Gets Big Reaction
It seems our article on a recent Stern article received a major reaction from the author. As usual, he falsely attempts to smear Davids Medienkritik as a far-right publication. It's not suprising, but it is rather typical and quite regrettable that so many in the German media choose to smear us and call us names when confronted with our arguments.
At the moment we are in the process of analyzing and composing a response to Mr. Guessgen's latest defense of his thesis. But for now we want to set the record straight on one point:
FAZ and the "Conservative Click Guerilla" Reference
As a part of his disingenuous attempt to characterize us as a part of the far-right and drag our reputation through the mud before the Stern readership, Guessgen writes that FAZ.net called us the "conservative click guerilla." What he doesn't tell readers is that this term originated from SPIEGEL ONLINE's angry reaction to Davids Medienkritik several days earlier. FAZ.net almost jokingly wrote of the "conservative click guerilla" in an article primarily aimed at criticizing SPIEGEL's overbearing approach to our call to vote on one of their polls in March 2004. In that action, Davids Medienkritik never asked anyone to vote improperly or advocated "freeping" the poll. We simply asked our readers to participate in an online vote and we were subsequently linked and the action took on a life of its own.
Again, we will have a response to Mr. Guessgen's latest editorial in the very near future. Stay tuned...
How would you expect the German media to react if two weeks of violent rioting broke-out in the United States and President George W. Bush failed to respond to the crisis for the first ten days?
Certainly, one could expect numerous articles pointing to the "social decay" of the American system and the dangers of too little "state" and too great a reliance on "free markets" and "capitalism" as was the case during the Katrina tragedy. And, without a doubt, one could absolutely expect to see the cover pages of magazines like "Der Spiegel" and "Stern" filled with the usual images of condescending Schadenfreude, accompanied by headlines such as, "America in Flames" or "Riots: The Forgotten Americans" or "Chaos in America: Social Injustice Explodes".
One could also expect, with a high degree of certainty, that the riots would be interpreted as evidence that George W. Bush is under further "massive pressure" and on the brink of failure and impeachment. The media would scream ceaselessly about the fact that Bush did not react immediately and wonder over and over and over again: "Where was the cavalry?!" Bush would again be portrayed as the purveyor of a cold, heartless and unjust political vision founded upon neo-conservative, capitalist principles that have supposedly left America devoid of "social justice". The media would further point the finger at the Bush administration and accuse it of complacency despite "having known" conditions were rife for social unrest.
But none of that happened. Why? Because the riots took place in France and the president was Jacques Chirac. Here are the cover pages from "Der Spiegel" and "Stern" during the riots:
German Magazine Covers during the French Riots: Only one cover (bottom-right) even mentioned France in a small subheadline...
Even more "conservative" magazines like "Focus" also took little if any note of the riots on their cover-pages. Why might that be? Why are the French treated with such discretion while the Americans are attacked, impugned and abused at every opportunity? Why are the same German media that so diligently seek-out scandal and disorder in the United States so content to downplay and even ignore such issues in France?
The answer to these questions is simple: Ideology. The French elites have grown to be the greatest intellectual allies of the German elites. They stand for the same model of "social democracy" and resistance to what is perceived to be "American-style" global capitalism. To criticize the failings of the French would be to criticize ones' own failings. To expose the many flaws of the French "social" system would be to expose the many flaws of the German "social" system. To overemphasize the failure of the French to integrate minorities and end discrimination in housing and the workforce would be to overemphasize the same failings in Germany. To question the viability and stability of French multiculturalism in the face of a rapidly increasing Muslim minority would be to question the same in Germany. To scrutinize the impacts of mass unemployment in Paris would be much like scrutinizing the impacts of mass unemployment in Berlin.
And so German media don't criticize, expose, overemphasize, question or scrutinize the French as they would the Americans.
And when people come to this site and ask us what we mean by "bias" in the German media, we can point to no better example than the recent lack of salacious, drooling coverage of the French riots that one could have expected with absolute certainty had they taken place in New York or Los Angeles. One need only look at the cynical, Schadenfreude-filled reaction to Katrina in the German media to erase any doubt about that.
Of course they should, but don't hold your breath. The same sort of double-standard applies to the German left's treatment of Putin as well. Here's the bottom line: Bashing America sells. Bashing Russia and France doesn't.
Big State Catastrophe Management: The 2003 European Heat Wave Fiasco
And here is a great question for Trittin, Schroeder, Stern and all the other Euro-snobs who exploited Katrina to push their big-state agenda: If the European model is really so superior to the American, how is it that tens-of-thousands of people, many of them weak and elderly, died in France and Germany while the supposedly caring Eurocrat elite, the pride and joy of their respective social democratic systems, were soundly asleep at the switch or simply away from their desks? Well over ten times more people died, but no one has the courage to point out that the European lunatic fringe is once again wallowing in American misery in an attempt to distract attention from and forget about the very real misery it has helped to create right in its own backyard. We don't even need to mention the ongoing economic quagmire...
Put another way, the Euro-snob elite in nations that have proven to be abject failures in dealing with natural disasters (and most other matters) should hardly be throwing stones when they themselves live in a particularly brittle glass house. And don't look now, but it looks like they'd better get some fire insurance for that house too...
Note for readers: Be sure to scroll down and read more on this topic. Or just click here. Also be sure to check No Pasaran for continued coverage of France. Make sure you read Erik's latest piece on a recent encounter with some Latin American babes, one of whom refused to drink Coca-Cola because of the Iraq war. Also have a look at this outstanding article on the Checkpoint Charlie monument's removal by Benjamin Duffy. (Article by Ray D.)
For those of you who don't know, Bertelsmann AG is far-and-away Germany's largest private media conglomerate. It is also a major, multi-national, multi-billion dollar media giant with a turnover of 17 billion Euros, a presence in 63 nations and a workforce of over 76,000 employees.
Stern Magazine: One of Bertelsmann's Best-Sellers in Germany
Bertelsmann AG also happens to own a majority share in Stern magazine, far-and-away Germany's most widely read weekly political news publication. This is the same rabidly anti-American Stern magazine that has recently published the following:
And the list goes on...Oh, and by the way, Bertelsmann also holds a 25.5% share in "DER SPIEGEL", (also one of Germany's best-selling weekly magazines), but we don't have time to get into that right now...
AICGS to Honor Bertelsmann CEO for "Global Leadership"
Not long ago, the Johns Hopkins-affiliated "American Institute for Contemporary German Studies" (AICGS) decided to honor Bertelsmann CEO and Chairman of the Board, Dr. Gunter Thielen, with its 11th annual "Global Leadership Award Dinner" this November 10th in Washington, DC. Here is how AICGS describes its mission:
"TheAmerican Institute for Contemporary German Studiesstrengthens the German-American relationship in an evolving Europe and changing world. The Institute produces objective and original analyses of developments and trends in Germany, Europe and the United States; creates new transatlantic networks; and facilitates dialogue among the business, political, and academic communities to manage differences and define and promote common interests."
Considering those goals, one really has to wonder how AICGS (an institution that styles itself as an "objective" analyst of German-American relations and media trends) came to the decision to honor the head of Bertelsmann AG with its annual "Global Leadership" banquet. After all, there are many people who have worked tirelessly to improve German-American relations of late. What has Dr. Thielen done to deserve this special honor?
Put another way: How could an "American Institute" that purports to promote stronger German-American relations hold a special dinner to honor the head of an organization that has propagated so much biased innuendo against the United States in Germany for so many years now? How can the people who run AICGS honestly hope to bolster transatlantic relations with expensive, black-tie banquets to honor America's worst enemies in the German media? And could this have anything to do with the fact that Bertelsmann has been a financial donor to AICGS over the years? These are simple enough questions...
If you would like to contact AICGS and let them know what you think of the organization's decision to honor Dr. Thielen, be sure to email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org. We would sure appreciate an explanation.
Endnote: In the 1980s, AICGS also accepted donation money from the DDR, the Communist government of East Germany that imploded in 1989-90. Somehow this all doesn't seem so surprising...
One of the most troubling aspects of Germany's reaction to the Katrina tragedy is just how widespread the outbursts of Schadenfreude and the ridiculous blame diatribes have been. It seemed to begin with Germany's lunatic-fringe Environmental Minister Juergen Trittin, who blamed disasters like Katrina on America's George W. Bush's environmental policy and rejection of Kyoto. Shortly thereafter, "Stern" magazine, "Die Zeit" and Chancellor Schroeder chimed in and blamed America's lack of big-state Socialism for the extent of the disaster. Yet others were simply happy to see America take a hit.
Thankfully, there was someone sane in the midst of all the finger-pointing and conspiracy-spinning to record it all. That someone is Jeffrey Gedmin, and his article on the perverse German reactions to Katrina is undoubtedly the most comprehensive and informative piece written on the subject. Mr. Gedmin has kindly granted Davids Medienkritik permission to print his work in the English original.
"Save Your Comments
By Jeffrey Gedmin
A friend of mine, born and raised in the south, a supporter of George W. Bush, has told me several times how disturbed she is by New Orleans. She finds it shocking that the U.S. government responded so slowly, and above all, left the most vulnerable, mostly poor African-Americans, to fend for themselves. Follow the U.S. commentary and you'll know that America is at the beginning of an agonizing debate, likely to last longer than the time it will take to rebuild New Orleans.
You can learn a bit about this in the German commentary about Hurricane Katrina. But that's not all. What an orgy it has been! It started with environment minister Jürgen Trittin's low blow about "climate polluter headquarters" USA. Things like Katrina will not happen, opined Professor Trittin, if only Americans would protect the environment. The Chancellor quickly joined the pack, of course. He says if only the Americans had a bigger state they could have been spared their misery. Henryk Broder found a gem, an American-hating lady from Chemnitz, who wrote to a large daily about Katrina. Her view: "A religious person could get the impresson that this is the wrath of God." My favorite, though, is the one from a fellow from Berlin-Zehlendorf, who wrote to the Berliner Morgenpost about the "war criminals" in the US government who "could care less about the deaths of blacks or foreigners." For a more sophisticated formulation of this thesis, see the front page editorial this week from Stephan-Andreas Casdorff in the Tagesspiegel who did his readers the favour of inserting himself into the brain of the U.S. President. What did Mr. Casdorff discover? That the heartless George Walker Bush would rather attend a business dinner in San Diego or play guitar on his ranch than care for fellow Americans in their hour of need.
Still, the "Armin Meiwes prize for Katrina commentary." names in honor of the "Cannibal of Rotenburg," goes to the salivating fellow from the taz who admits to feelings of "joy" over all the death and destruction. Philipp Mausshardt says he is happy that Katrina hit the United States.
A few quick points to all of this. First, I am pretty sure God did not order Katrina to punish the United States. Second, I am certain the United States needs a more serious debate about global warming. So does Germany. According to the United Nations, since the 1940s "the peak strength of the strongest hurricanes has not changed, and the mean maximum intensity of all hurricanes has decreased." Scientists are also divided, incidentally, on the cause of recent violent hurricanes. Third, a note to the outgoing Chancellor. Yes, we all love Vater Staat, but if bigger government were the answer to natural distasters, then how come your buddies in Paris did not fare better in preventing the deaths of 15.000 during the heat wave that hit France a couple years ago? Fourth, the next time the storm of a century ravages an area half the size of Germany within 24 hours, and this by the way after repeated false alarms, I have no doubt that the editors of the Tagesspiegel will roll out their master plan for a faster, more effecient, more comprehensive and more humane response than the monster Bush.
Finally, we Americans are indeed shocked and embarrassed by what has happened. There will be investigations, commissions, conferences, documentaries and books examining what should have been done differently by local, state and federal authorities. A new debate about race and poverty in America has also begun. Among the recriminations, there is introspection. Does anyone else want to get a kick in while we are on the ground?"
Indeed. But let us be clear on another point: Not all Germans share the sentiments described above. We would like to believe that most Germans do not and that those with perverse reactions are a minority. But we can also not ignore the fact that most Germans have been less than enthusiastic about helping Americans in their time of need. We would like to report the very opposite. After all, both David and I are German citizens, (David is a full German and I am dual US-German), and we would like to report that Germany has generously supported the hurricane victims. But the opposite is true. Most Germans simply assume that America is rich and doesn't need the help and yet others obviously view America with disdain and have simply chosen not to help.
The German government has sent some aid, and President Bush has thanked Chancellor Schroeder for the assistance, but apparently there is a customs issue with a portion of it that the German media is blaming on the US. This is curious indeed considering the fact that German private industry has absolutely no problem exporting things into the United States. So why the holdup?
Anyway, Jeff's article is necessary to raise awareness on the ugly side of German society, politics and media. And in that we are fully on his side. Keep up the good work Jeff!
This is what Stern magazine online wrote about the USA in its introduction to a series the magazine has been actively running on American history since 2002:
"The History of the USA: No nation has ever dominated the globe like the USA. And its people could care less about the rest of humanity." (circled below)
Stern's selection of the Bush photo depicted (above-right) is no accident. They've done the same at least one other time. Note how a US flag is always in the background.
Really? Is that why the USA sacrificed the lives of hundreds of thousands of its sons and daughters to liberate Germany from National Socialism? Is that why the United States spent billions to defend and rebuild West German democracy for decades on end? Is that why the United States helped Germans to establish the very democracy that guarantees German journalists the freedom to make outrageous, dehumanizing and sweeping anti-American statements like the one above?
And let us examine the record for yet more evidence the American people "could care less about the rest of humanity.":
And we know how much our multilateralist, holier-than-thou 'old European' friends love humanity so much more than anyone else. They would have left Saddam Hussein in power, they did nothing in Rwanda, were impotent in the Balkans until the US acted. They continue to stand around and do nothing but talk as African nations like Sudan and Somalia implode. And in another great service to humanity, Schroeder and Chirac recently sought to lift the EU arms embargo on China. Here's a simple question: Is anyone else sick and tired of elitist European "journalists" like the people at Stern lecturing us about how the USA doesn't "care about the rest of humanity"?
Now for some bad news: This won't end anytime soon. Stern's readers can't go without a steady diet of America-baiting. Hatred is a part of their ideological existence and they expect the magazine to deliver the goods. So the financial motivation to print hate is enormous for Stern. It is one of the foundations of the publication's monetary existence...and no magazine can exist without an income.
Update: Die Welt and SPIEGEL ONLINE are reporting that Germans "want to donate little or nothing to victims of Hurricane Katrina." Both publications report that up to Friday the 9th, the Red Cross had only collected 790,000 EURO ($980,000) in all of Germany. That is less than Celine Dion donated to the Red Cross relief effort by herself! It is also less than rappers P-Diddy and Jay-Z are donating jointly. That is over five times less than Starbucks and Chevron have already pledged individually. Just further evidence that Germans care so much more about humanity than Americans!
Note: Be sure to check out our most recent post on Stern's coverage of Hurricane Katrina including all of the most recent updates. For those of you unfamiliar with "Stern", it is Germany's best-selling political weekly magazine. (Article by Ray D., hattip T_R)
What’s a depressed German Big-Government Socialist to do? Gerhard Schroeder and Joschka Fischer will soon be sent packing by voters after seven years of economic bumbling and unfulfilled promises. The Conservative CDU is set to assume the Chancellery and the lions-share of the power. The German left continues to squabble as it splits into ever more radical splinter groups. So where does the misery end…?
Stern: Socialist "Solidarity" Would Have Stemmed the Katrina Tragedy
Well, if you are like Stern magazine editor-in-chief Andreas Petzold, you can always fall back on a time-tested remedy for Socialist sadness: You can look down your nose at the United States and remind yourself how awful things must be in the land of brutal, Darwinian capitalism. You can also forget about your own nation's mass unemployment and stagnant economy by politicizing the suffering of others. And that is exactly what Petzold decided to do in his most recent front-page editorial, named “Somalia in America’s South.”
"We Show What Bush Didn't Want to See." (A full-page ad Stern is running in German newspapers to promote the magazine's current edition on Hurricane Katrina.)
And this will surprise you: Petzold blames the lack of a large, socialized government in America for the tragic aftermath of Katrina. He also blames privatization, class differences, poverty and gun ownership for turning the American South into what he describes as another "Somalia". Of course, the mandatory George W. Bush is under lots of “pressure” line is included too. Here now is a translaton of the editorial's opening paragraphs exclusively for our readers:
"Editorial: Somalia in America's South (by Andreas Petzold)
Hurricane "Katrina" has also devastated the civil society of the proud US-American democracy. Seemingly paralyzed for days, Americans followed how anarchy spread unchecked in New Orleans for days on end.
As in Somalia, armed gangs in pick-ups patrolled through the streets, as a police officer reported to a CNN reporter. Americans were painfully reminded what happens when the state acts too carelessly with its (monopoly on) authority and allows every citizen virtually unrestricted ownership of weapons.
At the same time, American citizens died because the most agile military power in the world was unable to quickly supply the victims of the storm with drinking water and nourishment. The tragedy seems like a perversion of the American societal philosophy that every man must be responsible for himself. The wealthy, predominantly white, got out, the rest were stuck.
Live on every channel was to be seen how fatal it can be when the government first takes responsibility for the lives of citizens in an emergency. A slender state that places its trust in privatization instead of governmental foresight is clearly not capable of enforcing the rights of the survivors to human dignity and freedom from violence in such situations." (emphasis ours)
One has to wonder when people will grow tired of the political exploitation of the tragic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina by Andreas Petzold and other media vultures. Mr. Petzold’s profound ignorance and bias on the United States is surpassed only by his slavish dedication to ideology and burning desire to see George W. Bush destroyed. When will the German people finally begin to reject these pathetic, condescending, politically slanted rants? When will something other than this tired, stupid, ugly drivel penetrate the walls of the German media's echo chamber when it comes to reporting on the United States and Bush?
Remember that heat wave?: Here's a good question: Where was the strong, organized central state and the caring, generous European social model while this was happening? Perhaps Mr. Petzold and Chancellor Schroeder could explain that before we talk any further about the implications of Katrina...
Update: And here is yet another article from "Die Zeit" online that echoes the identical theme...a big, socialized government would have reduced the tragic impact of Katrina. This is becoming a unifying battlecry for Germany's left as they march to election defeat at home. And the paper is currently running the following image on the top left corner of its site:
Die Zeit: Brain-dead Bush-bashing propaganda as "fair, balanced and objective" journalism
Update #2: Politically Incorrect has a good post on this topic as well. Stefan points out that Stern is also running its ads for this week's edition on television with the slogan: "We Show What Bush Didn't Want to See."
(Hattip: Rolf for newspaper scan)
Update #3: EU Rota looks at the economic performance of Germany's Big Government supporters...
Update #4: Stern has a new article out on "Hero" Ray Nagin entitled, "Mayor Ray Nagin: Hero in Flooded-Out Hell Hole." How much do you want to bet Stern would have a different view of Nagin if he were a Republican and Bush ally? Stern's view of Nagin has nothing to do with reality and everything to do with political ideology.
Germany's finest are simply too sophisticated to be fooled. Don't even try it red-state America! Germany's self-proclaimed media gurus are simply too intelligent to fall for President Bush's attempts to comfort hurricane victims. They know what is really going on, they know it is all cynical propaganda. They know deep down who is truly at fault for all the world's problems and they won't be distracted. Germany's reporters understand that the world is complex, rife with nuance and filled with many shades of grey. Translation: Bush is evil.
That's right America. German reporters are just too smart to blame anyone but "W". They know he's just trying to repair his image and shift the blame and they won't buy it. They are simply too savvy. That's why they're already busily slapping themselves on the back and proudly puffing their chests over the fact that they have seen through the little charade.
In an article entitled, "Bush Visit: Hugs, Kisses, Not Being Guilty", Germany's state-sponsored ARD writes:
"George Bush came to look at the area hit by the catastrophe, to hug, to give kisses, and above all, to "not be guilty." First stop - Biloxi on the Gulf Coast in Mississippi. Barely a house is left standing. The President approached a women and her daughter, taking both in his arms. Pictures of practiced sympathy, image repair. "I'm so sorry for you. We will help."
And the reporting is much the same in the rest of the German media, especially the state-sponsored media and the weekly magazines. Big surprise: It's all Bush's fault. Here are just a few recent articles:
And of course the mayor of New Orleans is being portrayed as an angry hero who is demanding that Bush and his people get off of their asses and get to work. He and other Louisiana officials have barely been criticized or mentioned as responsible parties. And get this: Germany's media geniuses have largely failed to report (since it is always all Bush's fault anyway) inconvenient little facts like this (via Instapundit):
"JUDGING FROM THIS PHOTOGRAPH, the New Orleans authorities had plenty of unused buses had they chosen to take people out of the city rather than coop them up in the Superdome or the Convention Center. Now, of course, they're flooded and useless for the purpose. I don't know why they didn't make use of them on Saturday and Sunday. Not enough drivers?
ANOTHER UPDATE: And it's not just school buses: "Before Katrina hit, the New Orleans Regional Transportation Authority operated at least 364 buses, probably more. . . . Why weren't NORTA's 364 buses used to ferry poor people out of New Orleans before Katrina hit?"
We'll no doubt hear more about this in the coming days, but I think that constructive action should be the priority now."
Then again: Why bother the German people with all the details? And why even try to get into the minutia of how disaster relief is organized along local, state and federal lines in the United States when it is so easy and ideologically satisfying to tell the German people that the Bush administration is fully at fault? After all, it's much easier to pose as brilliant reporters of the "objective" truth by convincing one another that they were collectively too bright to fall for Bush's cheap attempts to hug and comfort people.
And don't worry folks: For days to come we can expect to hear songs of self-adulation ringing through the ideological echo chamber that is the German media. They will be singing their own praises...about how they supposedly didn't fall for the same simple media tricks they believe the American people are falling for. And of course we all know how truly satisfying it is deep down for the Eurosnob media elite to see "Bush-Amerika" taken down a notch, to see the world hegemonist unable to quickly come to terms with the disaster.
Yet all along many in the German media are themselves the greatest purveyors and pushers of one-sided propaganda. They are the most narrow-minded and biased ideologues imaginable. But don't bother to tell them that...they are too busy massaging their egos to new heights right now...and by the way, don't forget...it's all Bush's fault...
Germany's most widely read political weekly magazine is "stern,"
which ranks ahead of both Der Spiegel and Focus with a circulation of
around 8 million. That's right, we are talking about the same "stern" that ran the
following two covers about "How America Lied to the World" and another
depicting a boot draped in an American flag crushing German workers:
Earlier "stern" covers on the United States
It's also the same "stern" that recently ran an incredibly degrading gallery of American stereotypes and published another article
on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day comparing Condoleezza Rice to Barney the
Dog while labeling her the "voice of her master." It's the same "stern"
that called American soldiers involved in the tragic shooting of an
Italian agent murderers with absolutely no proof and then quickly back peddled when we at Medienkritik called them on it.
Now stern is doing its part for the Schroeder-Fischer government by
publishing propaganda that Michael Moore would be proud of. The subject
is Joschka Fischer. The online magazine currently features an interview with the Foreign Minister
in which Fischer is practically encouraged to criticize the opposition
and is asked totally uncritical questions about his
campaign and exercise regimen. We at Medienkritik have never seen this many softball questions in such a short interview, and we have seen a lot of interviews.
But that's not all! Stern is also running another one of its famous photo galleries entitled "Foreign Minister: Now Again for Loving." As you might have guessed, the pictures all depict Fischer in a highly positive, even heroic light.
Stern's Heroic Fischer: The US Media Pro-Government? What About the German Media?
a bus tour through the country, the Ober-Green Joschka Fischer wants to
turn things around. He fights for Red-Green, for Schroeder and for
himself. Within just a few months he has re-invented himself. A report
from Fischer's bus.
Fischer is fit. (...) Fischer attacks, but he doesn't injure, he has
bite, but he spares himself the malice. He is different from just a few
months back. That's how the people like him. That is how he catches
them, the person-Fischer. (...)
Since May 22 Fischer is once again Joschka - and Joschka wants to
test himself once again. Red-Green without a chance? Fischer is the
leading candidate of the Greens, he is their workhorse, everything is
built around him, everything depends on him. And he wants to show
everyone. With a bus, with a journey, with countless speeches, talks,
interviews. "Summer journey" is what the Greens call it. Fischer wants
to travel the nation for five and a half weeks. Without a break. Just
the length of the journey is a message in itself. This is Fischer's
campaign, so they say. He, Joschka, is fighting until election day for
government, for his office and for respect. For the Greens, for the SPD
for himself and for Gerhard Schroeder. The last upright man at the
Red-Green round table."
This sort of propaganda sounds like it was written by the former East
German propaganda masters about Comrade Honecker and all of his great
deeds and tireless efforts.
And this campaign is only starting to get hot. Media like stern and SPIEGEL have been lambasting the conservative CDU/CSU and the FDP at every opportunity. Instead of talking about real issues like the economy and Germany's massive unemployment, the left-wing media has been reporting on armpit sweat, Edmund Stoiber's frustration with "the frustrated" in eastern Germany and Guido Westerwelle's campaign bus from 2002, the "Guidomobil". They run photo after photo of infighting, sneering conservatives while portraying Schroeder and Fischer as cool professionals on the comeback trail.
This is all about bias folks, don't be fooled. If the media wanted to find infighting, embarrassing gaffes and problems in Schroeder's camp and blow them out of proportion, they could easily do so. But they won't. They could talk about the years of economic failure of the Schroeder-Fischer government and the misery of Germany's millions of unemployed or about the numerous blatant inconsistencies in recent Schroeder statements on Iran. But they won't.
And it is going to geta lot uglier. Count on it. Many in the German media badly want to help Fischer and Schroeder stay in power and will do so at all costs, even if it means ignoring all journalistic standards and further denigrating the already low standard of German media.
This is all about ideology ladies and gentlemen. Make no mistake...the fun has just begun, so stay tuned until election day...
This land is an imaginary construct of German media and left-wing politicians. It is the United States seen through the distorted lens of publications such as SPIEGEL and STERN. It is a land in which very little positive ever happens and where the great majority of news are negative horror stories.
The land that many Germans believe they know to be mired in misery, crime and hopelessness, is, in fact, totally foreign to them. The United States that they think they know could never be a land of people more optimistic and content with their lives and more economically prosperous. But that is precisely what it is...
"With a few exceptions, Americans are generally happier with their lives and
more optimistic about their future than are Europeans, according to a new Harris
Poll. In this survey, Americans were asked some of the same questions that were
asked in a recent Eurobarometer survey conducted for the European Union.
The big picture is that Americans are much more satisfied with their lives,
much more likely to believe that their lives have improved and much more likely
to expect their personal situations will improve than most Europeans.
Fully 58 percent of Americans are very satisfied with their lives
compared to the 15-country European average of 31 percent. Fifty-six percent of
Americans think that their lives have improved in the last five years
compared to 45 percent of Europeans. Furthermore, 65 percent of Americans expect
their personal situation will improve in the next five years compared to
only 44 percent of Europeans. However, Europe is not at all homogenous and the
mood varies widely from country to country."
Americans More Content And Optimistic? How Could This BE? Europe is supposed to be the social paradise and model...
Then again, the picture of America held by most Germans has been warped and distorted by a media profoundly obsessed with the negative and the sensational. The almost exclusively negative portrayal of America fed to German readers day-in and day-out contrasts sharply with reality. Like all other nations, America has its problems. But it also happens to be the most prosperous and one of the most optimistic nations in the world, and that reality has been drowned out by bias, stereotypes and ideology in Germany.
If one only reads SPIEGEL ONLINE, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Stern or a combination of Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky and Susan Sontag books, then the numbers above must seem completely baffling. America's consistently strong economic performance must also be a blasphemous mystery. Confusion, misunderstanding and ignorance towards America are the logical results of years of one-sided, negative media coverage and the unfortunately large appetite of many Germans for such coverage. Compounding the problem mightily is the lack of widely published, widely distributed alternative viewpoints on America.
As long as the majority of Germans continue to delude themselves that the Socialist welfare state is the model for the future and diplomacy is the solution to all problems without exception, they will also continue to resent America and Americans for continuing to outperform them as they sink deeper into the mire of international irrelevance. And the German media will keep feeding them a steady diet of the anti-American comfort food they will undoubtedly continue to crave. Sad but true...