About 'Weltspiegel's' donations for 'poor' Americans: Our reader George M did a search on the property of Jerry Garten and came up with the interesting information that the guy apparently is a rather wealthy chap...
I wonder if any of you smart internet folks could come up with pictorial information about Garten's home, through Google earth oder Google local or some other search service.
In our first posting on useful media idiots, we reported on Germany's most watched foreign affairs television program "Weltspiegel." Earlier this year, the program ran a story on elderly Americans supposedly freezing to death in their homes because of rising oil prices and a lack of government welfare.
This is all certainly very heartwarming and a great opportunity for German (and Swiss) snobs to look down on America and its perceived lack of social welfare. The only problem is this: We think the money would be much better spent on seniors closer to home. Because while we can't find any reports of massive senior deaths in America due to cold, we have seen quite a fewreports on seniors baking to death in their own homes right in the heart of Socialwelfaristan, aka Old Europe. And we aren't talking about a few dozen or even a few hundred deaths. We are talking about tens-of-thousands of deaths. In France, Germany, Holland, Belgium and elsewhere. Somehow the all-powerful, all-compassionate European social welfare model was incapable of helping thousands of vulnerable citizens survive a heat wave just three years ago.
So we at Davids Medienkritik would like to propose the following: Instead of helping the "freezing Americans," our good, caring friends at "Weltspiegel" should keep their money and donate it towards providing European seniors air-conditioners. And if they don't have enough to go around, they can ask the compassionate American "friends" for help with additional donations. I can see it already: Help a needy Euro-Senior avoid heatstroke this Summer! Donate now!
""In den USA erfrieren im Winter immer wieder alte Menschen in ihren Betten."
This is what gets me - that such blatantly outrageous lies can be broadcast in the German media, and without outlets such as Medienkritik, will go completely unchallenged. And let's not call this anything but what it is - an outright, intentional lie for the purpose of "reminding" Germans of why they should fear, "amerikanische Verhältnisse"."
„Weltspiegel“ is a tv magazine on ARD, the foremost German public TV channel. ARD’s foreign correspondents report on international topics of potential interest to German viewers.
Coverage of the USA, especially of U.S. Administration politics, adheres to the highest journalistic standards. It’s objective, considered, and concerned with factual information.
“Weltspiegel”’s reports from the USA are marked by an overwhelmingly arrogant, critical, know-it-all posture of moral superiority that’s become routine for the German left since the Vietnam war. Pro-Bush Americans appear on “Weltspiegel” as naïve jerks who are paid tribute only if they turn critical of the war in Iraq. On the other hand, leftist Bush critics constantly get complaisant opportunities to present their positions.
The U.S. Administration’s Iraq strategy is of course – we’re talking about German public TV here after all – declared a failure. The morale of U.S. soldiers in Iraq (and their loved ones in the USA) is allegedly sinking to never before seen lows, and naturally the U.S. Administration lied to the whole world about WMDs in Iraq. „Weltspiegel“’s reports aren’t silent about how „terror hysteria“ is increasingly endangering the foundations of civil society in the USA either. The hopeless plight of the “poor” in America – a favorite target group for coverage in the German media – is bemoaned to the point of tears.
Since German media employees can’t manage to explain for the life of them how an administration could get re-elected in the face of such horrific scenarios, TV viewers are plied with dire theories about elections stolen by Bush kool-aid drinkers. It probably merits no special mention that, for “Weltspiegel”, the death penalty in the USA is the result of the kind of totally out of control justice system imaginable only under a dictatorship. (We’ll present some typical passages from “Weltspiegel” reports at the conclusion of this text.)
“Weltspiegel” – The reality of US coverage in the German media. Their job is to communicate a caricature of conditions in the USA. (Translation by Richard Bartholomew)
Crumbling Homefront / May 18, 2003 Fulton, NY One of the largest companies, Swiss chocolate manufacturer Nestle, has closed the factory with a more than 100-year tradition of producing sweets. (...) 8% unemployment here in the state of New York, 6% in the country as a whole – it will take Americans quite a while to become re-accustomed to these kinds of figures and misfortunes (...)
Against the backdrop of war, the President now issues almost daily proclamations about how to help the ailing economy. His doctrine and secret weapon: comprehensive tax cuts. The idea is for Americans to be able to buy more, since more consumption means more jobs. But critics of all political persuasions say the billion-dollar tax cut program favors the rich, will make the budget deficit skyrocket, and will take several years to actually create jobs – too late for [the President’s] election campaign. (Translation by Laín Coubert)
Furlough on the Home Front/ 11 July 2004 The townspeople of Killeen, Texas, are dispirited about the large number of their fellow citizens who are currently deployed on military duty in Iraq. This war is lasting longer than many had expected. And there is no end in sight. The soldiers families are suffering hardships. Until now, foreign duty was limited to six months duration. Calls to perseverance are ubiquitous in this military town in the heart of Texas. Of the 43000 troops originally stationed here, no more than 3000 remain. Only specially selected service members are allowed to speak with us. And they all avoid talking about allegations of torture. (Translation by Paul Smith)
A population behind bars / September 14, 2003 ...more than two million Americans are behind bars. (...) since stiffer drug laws were passed 30 years ago with minimum sentences similar to the penalties for kidnapping and murder. The number of prisoners has more than doubled since the stiffer penalties were introduced. (...) 650 new prisons have been built since then. Now opposition is growing. (...) Actor and director Tim Robbins says, “This is so dumb what we're doing, locking up drug addicts with violent criminals. Just dumb.” Actress Susan Sarandon says, “As a mother, I am horrified when children are taken away from you. That you’re in prison and you can’t see your children anymore. That just has to move you.”
The protests have never been as loud, yet the current government currently has priorities other than sentencing reform. (Translation by Jim Cohen)
Children in prisons: America's reality, as presented by WELTSPIEGEL.
The Broken Special Forces Soldier / March, 14, 2004 Tyrone Roper has shot 20 Iraqis. Now, the U.S. Special Forces soldier is himself struck down, one of the many who have not come to terms with the war in Iraq. While inspecting an enemy soldier he had just riddled with bullets, something happened that would change his life. The man was still alive. Says Tyrone: “He didn’t cry, he just glared at me, full of hate. I saw how the life faded from his eyes. Then, it was gone, he just stared, his face still filled with hate.”
Since that day, death has been Tyrone’s constant companion. He cannot come to terms with having killed people, deserts, leaves his family, flees to Canada. Tyrone is an Indian, and looks for peace with his tribe. (...) They taught me how to shoot, says Tyrone about his time in the U.S. Army, but didn’t prepare me for what war really is: death and misery, the horrible feeling of having power over the lives of other people. Now, at home, he hopes to find a way for himself back to life. (Translation by Joe Tamblyn)
Broken soldiers: America's reality, as presented by WELTSPIEGEL.
On the streets of New York, Gerald Baars is searching for the losers of America’s economic policy. Sadly, he finds them just too quickly. To have a job, and be able to live off of that wage alone, is hard. Pressure builds from the top down. Unemployed college graduates replace clerical employees, they in turn replace sales people. Their only option is a cleaning job; a downward spiral. On Roosevelt Boulevard in Queens, you can see day-laborers - every day – standing in line, hoping for a job as a truck driver or a construction helper. Minimal wages are the rule, therefore one job is usually not enough. And the ones at the bottom – they collect empty cans off the streets. At least you get 5 cents for each one. (Translation by Heike Reagan)
Jobless, hopeless: America's reality, as presented by WELTSPIEGEL.
USA: The Turning Away of the Bush Loyalists/ 1 August 2004 Washington correspondent Patricia Schlesinger has travelled through the USA to ask Americans how they feel about the upcoming Presidential election. Former Bush supporters told her that it was foremost the Iraq policy of their President that turned them into Bush opponents. She met soldiers who had volunteered to go to Iraq and then on duty in Baghdad began to doubt their government. (...) The next stop on our journey is Atlanta, in the state of Georgia. We have an appointment with a former Presidentt of the USA, with Jimmy Carter. We want to hear his opinion of the war in Iraq. In response he does something unusual for a former President: he sharply criticizes the incumbent. "How do you see the situation im Iraq?", we ask. "America under George W. Bush has made serious mistakes", said the Nobel Peace Prize winner. "This war is one of them. It was unnecessary and its justification was based on false premises. That could either be the wrong interpretation of intelligence data or in some cases a falsification of the facts. The American voters will make their judgement about that in November. They will primarily be voting about this war."
In Washington we end our journey. There, where America has erected grat monuments to its presidents. The country stands for a peaceful, democratic world, that is its legacy. But the war in Irag has plunged America into self-doubt. (Translation by Scott Hanson. Scott's blog: PapaScott)
The Big Why? / May 9th, 2004 For over a week a small town in Maryland has been fighting a dubious reputation: Home to torturers (Lynndie England). Welcome to Cresaptown, home of the 372nd Military Police Company. The base is closed to reporters. The citizens of Cresaptown keep asking themselves the same question: what was going on in the heads of our soldiers? Why did they do it? (…) many experts believe that the soldiers were a part of the intelligence services’ interrogation system. Tim Brown, a military expert with Global Security says, “After 9/11 the intelligence services were told, ‘We want results, at any cost’. They completely changed their way of doing business, with the express authorization of the White House and the National Security Council. They were supposed to get the job done." (...) This behavior isn’t un-American. There are always mistreatments of prisoners in civilian jails - and that across the entire country.” (Translation by Hartmut Lau)
Torture: America's reality, as presented by WELTSPIEGEL.
Soldiers’ Families Accuse – the Victims of the Iraq War / November 16th, 2003 Elaine lost her only son, Darious in a war she did not want, in a country she does not know, for reasons she does not understand. Darius only lived to be 22 years old. He was on his way home when his helicopter was shot down. His mother Elaine is still looking for meaning in her child’s death.
Since then her frustration and mourning has turned into anger. “They sent my son there although they didn’t have a plan. And they still don’t have a plan. I want some answers about why my son had to die for nothing.” Anti-war sentiment is growing in the small town of Orangeburg, South Carolina. Two thirds of its population of 14,000 is black. Most of them join the military because it offers college money or an easier path to a job. The students at Wilkinson High School mourn Vorn, Anthony und Darius. …
The mood has changed now, says the principal. Eight of our students wanted to join the military. Now it’s only two.” (Translation by Hartmut Lau)
Your Christmas present: plastic surgery / November 28, 2004 Americans get silicone injected into their feet. This makes great little pads, so you can walk better in high heels. That’s normal. Nobody frowns upon it. Nobody can frown anymore anyway. A lot of facial nerves are paralyzed by Botox. Liposuction during your lunch break. How far will the U.S. take their plastic surgery delusion? (Translation by Heike Reagan)
Plastic surgery delusions: America's reality, as presented by WELTSPIEGEL.
Rescue from death row / April 17, 2005 Acquittal or death penalty – in the U.S., this judgment is a game of luck. If you can’t afford a good lawyer you might end up on death row. … More than 100 people have been wrongly sentenced to death, later they were acquitted. Nobody knows how many innocents have been executed. Seeking revenge can blind you – blind you to justice. (Translation by Heike Reagan)
Blind justice: America's reality, as presented by WELTSPIEGEL.
Election Fairness? / October 17, 2004 After the ballot-counting debacle in Florida in 2000, the current US presidential elections are also suspected of being manipulated. This time ballots are supposed to be processed by computerized systems that do not print receipts. They are manufactured by a known Bush supporter. In Bush-ruled Florida many supposed ex-felons, most of them black, have been striken from the voter registers. They traditionally vote for the Democrats. Washington correspondent Thomas Berbner investigates the question: Is there fairness? (This is followed by a pack of claims that the impending election could be rigged.) Even today many Americans believe the country is not governed by a legally elected president. The US has still not completely recovered from the constitutional crisis that followed the last election. For many then, not only was the election lost, but also the belief in democracy. (Translation by Paul Smith)
Manipulated elections: America's reality, as presented by WELTSPIEGEL.
Der "Weltspiegel" ist eine TV-Magazin der ARD, dem bedeutendsten deutschen Public TV channel. Die Auslandskorrespondenten der ARD berichten darin über internationale Themen, die für deutsche Zuschauer von Interesse sein könnten.
Die Berichterstattung über die USA, speziell über die Politik der U.S. Regierung, entspricht höchsten journalistischen Standards, sie ist objektiv, ausgewogen und um sachliche Information bemüht.
Was natürlich nur als ironische Aussage gemeint ist..
Die Berichte des "Weltspiegel" aus den USA werden ganz überwiegend von einer arrogant-kritischen Pose der moralischen Überlegenheit und der Besserwisserei geprägt, die
für die deutsche Linke seit dem Vietnam-Krieg zur Routine geworden ist.
Recently, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela began an expensive propaganda campaign to distribute heating oil at reduced cost to low-income families along the east coast of the United States, particularly in Boston and New York. OK. So what's wrong with that? After all, heating oil prices have been rising rapidly of late. What's the big deal?
Well, for starters, Venezuela’s poor are exponentially worse off than their US counterparts. According to Venezuela’s own National Statistics Institute (INE), over half of the country, or 54% of all Venezuelans, live in poverty and 25% live in extreme poverty. Despite being the world's fifth largest oil exporter, Venezuela's per capita GDP is less than one-sixth that of the United States. Yet Chavez chooses to send millions abroad in a petty attempt to embarrass the Bush administration while his own people wallow in poverty. Senator John Sununu put it this way:
"Hugo Chavez has used the recent spike in heating oil costs as an opportunity to grandstand on the world stage," said Sununu. "He is selling Venezuela's assets at cut-rate prices while his country languishes in poverty and essential infrastructure crumbles. This is a disgrace, and New Hampshire should take no part in such a tragic and misguided charade."
And why is it that states dominated by Democrats for decades (Massachusetts and New York) can't take care of those in need? Aren't they supposed to be the most compassionate and socially-minded of all? Why would they need help from Comrade Chavez?
"Freezing Americans, Venezuela Helping: (...)The employees at the Boston welfare office know that this year many people will freeze to death in their houses."
The report is the one-sided epitome of everything we have come to expect of the German media's useful idiot elite. America and Bush are predictably portrayed as uncaring, energy-wasting, neglectors of the poor while wreckless despots worldwide are given a free pass. Here's a translated excerpt:
"Help came, of all things, from someone who the Americans actually hate: From Venezuela's socialist President Chavez. He donated cheap heating oil - however just one delivery. 200 gallons, or a bit more than 750 liters - without the oil from Venezuela, many citizens in the northeast USA would be at an end. Because the one-time financial support of their own government has long been used up. The employees at the Boston welfare office know that this year many people will freeze to death in their houses. The Bush government has promised additional help but hasn't made the necessary monies available. John Drew from Boston's welfare office: "It's our natural disaster in this country. Now the cold winds are coming from Canada and the poor people are practically cut off from the energy supply. How are they supposed to survive?""
The poor would "be at an end" and "freeze to death"? How come masses of frozen corpses haven't been discovered in Northeastern states that did not receive the cheap Chavez oil? Hmmmm...
Conveniently, there is also no mention that Democratic opponents of President Bush and his party have long dominated New York and Massachusetts. Yet all the blame is comfortably heaped on the national government while local leftists like Joseph Kennedy are portrayed as heroic activists. Kennedy is interviewed on energy policy, but not a single representative of the Bush administration is presented to defend the government. And that isn't all. While introducing Kennedy, reporter Thomas Bergmann blatantly interjects his opinion into the report:
"Joseph Kennedy holds the unrestrained energy policy of the Bush government for fully mistaken."
The "unrestrained energy policy" of the Bush government? Unfortunately Mr. Bergmann never explains what he means by "unrestrained energy policy" nor does he offer viewers a single, specific policy example. Mr. Bergmann has probably never even heard of the last major energy bill signed by President Bush in August 2005. At the signing ceremony for the "Energy Policy Act" Bush had this to say:
"First, the bill makes an unprecedented commitment to energy conservation and efficiency -- an unprecedented commitment. The bill sets higher efficiency standards for federal buildings and for household products. It directs the Department of Transportation to study the potential for sensible improvements in fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks and SUVs. It authorizes new funding for research into cutting-edge technologies that will help us do more with less energy.
The bill recognizes that America is the world's leader in technology, and that we've got to use technology to be the world's leader in energy conservation. The bill includes incentives for consumers to be better conservers of energy. If you own a home, you can receive new tax credits to install energy-efficient windows and appliances. If you're in the market for a car, this bill will help you save up to $3,500 on a fuel-efficient hybrid or clean-diesel vehicle. And the way the tax credit works is that the more efficient the vehicle is, the more money you will save. Energy conservation is more than a private virtue; it's a public virtue. And with this bill I sign today, America is taking the side of consumers who make the choice to conserve."
But hey, real facts and policies don't matter when German journalists report on the USA...perceptions do: Bush lied and people died. Americans are energy-wasting barbarians who reject the eternal virtues of social democracy. At the end of the report, Bergmann concludes:
"Now Americans are paying the piper for their decades of failure in energy policy."
Right on, those short-sighted Americans had it coming! And naturally there is absolutely no mention of the dire poverty of the Venezuelan people. Moderator Peter Mezger states that Venezuela and Chavez can "easily afford" the program because of high oil prices. After all, they are living in a haven of socialist contentment. So who are we to criticize? Who cares if over half the people live in poverty and a quarter live in extreme poverty. At least they don't have "amerikanische Verhaeltnisse," that oft abused German code-word for all that is supposedly wrong with America's social fabric. And that's all that really matters to the useful media idiots at ARD's "Weltspiegel."
Endnote: The same "Weltspiegel" program (from January 22) contained another brilliant report designed to shatter widely held stereotypes in Germany. Its focus? Bands of thieves in Poland. (Hattip: Michael K.)