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Yeah, well, you know - I think that's exactly what's wrong with the German Media. They do not just report on issues, they do comment on them. Well, that would be fine as long as it doesn't become a campaign. It is not the job of our selfrightous media to tell the citizen what he should think about something. Their job is to INFORM the people, so that they can make up their own mind (Or is the citizen to stupid to be able to judge for himself? Or SHOULD he not do so in the first place...?). And WHEN they can't hold back and feel like having to comment, that this comment has clearly to be pointed out as one, as it was back in the good old times. Just watch the "ancient" news they sometimes replay in the nights or evenings. A whole different thing. You know, when I watch CNN International here in Germany, it's a whole different story for the most part. Not only do they give you plenty of background information and context, but also they are mostly neutral. Even during times of war, like Kosovo or the recent Iraq war, they handle ppl of all corners with deepest respect. I remember Operation Desert Fox, in 1998, when there were air raids conducted (BY THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION) against Iraq because Saddam threw the UN Inspectors out of the country and didn't give in the negotiations after that, they had Tariq Azzis in a live session. He was treated with deepest respect. And also before and during the current war, officials from "opposing" countries, including Iraqi officials, were again treated like what you would expect by proffesional journalists. Never are or were there as low rantings or any rantings at all as there are in the German media.
You know, I was laughing by butt off when there actually was a report in the ZDF news, short before the war, which tried to show actually THE SAME CNN International as "Propaganda Channel". Something among the lines "How the Americans are fooled". They showed a short snippet of Wolf Blitzer's "Showdown with Iraq." But make no mistake, they made damn sure not to translate anything Wolf said, or anything which was said by others in that show either. They just showed the intro, with the somewhat threatening music, and obviously this together with the word "Showdown" (ala Cowboy Bush, High Noon, etc) was meant to make their point. At the same time, the intro music of "ZDF Spezial" is at least as threatening ;). I was laughing so much I tell you. That was so screwed. But the damn truth is that this is the REGULAR pattern. What has been mentioned here sometimes already is unfortunately so true: Goebbels would have been proud of today's German Media. And it becomes even more hilarious when considering that our media and ppl consider they are fighting a Hitler called Bush. Fuckin' morons.

Alex N.

Ich habe mich über Herrn Kleber, den Neuen beim ZDF um 21.45 Uhr gewundert. Er hatte doch einige Jahre in den USA gelebt, so daß ich erwartet hatte, er könne den Fehlinterpretationen anderer Sender etwas Information entgegensetzen, aber auch er berichtete mit Ekel in der Stimme über den Militäreinsatz der Alliierten im Irak. (Ich nenne es jetzt bewußt nicht mehr Krieg. Es war eine humanitäre Militärintervention, um den kalten Kriegszustand im Irak in Frieden zu verwandeln.)

Was haben eigentlich Journalisten in einem Kampfgebiet zu suchen? Ich fand es ekelhaft, wie sie sich dort positioniert haben, um die Grausamkeit dieses Militäreinsatzes zu zeigen. Diese Bilder wirkten aber allein deshalb, weil Saddam Hussein so grausam war und jeden töten ließ, der dies in Bild und Ton festhalten wollte. So gibt es nichts für die breite Masse, die keine Vorstellung davon hat, wie grausam es ist, ein ganzes Volk zu terrorisieren, Oppositionelle zu foltern, ihnen die Augen auszustechen. Außerdem fanden die Funde des Massengräber wenig Beachtung in unseren Medien. Dieser ganze Aspekt, daß im Irak kein Frieden war, wurde in unseren Medien ausgeklammert. Die Friedenskämpfer hatten keine Antwort. Ich habe nie eine gehört.

Aus einem alten Stern von Thomas Osterkorn (editorial vom 27.03.2003): Nun bomben die Amerikaner das Regime in Bagdad in Grund und Boden.... Bush und Rumsfeld haben aus dem legitimen Krieg gegen den Terror einen Kreuzzug gegen alles gemacht, was nicht in ihr hegemoniales Weltbild passt. Wer sich ihren Wünschen nicht beugt, wird für irrelevant erklärt...."

Der Stern hatte nach deren Mitteilung 2,5 Zugriffe pro Tag!

Every time I think the German media cannot get more biased, they prove me wrong. Nevertheless, there was a qualitative difference in coverage between Gulf War I and II. The talk shows during GWI were much more hysterical (in the fear sense of the word, although to some I guess they were also laughable). I will never forget the ZDF anchor on the eve of GWI saying at the end of his report "Ich habe angst". Given the "Blamage" in coverage of GWI, the commentators, aside from the regular cast of characters like Schall-Latour, were more reserved about outright condemnation and in predicting disaster (believe it or not). What I particularly appreciated was the fact that many moderators of the famous "Talkshows" gave the exile Iraqis living in Germany a voice. This was much more effective in shutting up the radical pacifists such as Ströbele. It added just the right touch of reality to what is often a surreal discussion. No American or pro-America German could have had the same effect. Look what happened to Merkel when she tried to raise a voice of caution.

Well, in spite of this improvement the down side is that Germany and most of Europe had become so obsessed with Bush by the time Iraq became an issue that they could not see past his image (and that of the dreaded neocons) to possible valid arguments for a confrontation with Hussein. Notice I say "confrontation", not war. If Europe and America had played their cards better, I believe that by presenting a unified front they might have succeeded in toppling Hussein without a war. There is blame to go around on both sides. War may have been inevitable. No one should shed a tear that Hussein is gone.

But I'd like to mention one weakness at this site: not every criticism of Bush is anti-american. Americans really were concerned about criticizing Bush right after 9-11. That is understandable. Now the gloves are off and an election is upon us. Good I say because there is much to criticize. The German and European media, however, would do well to look closely at both sides of the political divide and not just report the Democratic side, the side that corresponds more closely to their world view. Listening to what you want to hear is a good way of never understanding a country. Lack of understanding promotes dislike, hatred and chauvinism. That's where we are right now in Old Europe, and it is not a pretty sight.

I agree to your comment. I guess everybody here knows the difference between criticism of Bush and anti-Americanism. But often here in Germany people hide their anti-Americanism behind criticism. May be David showed some critical articles as anti-Americanism. I don't know. I think he did a great job with presenting all this stuff. But we kave to look at Germany as a whole. The atmosphere is negative towards Bush and his war against terror and Iraq. Bestsellers here are 12 - 15 books against the USA. Many feel hate for Bush, many complain about the USA and what they did in Vietnam, Chile, Nicaragua. They don't know facts about this, they just repeat what they read in newspapers. And the journalists repeat it again and again without any facts. ZDF, ARD, WDR - the public channels in Germany (öffentlich-rechtlich) reported with disgust on face and voice when the war started. This war is the biggest crime that ever happened. And that's that. Don't give them facts, they don't want to know them. Today I heard on WDR 5, and Frau Kaspar who was in Iraq for six months and reported about the arrogance of the American soldiers, they should leave because their military does not help. The UN should take over the Iraq. And all listeners who called her, said the same: Ami go home, you only do crimes, nobody likes you. That is mainstream here. So I appreaciate this weblog very much. The German media makes me sick. Of course there are the same complaints about Bush in the US and that is not anti-Americanism. We can call both criticism (in Germany and USA) as unfair and dangerous for the world. What does it mean to give power to the UN. The German media asks for it but nobody tells the people that this is unrealistic. The UN does not want it and is not able to do so.

But, N. Klaric, that is mainstream here in the German news: The USA wants to keep the power in Iraq and won't share it. Sounds like: they don't want to share their chocolate but I think it is more something like, they know that they have to solve these problems alone because nobody else can do it. Ms. Kaspar (phonetic) also knew that these problems cannot be solved by military. So by what? She did not say.

Gabi, you have really good points. This is an important site. Believe me, I suffer almost daily from the unfair media coverage over here. I just can't determine how much of it is from widespread anti-americanism among the people that creates a demand for anti-americanism in the press. The average German with whom I come into contact is not anti-american (although the caricatures and the platitudes are widespread). But there are certain types of pseudo-intellectuals and political activists who, almost to the man and the woman, are rabidly anti-american. The press seems to have more than its share of this type. That's why, in spite of its obvious shortcomings, I am grateful for a more balanced weekly magazine such as Focus. I will never intentionally buy another issue of Der Spiegel again. (I say this only because I get it for free from a neighbor. But it is awful.) Die Zeit has also improved dramatically since the Reagan period. It used to be so anti-american that I cancelled a subscription once. Now with the likes of Joe Joffe writing for it, it has a more balanced coverage of the U.S.

For the sake of balance, it might be a good idea to point out and praise these examples of fairness at this website just to show that there are alternatives. If enough Germans become sensitized to this issue and start to notice that their news provider is biased, maybe they will change their news source. One can dream, nicht wahr?

Does anyone have an opinion as to the least biased German TV news right now? The ZDF used to lean a bit towards the CDU and the ARD more towards the SPD, but during the second Gulf War I often found the ARD coverage more balanced (if one can use the word in this context).


you are not alone here. My husband has the same feelings like you and started his own weblog to get in contact with other Americans. He suffers a lot. Our friends are all against Bush and the war. They get very angry when we talk about it. It seems to be a crime to be for a war. I did not see it as a real war. I thought of the terrible situation under Saddam Hussein and the good thing to establish a new state ruled by law and a democratic system. I was not FOR the war but it was necessary as the last method. I trusted Bush and Blair and Aznar and so many others. And I will never understand why the Germans think the UN is a great good fair world government. I wish the US would stop their membership to show what a shit instrument it really is. Dictators can decide what is wrong or right. Ridiculous.

Ein sehr guter Artikel über die Wahrnehmung des Nachkriegsirak, "Auf den Kopf gestellt", findet sich hier. Auszug:

Liest man die Schriften anttiimperialistischer Gruppen aller Couleur zum Irak, so fühlt man sich zurückerinnert an den Wahn, mit dem christliche Sekten Schallplatten der Beatles oder der Rolling Stones rückwärts abspielten, um einer geheimen Botschaft auf die Spur zu kommen.

In etwa gleichermaßen stellt sich das Verhältnis dieser Schriften zur Realität im Lande selbst dar, als auf den Kopf gestelltes Abbild gewissermaßen, das nur verständlich
ist, nimmt man von allem, was hier apostrophiert wird, das genaue Gegenteil an.

Dass es dagegen den deutschen und anderen Antiimperialisten keineswegs um eine Demokratisierung des Irak geht, bewiesen sie nach dem 9. April. Um der Attitüde, auf der Seite des irakischen Volkes zu stehen treu bleiben zu können, musste ein anderes "Volk" her, am besten eines, das sich in einem Kampf von verzweifelter Aussichtslosigkeit befindet, ein Zustand, der dem antiimperialistischen Empfinden hier am nächsten kommt.

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