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I haven't watched network news in years. It's all been tripe and infocraptainment for ages. Not worth the electrons it takes to transmit it. So this comes as no suprise

"The major problem is that studies like the one carried out by Columbia University's Project for Excellence in Journalism are never mentioned by SPIEGEL ONLINE despite the fact that they are widely published and readily available in journalistic circles."

Now, now... We wouldn't want facts to get in the way of good propaganda. It seems that Spiegel Online has a good grip on its own "Perfect Propaganda Machine." Unfortunately, many of the Germans I speak with, take information from such media sources (Spiegel, Stern,...) and treat it as gospel. Although, much of the information contained in such articles is nothing more than re-hashed and translated from American propaganda sources--i.e. The New York Times and CNN.

It's funny to see how the NYT prints an article to blame others for a tactic that they are very familiar with themselves.

"It's funny to see how the NYT prints an article to blame others for a tactic that they are very familiar with themselves."

Of course, I mean this in an anti-Bush fashion. The libs have had control of the American media for quite a while. However, that is beginning to change. Thanks, in part, to blogging and talk radio.

I trust that, in time, blogging will have a similar effect here in Germany. Thank god for modern technology.

The chatter from the Euromedia reminds me of junior high school playground. Gossip, slander, and threats, without fact or reason.

In order to truly understand the US media, one only has to look at the vigor with which CBS attempted to influence the US Presidential elections using fake documents that negatively impacted GW Bush, while neglecting to investigate Swift Boat Veterans charges against John Kerry.

This is ridiculous! The media does propaganda for Bush?! They've got to be kidding!
Yet this laughable notion is indeed widely believed in here in Germany (they have to explain how more than half of the american population chose a president everybody in Europe knows is dumb, corrupt and evil). It's nothing new from SPON. I've heard so many times from acquaintances that "the american media elected Bush", and this so completely wrong I don't even know where to start arguing against it. It is the usual response when you try to show Europeans that their media is purposedly concealing tons of information, and it usually ends the discussion. Try telling them Bush got reelected IN SPITE of the american media. They've never heard of Dan Rather, Eason Jordan, Jayson Blair, CNN in Iraq, etc.

Excellent reporting, Ray D., you should be hired by Spiegel's competition.

Its this kind of thing that really will send one off the rails with exasperation

Its one thing after all for a Euro to say "Bush is creating more terrorists with his actions and is very dangerous for all of us" - thats a sentiment I firmly disagree with of course, but it least its a point of view based on some kind of reality

But to hear that the US mainstream media has been co-opted and is pro-Bush and helped get him re-elected - this is beyond absurd

Its the exact oppostite of the truth!

Its hard to believe that our Euro friends can combine so much fascination with American politics and society with such a stunning amount of ignorance of the facts

I hate to say it but kudo's to the German media for this condition - they have managed to make Black into White and transform reality through their concerted efforts
Now thats effective propaganda guys!

GermanByChoice is soooooo right. Any attempt to break the spell of anti-Americanism that holds sway over the majority of the German public by informing them of a few items they might not have read in the German press and they go into hibernation - discussion ended.

@Jabba the Tutt
Are you kidding? Davids Medienkritik and a few other German blogs ARE the competition. The German media is like a bunch of drug pushers; sure there is competition between them, but they are all basically selling the same thing to their pitiful junkie customers: anti-Americanism.

It seems that Goebbels apprentices are all over the world's media.
He did an exellent job, didn't he?

I believe that by and large, the "planted" news segments show up only in local affiliate broadcasts. National network news has a large enough budget as well as an acute enough slant to eschew the pre-produced spots no matter which administration manufacturers them. As I understand the media landscape in Europe vs. the U.S., the configuration of TV news is different. Virtually all television in Germany (Europe in general) is at least regional, if not national. Contrast to the U.S. where in each U.S. market of more than 100,000 people or so, there's a local broadcast station that produces local news shows under its distinct, local brand identity. Of course, this station is affiliated--almost always--with one of the national networks and carries a national news program in addition to the locally produced news show. CBS Evening News (formerly) with Dan Rather would never air a gov't produced spot. But CBS affiliate WKRG in Mobile, Alabama would--because they can save a lot of money and time with a "professional-looking" segment. My solution, turn off your tv!

According to the Federal Communications Commission, there are 1,366 commercial TV stations in the U.S. In other words, a whole slew of places to insert government-produced spots, all the while avoiding national news programs. Not a good thing, in my opinion, no matter who's in the White House.

F.C.C. link: http://www.fcc.gov/mb/audio/totals/bt041231.html

I love it when lefty Europeans lecture others on the benefits of a free and open press. Much of the lefty European press (print, television and radio) is bought and paid for by the government(s). The government subsidizes these "news" sources with tax dollars.

See http://www.article19.org/docimages/625.htm

Germany's press is actually less subsidized than others, but it still receives benefits and handouts.

A truly independent (i.e., trustworthy and impartial) news source shouldn't accept a penny from the government.

EComplex, news organizations are free to ignore or run with these stories. They do this for the same reason they run with "stories" produced by special interest groups that form "institutions" like the Brookings Institute and the Consumer's Union. It's free content that they can and usually do run with opposing comments.

The fact is this has been going on in some form or fashion since the nation was founded. It's no big deal, as long as the press remains independent from government control.

Q. Where were communism, fascism, socialism, and Nazism invented, in Europe or the U.S.?
A. Europe.
Q. Why did Europe need to invent these systems when a better one already existed across the Atlantic?
A. America rules from the bottom up; Europe, from the top down. It says a lot about how the common human is viewed in both areas.

This is no different than having press releases, "leaking" information, the weekly press conferences, etc. That has always gone on.

@ Lou Minatti

Yes, you're right, but I don't think I ever disagreed with you. Obv. the appeal of the pre-produced segments is the cost-savings, and news shows are all for-profit enterprises. I think, however, by and large, network news is less likely to use such a spot, and if it did, would more likely include "opposing comments." Local affiliates would be much more likely to air the spots, and much less likely to offer opposing comments. This could vary somewhat depending on who was in the white house and how that administration's politics matched the bias of the news organization.

And yes, certainly this has always gone on. But I still don't think it's good, esp. when it's stealth.

Ecomplex - I don't thinks its a problem that there are 1300+ news programs in the US - thats actually a good thing

I do think he Gov't should not be in this business in such a way though

Still doesn't excuse this latest German media effort to take a US gov't program active under Clinton and turn it into a Bush created propaganda effort - not that your saying it does

It seems John Kerry is also concerned about the way too many sources of information are confusing many American's - esp all those morons from the red states that voted for Bush

Its not like it should be, according to John Kerry, when the Big 3 networks decided what you should hear and how to spin the news

Here is the whole piece - hilarious


Kerry Loves the Mainstream Media
From the March 21, 2005 issue: . . . And has contempt for the American people.
by P.J. O'Rourke
03/21/2005, Volume 010, Issue 25

JOHN KERRY EFFECTIVELY ENDED HIS political career on February 28, 2005, during a little-noticed event at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston. Senator Kerry was being presented with the library's "Distinguished American Award"--a bust of John Kennedy. The artist had portrayed JFK with head slightly tilted. The bust looked puzzled. The award was presented by Senator Ted Kennedy, who phoned it in. Supposedly Kennedy was rushing to catch the "last plane out of Logan" to get to Washington for a vital debate on bankruptcy reform legislation. Why the other senator from Massachusetts wasn't vital was not explained. Nor was it explained why any Democrat was vital to a debate on legislation that was simply to be passed by the Republican majority and signed by the Republican president.

Paul Kirk, chairman of the Kennedy library, former Ted Kennedy staffer, and head of the DNC back when Kennedys mattered, introduced Kennedy's disembodied voice. Kennedy praised Kerry's "passion for the value of politics" and "practice of the politics of values." (Where is Ted Sorenson when you need him?) Kennedy did his best to laud Kerry's thin legislative record: "a key voice on arms control." He added, "I can't wait for Kerry in oh-eight" and suggested this as a bumpersticker.

The rest of the evening was devoted to "A Conversation with Senator John F. Kerry." Acting as interlocutor was Boston Globe columnist Thomas Oliphant, who simpered and fidgeted and compared Kerry to Adlai Stevenson.

Addressing the audience of tame Democrats, Kerry explained his defeat. "There has been," he said, "a profound and negative change in the relationship of America's media with the American people. . . . If 77 percent of the people who voted for George Bush on Election Day believed weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq--as they did--and 77 percent of the people who voted for him believed that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11--as they did--then something has happened in the way in which we are talking to each other and who is arbitrating the truth in American politics. . . . When fear is dominating the discussion and when there are false choices presented and there is no arbitrator, we have a problem."

America is not doctrinaire. It's hard for an American politician to come up with an ideological position that is permanently unforgivable. Henry Wallace never quite managed, or George Wallace either. But Kerry's done it. American free speech needs to be submitted to arbitration because Americans aren't smart enough to have a First Amendment, and you can tell this is so, because Americans weren't smart enough to vote for John Kerry.

"We learned," Kerry continued, "that the mainstream media, over the course of the last year, did a pretty good job of discerning. But there's a subculture and a sub-media that talks and keeps things going for entertainment purposes rather than for the flow of information. And that has a profound impact and undermines what we call the mainstream media of the country. And so the decision-making ability of the American electorate has been profoundly impacted as a consequence of that. The question is, what are we going to do about it?"

Kerry is hilariously bad as a demagogue. A low subculture and its inferior sub-media are thwarting the will of the sacred mainstream? His small sparks of malice were blurred by vast, damp clouds of Kerry-fog--murky budget critiques, hazy pronouncements on Social Security and health care, foreign policy vaporings, leaden anecdotes, and an obscure protest that 45 percent of West Virginians lack sewer hook-ups. Kerry was led back to the main point by a question from the audience: "How [do we] stop the media from creating and perpetuating the divisive red state/blue state situation?"

Kerry looked sympathetically at Oliphant--a representative of the mainstream media--and answered as if Oliphant himself had asked the question. "Tom, I swear I don't have the answer to that. And I'm looking for it just like everybody else is. . . . I think part of what we have to do is have an impact on the economics. The corporatization of the media in America has taken away some of the willingness of the media to do the great muckraking they used to do and to be the accountability folks they used to be. And so you have so many different media outlets that are just bottom-line, and they go where the ratings tell them to go. And there's a top-down hierarchical administration of what they'll go after and what they'll do, and it's driven by the economics more than anything. I think if we were to change the economics a little bit through grassroots effort, then you might begin to see a shift." Kerry did not elaborate on the nature of this grassroots effort. Do we smash the windows of Rupert Murdoch's headquarters? Do we nationalize the Drudge Report? "Now, beyond that," Kerry said, shrugging and pausing, "an epiphany of some kind?" Or do we just get in touch with our inner mainstream?

Kerry smirked at Oliphant. Oliphant smirked back. Kerry went on: "A lot of the mainstream media were very responsible during the campaign. They tried to put out a balanced view, and they did show what they thought to be the truth in certain situations of attack. . . . But it never penetrated. And when you look at the statistics and understand that about 80 percent of America gets 100 percent of its news from television, and a great deal of that news comes from either MTV, Jon Stewart, Bill Maher, Jay Leno, David Letterman, you begin to see the size of the challenge." (Those were all Kerry supporters or, at any rate, Bush opponents, but this thought--if any thinking occurred--didn't slow Kerry.) "And so I don't have the total answer. I just know it's something that we've really got to grapple with."

Oliphant responded, in a responsible mainstream media way, saying, "Going back to the economics of it, though, isn't this why God created the Sherman and Clayton acts?"

You never know what's going to set someone off. Maybe the mention of antitrust legislation evoked subliminal images of unfair competition, tipping the balance of Kerry's mind and causing miswired synapses to fire. Suddenly he went from having some wrong opinions and even a few wicked thoughts to having--how does one put this in the mainstream media?--special needs.

"That's something," Kerry said, "that a president with a veto pen and with the right of proposal can achieve. But in this particular dynamic don't hold your breath. There ain't going to be no effort to change that or restore the Fairness Doctrine. This all began, incidentally, when the Fairness Doctrine ended. You would have had a dramatic change in the discussion in this country had we still had a Fairness Doctrine in the course of the last campaign. But the absence of a Fairness Doctrine and the corporatization of the media has changed dramatically the ability of and the filter through which certain kinds of information get to the American people . . . "

Kerry kept talking. But it seems cruel to transcribe more. It would be like taking sightseers to Bedlam--or to an '08 Democratic primary.

P.J. O'Rourke is a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard and author, most recently, of Peace Kills (Atlantic Monthly Press).

© Copyright 2005, News Corporation, Weekly Standard, All Rights Reserved.

Nice article Poque.

How comes there is no real competition in European media ? Wouldn't a Fox like news station get a large audience ? It could draw massive amounts of publicity and compete with government sponsored media just by constantly attacking it, like Fox and blogs do.

In the beginning it could get a lot of bad publicity, but like they say, any publicity is good publicity. Like in the USA, the public could quickly change their political opinions. Is this possible in Europe or are people really born "leftwing" and is it a genetic thing of Europeans who didn't cross the Atlantic ?

I think a bigger problem is the government subsidy effect

Take Britian for example - it would be great if a Fox news operation could compete there, but since the BBC gets $200 a year directly from each TV owner in the UK as a tax, how can they?

@ Pogue,

'Sky News' (News Corporation) competes with the BBC in the News segment but it is finding it difficult. That's one of the reasons why the Murdock papers 'The Sun' and 'The Times' are very critical of the BBC. That does not mean that Sky resembles Foxnews in terms of the coverage. I for one cannot detect a great difference to the BBC in its political stance. Opinion pieces are non-existent to my knowledge. Maybe it has a bit more emphasis on non-political news such as the Michael Jackson trial.
On the other hand the UK has a very competitive newspaper market.

@ Jean

Fox doesn't compete with government sponsored media.

That is indeed the problem, but there still are a lot of private broadcasters, and none of them is rightwing, at least as far as I know. And they do earn money through advertising, which is sufficient to survive.

If they can exist as leftwing broadcaster or whithout any political ties, competing with the public subsidized sector, then surely a rightwing broadcaster should be viable ?

Do you know of any private, right wing news stations in Europe? Maybe some of Berlusconi's stations ? I don't know them, are they anything like Fox? I hope there are some Italian readers here, most info you get about Berlusconi's companies is totally biased outside of Italy ?


OK take the MSM for the USA, in Europe it's government sponsored.

Mike, nothing wrong with disagreement. :-)

I simply have a problem with an entity, whether it's a government or citizens group, saying what can/cannot, should/shouldn't be reported on. As citizens of western democracies, we should settle for nothing less than a completely open market when it comes to reporting facts and opinions, whether this comes in the form of newspapers, blogs, radio or TV. I don't care much for the left-wing Brookings Institution, but I don't want to live in a country that restricts their right to feed their opinions to reporters.

Of course the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution only applies to the US, but any reasonable person would agree that it should be a universal standard:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or of the right of the people to peacably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Saying that news outlets shouldn't/can't use information sourced by orgs like the Brookings Institution is a direct contradiction to the Fourteenth Amendment.

You do have recourse as a consumer, however. Simply turn off CBS and quit buying your local rag newspaper. The market of opinion is already speaking on this, which is why the traditional liberal media sources are hurting.

I'm currently involved in an e-mail exchange with a German girl, and this blog entry explains a lot about her "responses"... read LACK of responses... to my messages.

I've sent her innumerable articles from news media and blogs from all over the world, and she doesn't even bother to read them. This much is clear from her reactions. She doesn't know the difference between a newspaper and a blog. For instance, I've sent her entries from Iraq the Model, and she replied that she isn't interested in articles from the "Iraqi news media" which is undoubtedly "under the control of the CIA."

I'm about to give up trying to wake up this girl. It's a waste of time :(.

Lou: "You do have recourse as a consumer, however. Simply turn off CBS and quit buying your local rag newspaper. The market of opinion is already speaking on this, which is why the traditional liberal media sources are hurting."

Agreed. I stopped subscribing to the Tallahassee Democrat, my local paper, which is owned by Knight-Ridder, and one of the best-named rags in the news business, back during the 1988 election period. Their unabashedly slanted "news" articles caused me to blow my fuse. My TV went out the door during the lead-in to the Gulf War, at about the time CNN was predicting a disaster with thousands of US casualties. If I want entertainment, I watch a DVD on my computer. I get my news from a variety of sources now, via the internet.

Hey Mamapajamas,

you have my sympathies. I've been there before and have tried that too, only in person. And the girl was actually a conservative (for German standards). All to no avail. Big frustration...
Maybe you can get her to read Medienkritik Online once in a while - being in German it does improve the chances a little bit.
At any rate, I wish you luck!

GBC: "you have my sympathies. I've been there before and have tried that too, only in person. And the girl was actually a conservative (for German standards). "

Thanks for the moral support. And your above comment reminded me of something. I wonder if it ever occurs to Europeans that the definition of "conservative" depends entirely on what it is that you're being conservative about? I mean, it usually means conservative about maintaining the status quo, but what is the status quo in each nation? It's different everywhere. Don't they realize this? I see that entirely too many Europeans equate "conservative" with "Nazi".

Geez, who watches news anymore?

Those looking towards the future read the blogosphere.

Speigel is once again behind.

@ Pajamas
You're welcome :-)
You have a point there - I've commented on the difference of meaning for "Conservative", "Liberal" and "Right-Wing" before. It does make a difference where you're at.
I usually call Germans "conservative" when they're in line with CDU/CSU/FDP (Germans might call them financial "liberals").
SPD/Green/PDS voters are IMO so far to the left it's not even worth the time talking politics.
NPD/Reps are Nazi socialists - no better way to explain that.

@ Sandy
I agree, it seems like the printed media will start to struggle in Europe as well to keep its readership - which might unfortunately mean more appealing to things like Antiamericanism and Sensationalism.
TV news is also losing meaning.
But this will probably take a while, since the older folks tend to stick to their habits a little longer.

In the early-to-mid-19th century there was a European expression that went something like this:

"God has given to England the kingdom of the sea and to France the kingdom of the land, but to Germany He has given the kingdom of the air."

The first two kingdoms to referred to the military. The British navy ruled the waves, and France (strange as it sounds today) had Western Europe's largest army. But the reference to Germany's "kingdom of the air" wasn't to an air force. Such things did not exist then. If referred to the tendency of German-speakers to prefer illusions to reality, to live in what somone back then called "cloud coo-coo land." Of course todaythat sort of problem is hardly confined to Germans, but this Spiegel Online article does show that in a century and a half remarkably little has changed. Like a similar hatred for Jews two generations ago, an illusion--hating the US--is preferable to a reality--facing the grave threat terrorism and militant Islam pose for Europe.

One more remark--call it one of Perry's laws. When you hear someone talking obvious nonsense, realize that they may be describing their own reality rather than someone's else's. The Spiegel Online article is a dreadfully poor description of the news media in the U.S.--vigorously diverse at the grassroots, but dominated by liberal Democrats at the top--but it is an accurate description of the much more monolithic German and European press. They think our press is uniformly pro-Bush because their press is so uniformly anti-Bush. They think we know so little because they know so little. They think we're puppets of our press because they're little more than puppets on the strings of their news media. They're projecting their realities on us.

--Mike Perry, Seattle
Author: Untangling Tolkien
Editor: Dachau Liberated
Editor: Eugenics and Other Evils

You're speaking of the First Amendment (it was properly quoted), not the Fourteenth. The Fourteenth is the naturalized citizenship amendment.

The line that the U.S. media are in "lock step with the Administration" is surely the most fantastic, chimerical, and downright funny claim of the anti-American propaganda in the German mass media. It would be downright charming if you could ever call hate peddling "charming." You only need to read a few big U.S. newspapers or listen to the nightly news broadcasts a couple of times to realize what utter nonsense it is. I was taken aback by the claim when I first saw it surface during the early years of the Clinton Administration, but didn't take it too seriously then. It's taken on a life of its own, though. When it comes to anti-American propaganda, lies have long legs in Germany. People believe what they want to believe.

Of coure there is Sky news in the UK and other competition - although I agree they are all singing from the same "Bushchimpyhitler" song sheet anyway

But the problem remains that any alternative media has to compete against a publically subsidized beheamoth like the BBC

That, combined with the veneration most Brits continue to bestow on this dinosaur monopoly, makes it very difficult to break through with any alternative viewpoint

In such a situation, to go against what the BBC says is true makes you look like a loon

This story is also in the Washington Times, from March 15, 2005


The concept of prepackaged TV news is nothing new neither in America nor in Germany. The Book "Lies, damn lies and the Public Relation Industry" features a pretty long (and to a certain degree frightening) article about this topic.


I think the closest thing to an american conservativ would be a bavarian CSU - voter. On the other hand there is a clear difference between the SPD and the greens...
The greens are bunch of strange illusionists and old hippies (although not half as bad as the PDS the successor of the east-german SED-Regime), while the SPD has lost a lot of its "good intentions" since they came to power.

@Mike Perry

"because they know so little"
"because they're little more than puppets on the strings of their news media."

Yeah, you see, sometimes these strings are pretty irritating, but then ,since I know so little, I relax myself through some America-hating and suddenly feel much better...

oh, btw :

@David & Ray D.

Why don`t you translate this article ?


Mike, you're right of course. What a colossal boner I made. Sheesh. I don't know what the hell I was thinking. I'm REALLY not as stupid as that mistake made me appear. :-)

Der Speigel is right. The American media *is* in the bag for Bush. How else to explain Dan Rather's utterly plausible -- yet cunning -- "incompetence." How else to explain Eason Jordan's wily manipulation of the Arab media. His Davos speech was classic intimidation as "revelation." You want to question George Bush? Fine. Hope you like American food. Try George Dubya's triple lead sandwich with a side order of shrapnel. Bring your own ketchup.

Afterwards, Jordan craftily "resigned"... right into the arms of Sharon Stone. Now tell me that wasn't arranged.

There's no end of it. Tom Brokaw? Government tool. If you doubt it, ask yourself how an illiterate, lisping cowpone from North Dakota becomes the lead anchor at a major network. The American Dream? Please.

And then there's Peter Jennings, who hides behind his Canadian roots to deflect accusations of pro-Bush pandering. Sorry Peter, we're not that stupid.

I could go on... but there's no need. Der Spiegel is on the case.

Finally, someone get's it.



Was Der Spiegel so biased and dishonest 30 years ago? Just curious.

Note from David: You're unmasking my age...
Yes, if anything, SPIEGEL was worse then. I remember the cover of a 1976 post election edition where they presented the - losing - candidate of the conservative party Helmut Kohl under the headline "Kohl kaputt", which translates into "cabbage kaputt". Of course, history had other plans for Kohl...
SPIEGEL in those days regularly downplayed the dictatorial nature of former east Germany's communist system. Whenever SPIEGEL disliked a politician they called him "anti-communist". "Cold warrior" was frequently used for folks who questioned the wisdom of the appeasement policies of the governing coalition of social democrats and free democrats.
Also, they held Keynesian economic policy in high regard and ridiculed capitalism - a position they since abandoned.

Of course, no SPIEGEL ONLINE on the horizon back then. And no Davids Medienkritik either...


Okay, I'll return the favor and unmask my age: 30 years ago my German instructors were recommending Der Spiegel as a fine, serious journal which I ought to read if I became proficient enough. Funny instructors, hey?

What you unsophisticated Yankee chimpsters don't understna is that the MSM actually favored Bush by running negative stories about him!

Consider. The MSM has lost so much credibility the past 30 years that most American voters use it as shorthand for their issue. That is, if the MSM is for something, they ought to be against....

Therefore the anti-Bush bias in the US press was actually a subtle plan to guarantee his re-election....

Well, if there actually was such a thing as "the anti-Bush bias in the US press" then your funny little secret plan certainly worked, didn't it?

Note from David: jay alias Jo alias mad scientist alias....: stop using this e-mail address.

"In other words, many Germans have come to the conclusion ..."

Stop that, please. You know nothing about "many Germans". The sooner you learn that, the sooner you will find out the pointlessness in this whole mission.

I find it interesting that a modern German paper uses a Nazi term to talk about the US. “Gleichschaltung” was the Nazi way of talking about bringing organizations into line with the party; it’s a metaphor about switching over onto a common track. The Nazis left plenty of brown tracks on the German language, and there is a whole vocabulary that decent people have avoided for years, except, apparently, when they are abusing the US.

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