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Last time I checked Germany had two private news channels, and three major channels apart from ARD and ZDF. Furthermore the Springer group is expanding into the TV-market via Pro7-Sat.1. Springer's media outlets usually take pro-American stances. So we shouldn't pretend that there is no hope at all.

As for our chancellor, look at his party's ratings. If the government was seriously able to influence the media, the polls would look differently.

Most of the Newspapers are not "government controlled". Also the media are "öffentlich-rechtlich" which is probably the opposite of "government controlled", because the political parties and institutions (churches and other institutions) "control" them.

David and Ray and posters:

You may not recall but in Feb 2004 there was a fascinating thread here about the media in Germany. Here's the link.

http://medienkritik.typepad.com/blog/2004/02/thread_on_germa.html#comments

A taste

>>until the early 80's you could not obtain frequencies for privately held broadcasting. Helmut Kohl changed that in the hopes that a variety of opinions would emerge from privately held broadcasters. One of them was Leo Kirch, a bavarian (?) conservative and close friend to Helmut Kohl and Edmund stoiber (who wanted to become Chancellor in 2002). Also, note that the SPD formally has no majority in most public broadcasters boards but they do have influence through the unions and churches which when in doubt will vote whatever the SPD thinks is right. Also, the SPD used to dominate the Rundfunkräte for a long time because they've had majorities in the Landesparlamente, so the stakeholders they've installed in various boards and upper management are still there.

---------------
DL wrote
>> Imagine what Germans would say if the only news available in the United States came from a government funded source. Not only would it rightly be catagorized as a conflict of interest, it would be dismissed as propaganda.

Oh, that's ok. Given the shitstorm that's going on over here about the bogus Newsweek blurb, I think we Americans are pretty much past assigning 'propaganda' solely to the government.

Thank the lord for the internet.

When I think of state-controlled radio, I recall Dietrich Bonhoeffer, speaking on German radio three days after Hitler took over the Chancellorship and a minority of the cabinet. He intended to criticize Nazism's Fuhrer Principle, but was cut off part-way through his speech.

Three days in power and the Nazis could already silence dissent. Scary. State-run broadcasting is not a good idea.

--Mike Perry, Seattle
Author: Untangling Tolkien

Marktanteil 1. bis 13.5.:
ARD: 11,6% MA
ZDF: 11,9% MA
RTL: 14,1% MA
SAT 1: 11,9% MA
RTL is market leader (and has been for quite a while), ARD and ZDF are far from dominating. there is plenty of competiton with more channels of free tv (no decoder/monthly payment) than in any other european country. and when you compare the news shows of bayrischer rundfunk with those of WDR you will find competing agendas within the Öffentlich-rechtlichen as well. People are free to chose where to get the news from, and people do chose. If you think that they watch to much Tagesthemen, you will have to change the population, not the tv stations. the political center in germany is left from the center in the us, adding a Fox News Germany won't change much. above quotes are from quotenmeter.de

ARD and ZDF are both liberal.
So is RTL (affiliate of Bertelsmann, owner of the liberal Gruner & Jahr that publishes Stern).
SAT1 / PRO 7 used to be close to the more or less socialdemocratic CDU but has turned a little left since Haim Saban ( a supporter of the Democrats) bought it.

Re Markus,

of course adding a Fox Germany will change them.

The population is not leftwing inclined by their own thinking, but influenced immensely 1. by their past. 2. by the the - more or less - Leftist inclined TV media. A Fox Germany would be a relevation and is an absolute necessity.

Everyone I talk to blathers the same nonesense. It takes about 10 minutes and they become uneasy and are backing down on various subjects. After that and further discussion they begin to form a different opinion. Only mayby 1 in 20 has enough background and is a true Socialist as to stand by his preachings.
And I am a poor debater.

I am astonished how easily people have formed their
opinions and how easily (in this case) they can be changed. It is like saying to them , " psst, hey, it´s ok to have a differing opinion, and it can even be a conservative/moderate right opinion" .

The "öffentlich-rechtlichen" must be abolished. The GEZ also.

The presence of a State media was probably intended as a safeguard, so that the Government can step in at any time and take massive measures in case of Right Wing danger.
This implies a lot, doesn´t it ?


Yes, there is a heavy influence of politicans on the media. Every boss of every non-private channel is choosen for his political colour. Channels "belong" to parties.
But that's not the main problem. The problem is that there is no lively public sphere, no fresh debate. Also the parties have completly lost every inspiration. Between SPD and CDU, there is no big difference. The FDP has no idea of what liberalism is about.
Politics in Germany is all about jobs for politicans. Nobody has an idea or a strategy or an agenda. There are discussions about the details of this or that detail of the so-called reform of the social state. But nobody has the capacity to link those details to the great picture. Nobody is asking the big questions: What kind of state do we want? What kind of society? How can we adapt better to globalization? What can we do about demographic problems, what about immigration? Should't we do everything we can to create an Euro-Islam?
Yes, some articles, here and there. But nothing really inspiring. No interesting discussions. People are tired. They fear losses. They fear the future.
The media are not responsible for this situation. They are not much better or much worse than the rest. In my view, the biggest problem is the lack of public intellectuals - people who link politics, academia and media. We have a strong seperation of the three fields.
And to be successful in one field, you need to have a bureaucratic mind, you have to go the whole step ladder in one institution. What counts are not your ideas and other skills, but your ability not to disturb the establishment. Exceptions are very rare.
This is how the system is built, and this is why we have today a complete failure to reform, to adapt to a different reality. In all these bureaucratic institutions - parties, state bureaucracy, media, University - you have a majority of people that are only interested in bureaucracy. Not in politics, society or something like that. That's not their job.

>>>The problem is that there is no lively public sphere, no fresh debate.

I couldn't agree more.


GERMANY NEEDS CONSERVATIVE MASS MEDIA!

GERMANY NEEDS CONSERVATIVE MASS MEDIA!

GERMANY NEEDS CONSERVATIVE MASS MEDIA!

Especially TV and Talkradio! We can't do that on our own, nodoby would invest in that, and without american backup, we would be branded as radicals and fascists in no time. We should flood Murdoch, Hannity, Limbaugh, Prager, Ingraham, Levin, Bennett, Hewitt, etc., with emails and ask them for help!

American Conservatives, get serious about spreading your message! Liberals (like Haim Saban) have no problem spending BILLIONS of dollars for their liberal agenda - what about the conservatives?

Re Ulrich.

This is too typically defeatistic again.
Everybody does this.

no,
no,
no,

IT HAS A CAUSE .

The cause are the German past and a virtually unopposed strong Left.
The (sleeping) Conservatives and the (to be formed) moderate Right have to take power from the Left.

@Mike Perry: It doesn't take a dictatorship, when the State owns the media. The BBC never allowed Winston Churchill on the air all through the 30's, when he was trying to warn the people about the dangers of Nazism. The then British elite thought it was too 'aggressive' to talk about that.

@Phil wrote: "Furthermore the Springer group is expanding into the TV-market via Pro7-Sat.1. Springer's media outlets usually take pro-American stances."

I get the Pro7-Sat.1-N24 station here in the States, also Heute Journal and Tagesthemen. The State news shows definitely set the agenda and set the tone. I can't tell the difference between the State and private broadcasters. The news hasn't been as bad as I expected, all one-sided, but they do a better job of faking sincerity than the US media manages. Maybe it's a matter of less exposure.

Yesterday I had a soap opera on for background noise, I think, but don't hold me to it, it was Forsthotel Stern. The hotel was having financial trouble and for some unexplained reason, the only source of customers were rich Americans. Out come all the hateful stereotypes. One rich businessman type plays golf in his room, housekeeping opens the door and out comes a golf ball, which hits a framed painting just hung (re-hung? destroyed once already?) on the hallway wall. Rich American says it doesn't matter, it's not expensive and shoves some money into housekeepings hands. Then we see bratty American kid riding his bicycle in the lobby, with baseball hat on backwards, recklessly knocking down an older gentlemen and no one says anything, I guess because the hotel needs 'their' money. I believe this was on Pro7-Sat.1, but I could be wrong about this.

What got me about this, was just how crude it was. No one, not Americans, not Germans behave this way. I also wonder, how the Germans keep contradictory American stereotypes going without their heads exploding. Which is it? Are American crude, rude, uncultured brutes throwing their money around or grinning idiot morons wandering around aimlessly?

Benny Hill runs up Americans much better and much funnier and keeps a good spirit. John Cleese nailed rich Americans in a hotel in one Fawlty Towers episode, 'Waldorf Salad'. A must see!

@nico,

DL, you claim the German media is government controlled. Show me the connection.

Nico, it works through the Rundfunkräte. There, you have several so-called "public relevant" groups, like the churches (Protestant, Catholic, Jewish), the workers unions and their counterparts etc. Also the political parties.

The point is that workers unions will vote with the spd, their counterpart with the cdu, etc. The only independant group here are the members of the Jewish communities, which you cannot bind to a certain political party.

The boss of the TV-station is elected by them.

And we shoukd not forget that it is not just ARD and ZDF:

ARD is the summary of all regional TV-stations like the WDR, NDR, HR, BR, SWDR, etc. They also have their TV- AND Radio-programs - all in all 60 approx. (!!).

"The reason was simple. Then Chancellor Kohl feared the growing opposition rooted in German pacifism. So state-funded media became a tool in his battle to shape public opinion."

German public tv got instructions from Kohl? Wow, of course that would prove your "german press is goverment contolled"-theory. But thats just rubbish, sorry.

In fact, Kohl opened broadcasting for privately held broadcasters, because of the massive liberal (anti-Kohl) bias in public tv (ARD, ZDF,...).

I'm rooting for German media that is not state or union or anything controlled. But if it should really happen, don't get your hopes up. You will still have to deal with bullshit, if our U.S. media is anything to go by. This morning I was reading an opinion piece on the death sentence when I came across this gem of a phrase. "Television, where Americans spend most of their time........."

Snobs know no national boundaries. I'm beginning to think that in order to avoid the hubris that apparently comes with being a columnist, one should remain anonymous.

For my American taste, the German mass media is and has been for almost 40 years unquestionably pro-Left.

The U.S media had led this way originally but had finally started to challenge the situation with the moderate FOX NEWS (which Germans titled incorrectly, as "solidly, politically conservative)."

I can say for myself that I have followed political developments in the American as well as in the German mass media closely for the last 52 years. I don't know how many of our readers can say to have done the same with the same intensity as I.

Both, Germany's and the U.S. started with their political trends toward leftwing policies "trial ballons" almost at the same time. These ideas were being published in the printed press as well as on televison with the begin of the "counter culture revolution" of the early 1960ies.

However, that is where the similarities between America and Germany end.

With the arrival of a reborn conservative movement (which had shed its old "rich country club" image), a new political thinking was born in the U.S. but not in Germany.

It concentrated on winning the Cold War, fighting Communism and stopping the Democratic Party machine steam roller which had an orgy since the days of Roosevelt, of "tax and spend" programs. These programs were obviously used to "buy" votes for the next election from the less financially affluent.

All this time, German mass media had followed the leftist/liberal political line of American Democrats.

Even when it came to questions of purely internal German decisions on foreign policy, like recognition of the Oder-Neisse-Line or the abrogation of German rights to its Eastern Provinces, German media followed the despicable attitude of left-liberal, Democratic U.S. Senators Humphry, Morris and Fulbright. All three of these "unholy three" had proposed to amputate the Eastern Provinces (1/4 of German territory) from Germany thereby exstinguishing 750 to 1,000 years of East-Central European culture.

However, the leftist-liberal movement remained challenged in America by some brave publications, like William F. Buckley's conservative NATIONAL REVIEW.

Pretty soon, a long list of conservative publications developed in the U.S. As a cosequence, more and more American voters became very uneasy about the liberal/left which had been proven to be soft on Communism and which had begun through Hollywood to attack the bedrock of American existence: "Their faith in God."

All of this helped a traditional American, like Ronald Reagan, into office and finally filled both Houses of Congress with Republican conservatives.

Germany, on the other hand, never left the slide toward more and more Liberal/Leftism.

East German territories, the expulsion of its peoples and the destruction of their culture had been forgotten. The byword was "to make Germany into an unthinking "consumer nation" without any desire or responsibility toward its historic forefathers."

That is why only 12 years of the catastrophic Hitler period are taught in their schools avoiding any mentioning of great German, patriotic heroes of preceding centuries.

When president Reagan was finally elcted, it opened a big chasm between Germany (or western Europe) and the U.S. Finally, it became all too apparent what I had been writing about the last 40 years:

1. America was born by the sacrifices of its citizens to be free of nobility or any kind of government not of their choosing.

2. Americans do not recognize any laws or edicts which were nor approved by themselves.

3. Americans accept the fact, that all their laws must be recognised by their own accepted authority of a Judeo-Christian God.

Who can say that this carries any similarities to today's Germany? Only my home country, East Prussia, followed a similar thinking many years ago. (By the way, it was the only country in the world which was founded upon the belief in Jesus Christ.)

Peter P. Haase
Boca Raton, Florida

Ach. Peter. Our previous contretemps prompted me to do some research.

You are right about much. About a great deal actually that I gave no credence to. My apologies. Unfortutanely you are on the losing side of history. We can argue about the minutia later.

For those reading here, the most accessible source is a recently published book "Cruel World" by Lynn H. Nicholas. It is devoted to what happened to European children during WWII but there is a chapter 'Liberation and Repatriation' that is helpful in understanding what Peter is refering to.

>>3. Americans accept the fact, that all their laws must be recognised by their own accepted authority of a Judeo-Christian God.

Ok Peter, THAT we have to argue about!

Hi Pam,

I am glad that you found proof for the veracity of my preceding statements.

However, I am not concerned being on the "losing" side of secular views of history, as you put it. I was in the same spot as a 15 year old in Hitler's crumbling Germany.

I trust in God and nobody else's concept of justice. This has put me on the right side of history throughout of my life - never mind the forces that tried to oppose me.

The fact that the U.S has started from its beginnigs to lay a foundation for the state by making use of the Judaeo-Christian faith is recognized by the vast majority of Americans (just look at our Dollar bill and the writing "In God We Trust".)

If you think differently, you are of a tiny minority who would definitely feel more comfortable living in today's secular Germany.

What is seemingly for you just another religious philosophy to argue about, is to most Americans an article of unshakable faith (as it was to people in my East Prussian homeland.)

God be with you to make you enjoy your life to the fullest.

Peter P. Haase
Boca Raton, Florida

Peter,
>>The fact that the U.S has started from its beginnigs to lay a foundation for the state by making use of the Judaeo-Christian faith is recognized by the vast majority of Americans (just look at our Dollar bill and the writing "In God We Trust".)

I personally don't dispute it in the least and am most grateful for it. However, fewer and fewer Americans are comfortable with religion these days. They view it as a superstition and not as a rigorous challenge, intellectual and spiritual.

I think Americans are becoming soft. People abhor the obligations of a given faith be it Lutheran, etc. We'd rather sleep in. Write a check to a charity? Sure, no problem. Actually read the Bible and concordia? Eh. Too busy.

Acting in faith is alot of work. It takes time, patience. But for Americans, it lacks the one
true thing. A goal. A measurement that tells us that we won or lost.

A simple journey that can sometimes be quite the slog doesn't go over well.

And by the way, I'm a Jew.

Best to you Peter.

Pamela,

I disagree with your statement about religion.

Every poll shows Americans are becoming more religious not less. This was even an area, which was highlighted, in the latest PEW report on attitudes.

This might make the demo’s and the Euro’s feel uneasy but such is life.

Many feel this is the real fault line between the US and Europe and even a fault line with Canada. The NYT, WSJ, NYP, WaPo in the last 18 months have all done articles on this topic of America becoming more religious and Europe becoming more secular.

I tend to agree with the idea this is in fact a looming fault line.

Of course, our history and culture in America is much different than the culture to be found in Europe as it pertains to religion. Remember religious freedom was one of the more important reasons our forefathers came here.

I am trying to actually visualize what a conservative media outlet in Germany might be like. I find it difficult to do.

First you would have to define what conservative is.

Just what is a German conservative?

It would seem it would have to be to the right of the CDU in Germany and to the right of Tories in the UK in the positions it would take.

If it were to do that in Germany it would get all caught up in the idea of being far right and associated with Nazism.

Think about this, it would be attacked from all sides or at least all sides as they are currently aligned, the right, far right, the left, the far left, the center, etc. Everyone would have a new target.

If M$M could not totally discount it initially it surely would create a media buzz.

The practical question of who would buy advertising when it was being demonized by the rest of the media would be the real issue.


@Joe:

>First you would have to define what conservative is.

I would like to see german conservative media american / Reagan style: conservatism with a libertarian core, with a christian/jewish value system as it's base.

What makes american conservatie media so attractive (at least to me) is, that they do not pretend to be "unbiased".

Hartmut,

Is there such a group in Germany now?

@ Joe,

A couple of weeks ago there was an interesting post here about the differences between European and American liberalism. While European liberalism is usually pro-markets American liberalism often favours a bigger state.
In my opinion the same is the case for conservatism. The term itself tells you that something is meant to be 'conserved' or kept. Due to its different history, mainland Europe's conservatives are often opposed to socially progressive values but they are also not very enthusiastic about capitalism. Essentially German conservative parties such as the CSU do not want to greatly reduce the welfare state.

An American conservative's opinions would not automatically be conservative over in Germany.


Let me give You some examples what I think could be position of german conservative media (in random order):

Reject the EU "Constitution" - Germans sre not allowed to vote for or against it, so it's not worth the paper on that it is written.

Being very critical on the EU and it's institutions - after all, the EU is nothing but a big bureaucracy, a life support system for nearly have-been politicians, the EU parliament has no rights, etc.

abolish the GEZ and the german PBS (or shrink it to about 10% of it's current size)

Reject the admission of turkey into the EU

promoting massive tax cuts

expose leftist pet projects (like the Windpowermania)

taking a critical look on "global warming"

@Joe

>Is there such a group in Germany now?

Well, we are here, aren't we? ;-)

LOL

A very good answer. Some of us are not even Germans but true we are here. I would sailing under the same wind.

It would be a mix of the positions of most outspoken conservative politicians (Schönbohm, Stoiber, Söder) and "Renegades" / Querdenker (Gauweiler, Vera Lengsfeld - she has much to less media attention), hardcore FDP positions on economy and civil rights, "dissident" journalists like Maxeiner & Miersch, common sense confronting leftist doomsaying, "outing" of characters like "Joschka" Josef Fischer and his ex(?)-communist comrades, exposing media bias, ... I think the posibilities are endless.


... and a pro-military point of view. We do hear nearly nothing about what the Bundeswehr is doing in Afganistan, for example.

But it has to be

a) backed by american conservatives and conservative media - not only because of the money that it would need to start, but because that would immunize german conservative media against a lot of the possible reproaches

b) and it has to be real mass media: a newspaper or blogging isn't enough. It has to be TV and/or talkradio. I would prefer talkradio, it is the perfect medium for conservative thoughs and ideas.


Phil,

Yes we get hung up on words and their meanings. I remember having this discussion with a poster named Ralf. We used the same words in many cases to describe values but they had different meanings.

The same applies here. I agree with you about the CDU.

That is why I said it would be a target for everyone. I would, however; hope it would repersent some of the views of the German people.

I just finished a mail to a friend who happens to be German and who is on assignment for his company to Japan. He reads this blog but has yet to comment. So we have our own little private exchange of emails on the topics here. He is my most sever critic.

We are forever asking each other hard questions.

In my last mail to him, I expressed my dismay about the German people. No, it was not at all negative and had little to do with any of the current topics here.

It was more of a question of where did the spirite of his grandparents go. I said this meaning those Germans who in May 1945 worked to put Germany back on its feet. Those who worked hard, took great risks and has a vision of tomorrow. Those who believed in the future and that future would be a better one.

I then talked of his parents and finally of his generation and then those who are now in the univesity or in lower school.

I really am lost in my understanding of this. That spirit seems to have been lost some where. You see it in so many aspects and opinion polls of Germans. I find that to be a bit depressing.

So you are right about changes and the welfare state and as much as I would like to believe anything is possible as Hartmut does, I have great reservations.


@Joe:

>That spirit seems to have been lost some where.

There's nothing surprising about this: collapsing welfare state + decades of biased media.

> I would like to believe anything is possible as Hartmut does, I have great reservations.

I do not believe that anything is possible, but we have to start somewhere! The tactics used by the liberals is "pushing the envelope", and that's what we must do, too. (But in the other direction)

>>If it were to do that in Germany it would get all caught up in the idea of being far right and associated with Nazism.

Do you really think so? The true conservative as exists in the U.S. today has as a core value anti-colllectivism. That would eliminate any Nazi brush.

Ok, I'll stop nagging on collectivism.

Peter, you might enjoy the book "The Cube and the Cathedral" by George Weigel. Quick read. Catholic theologian - talks about how the death of religion in Europe is responsible for European decline.

A few words about the CDU: Much of the party's policies, past and present, have been influenced by Christian social dogma (christliche Soziallehre) and envision a socially conservative, paternalistic welfare state. People like Geißler and Blüm are the most notable proponents of such views.

But - and this is important - the CDU has been dominated for several years now by politiciand like Angela Merkel and Friedrich Merz who are ideologically MUCH closer to US Republican conservatism than to Christian paternalism. They want drastically lower taxes, a foreign policy built on transatlantic friendship and cooperation, deregulation of economic life (even more than oppressive taxation, red tape is crippling this country), and lots of "small" steps away from the nanny state such as the introduction of university fees. Their natural ally is the small but influential Free Democratic Party, a libertarian party that is strongly pro-American, free market oriented, and against the Greens' eco hype. They are mor influential than their share of 5-10% of the vote would indicate because the CDU can only hope to form a government in a coalition with either the FDP or (hypothetically) with one of the left-wing parties.

The reason the CDU is neither as clearly nor as reliably conservative in the American sense is that their voter base is a far cry away from embracing such ideas. Most of the people who vote for them do so because they are socially conservative and dislike people like Schröder and Fischer, not because they are fond of economic conservatism (in the American, laisser-faire sense). That's why the CDU's rhetoric on such topics is often somewhat timid, and also the reason why the marginalized left wing within the party - the "working class wing" that embraces Bismarck-style paternalism - is more influential than the numbers _within higher party ranks_ suggest. The party leadership would get along quite well with US Republicans.


That's why those Germans who support (a) free market oriented reforms and (b) a good transatlantic relationship are - I'd say evenly - split between the CDU and the FDP. Those who are also concerned about civil rights gravitate toward the Free Democrats while those who are socially conservative or religious tend to prefer the CDU.

What is German conservatism?

Well - IMHO, it would a worthy though challenging goal to attempt to influence and change that definition.

There are conflicting definitions of conservatism here in Germany. The power struggles within the CDU between a Bismarckian, paternalistic ("left") wing and a free-market, pro-American wing often labelled "neoliberal" by our media and the public illustrates that.

To win over the hearts and minds of the public for the latter flavor of conservatism won't be easy, but certainly possible. Remember that in the 50s, it was the CDU's Ludwig Ehrhard who, as economic minister, paved the way for an economic order that was considerably more laisser-faire than that of any other European country, and arguably even that of the United States at the time. That small government platform is something to build upon, a tradition that can be presented as "true" German conservatism and indeed as the very foundation of the Federal Republic.

I'm not sure a TV station, radio station, or newspaper would be the best possible means of achieving this though. Rather, it would make sense to influence all media outlets through think tanks. The Initiative Neue Soziale Marktwortschaft (INSM, iniatiative for a new social market economy - http://www.chancenfueralle.de/) is a very successful example of a think tank influencing public opinion and media coverage here. Set up and financed by an employer's association, the inititative creates studies and analyses, writes and distributes opinion editorials, publishes newspaper ads and TV commercials etc. to promote a return to the small government principles of Ludwig Ehrhard. Something like, but with a broader scope not limited to economic issues, would be worth a try.


...it would BE a worthy goal...

...something like THAT...

It's late, so please excuse the typoes and missing words in the above comments.

Hartmut,

Talk radio. I am not sure there is such a thing in Germany. Not speaking German radio was something that I did not listen to other than AFN.

It surely would be a money loser. I am not sure who would want to pay for ads on such a program or such a station. Even if you only had this on the air from say 1300-1600 M-F, it might give the station such a bad image no one else would listen at other times.

Given it would be so far out of what is M$M and radical, I am sure there is some law against this.

Would you in fact get people to call in an discuss issues or would it end up being some form of hate speech?

I cannot believe if someone actually thought there was a market for this they have not already tired to fill it.

That is what Rush did and from him there have been a lot of other spin offs. The same with FOX News cable. They saw a place they could make money. The business end of FOX is an interesting story all of its own.

A story for another post.


@Pamela

The fact that you thought that the Christian religion was declining in the U.S might have to do with your own faith in that you are not as familiar with Christian issues of today.

I am glad to report that 80% of Americans believe in God (vs. 30% in Germany) and that memberships (particularly into fundamental Christian) churches is rapidly increasing.

Peter P. Haase
Boca Raton, Florida

My fears about being caught up in the Nazi thing are based on a very limited knowledge. So I will state right now I could be wrong and probably are. But what I do know it is much easier to hurl insults than it is to debate ideas.

It just seems when you start to move a little bit out of the collective mainstream you get hit with a label. The more you deviate the harsher the label becomes. This is especially true if you are moving right or toward what we might call American conservatism or European liberalism.

Look at some of the topics Hartmut suggested. Many of these in today’s media environment are touchstone issues – a strong military, massive tax cuts (and to be honest you would have to also speak of massive benefit cuts), relaxtion of labor laws, reforming education if there is either a cost to the individual in tution or placing at risk the positions of those in education.

Equally there are issues you could probably get some support on like the EU, Turkey, and immigration. But what we also know these are far from being politically correct. Failing to support the EU can easily be linked to a desire for nationalism. Turkey and immigration would bring forth calls of racism. Of course history tells us we cannot be racists even if we are. We just cannot talk about that subject today. This crosses over or at least gets close to the position of the NPD, Germany for Germans. Who are labelled as neo Nazis.

So yes, I can see how it would be possible.

What I believe is this would cause a huge firestorm. It would not surprise me that the on the air personalities would have to have protection.

This would be a full assault on the European “model” and it would be coming from the inside, from the very heart of the "model".


I realize this is a pretty lame idea and it surely is not new but I shall toss it out. It could already be in effect.

Hartmut listed several people. I have to assume for him to know them, then others also must know them too. I am sure there are others who could be added to a list. In fact, I am sure so of these are known to many who post here.

What if some one started and effort to organized these people along the lines of the National Review Online. That would be a start and it would not require a huge amount of money to do. This assumes of course the contributors would write for free. It would be a way for them to get their ideas into the arena.

What it would require is almost daily contributions from people who could both think and express themselves. The topics as Hartmut suggested could be almost endless and could reflect positions on current events occurring in Germany.

I am sure once established you could from time to time get known conservatives from other nations to make contributions also.

Ulrich, you wrote: "The FDP has no idea of what liberalism is about.
Politics in Germany is all about jobs for politicans. Nobody has an idea or a strategy or an agenda. There are discussions about the details of this or that detail of the so-called reform of the social state. But nobody has the capacity to link those details to the great picture. Nobody is asking the big questions: What kind of state do we want? What kind of society? How can we adapt better to globalization? What can we do about demographic problems, what about immigration?"

You might want to listen to the speech of Westerwelle which he gave on the recent Parteitag. You can find it on their website. Since what you say seems generally true, I was surprised myself, because he indeed WAS asking those same questions. Problem is, that was it. It is far and inbetween indeed, and while Westerwelles speech was excellent in my opinion, I'm missing any kind of debate about it amongst people or the media.

"You can find it on their website." Yeah, my laziness shows. ;)

http://parteitag.fdp.de/webcom/show_article.php/_c-20/i.html

Scroll down to the bottom of the site.

Hartmut wrote: "We can't do that on our own, nodoby would invest in that, and without american backup, we would be branded as radicals and fascists in no time."

I'm not sure. Rather I think, nowadays, WITH American(-conservative) backup, we would be branded as radicals and fascists. Or just branded as "Americans", that's enough ;).* Problem is, I don't see how we could do without. I'm hoping that the shit hits the fan at some point for the Springer guys so they start getting REALLY fed up and consider to invest into German brain, so to say. Only after that beginning you can openly have a German-American network. Right now it would only work against credibility. Sad, but true.

* See, on the German site, the "question" "Are you sponsored by the CIA?" is a regular in the commentary section...

I would suggest skipping talk radio completly. People in Germany are not into talk radio and it would just attract the inevitable massive attacks without being itself a strong force capable of defending itself.

My suggestion is a TV station.
As I have said before modelled after ARTE , which has a high quality , intelligent programming.

One of these numerous „poor quality“ ( will not mention which ones ) TV stations must be doing poorly and be up for buying.
Set up an ownership trust or whatever. Politcal groups (only to the right of center) , industrialists and private parties may become owners and / or sponsors.

The station can openly publicize ist creed as a Conservative / moderate Right media force, because it will be attacked for that anyway. Who cares ? Wait and see what the viewers say.
Besides a high entertainment content ( like ARTE) , unpolitical but with some substance, it will have definite political programming , talkshows etc. Certain groups (radical Right or Left, communist, anarchist and semi -Left, environmentalists etc) however will not be invited to participate. They get enough air time otherwise.

As for the fear of vicinity to extreme Right Wing, well - at some time everybody will have to get used to that and learn to deal with it. That is what it is about . Form a stronger Conservative / moderate Right force. I don´t know what is so hard about making a distinction and „Abgrenzung“ .
These things are regulated in various German laws. Stick to them and common sense.

The station should also have an oodle of lawyers at hand to deal with inevitable slander etc.

@Joe:

>>Equally there are issues you could probably get some support on like the EU, Turkey, and immigration. But what we also know these are far from being politically correct. Failing to support the EU can easily be linked to a desire for nationalism. Turkey and immigration would bring forth calls of racism.

On turkey and immigration, just take the position of the CDU/CSU. Merkel and Stoiber made very clear that they do not want turkey in the EU, a conservative media does only need to "harp" on that. And when it comes to immigration, there are enough quotes from SPD politicians, too...

And of course, german/ american conservative media would be staunchly pro israel (as it should be), and it will be very hard for the left to brand it with their usual smear. In fact, the left will be in big trouble as soon as real conservatism comes up in germany.

@Alex N.

>> Rather I think, nowadays, WITH American(-conservative) backup, we would be branded as radicals and fascists. Or just branded as "Americans", that's enough

We are influenced by american conservatives, and it would make no sense to hide that. I would make joke out of it, call it the "Final Americanisation of Germany, lead by the Wolrdwide Vast Right Wing Conspiracy". What's so great about conservative media: they're fun, they can laugh about themselves, they are blunt and honest (at least much more honest than the liberals).

@Alex N.

One more thought: let them call us "Americans" - the audience will be small in the beginning, and consist mostly of younger, self-thinking people (as it is in the US). They're not frightened by these labels anymore.

@Ricardo III

>>I would suggest skipping talk radio completly. People in Germany are not into talk radio and it would just attract the inevitable massive attacks without being itself a strong force capable of defending itself.

How old is talk radio (as a mass media) in the US - about 15 - 20 years? I think that talk radio is the perfect medium for spreading conservative ideas - it hasn't the need for "dramatic" pictures, which tend towards leftist doomsaying. And it's for working people, many people can listen to it while working. Talkradio creates a kind of "Stammtisch"-atmosphere, and that's very good for conservatives. And it's much cheaper to produce.

But that's only my 2 cents. TV and/or Talkradio would be fine. If there are investors out there who would support conservative german mass media, they will have a big saying in what this media will look like. So if we would find an investor who is producing talkradio in the USA, it certainly would be talkradio.

I think at the end of the day this is going to be all about making a profit. This effort while nobel still has to have that as a focus.

Income would be small for a long period of time and this has to be balanced against costs. So while idea of having a tv station might be ideal it would be the most expensive option. Remember before FOX News, there were thousands of conservative radio talk shows in America. Most of these were at the local level. All FOX News did was take this to another level by building on an established base.

A base would have to first be built in Germany. I would say blogs like this one and some that David and Ray are highlighting are a first step in building that base.

I think it would be better to start small and grow than to try to start big and fail.

I can only tell my German friends at this blog, "founding Conservative Talk Radio or finding future, truly conservative politicians will be difficult in Germany but it must be done by the "grass roots" who are people much like yourself."

For example, the revived conservative movement in Amerika started in the 1950ies with a magazine of William F. Buckley's NATIONAL REVIEW and Senator Barry Goldwater's book, "The Conscience of a Conservative.

However, the movement was considered politically too small and non-viable. The general, left oriented mass media lampooned it mercilessly but in 1964, Barry Goldwater won the Republican party presidential candidacy even though he lost the subsequent presidential election with a crashing defeat.

It took until the 1980ies, when this new conservatism found a brilliant, electrifying voice in Ronald Reagan and when Democrats under Jimmy Carter had brought our economy almost to ruin and our respect in the world to the lowest level. It was then that conservatism gained finally the votes it needed to be successful to this day.

Peter P. Haase
Boca Raton, Florida

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