« Davids Medienkritik Booming Worldwide | Main | Tight Election Race: "Grand Coalition" or "Black-Yellow"? »

Comments

I guess the main question is: "Which German journalists can you take seriously?" and "Which German journalists don't have an anti-Bush / anti-American agenda?"

To be honest - I haven't got a clue. I'll keep looking though.

I have decided that most of the American MSM is conducting a propaganda war against the right-wing and has been my whole life. I used to think of it as isolated incidents of incompetence or partisanship but there are just way too many examples. Remember, Walter Cronkite lied about Tet almost 40 years ago (1968). Remember that the first President Bush was "shown" to be out of touch with ordinary Americans by marrying a quote from a laser scanner conference with a photo from a grocery store visit (1992). I won't even mention an example from the Reagan years.
There are just too many.

I wish that propaganda required a high level of credibility to be effective. Repetition seems more important. Just wait, you will again see a left/liberal talking head on TV assert that thousands died in Katrina and that Bush is a racist. The "journalist" conducting the interview will not question that lie. If you watch much TV you will see this several times in the next few years. You will hear it on National Public Radio. You will see it written on blogs. Repeat it often enough and the lie will be the truth for a lot of people.

The American MSM are winning the propaganda war. Michael Brown's resignation is their latest victory. They are celebrating the "plunge" in President Bush's poll numbers. If only the German's knew how hard our journalists work to undermine GWB. Ms Carl is clueless.

I guess Carl knows about the specifics of the US MSM but wants to push the anti-Republican (and it's not just anti-Bush, it is anti-Republican) agenda ever further by pretending that CNN and MSNBC are "conservative networks". If she at least had taken the time to quote Shepard Smith (whose reporting from New Orleans really touched my heart because the man is a beacon of unbiased humanity) I might have taken her seriously but, no. You can't believe what you read in German newspapers. Sadly Germans aren't aware of the fact and if they're aware of it they're either conservatives reading this blog or, well, anti-American.

http://www.taemag.com/issues/articleid.18718/article_detail.asp

Interesting if not frightening reading for anyone who is concerned that Germany may have to drift even lower before being shaken from thier media ispired stupor.

As for Ms. Carl, it is truly amazing how the German media reads the first four pages of the New York Times and thinks they know thing one about the politics and policy of the US.

If reality is different than what you want it to be or what you believe to be correct, there has to be an explanation. For Germans that explanation is always some form of conspiracy. This feeds so many aspects of the current German mentality giving them both a sense of superiority and security from reality which they refuse to accept.

I believe there is an error being propagated: the author of the article is, Ms. Carla Palm not Ms. Carl

Hi everybody. I hope some of you can take the time to read this, since I am very concerned after reading some of the articles and comments in this blog.

I don't know how to start - let's just start with the fact that is most probably obvious by the way I use this language: I'm living in Germany right now, have always been, and have been born here by my parents, who are Germans. So... I guess that makes me a German.

However, like most people I know, I don't really think that this is something that defines me in any way. I tend to think of myself as a European, or as a world-citizen. I'm not proud of Germany in some weird way you might think I am. I hate skinheads and neo-nazis and their ideas. And so do all of my friends.

Some of the posters seem to think that "Germans" are an evil race of people, secretly still harboring nazi ideas, thinking of themselves as "arians" and whatnot. It's just simply so not true. It might come as a surprise to some, but we are just like you. Really. There are assholes in Germany. There are assholes in the U.S. There are dumb people here. Lots. You have them too. The truth is: There are no typical "Germans" as much as there are no typical "Americans". Please please please stop throwing around all those stereotypes. I hate Sauerkraut for gods sake, and I ate it only 2 times in my life (and 1 occasion was when friends from Omaha visited us and asked for something they considered a typical German meal.) It may be true if you say that some Germans have a warped perception of America. As a matter of fact, I don't think that I have a coherent view of American culture myself - how could I. But you should really wonder if you do know enough about Germans to say the things you do yourself.

See, Germany's past is unspeakable. What happened here can't be allowed to happen again, anywhere. I'm not tired of hearing about it, because I feel that the one thing the Germans can and should do is to make sure history doesn't repeat itself. Here or elsewhere. We fear that other countries still think we're nazis. And we're helpless about that really 'cause some people will always call us Krauts, think that everybody talks like Hitler or wears silly Trachten all the time. With the help of the Americans, people here were able to build a democracy. I like a lot about what this place is. After all, it's my home. But do you realize that most people here would never ever dare to hold up a German flag - just since most people here still think that it would be odd for Germans to be proud of their nation. In any way. And that is why people are sometimes so relieved if there's an occasion when they're allowed to be proud - like in football or some other sport.

Please do not think that Germans are all alike. Reading lists like "observations about Germans", I can't help but wonder what people are thinking. Would you like people to have such a dumbed down, simplified view of Americans?! Everyone is different, people. And if you see propaganda in German press outlets, gosh, don't just assume that 1. all people are stupid enough to just swallow it without questioning and 2. that this is also the view of the German public. Propaganda isn't a German phenomenon, I'm sure you'll agree when I say that the American press can't claim to be entirely free of propaganda either. Which is the way things are, I guess.

I am really thankful that you have read this far - I wouldn't have thought that I'd type so much, but I'm so scared by some of the things I read, by the misconceptions some people have about Germany... We should be friends, you know. There's no reason not to.

Finally, I'd like to state some quick things I wanted to mention:
- I don't mind that the American economy is stronger than ours, since I really don't see how a country like Germany could compete. And why. If you're doing great, good for you. I just hope that you'd also wish us good luck that the German economy will pick up soon.
- I read that some think we "disdain" your culture. That is... erm... quite wrong. How could we? American culture (or let's say the export-variant of it) is everywhere.
- I do realize (as do the most other Germans) that Germany is a small country and "for the most part, completely off the radar screen". So what?
- I read the opinion that if Germans "live in America for a while, go through three phases: 1) Initial confusion about why America is so different than what they expected, 2) Struggle to come to terms with the fact that they have been fed propaganda their whole lives, and 3) Worry about having to go back." That is such a scary preconception... And I'd never worry about having to go back here. Lots of nice people, beautiful landscapes. Why should I worry about having to go back really? Because I tasted the greatness of what the U.S. is? America is a proud and wide and wonderful country. I've been there only twice, but I know lots of Americans, I have friends and relatives there and I think it's a good place to be. But to think that once one's seen America he wouldn't want to go back ever again is... uninformed. Germany is a wonderful country too - and America did its part in building this nation, for which Germans are grateful (and people hating Bush will not change that fact. Period.)
- I never thought of the Americans in Germany as an occupying force. I saw them and see them as guests. I used to live in the vicinity of the Kaiserslautern/Landstuhl/Ramstein area - and I absolutely loved going to the local cinemas since it kind of felt like a little island of the U.S. People all around you speaking English, watching the original undubbed version of a movie and seeing the audience cheer (which oddly, Germans never do :-) .
- And then there was that weird statement that tourists just come to Germany because it's a Märchenland, not because of the culture. And that only the tourists know that the real world this ain't. Well erm... Sure. I'm living in a castle right now. What do you mean it's not real?! :-) My oh my. Germany has its own culture. We don't think it's better than yours, it's different. That's why people come here. And most of all, they come because of landscapes and such things, not because of culture, but that may differ from tourist to tourist. Who cares anyway? As long as people have a good time.

There's lots more I'd like to say, but I already typed way too much. I hope my English was okay.

-Torsten

Hey how does it feel up there on Mars?

I've commented as I read along, you've been warned :-)
....

"They believe that, for the most part, the American "mainstream media" has become a willing servant to the Republican agenda."

...lol...ohhh man what a misrepresentation of reality *that* is...to propogate this perception seems to imply either ignorance or deception. Either way, I'm glad I'm not part of that population that is being fed this particular pile of bullshit...

_belief runs strong in Euroland_
"National politics reporters and anchors here come largely from the same race and class as the people they are supposed to be holding to account."

...therefore they must be racially and class biased toward their "kin"...eh?...that's some brilliant logic there...or am I supposed to draw some *other* inference from this bullshit...but I digress away from today's target...

"The wave of patriotism after September 11, 2001 damaged American journalism more than it benefited it."

...an opinion wrapped as fact...

"Now the country has gone through a new key experience: Hurricane Katrina destroyed thousands of existences – however the television reporters have this time found their own voice and are losing their inhibitions to bite."

...I'm thinkin' this person doesn't watch much TV over here...The press likes to throw up questions loaded with false presumptions, looking for that crucial clip that will raise an alarm...that crucial misquote...hell, they'll even make shit up.

Scandal sells and they want people curious about the outcome, or the "ongoing struggle" or whatever metaphor you want to call your conflict du jour...come to think of it, I think I'll speak directly to whoever wrote put this crap out...

"The state-serving corset burst along with the dams in New Orleans that many journalists – intimidated by government propaganda, bloggers and conservative interest groups – had put on. George W. Bush’s political backing in the media collapsed."

...lol, this is some funny shit...yeah, I'm real intimidating, pointing out your errors and your misconceptions, your poor logic and blah blah blah...you're lame...you suck, etc. etc...insert your ad hominems here because people who lose arguments tend to become intimidated by the realization of the paucity of their reasoning abilities...

I can't help it you can't face the truth, that's in *your* head man...not mine. Go ahead, rant and rave, call me a beligerent neocon...along with a racist, fascist, hypocrite, liar...whatever...

You saying it doesn't make it true.

"what bullshit!"

EXACTLY!!!!

"nor does she provide a single shred of evidence that such intimidation has ever taken place"

...because there isn't any, and liars lie...go figure.

"Bush was three times as negative as coverage of Kerry (36% versus 12%) It was also less likely to be positive (20% positive Bush stories, 30% for Kerry)"

...three to one sounds about right on the negative bit...but then, if you live in Germany and don't actually watch American news coverage, you pretty much have to make shit up...

"Either way, she clearly occupies a fantasy world born of her own prejudice and ignorance."

...agreed...

from that BBC article, the caption is priceless too:

"Mr Bush's famed "folksy" style has failed to impress in this crisis"

lmao...damn and that "folksy style" usually works on the brainwashed masses!...yeah Bush was counting on that "folksy style" to impress...yeah...uhhhh...

"and labeling the entire situation Bush's "Katrinagate.""

...yeah, everything's a "gate" or a Vietnam, they're still hoping one of them sticks.

....

"but instead the richest country in the world."

We can take it (a hurricane)....true...but this whole "joy" thing seems...oh...I don't know....evil?

"Yes, I even see in that a form of balancing justice for that which the inhabitants of that country have done to others through their war in Iraq."

...yeah, Ghandi said "an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind."... "balancing justice", eh? ...this rings of the balancing Palestinians claim when Israel's citizens are fair tagets for the actions of *their* government...is there a similar equivalence fore *your* readers??..for *their* support of your lifestyle?

You're coming off as evil again. You equivocate the killing of killers with the victims of a hurricane, how strange you are.

"I would, however, be even more happy, if I knew that only the houses of Bush voters and members of the Army had been destroyed."

Should I be hoping for the destruction of *your* lifestyle? What and odd way to counter an opponent...but then I'm not drawn toward violence toward innocents...and you project your evil on to me, assuming that I'm willing to inflict the same violence upon innocents as you are.

You are wrong.

period

end of sentence

....

""Live on every channel was to be seen how fatal it can be when the government first takes responsibility for the lives of citizens in an emergency. A slender state that places its trust in privatization instead of governmental foresight is clearly not capable of enforcing the rights of the survivors to human dignity and freedom from violence in such situations.""

...oh, more crazy shit from Stern, why am I not suprised?...What's the death-toll again? btw "governmental foresight" is an oxymoron.

"We Show What Bush Didn't Want to See."

...more mind-reading...beware of mind-readers people...

"Stern barely attempts to explain the complexity of disaster response or legal jurisdiction (local, state, federal) in the United States"

...yeah, that's because they don't understand it...

"And make no mistake, the examples above only represent the tip of the iceberg. If you browse this website for even ten minutes, you will find countless further examples of the sort of shoddy, one-sided, unprofessional reporting on the United States that has dominated the German media for years now."

...sad how a country gets its information from a bunch of idiots, but then, we're just about in the same boat.

" Important questions with important solutions."

True, and your blog is certainly part of the solution. I say amplify those who tell the truth, and point out the liars.

Hey Torsten (T.Daeges),

now that was cute. made me almost wish it was true. but then i realized: what is this blog all about ? well, it is about the fact that germans and their MSM simply are not those considerate, peace-loving people, who love to tell everybody they have "learned from the past" (check out some of Zyme's posts for that matter). what do you make of all the reports here about bickering and back-stabbing articles in Germany's mainstream media ? do you still believe Germans don't bear grudges against America ? love to see her fail in Iraq ? won't donate money when she needs it to safe Katrina's victims ? look around you, look at what you find in this blog and open your eyes. Wake up.


So the Marxist Mainstream (tm) has to acknowledge that there is conservative media out there? This is great news - they cannot ignore conservative media any longer.

@Thorsten..
you sound like a real nice guy. I wish there were many many more people like you in Germany.
I am an American who lives in Germany and my experience is something different..
I have had positive experiences here, yes, but overwhelmlingly negative experiences as an Ausländer and American.

you said:
What happened here can't be allowed to happen again, anywhere.

regarding German's past..
go to the internet site massgraves.info..
when you click on each picture, say to yourself.. nie wieder.. never again..

doesn't Iraq count as 'anywhere'? apparently not to the 'peace chancellor'.
does it count to you?

@Orbit Rain:
"the fact that germans and their MSM simply are not those considerate, peace-loving people, who love to tell everybody they have "learned from the past"
Simply stating something as a fact, doesn't make it true. I am who I am, and you can't just say that ain't so. And I know me and my friends - they're are not the monsters you make them out to be. It may be hard to realize that your view of Germans is equally inadequate as the view some Germans have of the U.S., so there. I don't care what Zyme said (I only read one of his post I think), since - as I said - Germans are not all alike. The same is true of Americans. So whatever Zyme said, it doesn't say anything about Germans - or me for that matter.

As far as the German media are concerned - I don't like what I see here because it's biased. But as I said, it doesn't necessarily reflect what people think and you shouldn't jump to conclusions and think that Germans just take those things for a fact.

And BTW, I'm perfectly awake.

@Thorsten

I have lived over half a century in the U.S after I emigrated from Germany. The country you describe (Germany) was exactly the way you described it when I left. It was America friendly and bore the promise of becoming our most important ally in Europe.

But then came 1968 with Willy Brandt and the new Ostpolitik which turned Germany's interests toward the East and away from America. The Vietnam War and the need for the U.S. to enter the armament race was the perfect opportunity for the extreme political Left to come out of the wood work in Germany. They captured leading roles in the German mass media as well as in the German academia where they continued to destroy Germany's erstwhile friendship for and dependency upon America.
The Irak war drove this condition into a catharsis of major proportions. So that today 70%-80% of German polls show animosity and mistrust of Germans toward America. That agrees hardly with your extremely well intentioned view of a general German population that is still in favor of the United States - does it?

Moonfarer
USA

As far as I'm concerned, any society that has a word for exactly what "schadenfreude" describes is a sick, self-centered society. Then again, German history pretty much demonstrates that German society is a sick, self-centered society. Thank God some of my ancestors had the foresight to leave that angst-ridden place that constantly blames others for its own problems instead of tackling them head-on. I couldn't stand to live in such a depressing, gloomy place. Germany's vast history of warmongering and genocide already give me plenty of reasons to be ashamed of my German heritage. This just adds to it.

I don't even support Bush or his agenda at all, but I'm very tired of the level of immaturity coming from Europe when the topic is the US and Americans in general. Frankly, my two-year old displays more maturity and intelligence than many in the European media. Do they need their collective diaper changed, or perhaps they need to be burped? Maybe they need to get back to their genocidal roots and build concentration camps for all of us Americans since we're obviously something less than human to them.

Torsten wrote:

"We don't think it's (the German culture) better than yours".


I am German and I talked to many many many Germans: They all think they are better than Amis. I read the German media: The journalists think that Germans are better than Amis.

That is why David made this weblog.

I wonder why you don't worry about all these shitty articles which Ray and David pointed out but some single opinions here in the commentaries with stereotypes frighten you so much. What is wrong with you?

Torsten wrote: There are no typical "Germans" as much as there are no typical "Americans"

As an American who lives in Germany I cannot agree with this part of your thesis. In my experience Americans are of an order of magnitude more diverse then today's German population. A general principle in these kinds of issues is that it's very difficult for someone living within their own culture to see beyond it - in this case you're a German living in Germany. Your English is excellent so that may serve as a really useful tool to explore the rest of the world and not be a slave to the fantasies of the the German media or the local mindset.

Start perhaps by asking Americans who live here or, more helpfully in your case, Germans who live in the USA. I travelled through Iran prior to the Khomeini revolution and didn't see it coming. I was in Afghanistan prior to the invasion of the Soviets and couldn't have guessed what was coming down the pipeline. You have the advantage of language skills that I didn't have to help but simply travelling to the US just doesn't cut it - most tourists reinforce their prior stereotypes (American fast food, obese people etc). You need to actually live there for some time and personally come across enough counter examples to all your preconceived notions before your brain will start to allow the veil to fall.

In my case, when I first came to Germany I imagined that WWII was well behind us and that the current generation shared no guilt for the crimes of their forebears. Like you I thought of this country as a rich, modern, liberal member of western civilization. I have steadily changed a lot of those opinions based on my experiences here, but I won't bore you with the details.

You wrote, "What happened here can't be allowed to happen again, anywhere". We could argue over how it happened but, in the case of the holocaust, my current understanding of how the German people fell into a state of mind that could allow those events to occur started with the steady propaganda of dehumanizing the Jews that had become especially pronounced throughout the 1930s. If you don't want this to occur again, don't stand by while the same is done today to Americans. We have become "insects" who need no sympathy when blasted by hurricanes because "we had it coming". Once you dehumanize a section of humanity, the next stage is easier. Now unlike Zyme I'm not living under the illusion that a nazi-like Germany will rise from the ashes and threaten humanity again. The problem is a German one: too many Germans suffer from an anti-American sickness that hinders the healthy development of their country. This site explores the German media's role in the steady rise of anti-Americanism so don't be surprised if you come across unsettling challenges here.

"Catastrophe Zone New Orleans: Mr. Brown, Where Were Your Buses?"

I don't think Miss Palm (chortle) is familiar with how the various governments in the US work. It is up to the individual states to request aid. It is also up to the local governments to coordinate local disaster plans. The flooded buses were property of the City of New Orleans and the local school districts. They were not the property of FEMA.

Whoops! Indeed, the author is Carla Palm. I got it right the first time and then for some reason began writing Ms. "Carl" instead of Ms. "Palm". Thank you readers for catching my typos! I have fixed it.

"Intimidated by conservative interest groups and bloggers"? How about "Soundly defeated in the war of ideas by citizens who have used new media to smash the MSM monopoly on opinion by ruthlessly exposing bias and factual errors." That's just a bit closer to the truth.

Thorsten,

You appear to be a well-meaning person with no axe to grind. (Your English is just fine, by the way). I choose to take you at your word.

I have never lived in Germany but I've met Germans here in the U.S. along with people from other European countries. And believe me, you would be the exception. The insults and taunts tossed out with such casual abandon are astonishing. It is beyond bad manners. It gets to the point of pathology. It is quite disconcerting to meet a guest in one's own country - in one's own house - who spends the entire evening denigrating everything they have encountered including - I'm not kidding - the variety of grass we planted in the lawn.

Go back through David and Ray's front page where they posted an article by an editor of the Wall Street Journal. His wife was friends with the wife of a German posted with the embassy in New York. The German couple invited them for brunch one Sunday. The invective the WSJ editor (Brett Stephens) was subjected to will take your breath away.

The German was recalled but I don't know what became of him after his return to Germany. If there is any justice, he got reassigned to North Korea.

(Note to David and Ray: Can you post the link for Thorsten?)

So. Thank you for your good wishes. I understand and sympathize with your discomfort with your history. It cannot be an easy thing. But please understand that for many of us here, you are the exception that proves the rule.

Best,
Pamela

Torsten

You wrote: "It may be hard to realize that your view of Germans is equally inadequate as the view some Germans have of the U.S"

I wish it were. Alas, my view is based on personal observation, as I live in Germany myself. Like Gabi and SeanM I have witnessed severe outbursts of bias in so many Germans that I have stopped telling myself they are only a few exceptions to the average. So many who believe "what the Amis did to the natives/the slaves/the Iraqis is just as bad as what the Nazis did. So many who keep telling me "Katrina is their fault, why would I help?", so many who give a secret cheer whenever they hear of another GI killed in Iraq. It is hard to deny there is a pattern there.

Now, I know there are exceptions out there, just take a look any many of these bloggers around here. Maybe you are one, too, in that case: welcome to the club. You certainly sound nice and convinced. But please stop denying the obvious, you will find proof in any german newspaper/tv newshow/ online magazine of your choice, every single day.

Pamela:

"It is quite disconcerting to meet a guest in one's own country - in one's own house - who spends the entire evening denigrating everything they have encountered including - I'm not kidding - the variety of grass we planted in the lawn."

The variety of grass ? Really ? Wow, and I thought I had encountered bias.


Ray, David:

I would also like to see that link Pamela mentioned, regarding the German embassy associate.

@Torsten

I am afraid I have to agree with Toby..
I am sorry if any have read this before, but to me this story just exemplifies the attitude here.

I am an American who lives in Germany. I work for a German subsidiary of a large American multinational company. One day last January.. around the anniversary of the Dresden bombings..
a German colleague made a paper airplane and was throwing it around the office.. he made the comment.. let's play domino day.. DOmino Day? I asked?
What is that? He meant September 11th. the one tower collapsing on the other..
It is hard to imagine how sick it was without being there.
His excuse? He didn't make it up himself, he heard it at a Karneval sitzung.
So... September 11th was a just a big joke to the Germans.. really confirmed all along my thoughts.. I have heard so much 'it was terrible, BUT'..
He refused to apologize. If I hadn't threatened to go to our diversity committee in the US, he would NEVER have apologized. THANK GOD for Political Correctness!! Never thought I would be defending PC, but in this case I do..
the sad fact is, if I had made similar jokes about Dresden, I would have had Germans screaming at me.. but when it is about the Amis, it is OK...


amiexpat
>> DOmino Day? I asked?
What is that? He meant September 11th. the one tower collapsing on the other..

Your restraint is above and beyond. Had it been me in your place, I'd be in jail by now.

@Pamela..
yeah that occurred on a Friday. On MOnday
I talked to him privately - that is when he refused to apologize.
I did become furious then..
This same man has a 'tolerance' plague on his desk..
of course this same man once referred to a large garbage container on wheels as a 'motor home for Turks'..

http://www.opinionjournal.com/taste/?id=110006834

here is the link.


Try this link to the discussion here on Medienkritik The German Diplomat from Hell if you want to read what most of us Americans have to suffer from German hospitality.

The United States is a country that ranks high in the press freedom index, but the Iraq war has left its traces.

The headline alone is a bunch of Crappola - they weren't Mr. Brown's buses.

The were Mayor Nagin's and Gov Blanco's.

They didn't follow their plan.

NotForSale

News flash! Reporters/journalists are not above the law. Period.

Sign of hope for the German media? Our local paper, the Darmstädter Echo published a list of 10 items concerning Katrina's aftermath which had been previously reported incorrectly in the MSM. My personal theory: the retraction is a direct result of this and other blogs with the same leanings.

And the headline alone shows once again, the intelligent, educated elitist German doesn't understand how we're set up.

And since they're supposed to know our history better than we, that's just....

pitiful.

I mean, it's not like they can actually read The Constitution or anything. Even online.

Nope, that 215-ish y.o. document is still being kept from their prying eyes. It's never been published, we've just been winging it for 2 centuries.

"Here's the bottom line: Ms. Palm was either profoundly uninformed or she had on a particularly thick pair of ideological blinders when she sat down to write this article."

Ray D:

You forgot the third choice. She IS informed and her "ideological blinders" were NOT used, but she wrote what she did for the sake of her and her audience KNOWING that it is a lie. The view that she wants people to have of Bush and America is what she writes regardless of the truth. In other words, the ends justify the means.

It's probably not true, but it is a possibility. After all, it's a technique with a lot of historical precedence.

Of all the lies the German media cultivates about the U.S., this has to be one of the biggest. It's one of the scariest, too. After all, just look at the web pages of CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, or any major newspaper. If you can read one or two stories with any kind of political implication and still believe the myth about the US media being "in lockstep with the Bush Administration," you have a medical problem - you're brain dead. You can only swallow cant like that if you're truly desperate to believe it, if you are so determined to keep your hate alive that overwhelming evidence to the contrary and the real world have become irrelevant for you. The philosophers of the Enlightenment were great men, but they were wrong in assuming that "freedom of the press" would be the universal tonic against lies and ignorance. The press was much freer in the 19th century under Louis XVIII and the other kings who ruled by "divine right" than it is now in Germany. "Freedom of the press" has become meaningless. In every country we see the tendency for the significant media of public expression to become concentrated in the hands of elites who think as alike as so many peas in a pod. They are people with immense power who are answerable to no one. It's all the same, whether you consider them "enlightened dictators" or simply oppressors. They are usurpers of immense power who are answerable to no one. Access to the social means of communication is an aspect of sovereignty, and, therefore, should be no more under the control of dictators than the executive power. Perhaps we need another revolution? Bloggers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!

Well, this should be fun, via LGF:

BERLIN, Germany (AP) — Germany is home to between 3,000 and 5,000 potential Islamic suicide attackers, a senior security official touted as the country’s next interior minister has been quoted as saying.

Guenther Beckstein, currently interior minister in the German state of Bavaria, said on Monday in an interview with the online Netzeitung newspaper that he was worried small cells of “fanatics” could prepare attacks without detection.“

In Germany we have between 3,000 and 5,000 of these Islamists who are prepared to use violence and do not shrink from suicide attacks,” Beckstein was quoted as saying.

@amiexpat:
"regarding German's past.. go to the internet site massgraves.info.. when you click on each picture, say to yourself.. nie wieder.. never again.. doesn't Iraq count as 'anywhere'? apparently not to the 'peace chancellor'. does it count to you?"

Thank you for that, it had me thinking. I saw the site and I see your point. It's hard to answer this question without going into a territory that isn't black and white, but in all sorts of shades of gray. It leads to the question why Germany decided not to support the war in iraq, if that was the right or the wrong thing to do and what consequences that brought about... Please don't jump at me while I'm trying to explain what I think was going on.

First... let me describe to you how I remember the 11th of September 2001. I was at work and when we heard about
a plane that had crashed into one of the towers of the WTC, we pretty much thought of the same thing. Some months before that (if I remember correctly), a little plane (a Chesna) crashed into an office building (I think it was in Frankfurt) because the pilot had been drunk. So we thought that something like that had happened in NY and that it wasn't such a big deal. We went on working, shaking our heads how a pilot can possibly be stupid enough to fly directly into the tower. But when the news broke about the second plane, it all changed. Everyone instantly realized that something was very wrong and that this could not be an accident. When it became clear that these were large planes, we looked at each other in shock and there was no way to continue working. We gathered around the radio, not really sure what this meant... and shocked. My boss, who had only recently visited New York and the WTC for a meeting, said: "Now they woke up a sleeping giant".

There was no "schadenfreude" here, everyone was just deeply shocked. Friends called me on my cellphone, not able to believe what they were seeing/hearing. One friend of mine was trying to reach his girlfriend in New York. There was crying. Everyone was feeling with you. And please don't start saying I was just imagining things, I was there.

Germany was at your side and ready to fight against terror. Actually, and please stay reasonable and don't flame me since I'm only trying to be honest here, I think Germany is still with you when it comes to fighting terrorism. Let me explain: As far as I know (and by all means correct me if I'm wrong), Germany has been in charge of the Afghanistan operation for a while now and was with America from the beginning:

"We are supported by the collective will of the world," Bush added. He said Canada, Australia, Germany and France have "pledged forces as the operation unfolds," and numerous other countries have granted air transit or landing rights. Still more nations are providing intelligence, he said."

I think the problem started when the war against terror moved beyond Afghanistan, where it was perfectly clear that we were all fighting terror. And the key element was that Bush failed to convince the majority of the German population that the war against iraq was first and foremost about terror. He failed to convince Germany that Saddam had any connection to terrorism. It made him seem... trigger happy. It gave the impression that he was trying to complete his fathers work and remove Saddam while he was at it, like he was trying to distract from still not having caught Osama.

Relax, I'm just trying to describe what the general feeling was here.

Was that feeling influenced by our "propaganda media"? Maybe. Would be interesting to know that.

Now an additional thing is that Germany has a problem with war, obviously. As much as Germans fear that feeling proudness for their country might make people think of Nazis again, they're afraid of using their armed forces for something that is... in any way related to war. If they must, they need a really good reason, a reason that will hold up against all examination. The seemingly questionable intentions and reasons behind the iraq war started all the "No war for oil" movements and when it became clear that the German people wanted no war, Schröder knew what he had to do to get elected again. I think that about sums it up.

Saddam is gone - and I'm happy about that. Considering the things he's done... It was about time. But can I be happy that he's gone even if my nation did nothing to help? I am... Rightfully so? Probably not.

I don't know if Germany's decision was the right one to make, but if a friend is of another opionion once, it doesn't make him an enemy. Bush/Rumsfeld however made the Germans feel as if they became enemies to the U.S. - and that is one of the most important causes behind the bush-bashing some people do here...

"DOmino Day? I asked? What is that? He meant September 11th. the one tower collapsing on the other.."

Dumb guy. Probably thought he was funny.

"this same man once referred to a large garbage container on wheels as a 'motor home for Turks'.."

And here we have the foreigner-hating-asshole variant. People everywhere come in all kinds of flavors - Germans too.

@Sandy P.
"Well, this should be fun"

Could you please explain what you mean by that?

Thorsten, that was an excellent post. But I have one quibble.
>> Bush failed to convince the majority of the German population that the war against iraq was first and foremost about terror.

It is not Bush's job to convince the German people of anything. It's Schroeder's. Just think about what the premise of your remark reveals. Now think about the implications of my response.

See the difference in world views?

>>Bush/Rumsfeld however made the Germans feel as if they became enemies to the U.S. -

I want you to read this article. "A Genealogy of Anti-Americanism", written by a political science professor at the University of Virginia. It's a precis of his book "The Reconstruction of America".

Here's the link.
http://www.thepublicinterest.com/archives/2003summer/article1.html

Don't be a stranger. Yours is a welcome voice.

Oh, and by the way, Thorsten, you do indeed have military in Iraq, just not the kind people talk about in public.

*grins*

I don't know if it's just me, but it seems that I've had more success of convincing foreigners, to include many muslims, that live in Germany of the media bias than the Germans themselves.

Does anybody here share this experience?

Thorsten - don't worry so much about getting "flamed" for expressing those opinions. I have read your comments and find them very reasonable.

To let you know a bit more - I used to work in the WTC ( Tower 2 - 13th Floor - my wife worked in Tower 1 on the 90th floor ) I left there in 1999 and she in 1998 however - and thankfully we didn't lose any close friends that days ( some friends of friends - firemen mainly )

on 9/11 we were on Holiday - in Austria - lake district/salt mine area. In the days after we travelled through Germany back toward the Calais ferry to our home then in London ( we are now back in NYC )

The reaction in Germany was indeed one of shock and sorrow in those days and weeks - I can vouch for that

That being said - I can also attest that the sympathy, pro-American attitude was a mile wide and an inch deep. There was a lot of "they had it coming" that came out very shortly after the fact - I would say within weeks or by Oct.

The first anti-war demo's were about Afghanistan you know

But I don't want to bite off too much in this post

Let me just say this - its not that Germans have a different opinion than Americans about Iraq or the Global War on Terror (GWOT)

Its that they joined with France to actively work to block the US from leading the CoW in deposing Saddam

WHY?

Surely getting rid of Saddam is a good thing by any measure? Why not just be approve and contribute no troops?

Germany and France DID become enemies of the US with this stance. They did seek to actively block the US from removing Saddam

WHY?

Was Germany such great friends with Saddam?

And as noted above - its not Bushs fault to convince Germans - thats Schroeders job. You re-elected him post 9/11, post Iraq...the Germans agreed with him.


There are two kinds of people in the world when it comes to the GWOT Thorsten

Type 1) they think we should be going after OBL and AQ - and bringing these individuals to "justice" - and doing more than this, like trying to bring democracy to the ME, is a bad idea because its not our business and arabs aren't capable of democracy anyway

Type 2) ( my kind ;) ) - we think that going after OBL and AQ is good too - but we don't think getting them will win this war because there will ALWAYS be another OBL ( like Zarquaie in Iraq ) to take his place.
We think that freedom and democracy is the only way to get the arabs to stop exporting hatred and blame ( "its all the fault of Israel, the US and the West" ) and start having accountable government

It will be harder to divert people with hate against the Jews or Imperialists when you are held accountable for electricity and roads and sewerage.

It will also be harder to maintain irresponsible gov't once women can vote and participate.

( No - it wasn't done so Bush could do it for his "daddy" )


Now - I do admit to having doubts at times as to weather this will work in the end - or if its worth it for America

Part of me thinks we should withdraw and set up the most ruthless thug with the best army the ME has ever seen ( which we could easily do ) and let him run the place

Since the Europeans and US left thinks toppling Saddam was a bad idea and we should get out - they should be happy with this idea - no?

But then I consider the people there - and the examples of Japan...and Germany! - and what changes are possible - and that ALL people want the same things and how awful it is for us to say "they can't live that way"

When they found the human-skin lampshades there were plenty who felt that way about Germans too

Thank God more people felt they could be reformed

So please understand - you won't get far around here saying "Germans don't think they are culturally superior to Americans"

Thats nonsense - of course they do - we all know it

I have had Australians who ALSO think that way

Or that Germany had a different opinion and can still be a friend

Sorry - when the German gov't was a prime parter in the effort to save Saddam when it was clear the US would be removing him - thats not the act of a friend.

The relationship can be repaired - but we should begin with honesty.


@Sandy P.
"Well, this should be fun"

Could you please explain what you mean by that?

@Moonfarer:
"So that today 70%-80% of German polls show animosity and mistrust of Germans toward America. That agrees hardly with your extremely well intentioned view of a general German population that is still in favor of the United States - does it?"

Some people here think that bush-bashing is a hip thing to do these days. I think that criticizing Bush is okay, as long as it's informed criticism, and I hope you'll agree. As I said, it has become a hip thing to do, since Bush really isn't popular in Germany. These polls do reflect that. For some people, Bush and the U.S. may be one and the same, but for the majority, it is not. All this is - IMHO - all very superficial. Some nice and friendly comments from U.S.A. and the situation would flip around pretty fast I guess.

@storm72:
"As far as I'm concerned, any society that has a word for exactly what 'schadenfreude' describes is a sick, self-centered society."

Erm yes. Sure. And you know what? I am already feeling sick from reading that one line. What an argument to make.

"I couldn't stand to live in such a depressing, gloomy place."

Nothing here is depressing, nothing is gloomy. But right on, build a mythos.

@gabi:
"I wonder why you don't worry about all these shitty articles which Ray and David pointed out but some single opinions here in the commentaries with stereotypes frighten you so much. What is wrong with you?"

Hi Gabi. Nothing is wrong with me. I don't like what I see - but everyone here is already pointing out the obvious fact that this can't be the way to go for German media. What noone or almost noone pointed out is how some posters go against the German people in general and do the thing they themselves don't want German media to do: Spread false preconceptions. And that is never a good thing. So I talked about that side in my post, which doesn't mean that I haven't started to keep an eye on the German media, wondering what is propaganda and what not.

@SeanM:
"In my experience Americans are of an order of magnitude more diverse then today's German population. A general principle in these kinds of issues is that it's very difficult for someone living within their own culture to see beyond it."

It's always so easy to just say things like that and claim them for a fact. But it must be what's going on: all around me, people are angst-ridden, it's gloomy and depressing and I just don't see it, because I'm living within this culture. Now I know that isn't exactly what you said, but I think I can be ojective enough to see problems around me, but I can also say that I like this country, my home and my friends. I feel absolutely fine here. Sure there are problems - people don't get tired stating them in the comments: High unemployment rate, high taxes and fuel prices beyond rationality. (Currently 1,45 Euro per liter). But I still like it here. After all, problems are there to be solved and I'm lucky enough to have a wonderful job - and maybe, just maybe, politicians will do something about it after the election.

And we have very good bread here too. :-) Better than yours anyway. Just kidding.

"We have become "insects" who need no sympathy when blasted by hurricanes because "we had it coming"."

Nonsense. I for one know nobody who thinks like that.

@Toby:
"So many who keep telling me "Katrina is their fault, why would I help?", so many who give a secret cheer whenever they hear of another GI killed in Iraq. It is hard to deny there is a pattern there."

People secretly cheer when GIs are killed?! Now come on... What else? We drink blood?!

@Pogue Mahone
Sorry but I'm running out time here. :-) Thanks for your reply, I'll need to write a complete answer later... Enemies, it really sounds harsh. My relatives live in a country that feels Germany is an enemy... I don't like the sound of that. Also, on a quick note, you might be surprised to hear that I would almost completely agree with type 2. I just don't know how you'd convert all arab countries to democracies... Sure it'd be a nice thing if they'd be... As far as the friendship between our nations is concerned: I hope the relationship can be repaired (I am honest so there), since I plan to visit the states with a friend next year. I hope people will be nice to this enemy and his friend. :-)

to all: thanks for the open-mindedness. (if that's a word... okay, I'm tired.)

@Pogue Mahone

Excellent comments Pogue. I would only reiterate that friends can disagree and still be friends. If Germany (or France), had said, "we don't agree with what the US is doing, but we wish them well" I am sure that the US could live with that. What sticks in our craw was the underhanded diplomatic sabotage that took place during the run up to the war. The behavior of the French and Germans was despicable. Friends do not do that to friends.

What also irritates is the blatant insults that are directed to my country from Germany. The festival in Mainz comes to mind, as do the childish magazine covers that depict our people as "bugs" etc. Are Germans so bereft of good taste and manners? I think they are. My daughter used to spend a lot of time in Germany. After 911 she was approached by a German citizen. He told her that he was sorry about 911. He was sorry that the original number of 50,000 deaths was greatly exaggerated! Nice.

The German gov't as elected by the German people has acted as an enemy of the US gov't as elected by the US people

It acted as an enemy in working actively to subvert US policy regarding the Saddam regime

Why it did so is unknown to me

How it did so is clear to me

So do understand "enemy" in that context

Germany has not been neutral in this matter

@MediaCritter:
"After 911 she was approached by a German citizen. He told her that he was sorry about 911. He was sorry that the original number of 50,000 deaths was greatly exaggerated! Nice."

Indeed... But you must know that this guy was simply an asshole and that he was a German does not make other Germans share such an... well you can't call that an opinion, can you.

"Are Germans so bereft of good taste and manners? I think they are."

Erm... Power to the informed opinion. Grmpf. You say that because you encountered that one asshole, because the German media do questionable covers... And you basically accuse me of thinking alike, of having no manners and no good taste. Always these generalisations...

@MediaCritter:
"If Germany (or France), had said, "we don't agree with what the US is doing, but we wish them well" I am sure that the US could live with that."

Right, it would have been nice if they handled it like that...

I said, We have become "insects" who need no sympathy when blasted by hurricanes because "we had it coming".

You replied, Nonsense. I for one know nobody who thinks like that.

Well Thorsten, your're in luck because right here on Medienkritik you can read the whole sordid story!

On Americans as insects read Schroeder Casts for Votes at IG Metall Ceremony.

On Americans having it coming read TAZ on Hurricane Katrina: Philipp Mausshardt's Sick Schadenfreude.

So now I have to adapt my view of you somewhat: you seem to be repeating the rosy story that I originally heard out of Germany before I came here: you know, great friends, allies, that kind of thing. All of which turned out to be false. Your English is good enough for a job in the propaganda department of a mid-level state. And yet you don't seem to have read the latest material eminating from your own country. Now how is that possible?

You must understand, generalizations are only that if there are substantial exceptions. I have lived here for over 10 years and there have been a few exceptions, but all too few and as Pamela said, exceptions in small number prove the rule.

You seem to be energetically disposed toward washing away years of incessant anti-American propaganda issuing from your state and your media. I wish you well but sadly with the onset of globalization I think the days are long past when a few conciliatory words could undo years of damage.

hi Thorsten..
no, I won't flame your reply, you are too nice of a guy. and I agree with Pamela, yours is a perfectly reasonable response. But I have to say that as an American, I found relatively little 'unconditional sympathy' after sept 11th. There was always a yes but.. and frequently much worse..
henryk broder wrote an outstanding article called 'why we hate the americans'
I have it as text but no link.
it was about the German response to sept 11th and was written right after the attacks.
His opinion was quite the same as mine. so at least one German (actually quite a few) had the same impression as me.

I should not go into details here, but I don't think america 'squandered' her sympathy..
do a google search on 'the myth of the squandered sympathy'.
it is late and I will write more at a different time

I don't think this is about Americans or the American MSM. This is about Germans and the German MSM.

We can hypothesize that the German MSM is essentially under the thumb of the current left-leaning German government. Thanks to their "unspeakable history", Germans have a fine sense of unique guilt.

However, this guilt can be alleviated if it can be shown another party has shared in it, or done essentially the same thing. That's the point of accusing the American MSM of kow-towing to the Bush Administration: to make Germans, and especially the German media, feel better. This carefully truth-picked "reality" is therapeutic, with the advantage that it disposes of the messiness of actually addressing the root causes of their malady.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Mission

The Debate

Blog powered by Typepad

December 2018

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
            1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31