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Well, if Bush is the most powerless man in the world, maybe they can just start ignoring him and focus on - oh, I dunno - Hugo Chavez. I hear he wants to be president of Venezuela for the next 25 years.

A very loud segment of the German press is insulting in general. To America, to England, to anyone basically - they just focus on whomever they think is easiest pickings at the time - I think maybe it's just the only way certain people can feel at all good about themselves, by pointing out every possible way others are 'worse than them'. Anyway - I do see it as a *general* problem, not just an Anti-American one.

I mean, a month or so ago the press had a field day with the Ruetli incident. For weeks, all one could read about in the German papers or see on the news were things like:
-has immigration failed?
-why are non-Germans so violent?
-should we fine parents if their kids don't speak German well?
-80% foreigners = chaos and violence!!
-Immigration tests!?
ALL DAMS ARE BREAKING!!!

Journalists (I think they were from Bild) even PAID students to 'act out' on camera so they could hype up the evil delinquent immigrant story...

Then some foreign looking fellow gets his brains mashed all over some sidewalk in Potsdam by a couple of drunkards, and these same papers and media outlets are reporting about candle vigils and asking WHY WHY WHY would there still be racist attitudes in Germany (and, will this incident damage their reputation for the World Cup)?

My God - You couldn't put 'spin' on an article in a way that could make Germany seem worse than their own journalists manage to do all on their own. Instead of bemoaning, as they are often want to do, that more people in the world don't choose to study German as a second language, they should just be grateful that a greater percentage of people in the world are incapable of reading their rubbish (by which I mean the 'spin'-full news articles, not other literature). After reading through Spiegel or Stern one might come to the (by far for the most part erroneous, thank god) conclusion that Germany is just brimming over with pretentious, paranoid, xenophobic retards.

Shocking, shocking, shocking!

I fully understand Bush criticism, bad Bush jokes, unfair attacks, selective presentation of news, exaggerations etc etc etc. I never thought though that the day would come when Spiegel would openly lie the German people. Not mislead, but literally lie.

I constantly thank faith, the Universe, God, Jesus, Allah, Buddha, Krishna that they all came together and made it possible for me to move from Germany to the US. I hope that Germans will eventually wake up, but I don't expect it to happen. Even though Spiegel "journalism" is rather the exception, the rest of the German media is definitely not much more reliable when it comes to US coverage.

All I can do is watch the "developments" in the German media with different degrees of schock and wonder where this will lead and when it will stop. The Spiegel frenzy certainly doesn't show any signs of slowing down, quite the contrary.


P.S. Let's not forget, it's Medienkritik and commenters here who really poison German-American relations. They cherry pick embarrassing articles like this one and project them on the entire German media, which, in fact, is entirely professional.

The German Spiegel (mirror) is a projecting mirror. It reflects only scapegoats, not Germans.

@WDIK: Perhaps I am reading more (or less) into your comments than you intended. Your tone crosses the line of possible facetiousness back and forth several times -- I honestly have a hard time determining if/when sarcasm starts and stops. Nevertheless, assuming that your PS comment was meant honestly, I have to disagree that Medienkritik "cherry-picks" isolated articles. I see a lot of German news (unfortunately) from a lot of different news media ranging from television (public and private), national and regional newspapers, and of course the news magazines, and everyone's web presence. There are far more similarities in Amerika-bashing than to be able to stipulate that the Spiegel represents an isolated case, the remainder being "professional." Is US news media better? Certainly not. Spiegel could learn a thing or two about spinning and fabrication of facts from the Masters at NYT, SeeBS, WaPo, AP, Clinton News Network, etc. etc.

The sad thing is that all the other medias in germany seem to play in tune with Spiegel when it comes to America bashing. Even the conservative FOCUS had an article in which it stated the "excuse" myth. The other articles about America in FOCUS are not much better either. Germany is a lost case. I was always opposed to trade boycotts but I thing its time that germans realise the american public knows whats going on, so boycott german products.

"the German public should look more to blogs and other alternatives to counterbalance the failing mainstream."

Yes, absofu**inglutely.
With the Atlantic Review we try to provide such an alternative to those Germans, who can read English. Critical coverage of the US and transatlantic relations, but fair and balanced and based on primary sources and respected US media.

"So when your average German reads the headline "Bush forgives Schroeder" he or she is probably thinking, "How dare Bush forgive Schroeder when he is the one who should be down on his knees apologizing for his illegal adventure in Iraq and begging us for forgiveness?"

While this might be the case with the average Spiegel reader, I am not sure if it is true of the "average German." And even not all Spiegel readers share the Spiegel's editorial line. There are still many Germans, I believe, who look up to the US and care about "forgiveness", especially the 50+ generation.

The German media's obsession with the US indicates that the US is still the benchmark and primary focus of attention and perspective for many Germans. I am not sure if "benchmark" is the right term here. Difficult to explain the psychology.

admittedly, i get a lot more austrian news than german (the horror), but it's generally all about as ill-informed and misleading in US analysis as der spiegel.

and given spiegel's exposure, this isn't exactly "cherry picking" - nearly everybody with an interest in politics reads this magazine.

and third of all, other than mayyybe die welt, there are very few german publications that are not anti-america leaning, or who do not consider something like objection to the iraq war (even in 2003) a given, instead of something to be debated and discussed.

in the united states, of the most-read newspapers, the new york times is somewhat balanced by the wall street journal, with the washington post about middle of the road. most people i know read all three, in varying doses.

@ jwtkac

You forgot Bild, Germany's largest paper. This Medienkritik post deals with Spiegel's coverage of the Bild interview with Pres. Bush.

The Bild editor told Pres Bush about the pledges all Bild employees have to sign: "Since September 11th, we have a new belief -- you have to be for partnership with America. Otherwise, you can't work for us, you can't come -- you have to sign it in your contract."

@garydausz
Even the conservative FOCUS had an article in which it stated the "excuse" myth.

What is the "excuse" myth?

@Scout

I meant every word I wrote, except the PS, which was a sarcastic answer to arguments often brought up by suddenly-sensitive Germans.

@Pamela
I meant "forgiveness".

Jesse

"I mean, a month or so ago the press had a field day with the Ruetli incident. For weeks, all one could read about in the German papers or see on the news were things like:
-has immigration failed?
-why are non-Germans so violent?
-should we fine parents if their kids don't speak German well?
-80% foreigners = chaos and violence!!
-Immigration tests!?
ALL DAMS ARE BREAKING!!!"


I would say this is a perpetuum-mobile effect.
Until very recently it was politically incorrect to report on immigrant violence in the media. This somehow changed, I cant exactly tell you why or when, but its different now. I think I can explain the following effects though: The media started reporting on foreigners and their bad sides, and suddenly the people become shockingly aware of those bad sides. Everyone gets interested into the issue, so the media reports more and more, and everyone becomes even more scared and shocked. Since the people always feel this is just "die Spitze des Eisbergs", the media dig further and further.

It will be interesting to see where this leads to, but the wind has certainly changed direction regarding foreigners and immigrants now.

@Dave
Until very recently it was politically incorrect to report on immigrant violence in the media. This somehow changed, I cant exactly tell you why or when, but its different now

As I'm stuck here in the US and most of my access to European media is restricted to internet English versions, please take my opinion with the appropriate weight, whatever you think that may be. So, here goes.

My thought is that the ordinary European saw a good deal that made him/her uncomfortable. But I think Theo van Gogh's assassination was the dam that broke the media wide open.

One alibi the apologists for the anti-American distortions and lies typified by this article always try to feed us is the old chestnut about how German journalists are just as hard on Germany. Check out the laconic, matter-of-fact tone in this little gem and try to tell me that with a straight face. Is it only me, or does anyone else find this sort of thing really scary? Big brother is watching you!

Yeah that had an european impact. But the real storm started in germany, after that Ruetli-School in Berlin asked the ministry of education to close down itself, because it did not consider itself being able to handle the violence.
About 90 % at that school are immigrants, and that started the media campaign. Also quite some conservative politicians took part in the discussion, futher enhancing the public debate.

Helian why is that scary? All they do is fight crime, and since there is no more need of a border patrol today, the old patrol unit is now used to hunt crime on our infrastructure (highways, trains, airports) all over the country (Schleierfahndung).
Also the whole scene did not take longer than 5 minutes, as the article says, so I would say well done!

"Helian why is that scary? All they do is fight crime, and since there is no more need of a border patrol today, the old patrol unit is now used to hunt crime on our infrastructure (highways, trains, airports) all over the country (Schleierfahndung)."

Sounds very logical to me.

"Also the whole scene did not take longer than 5 minutes, as the article says, so I would say well done!"

The German police have always been admirably efficient.

@ Dave and Helian

Here is another example of the unduly harsh criticism of German politicians in German media.

@Ray: That was absolutely uncalled for. Now I am sick to my stomach.

@Ray

Gag me with a spoon. Guess they had an overpowering urge to bend over and grab their ankles that day.

Helian

Why do I get a feeling you are being sarcastic? :)

Really I would like you to tell me whats so scary about that highway incident, since I usually am quite aware of new methods used by the state as crime prevention.
For example what makes me feel a bit uncomfortable is the enforcement by the EU, because of which all european internet providers have to record all user data for at least six months up to two years. Within that time-zone every member country is free to decide for how long the national providers have to record it. Of course our government decided to fully adopt it and all german service providers have to record it for two years.

Furthermore I read an article a few months ago about an incident in munich, in which the police caught a professional bank-robber who was stupid enough to have a cell phone enabled. He didnt use it, but the police simply took a look at the movement profiles of all cell phone users which were in the bank at the time of the robbery. Then they checked the registered owners, until they got the only one who was not recorded as a witness. And since he still had that cell phone they didnt really have a hard time finding him, either.

I mean the possibilities are endless, but I certainly have to get used to such methods.
In this particular highway case though, I dont really know whats not correct here.


What exactly is a "Scheinselbstständiger" pulling? No Sozialabgaben via the employer, while pretending to be unemployed to the Finanzamt? Or is being a sham 1-man company to get special tax treatment?
And what's "Leistungsmissbrauch"?

More importantly, how did they determine all these criminmal conditions or suspicions thereof? Do you have to carry your "Arbeitsgenehmigung" with you? (is that a professional license, or a non-citizen's work permit?)

I can't really argue with the method there. And I guess I have to assume that workers in Germany routinely carry the relevant permit papers (and those that didn't but said they have them got labelled "suspected", I guess). But in the US, outside of foreign-labor hotspots, nobody carries their green card around (though the law says you have to). If I got stopped like that, I s'pose they could suspect all sorts of things based on my accent. Unless I say that I'm a citizen, since native-born US citizens also don't walk around with any certificate.

I only know that you have to carry your Personalausweis with you, as well as your drivers license (when driving), otherwise you can be brought to a police office for the verification of your identity.

And - of course - you would have to pay a fine ;)

@Dave

The fourth amendment to our Constitution, part of the Bill of Rights, reads as follows:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

For the history and reasons for this amendment, see, for example, this. I agree entirely with the reasoning of our founding fathers regarding the need for the fourth amendment. I believe the powers of government should be limited to the minimum necessary to preserve public order. In particular, I believe the power of the government to conduct searches should be strictly limited and, where essential, carefully defined by law. I think this opinion is justified, not only by the common desire of most human beings for dignity and liberty, but by the many historically documented abuses of the power of search, some of which are documented in the link above.

Police in the US have occasionally tested the limits of our Constitutional protections with actions such as the recent one in Germany. See, for example, this and this. So far our courts have rejected these attempts of the police to circumvent our laws, and I hope they will continue to do so.

Helian

I agree that individual freedoms probably have a different "scope" in america compared to germany. Our society has handed over the safety responsibility to the state completely. Thats why everyone buying guns at the local store is unimagineable here. It is the state that ensures public peace and order. This is also successful I would argue. But it also includes taking the bitter pill of losing some rights. For example our police is very quick at searching houses of suspects. The judges dont really worry about individual rights a lot, and its best not to become the target of governmental (police) agencies. Maybe this makes our society so peaceful, the ordinary people already try not to be regarded as suspicious, they dont want to stand out.

I was just thinking with the POTUS poll numbers so low, this is the time old or young Vic pops into to point this out.

Sure hope nothing bad has happened to him.

P.S. Let's not forget, it's Medienkritik and commenters here who really poison German-American relations. They cherry pick embarrassing articles like this one and project them on the entire German media, which, in fact, is entirely professional
Posted by: WhatDoIKnow | May 08, 2006 at 04:57 AM
****************************************************
So please cherrypick some postive German media articles?

I meant every word I wrote, except the PS, which was a sarcastic answer to arguments often brought up by suddenly-sensitive Germans.

Posted by: WhatDoIKnow | May 08, 2006 at 03:59 PM
****************************************************
Not FAIR next time use and emoticon ;-)

My thought is that the ordinary European saw a good deal that made him/her uncomfortable. But I think Theo van Gogh's assassination was the dam that broke the media wide open.

Posted by: Pamela | May 08, 2006 at 07:19 PM
****************************************************
Was it that or could it have been 300 French cities in flames and the thought

"That could never happen, HERE, could it?"

@Dan Kauffman
Was it that or could it have been 300 French cities in flames and the thought

"That could never happen, HERE, could it?"

Well, I referred to the European press, Dave referred to the GERMAN press. van Goh was killed before the French riots, and I really have no insight into which incident was given what kind of weight in the German press. Dave maintains it was the request to close the school in Berlin, but that was fairly recent. However even before the school closing, there was the honor killing (in Germany) of Hatin Surucu which I know has got some press.

Probably not just one thing - just a lot of straws on the proverbial camel's back.

Then again, I'm sure the Germans are thrilled with the idea of sing their national anthem in Turkish, which I understand is an idea that's out there.

No big deal.

You still have 6 weeks of vacation time, free health care, excellent unemployment benifits, etc. Plus and maybe most importantly you are set to win the World Cup. Life is just too good.

I just don't see how this really is very important to everyday life

Beside does anyone know any unhappy Germans?

joe said: "You still have 6 weeks of vacation time, free health care, excellent unemployment benifits, etc. Plus and maybe most importantly you are set to win the World Cup. Life is just too good."

Let's not get carried away, Joe. It's 4 weeks for the common wage slave, not 6 (not counting, of course, the 20 or 30 holidays they seem to celebrate each year). Health care is far from "free" (and, did you know that doctors actually go on stike in Germany?). Unemployment benefits are still decent, but not as "excellent" as they used to be.

And, most importantly, I don't see any pigs flying, so I'd hesitate to say Germany is "set" to win anything. Of course, stranger things have happened -- after all, Greece won the most recent European Soccer Championship.

Oh, I almost forgot...gas is currently around $6.50 per gallon. Let's hear it for bicycles and public transportation.

:)

Scott,

I did not realize how bad things were getting in Germany – decreasing pay for not working, a cut in vacation time, and healthcare no longer being free. It would appear the moves to economic structural reforms are moving along at a rapid pace. This just shows the quality of the leadership in Berlin and the wisdom of the German people to elect leaders with vision. They focus only on the difficult decisions, which is always something to be admired.

But there is always Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy. These are the nations, which Germany currently outranks on the wealth ladder. It seems it is possible Spain could overtake Germany in 08. As this is done on per capita bases, this just tells me there are too many Germans. I am sure something will be done about that. Population problems have from time to time posed a problem for Germany but they have always managed to find a solution.

Yes I was aware the doctors had been on strike. Of course, it is a right for everyone in Germany to go on strike. They have a very well organized and protected labor market. I am sure just as other strikers have, they too will rewarded for their efforts. This does not however seem to be very reassuring about the costs of healthcare. I would assume there will be another tax to offset the increase. From what you said, a mass transit tax and a tax on bicycle tires might be a good starting point.


joe and Scott
I would assume there will be another tax to offset the increase.

I was watching news from Germany last night. In economic news, they stated 2007 expected revenues have been revised upwards so that Germany might actually meet the EU standard of 3% debt to GDP ratio. But they never said how/why. All I could think of is that Merkel intends to raise the VAT by 2%. Is that it? Any other reason for the revision?

@ Pamela:
> ... Merkel intends to raise the VAT by 2% ...

Schön wärs ...

Pamela,

Typekey keeps eating my reply to you. Maybe I am not supposed to make it.

Meeting the goal – the grand government just passed a soak the rich new tax in the name of social justice. This should help.

Equally I am sure much of this also has to do with the revenue stream that is being anticipated because of increased economic growth. Berlin tends to run this out on good projections and then when reality sets in goes……wait till next year. Sounds very much like a red sox fan to me.

As we know much can happen in the global economy in 18 months. I can think of several from interest rates, energy prices, and war that could effect growth. All unknowns. The only 3 choices to make this goal are: cut spending, raise taxes or increase economic growth. I dare say there is little support for spending cuts other than in defense in Berlin. So given the overarching need for social justice, my bet is on more tax increases. But if the truth be known does it really matter if they meet this goal or not. They have not going on 4 years. What really counts is they are trying. It is intent not performance.

Here are a couple of interesting projections for euroland.


http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000085&sid=alTFpYmdsjTE&refer=europe

http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D8HFHK284.htm?campaign_id=apn_home_down&chan=db

http://www.thebusinessonline.com/Stories.aspx?Overheating%20Spanish%20economy%20threatens%20euro%20zone&StoryID=0C01CF8A-39DB-4B39-9AF0-6EF08D64FE44&SectionID=F3B76EF0-7991-4389-B72E-D07EB5AA1CEE


BUT not being an expert on euroland, I am sure one of German experts will provide you with an answer. That assumes that something besides German exporters on America actually post here.

Of maybe even more interest is this link.

http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2144,2014565,00.html

I thought the comments by the German were interesting as they related to China.

Only last week Kofia at GT I believe was bemoaning the fact the US has so it would seem decided to set this out.

So much for UN reform.

Pamela,

Of course it could be done with "smoke and mirrors" as well as some German form of "voodoo economics"

The next thing you will probably hear is the "lock box"

I do have a bit of cheerful news for our friends in euroland. Gore has offered himself up as an alternative to Hill Girl.

These are surely going to be some difficult choices ahead.

@Dave

"Until very recently it was politically incorrect to report on immigrant violence in the media."

This is another problem and one that has needed to be addressed for a long time.
It’s obviously understandable that Germans want to distance themselves from the past, but no type of extreme is a good thing. It seems that in Germany, and throughout much of Europe for that matter, people are ‘tolerant’ to the point of being suicidal. When people realize that they are often not held accountable for their actions (the ‘give someone another chance’ syndrome – it’s rampant in the US as well), then this is an inevitable outcome – people will do what they think they can get away with. Laws need to be applied to foreigners exactly as they are applied to everyone else in the population – being lenient because people ‘want to be understanding of someone's situation’ doesn’t help integration, if anything, it causes even more problems. In any case, it shouldn’t be considered intolerant or racist to arrest someone who is shouting about how certain people should be beheaded, it shouldn’t be considered intolerant to expect that people who come to live in a new country also respect that country’s laws and culture, and words like Ehrenmord should certainly never to tossed about as a ‘more tolerant’ euphemism for murder. The political attitudes of infinite tolerance (and complete intolerance of any act even suspected of being racially motivated on the part of ethnic German citizens) will promote nothing but the continued development of parallel societies, increased lawlessness, as well as foster a deep-seated resent in people who see two very different standards being applied.

The press is its own whole problem though. Much of it I get the feeling isn’t even politically motivated at its core, rather commercially. Journals want to ‘give their readers what they want’ – which in reality and in essence basically amounts to plugging the most sensational stories out there for all they are worth in order to sell as many magazines or newspapers as possible. Spiegel, just for an example, claims moral outrage at the humiliation suffered by prisoners at Abhu Graib when guards made them run around naked (or worse) and then took pictures of them – but then oddly they seem to have no qualms whatsoever about slapping one of these humiliating photos on the cover of their magazine and selling it worldwide.

‘Incidents’ like Ruetli are treated no better: No one who wants to improve or help solve the integration issue pays foreign children in order to make the issue seem even worse – they just want to sell readers a story. In this case one that readers are eager to have addressed (which sellers assuredly know) because it’s been taboo for years. They exploit valid concerns of their readers in a manner that is grotesque, and no one seems to see this, or want to see it, for what it is.

This kind of attitude not only fails to address problems in the manner in which they need to be addressed, it is also (to put it mildly) counterproductive.
Spreading the idea that the torture is American policy does not improve anything. Hyping up a speculative article from the New Yorker to the extent that large segments of the population are convinced that the US is going to start raining nuclear warheads upon everyone does not improve anything. Helping to convince German citizens that foreigners are, in general, inherently violent and uncontrollable does not improve things. Unfortunately, I am worried that there will need to be some kind of riot before people wake up to the fact that propaganda for the sake of entertainment does not make good journalism.

(All of this, of course, applies to the sections of the media that act in this way - there are I'm sure many journalists who do indeed want to approach problems in a serious and objective manner. Unfortunately, they do not seem to be as mainstream)

joe, thanks for the links, I'll read them tomorrow, but I'm tired right now. I just wanted to let you know it's good to hear I'm not the only one that has been abused by typekey - altho' it seems to have worked quite well for about a week.

jesse,
there are I'm sure many journalists who do indeed want to approach problems in a serious and objective manner. Unfortunately, they do not seem to be as mainstream)

heh. Hell, no, they wouldn't go near the MSM - they're blogging their little hearts out!

Jesse

Excellent post, I fully agree on the only way the media works here ($$$)
Being extreme is typically german I would argue, since when something is to be done, it is usually (tried to be) done thoroughly here. So dont expect this to change :)
Maybe our country's motivation can be compared to a Formel 1 racing car. Because it moves so quickly, any steering correction needs to be corrected quickly again, or you will fly out of the road.

Pamela,

Add to this to how the Berlin is going to make their target. This might work if the rest of the world stand still and nothing unforseen happens. Of course, if you believe that will happen, then you must be ready to support a "grand bargin" with Iran.

May 11 (Bloomberg) -- The German government raised its forecast for tax revenue amid signs that accelerating growth in Europe's largest economy is curbing unemployment, helping Chancellor Angela Merkel to meet her budget goals.

The Finance Ministry said today it expects tax receipts from 2006 to 2009 to exceed previous targets by 70 billion euros ($89 billion), according to a faxed statement. Federal tax gains alone will rise 13.3 billion euros above previous estimates in 2007, when the government plans to raise value-added tax by 3 percentage points.

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