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You mostly talk of „the“ Germans as if nearly all of them were anti-American, hypocrite, whatever. This way you help to create the same stereotypical thinking you are trying to criticize. And this, in turn, is what I would call “hypocrite” (a word so often stressed on this site).


Who is the “you” that “talks of the Germans?” Are you referring to Ray or David? Are you referring to the commenter on the blogs?

If you have taken the trouble to read a number of postings in the blog, you would be aware that the purpose of this blog is to document anti-American bias in the German media. Any knowledgeable observer would state that there is much more anti-American bias in German media than there is anti-German bias in American media. Do you think that this bias should be ignored? Should we ignore the outright lies that Herr Gunther has spewed about the US in the article under discussion?

I am an American of partial German descent. My brother-in-law emigrated from Germany when he was a child. I have had a fair amount of interaction with Germans as roommates, fellow tourists and as co-workers, though most from decades ago. The Germans I met were as self-critical as I and other Americans, and made no attempts to self-righteously condemn the US while ignoring their own country’s shortcomings. Unfortunately, my positive opinion of Germany and Germans has changed with reading this blog, and from listening to the former Chancellor and his supporters. There are many in the German media who self-righteously condemn the US while holding Germany to be a paragon of virtue. Some of that attitude has filtered down. There are many Germans who comment on the blog who have not been poisoned by the German media.
My brother-in-law, while he would like to return to Germany for a visit, is reluctant to do so because in his judgment Germany’s leftward trend in the last 15 years has turned it for the worse. He does not read this blog, so his opinion has not been shaped by this blog.

In addition, the amount of silly comments posted on this site is awesome. Examples:

“Of course Americans are at a disadvantage, they never learned from the greatest propagandist in the world, Goebbels.

If Germans do not like Americans making references to Goebbels and other Nazis, they should do the following.
1) Do not make references comparing Americans to Nazis, such as demonstrators comparing Bush to Hitler, or what Schroeder’s justice minister said in 2002. It doesn’t go over very well. I am not inclined to reflexively call Germans Nazis, because my many conversations with Germans have convinced me that they have been coming to terms with their past. When a President who has chosen blacks as Secretary of State is compared to Hitler, THAT is an insult to the President and to all Americans.

2) When you criticize Americans, make sure that your facts are straight. The justice minister in 2002 was speaking an untruth when she claimed that like Hitler, Bush was beating the war drums to drum up faltering domestic support. Hitler was very popular, and had no faltering of domestic support. Hitler went to war because war had been part of his agenda for years. The ensuing historical record shows that the justice minister was doubly wrong. Bush didn’t go to war because he read the polls; he did so because he thought it was the right thing to do.

Herr Gunther told outright lies about the US in his article. The following statement is attributed to Goebbels: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” If a German tells lies about the US in an article, I do not consider it “silly” to make the comparison.

Regarding the US and slavery:

African slaves were not usually taken to the English colonies that would eventually become the United States. Simply put, it was just too cold there. The real money was in sugar, and sugar cane would not grow in the mainland English colonies. Of the approximately 10,000,000 Africans taken and enslaved in the Americas, fewer than 500,000 or 5% came here. Most went to the Caribbean. Brazil took about 1/3 of them. Most of the western European countries participated, either as slave traders or as sugar producers. The major slavers were Spain and Portugal; the major destinations were the Spanish, Portuguese, French, British, and Dutch island and tropical colonies; even the Virgin Islands, held by Denmark, enslaved these innocent captives. Germany arrived too late to the game and had to make do with what was available in Africa.

Fast forward a couple of centuries: Twenty years after winning independence, the US invented the cotton gin. This invention made the cold-tolerant species of cotton economically viable. Almost simultaneously, Europe bred the sugar beet. Sugar could be produced there at a price that could compete with cane sugar produced an ocean away. Europe began developing moral indignation over African slavery about when it started becoming unprofitable. In the case of France and Spain, this also coincided with the loss of many of their colonies. Coincidence?

In the US, the revolutionists and founders had imagined that slavery was a dying institution that would soon vanish for economic reasons. Turns out they were wrong. Rice, indigo, and tobacco were only marginally profitable with slavery. Cotton, once the problem of extracting the seeds had been solved by the cotton gin, was fantastically profitable. The US supplied 80% of the world's raw cotton in 1860. Raw cotton was our leading export and the largest single portion of our GDP, since the US was still mostly dependent on agriculture rather than manufacturing. When war broke out over the slavery issue, France and Britain supported the slave-holding south. They went so far as to build and arm Confederate commerce raiding ships, extend loans to the rebels, and receive their ambassadors. Their morals were quite supple when their commercial interests were concerned.

The US had slavery longer than most Western countries, but were the only ones to abolish it while it was still profitable. And we did it at bayonet point, wrecking the border states, burning the cities of the slave-holding states, and taking 600,000 of our own lives. Go back and read this.

Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."

@ Ray and David
I found your website years ago after reading an article in DW about the 1st day of kindergarten in Germany. It was a delightful story about kinder cones and proud parents. In the middle of the article was “in the USA they put their children on a bus and hope they get home”. It was not the 1st such article I had read. Two of my German host sons walked in the door when I was reading the article. They knew what a crock this statement was.
Over the years your website has helped us (my family and our 12 German host children and their families) to talk. It has helped us to get past the preconceived perceptions and understand each other. Our host kids are grown now and they still come back to visit. Their families come as well. And we travel to Germany to visit our “sons and daughters” and their parents, our extended family.
Thank you for all you have done to encourage open discussion!

To Markus Guenther,

Your recent article stating that Americans are hypocrites who suppress the memories of their own faults (such as slavery) cannot be taken seriously. It is obvious you have not done much research before making such a bold claim and the result is that German readers will have an inaccurate picture of the USA.

I invite you to walk into any school in America, take a look at the history textbooks being used, and tell me with a straight face that America suppresses the memories of slavery, Vietnam, etc.

If anything, American school children learn a self-flagellating view of history in which every sin of our past is drilled into their memory; slavery, the civil rights struggle, wars against the native Americans, civil rights struggle, Vietnam, etc. In fact any "expert on the USA" would be well aware of the debates in school boards across the country as some think these textbooks are perhaps too negative (but that side usually loses the argument). But you knew this didn't you?

Go ahead Markus, pick any school and take a look - I challenge you to do so. What you find will confound your pre-conceived notions (so apparent in your article) which your fellow Germans believe thanks to such sloppy tabloid style reporting.

If you are a real journalist, one who seeks to present an accurate picture for people in your country, you would check the situation in such detail before levelling such ridiculous accusations. If you don't support your hyperbolic statements and choose to ignore the facts, you are not a journalist but a tabloid writer or propogandist.

So, its up to you to decide which one you will be. For the sake of the German people's ability to receive a balanced view of the world (and for my country to be depicted fairly), I hope you choose to be a real journalist.

Sincerely,

Kiran Mani
Tucson, Arizona

Jorg -

"The US is such an altruistic power. There would be anarchy all over the world without the help from the land of the free and the home of the brave in [a] world full of cowards and evil doers.

This statement is an insteresting mix of true and false ingredients.

The anarchy part is true. That is why some commentators above are weighing disengagement from international affairs, to wake up the Markus Günthers of this world to the imminent results of their own propaganda efforts. A world without the great Neocon adventure would be a world without Israel, and even though Hamas may not putsch in Berlin the next day after America decided to walk away from NATO, in the medium term it would be a world in which the Markus Günthers will have to bow to Mecca, and the earlier they face that scenario the better. Maybe there would be a convergence with Russia first, but only to be drawn towards Islam together. The choice at which the consideration of isolationism by Americans puts the Markus Günthers is to believe their own lies and face the consequences or to stop spreading them and face the reality. Even if it is only being considered due to a perceived lack of other options to achieve that objective.

The altruism part is wrong. The driving force of the great Neocon adventure is not altruism, it is self-interest. The Lincoln administration was not particularly altruistic, it was interested to survive, and when it saw that this could not be achieved by preserving the status quo ante but by establishing a new order that´s what it did. And it too was ridiculed as stupid by these who were stuck on the illusion that the status quo ante was a realistic option. But when that it happens that an old order fails everybody appears stupid, including those who are trying to understand the historical implications of its failure. On the other hand, to keep up their illusion the Markus Günthers need to purposefully ignore that the history of America provides a prototype to the current situation of the world. Can a planetary union exist in which one hemisphere is free while the other is being ruled by Islamic tyranny, or will they both develop the same order?

In my eyes, the answer to this question is the true touchstone regarding whether the memory of slavery was suppressed or not.

The memory of slavery and segregation have not been ignored or suppressed. Here are a few more links to add to those others have provided:

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial will be built in a prime location on the Tidal Basin across from the Jefferson Memorial and right at Independence Ave.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6412223

The National Civil Rights Museum

http://www.civilrightsmuseum.org/

The King Center which is located at the Martin Luther King, Jr National Historic Site
run by the National Park Service

http://www.thekingcenter.org/tkc/index.asp

http://www.nps.gov/malu/

Just curious: on which side of the Wall did Markus Günther grow up?

According to the link in the endnote he was born in West Germany.

@ Methysic
You seem to believe my "Goebbels comment" was silly, that's our opinion and you are entitled to it. It is my personal opinion (I understand that opinions are like asholes, everybody has one)that the Goebbels modus aparendi has and still is casting a very strong shaver the German media landscape. Since that media influences most German thought processes
it is very disturbing to look at the trend of indoctrination. Some simple examples:

Over 70% of Germans have a negative view of the USA, worse than even Iran.

Accusations at the US and vilification of anything American remains rampant.

Hypocracy can best be attributed o the German media and tr politicians. i.e Calling Bush a liar, comparing him to hitler,Heuschrecken (American takeover businesses) and much more. The hypocracy is best illustrated by the latest row with poland. It is ok to portray ush as Hitler, but if a Polish cartoon shows Merkel with a mustache, all hell brakes lose.

There is always a basic broad condemnation of "Americans" which in itself is ludicrous.
I would bet that most Germans have no clue about the difference between our countries in a political sense. They wouldn't/couldn't understand that we have State rights which maintains seperate laws for each rather than a centralized Government responsible for all. ( Tis will become the downfall of the EU in the future)

Just look at something very simple, yet profound in a psychological sense.
German media uses an overabundance of "We (Wir), Ours (unser), vs Their, etc. Just examine a simple reportng technique in spots: "Unsere Jungs haben die Spaghettifresser geschlagen" or Wir sind die Weltmeister in ...........(allem?),Usw.

In the US, it would be reported that The US team ........, the prognosis is........etc.
While we get accused of being overpatriotic, flag waving silly christians,( Isn't Islam a religion too? however it doesn't feel too good walking around without a head if the word Christian was replaced with Islam?)
This begs the question: which is more patriotic,the written and oral psychological impact or simple flag waving?
Yes, Goebbels casts a mighty shadow perpetuated by his gesellen.

First, I found a lapsus calami in my comment. I ment, '..., that's exactly what the German government is looking for...', not '... are looking for'. Well, shiz happens.

Second, there's not only the Black History Month, America also celebrates the Black Music Month. Black Music Month recognizes the outstanding contributions that African-American singers, composers, and musicians have made to America.

Third, the German 'Department of Truth' will continue their anti-American propaganda and the socialist media outlets in America will do the same. No doubt, they have close ties (i.e. New York Times and Der Spiegel) and their mission is to promote socialism.

Fourth, German polls and statistics are not reliable. For example, the German government says that there are 3.7 million jobless people in Germany, but more than 7 million people who are looking for a job and getting social welfare are not included in the statistic. Adding these people, there are more than 10 million people without a job. In short terms, polls and statistics in Germany are faked.

Fifth, Markus Guenther has been a 'Schmierfink' (dirty fellow) of the left-wing Los Angeles Times. That says it all.

Well, how was Goebbels influenced in his views on propaganda? Here met with Hitler every day to discuss the day's propaganda. Here's what Hitler said in Mein Kampf:

"EVER since I have been scrutinizing political events, I have taken a tremendous interest in propagandist activity. I saw that the Socialist-Marxist organizations mastered and applied this instrument with astounding skill."

He also mentioned Lueger, the anti-semitic Mayor of Vienna, but credits the Commies and Social Democrats.

Hitler praised the English and American war propaganda and derided that of the German Government, which soldiers in the end totally rejected.

"But it was not until the War that it became evident what immense results could be obtained by a correct application of propaganda. Here again, unfortunately, all our studying had to be done on the enemy side, for the activity on our side was modest, to say the least.

Here's a link to a 1928 training speech to Nazi party activists by Goebbels on how to do successful propaganda. http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/goeb54.htm

So that is his excuse - "The readers made me do it"? Kudos for admitting that 9/11 conspiracy nutcases influence what we are reading in our papers. I repeat my question: What does this have to do with journalism?

Americans please note: it does not matter the least bit if America (where political correctness was after all invented) has in fact lots of slavery museums etc. etc. It´s not about facts. Germans never get that passionate about the slavery existing today, or about the real and current crimes of other countries. You never ever see similar vitriol being thrown at Russia, China, Iran, Burma, Sudan, you name it. No passion there!

Nor are Germans very critical when they look at their own politics. I have read more ill-informed condemnations of the Patriot Act than of the loss of freedoms over here. Let me just say as an example that something like the Cicero/Schirra-affair did not happen in the US, even though papers like the New York Times have divulged much more sensitive secrets. And we really did have warrantless domestic wiretappings, which you hardly read about.

American self-flagellation does not help. You do not get credit for having produced anti-Americans like Zinn, Chomsky or Moore, never mind George Clooney, who go abroad to hammer their country. The result? The Russian regime, which uses assassination and energy blackmail and never ever apologizes, gets more respect.

If you really know American history and you know the history of other regions, you will also know that the USA has nothing to apologize for.

I don't have to repeat the obvious (all of the other posters have documented America's remembrance of its history of slavery). I think the difference is that America doesn't live in the past; nor bask in guilt over history's record. We are forward thinking and positive.

We could live in guilt of the past.....

or, we can live in today....

**************************************

U.S. may alienate Muslims over human trade: Malaysia

By Jalil Hamid
Mon Jul 2, 6:09 AM ET


KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia dismissed on Monday possible U.S. sanctions over human trafficking and warned Washington of alienating Muslims after it blacklisted mostly Islamic countries.

The U.S. last month ranked Muslim states -- Bahrain, Kuwait, Iran, Malaysia, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria and Qatar -- as among the worst human trade offenders, and said they may face sanctions.

"We are not bothered about...the sanctions," Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar said. "I don't think we need to respond to that sort of pressure."

In its annual report on human trafficking published last month, the U.S. State Department named 16 countries subjected to possible sanctions, including the loss of U.S. aid and U.S. support for World Bank and International Monetary Fund loans.

Syed Hamid said Malaysia would introduce a new law soon to prevent human trafficking.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070702/pl_nm/malaysia_labour_dc

**************************************************


America is a huge voice in ending the slavery of today. Where does EU stand? Or, are they too busy feeling guilty about their past slavery history to see what is front of them today?

Davids Medienkritik is mentioned in a big German Newspaper:

http://www.maerkischeallgemeine.de/cms/beitrag/10967187/492531

Im Kreuzfeuer der "Unkorrekten"
Selbst ernannte Medienwächter stellen MAZ-Amerika-Korrespondenten Markus Günther im Internet wegen Amerikafeindlichkeit an den Pranger
RALF SCHULER

POTSDAM Es war nur ein kleiner, eher amüsierter Seitenhieb, doch er sollte heftige Folgen haben. Die feierliche Einweihung eines Denkmals für die Opfer des Kommunismus’ in Washington durch US-Präsident George Bush hatte MAZ-Amerika-Korrespondent Markus Günther zum Anlass genommen, sich mit der Gedenk-Kultur der Amerikaner zu beschäftigen. Seine – etwas salopp formulierte – Faustregel lautete: "Je weiter das Leid von den USA entfernt ist, desto größer die Gedenkleidenschaft." Schließlich sei das Schicksal der indianischen Ureinwohner oder der afroamerikanischen Sklaven nicht ansatzweise so präsent im US-Alltag, wie der Massenmord an den europäischen Juden, der Genozid an den Armeniern oder die Vergehen des Castro-Regimes auf Kuba.

Eine These, die so aufregend im Grunde nicht ist, schließlich gehört Selbstzerknirschung über die eigenen Untaten in vielen Ländern der Welt aus nachvollziehbaren psychologischen Gründen nicht zum Tagesgeschäft. Ray Drake freilich brachte der Beitrag (MAZ vom 20. Juni) solcherart in Rage, dass er auf seiner Web-Seite "Davids Medienkritik-Online" (medienkritik.typepad.com) eine glühende Philippika gegen Günther verfasste, die den Text des Anstoßes um Längen übertrifft. Der Autor sei einer jener Ignoranten, die sich durch Fakten nicht stoppen ließen, ihren antiamerikanischen Ressentiments freien Lauf zu lassen und die der deutschen Öffentlichkeit zu bedienen, schreibt er. Drake verweist auf mehrere amerikanische Museen, in denen sehr wohl auch die Geschichte von Schwarzen und Indianern aufgearbeitet werde. Nun ist das zwar nicht das gleiche wie ein öffentliches Monument, aber sei’s drum. Auch hätten Amerikaner lange genug gegen Kommunisten mit hohem Einsatz (nicht zuletzt an der Berliner Mauer) gekämpft, um eine Beziehung zu den Opfern des Stalinismus zu haben. Der Beitrag gipfelt in der Frage, wofür Günther eigentlich kürzlich den Arthur-F.-Burns-Preis erhalten habe, der für Verdienste um die deutsch-amerikanische Verständigung verliehen werde. Markus Günther hingegen vertiefe den Graben zwischen Europa und Amerika und bediene antiamerikanische Stereotype.

Man müsste solche abwegigen und ganz offensichtlich kenntnislosen Einlassungen in den Tiefen des Netzes nicht weiter ernst nehmen, hätte Drake nicht überdies die Mail-Adresse des Korrespondenten veröffentlicht, damit auch andere "gute Amerikaner" ihm die Meinung sagen können. Was den selbst ernannten Medienwächter ("wir verstehen uns als eine Wachhund-Seite") zu solchen Pranger-Aktionen berechtigt, ist nicht ganz klar. Ray Drake und sein Partner David Kaspar, die diese Plattform betreiben, verraten über sich lediglich, dass sie beide auch die deutsche Staatsbürgerschaft besitzen und sich als "politisch unkorrekte" Beobachter der politisch korrekten Amerika-Berichterstattung verstehen.

MAZ-Korrespondent Markus Günther jedenfalls bekommt seitdem reichlich elektronische Post mit beachtlichem Niveau: "Ich habe ihr Miststück darüber gelesen, wie wir Amerikaner unsere hässliche Vergangenheit unter den Teppich kehren", schreibt etwa Frank Knapp aus Kalifornien – "A Proud (yes proud) American!!". "Es sind Kotzbeutel wie Sie, die Deutsch-Amerikaner wie mich davon abhalten, nach Deutschland zurück zu gehen." Und ein gewisser "David" fragt: "Was hat dein Vater im 2. Weltkrieg gemacht, Markus? Er hätte sich mehr mit dir beschäftigen sollen. Abwesenheit normaler Eltern führt oft zu Problemkindern. Ich glaube, die Öfen der Hölle sind etwa so stark wie die in Deutschlands Vergangenheit. Lass mich wissen, wenn du dort angekommen bist." Der Vorwurf, Hass zu säen zwischen Amerika und seinem einstigen Verbündeten oder Desinformation zu verbreiten, ist meist noch das Geringste, was in den Zuschriften formuliert wird. Immer wieder wird mit aller Deutlichkeit darauf hingewiesen, dass jemand, der Amerika solcherart kritisiere, doch nur aus einer Nazi-Familie stammen könne. Auf solchen geistigen Unrat zu antworten oder sich gar zu rechtfertigen, verbietet die Selbstachtung. Sicher gibt es in Deutschland plumpen Antiamerikanismus; die Art jedoch, wie Drake und Kaspar aus dem Schutz des Internets unterbelichtete Vulgär-Patrioten auf Journalisten hetzen, wird daran wohl kaum etwas ändern. Eher im Gegenteil.


RALF SCHULER's comment is not a surprise and he's just another useful idiot. His propaganda is based on the implication that the victim is guilty, not the felon. The psychoanalyst Zvi Rex said, "The Germans will never forgive the Jews for Auschwitz."

Davids Medienkritik, David Kaspar, Ray Drake, and Frank Knapp are mentioned todays edition of the Augsburger Allgemeine Zeitung:
Unser Mann im Orkan der Empörung
Wie Amerika-Freund Markus Günther eine Welle des Hasses auslöste VON RAINER BONHORST
Wenn unser Washington-Korrespondent Markus Günther mal wieder nach Kalifornien reist, sollte er darauf achten, dort nicht Frank Knapp, einem „stolzen Amerikaner“, zu begegnen. Der hat ihm in Aussicht gestellt, ihm auf sein „dreckiges, antiamerikanisches, verlogenes Maul zu hauen“. Frank Knapp ist der feurigste von vielen amerikanischen „Bloggern“, die Markus Günther dieser Tage online mit massiven Vorwürfen überziehen. Anlass ist ein Artikel unseres Korrespondenten über neue amerikanische Gedenkstätten zu den Verbrechen der Geschichte (Augsburger Allgemeine, 23. Juni). Dabei stellte Günther ironisch fest, dass die „eigenen Leichen im Keller“ wie die Sklaverei und die Verfolgung der Indianer in Amerika auffallend wenige Gedenkstätten fänden. Ein erlaubter Hinweis? Offenbar nicht. Ein Sturm der Entrüstung brach los, der zweierlei offenbart: Die Bereitschaft mancher Amerikaner, kritische Deutsche umgehend mit dem Knüppel der Naziverbrechen zu schlagen. Und die Fähigkeit des Internets, Emotionen eine Plattform zu geben. Markus Günther, der erst kürzlich für seine Verdienste um die deutsch-amerikanischen Beziehungen mit der hoch bewerteten Arthur- F.-Burns-Medaille ausgezeichnet wurde, muss in „Davids Medienkritik Online“ nun lesen, dass einer der Blogger „nur am Leben sei, weil sein Vater vor Markus Günthers Vater geflohen“ sei. Und er muss sich fragen lassen, „in welchem Teil von Deutschland er geboren“ sei. (In Bottrop; die Redaktion.) Fanatikern scheint jeder Verdacht recht zu sein, egal ob als
„Goebbels-Schüler“ oder ob als verkappter Kommunist. In der Sache weisen die Günther-Kritiker darauf hin, dass es Museen, zahlreiche Straßennamen und Feiertage gebe, die an die Sklaverei und an die Indianer erinnerten. Dazu Markus Günther: Vor allem die Indianer-Museen seien vor allem folkloristisch; selbstkritische Gedenkstätten fehlen ihm. Eine
durchgängige Kritik an Günther ist, dass er „als Deutscher“ solche „antiamerikanischen“ Bemerkungen verbreite. Die Proteste haben auch die deutsche Botschaft in Washington erreicht. Schon wird die Aberkennung seiner Burns-Medaille gefordert. Den selbst ernannten Medienkritikern David Kaspar und Ray Drake sei versichert: Markus Günther wird weiter so frei sein, wie bisher für uns als kritischer Freund über sein Amerika zu berichten.
Im Internet:
http://medienkritik.typepad.com/blog/2007/06/markus-gnther.html Markus Günther

Well at least they mention the URL in case there are any readers who want to see themselves. The articles don´t even try to argue, it´s just Martin Walser style whining that the Nazis are mentioned.

And I think the accusation of publishing Mr. Günthers email address is misplaced. As can be seen from the link in the original article, the address had already been posted on the web.

Hat tip to Scholl for posting the German media response. Nothing surprising here. We’re all familiar with the MO from the German media apologists who show up here occasionally. Instead of addressing the substance of Ray’s criticism, the responses dismiss him as a self-appointed ranter. They then use the pretext that Ray posted Günther’s (public) e-mail address to try the usual canard of associating him with poison pen messages with which he and Medienkritik have no connection whatsoever. As you can see, the first response is mainly self-righteous whining and pathetic posing as the poor, misunderstood victim of the evil Medienkritik, and the second one is more of the same. We get the usual ludicrous and hackneyed “objective criticism” defense, demonstrating the extent to which German journalists are capable of the “self criticism” they so freely recommend to Americans. Apparently, “self criticism” is only of value when applied to Americans. German journalists have no problem with savage criticism of America. Dare to criticize them, though, and you can forget about “self criticism.” Read the hand wringing, self-righteous responses below, and you’ll get the idea. Other than the blurb from the second article (see below) there is no attempt to actually address the substance of Ray’s critique. If you think it might occur to these “professional journalists” to investigate further the many instances of American self-criticism in museums, monuments, children’s school books, etc., noted in the article, not to mention the comment section, dream on. After all, if they actually had the integrity, not to mention the common decency, to look at the facts for themselves, it couldn’t escape the notice of these “professionals,” not to mention that of their readers, that Günther’s “gentle poke in the ribs” is nothing but more of the usual lying propaganda. That, however, is a level of integrity to which they hardly aspire. Instead, Günther’s lame excuses are simply accepted at face value, with no attempt at further investigation. So much for German media “self criticism.”

Translation of the first article (from the Märkische Allgemeine Zeitung) and an excerpt of the second:

BEGIN QUOTE

In the Crossfire of the “Incorrect”

Self-appointed media watchdogs in the Internet accuse MAZ’s America correspondent Markus Günther of anti-Americanism

RALF SCHULER

POTSDAM

It was just a little tongue-in-cheek poke in the ribs, but it drew a violent response. MAZ’s America correspondent Markus Günther took the occasion of the solemn dedication of a Monument to the Victims of Communism in Washington by US President George Bush to look into the modes of thought of the Americans. His – somewhat loosely formulated – rule of thumb; “The further away suffering is from the USA, the more Americans empathize with it.” After all, the fate of the native American Indians or the Afro-American slaves is not as significant in the USA of today as the mass murder of the European Jews, the Armenian genocide, or the misdeeds of the Castro regime in Cuba.

This thesis isn’t particularly exciting in itself. After all, for obvious psychological reasons, people in other countries aren’t usually in the habit of wringing their hands over their own country’s misdeeds. Nevertheless, Ray Drake flew into such a rage over the article (MAZ of June 20) that he published a fiery philippic against Günther on his website, “Davids Medienkritik-Online” (medienkritik.typepad.com) that was hardly justified by the actual text. He claimed that the author was one of those ignoramuses who don’t let the facts stop them from freely expressing their own anti-American resentments while they cater to those of the German public. Drake drew attention to the many American museums which commemorate the history of the blacks and Indians. Fair enough, although museums aren’t the same thing as public monuments. And, for that matter, the level of engagement of the Americans in fighting Communism (not least significantly at the Berlin Wall) certainly gives them some connection to the victims of Stalinism. The article concludes with the question of why Günther was recently awarded the Arthur F. Burns Prize, which is supposed to be given for contributions to German-American understanding. After all, Markus Günther has actually contributed to the gulf between Europe and America, and reinforced anti-American stereotypes.

Normally one wouldn’t take such misleading and obviously ignorant rants from the nether regions of the web seriously, if Drake hadn’t gone on to list the mailing address of the correspondent, so that other “good Americans” could give him a piece of their minds. What gives self-appointed media monitors (“we consider ourselves a watchdog site”) the right to take such punitive actions isn’t quite clear. Ray Drake and his partner, David Kaspar, who run the site, reveal only that they are both German citizens, and consider themselves “politically incorrect” observers of politically correct reporting about America.

In any case, since then MAZ-correspondent Markus Günther has received a great deal of e-mail characterized by a remarkable niveau: for example, Frank Knapp from California – “A proud (yes proud) American!!” wrote, “I read your piece of excrement about how we Americans sweep our ugly past under the carpet. Slime balls like you are the reason that German-Americans like me don’t want to return to Germany.” And a certain David asks: “What did your father do in World War 2, Markus? He should have concerned himself more about you. The absence of normal parents often leads to problem children. I suspect the ovens in hell are more or less as hot as those in Germany’s past. Let me know when you get there.” Sowing hate between America and its one time allies or spreading disinformation are generally the least severe of the charges formulated in the messages. The point is made repeatedly in no uncertain terms that anyone who criticizes America in that way can only come from a Nazi family. No one with any self respect would seek to justify himself in response to such drivel, not to mention reply to it. Brazen anti-Americanism certainly exists in Germany; however the way in which Drake and Kaspar use the protection of the Internet to unleash the most vulgar and shadowy species of “patriots” on journalists certainly won’t improve the situation. Quite the contrary.

END QUOTE

The other article Scholl posted from the Augsburger Allgemeine Zeitung has more of the same, and notes that,

“Regarding the matter in question, Günther’s critics point out that there are museums, a host of street names, and holidays, that commemorate slavery and the Indians. Günther’s reply: The Indian museums, in particular, deal mainly with folklore; he sees no self-critical monuments. A common thread in the criticisms of Günther is that “as a German” he makes such “anti-American” observations. Meanwhile, the protests have reached the German embassy in Washington. There are demands that he renounce his Burns medal. However, we assure the self-appointed media critics David Kaspar and Ray Drake: Markus Günther will continue to reserve the right, as before, to continue to report on his America as a critical friend.”

As an American, I reserve the right to choose my own friends. Günther is certainly not one of them.

Great translation, Helian! I love it. Markus Günther's article "was just a little tongue-in-cheek poke in the ribs." If he reported on the facts, maybe I would be "amüsiert" too. But who can argue with him and his pals? After all, he reports on "his America", apparently the only view of America that counts.

Regarding the American Indian genocide, little arithmetic:

There were approximately 100,000 deliberate killings in the wars between the English settlers/Americans and the Indians over the roughly 300 years between the founding (and disappearance) of the Roanoke colony and the end of the Indian wars in 1890. Two-thirds of the dead were Indians; the remainder were white settlers. The proportions indicate a struggle rather than a genocide, with the expected outcome of a conflict between a neolithic people and and industrialized one. The absolute numbers over nearly three centuries of fighting are comparable to a single busy year in the Balkans or a slow week at Stalingrad. Here are some of the casualty figures from some of the most frequently mentioned battles, campaigns, massacres, and removals:

King Philip's War (1675 - 6): 300 English killed, 3,000 Indians killed (including those sold as slaves to the Caribbean and those executed). This was in fact a genocidal war, as the Indian alliance under Metacom were attempting to eradicate the white settlers. After most of the English settlements outside eastern Massachusetts were burned and pillaged, the English regrouped and counter-attacked with deadly effect.

Little Big Horn (1876): 258 American soldiers killed; 36 Sioux and Cheyenne warriors identified by name as killed, but perhaps as many as 300.

Wounded Knee (1890): 25 American soldiers killed, 300 Indians, including many non-combatants. This is usually described as a massacre, but was probably triggered when an attempt to disarm Indian warriors went wrong, and was perceived as perfidy.

Various Indian tribes took part in wars among the whites at various times. Some supported the French or the English, the English or the Americans (see Joseph Brant), the Americans or the Mexicans, the Confederacy or the Union. Eventually, the nearby presence of armed, unpredictable, cruel, quarrelsome, and potentially hostile powers with ill-defined borders proved a danger we could not accept.

There were approximately 1 to 2 million Indians in what would later become the United States when Columbus landed. Most Indians, about 15 to 20 million, lived in their great civilizations in what are now Mexico and Peru. Even before the first English settlement, large numbers of Indians died from smallpox, measles, and other diseases to which they had never been exposed. Europeans had suffered the corresponding plagues in their prehistory, as smallpox and tuberculosis, for example, jumped from domesticated cattle to humans. (Recently, influenza, bird flu, HIV, West Nile Virus, and Eastern Equine Encephalitis have made similar leaps.) The Indians lacked domesticated animals, for the most part.

As of 1900, there were only 250,000 or so Indians identified in the US census. This probably involved some under-reporting, as there are now ten times as many Indians in the US (as of the 2000 census) plus some 4.3 million Americans who identify themselves as part-Indian. Especially in the eastern US, Indians don't look much different from the rest of us: some are darker, some lighter, with either European or African admixture. It is probably intermarriage that stopped the hideous death toll from diseases.

The thing Europeans don't understand is that black Americans and Indian Americans are Americans nonetheless. We died on both sides of the Indian wars, just as we died on both sides of our Civil War, and we mourn the dead of both sides.

Note: I use the term Indian because that is the term preferred by the Indians I have known.

I sometimes read the Augsburger Allgemeine at my parents house. A newspaper like a car crash, you can´t help looking. Weeks after even the UN and the Palestinian authority admitted that there never was a massacre in Jenin, Rainer Bonhorst wrote that Israel somehow "covered up" said massacre. He does not exactly follow the issues (arrogance and laziness being the more charitable explanation).

Davids Medienkritik has provided yeoman’s service in exposing anti-Americanism in German media. One of the more entertaining postings, with a lot of reader comments, had to do with award-winning German journalist Markus Guenther claiming that Americans were hypocrites for “conspicuously suppress their own injustices while busily memorializing distant tragedies,” such as the Holocaust and Communism. ( Because I had classmates whose parents had fled Hitler or Communism from both Asia and Europe- and my hometown had only 27 in my graduating 8th grade class- the tragedies weren’t so distant for me)

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