This article originally appeared on Nachdenkseiten.de.
In the Corona debate, our media turned out to be mostly a committed appendage of the government and the state. The debate about Russia shows how our media is shaped and controlled by US interests. This was highlighted again during the Federal Chancellor’s visit to the USA. Because Scholz did not immediately follow the US course in dealing with Russia and because there was resistance in the SPD, people kept saying how dissatisfied the US government was with the new German federal government. That was the real issue when preparing for the Chancellor’s trip to Washington. See here: Media and Olaf Scholz: Call for submission. And then also in reporting. I would not come back to this often-discussed state of the so-called fourth estate in Germany if it were not repeatedly claimed that the great state of our media is the seal of quality of our democracy and in particular shows the difference to the undemocratic state in Russia. On February 5th, the article “The cold media war” by Jürgen Brautmeier was published – another example of the embellishment of the state of our media.
The author is not just anyone – at least not in the world of media. I quote from the blog of the republic: “The historian was director of the North Rhine-Westphalian state media authority until 2016 and from 2013 to 2015 chairman of the working group of all German state media authorities. Today he teaches history as well as communication and media studies as an honorary professor at the Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf.”
Brautmeier also taught in Russia and in his contribution he laments the bad development of the media in Russia, especially in comparison to the supposedly good state of the media here. Literally:
“The state-controlled media as well as the foreign journalists accredited in Russia are subject to controls that no longer have anything to do with the necessities and limits I spoke about at the time (when the author was teaching in Russia, ed.). And this is where the crux of the matter lies: there must be controls and limits, we have them too, but what attitude, what basic understanding of the role of the media is behind it? We are about freedom of expression and plurality, which should be protected and guaranteed by rules; it is not for nothing that the fourth estate is often spoken of. In Putin’s Russia, it’s all about control and propaganda intended to secure and cement state rule. The fourth power does not exist, especially since the first through the third are in one hand.
The cold media war, which is currently building up in the dispute over RT DE and Deutsche Welle, is another bad sign, especially for all democratically-minded forces in Russia, to the extent that they still exist. Because of course the rulers in the Kremlin can obscure the differences that exist between a non-state media landscape in Germany and the state media in Russia. Who in Russia can explain the difference between the state-financed foreign television broadcaster Deutsche Welle and the state-financed foreign broadcaster RT DE, if one does not know that in Germany Deutsche Welle is also subject to public control and not state control, comparable to control of ARD, ZDF and Deutschlandradio by a plurality of supervisory bodies. Deutsche Welle is a state-financed international broadcaster for propaganda in its own country as well as elsewhere in Europe and the world, where the German broadcasting system is difficult to explain or convey. If one who comes from Russia is banned in Germany, then a corresponding ban in Russia is easy to argue. But only if you don’t know the fundamental difference between the two systems.”
Author Brautmeier believes that there is freedom of speech and plurality in this country.
There is no such plurality. Our print media and private television and radio broadcasters are largely characterized by the fact that they are now only controlled by a few large and wealthy publishers, by media groups that are linked to one another. In the last 30 to 40 years, the public broadcasters have been shaped more and more by conservative political forces. The parties have always had an influence on the personnel policy of the stations through groups of friends. The dominance of the CDU/CSU has had a major impact on personnel selection in recent years.
This one-sided and by no means plural orientation is exacerbated by the fact that a large number of German journalists have been influenced and in some cases completely absorbed by the USA, NATO and other Western institutions such as the Atlantic Bridge. When the ZDF station was still in its critical senses, it impressively documented these connections and dependencies. This happened on April 29, 2014 .
It is worth watching and listening to these 6 minutes and looking at the connections between German journalists and media and Atlantic organizations, the appendages of US foreign policy. By the way, you also learn a lot about the conflict over Ukraine.
In Mr. Brautmeier’s article, one should learn that Putin’s Russia is about control and propaganda intended to secure and cement state rule. With us it is no longer different over long distances. This is where state rule and – even worse – the rule of the USA, NATO and the armaments industry are secured and cemented.
For example, if you follow the major broadcasters in Germany, this rightfulness will be documented for you every day. I would like to take this opportunity to point out the most recent examples that caught my eye and which struck me: last Sunday in Berlin, directly from ZDF, there was an interview with Dietmar Bartsch, conducted obtrusively by the moderator. Then the Heute Journal with Ulf Röller about China – arrogant, aggravating the conflict. Primarily the agitators from the coalition parties are interviewed – eg Michael Roth from the SPD and Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann from the FDP. – An endless chain of one-page statements. With the best will in the world, one cannot see anything of plurality or remoteness from the state.