This is a shocker.
In Germany, like in the USA, there is an official narrative handed down from the wonks running the government, which is then repeated as truth by those in the media who have partnered with the government and want to get invited to the right cocktail parties.
Of course many people realize that it’s all BS, many more than in the past, but the media and the state are still very powerful and as such can pummel those who offer up an alternative analysis.
It seems that “free societies” like Germany, the UK, and the USA only tolerate freedom of thought and speech when the infostream comes from a narrow band of information gatekeepers. Since the Internet, and the great democratization of the media, “speech” is increasingly derided by the #oldmedia and those in government. The rumble of an unenlightened (funny) rabble. Just look at Brexit!
The statists long for the day when they had total control over information. When reporters cuddled up to FDR and JFK and wrote what they were told. It was all so cozy. This is the way CNN and MSNBC and Angela Merkel wish it still was.
As hundreds of thousands of refugees arrived in Germany in 2015 and early 2016, daily newspapers took on the role of “public educators” rather than objective critics of public policy, a team of researchers at the Otto Brenner Institute conclude, according to a report in Die Zeit this week.
The researchers, led by former Die Zeit editor Michael Haller, studied thousands of articles published between February 2015 and March 2016 by leading daily newspapers, including Bild, Die Welt, the Süddeutsche Zeitung and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
The report, which will be published on Monday, criticizes “the so-called mainstream media” for lining up behind Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door refugee policies, and for uncritically taking on “the slogans of the political elite.”
Journalists used the slogan Willkommenskultur (welcoming culture) to put moral pressure on citizens to contribute to the cause of supporting refugees, the study finds.
People who criticized the government policy were treated by journalists as suspect and potentially racist. At the same time, the newspapers saw it as their role to educate such people on becoming better human beings, the study argues.
“Most journalists failed in their job as someone who is supposed to objectively explain the world to readers,” Haller told Die Zeit.