Journalism, activism, propaganda

A classic, mechanical telephone is dusty on a workbench

“I never liked journalists. I let them all die in my books.” - Agatha Christie

No connection under this number

Here is a reason why I am no longer available for some media, based on my resume.

In the past I was available as an expert for the media, which were created years ago with high journalistic quality, care and ethos and formerly had a wide reach, such as ARD, ZDF, Deutschlandfunkt, Die Zeit, Der Spiegel and Spiegel Online, Süddeutsche Zeitung, as well as BILD as Germany's leading tabloid newspaper. As an enlightened and liberal person, this is no longer possible today without betraying one's own ideals and principles.

The list of media houses to be criticized can be easily expanded considerably, especially the houses owned by political parties or party-related foundations would should be be listed too. I deliberately focus on the media with whom I have worked directly in the past and from which I have first-hand experience.

Why everyone should quit speaking to, buying from or doing business with “progressive media”?

Political correct journalism, opinion piece and reporting mashups

The decision is based on blatant, system-immanent shortcomings in quality, a one-sided political agenda, and the excesses of political correct journalism in these media houses that are stuffed to the brim with hubris and hypocrisy. Confirmation bias, one-sided narratives that distort reality and the framing* of a long list of publishing houses are the cause of numerous scandals. As an example, I would like to refer to the "DER SPIEGEL Affaire 2.0" with Claas Relotius (1), various debates about the prevalence of political correct journalism, like Georg Restle (2) and the increasing impure mashup of opinion (commentary) and report (reporting) since the millennium. Unfortunately this is not journalism but confirmation biased activism and propaganda**.

Reference should also be made to the influences of the RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland (RND) (3), whose largest limited partner is Deutsche Druck- und Verlagsgesellschaft, the media investment company of the Social Democratic Party of Germany. The joint voting rights share of SPD and DDVG (Deutsche Druck- und Verlagsgesellschaft) in Madsack Publishing Group amounts to approximately 39.74%. For shares of 25% or more, it is quite possible to speak of control because it is easier to politically enforce the owners' agendas. In articles “News from the SPD's media power” and “The red media empire” (4, 5) the author describes the self-image of the former SPD treasurer Inge Wettig-Danielmeier with a quotation from Welt (6): “Even where we have only 30% or 40% of the shares, nothing can usually happen without us”.

Further, very solid cases of apparent, contentwise and substantial personal influence of the SPD into the formally editorial independence and political non-partisanship of media are likewise comprehensibly illustrated in the examples around Wolfgang Storz (editor-in-chief Frankfurter Rundschau) and Jürgen Stellpflug (managing director and editor-in-chief Öko-Test) in "the red medium empire" (5).

Swedish subsidy model as the next step in media control

If one analyses the political impulses observed since 2016 under the generic term “quality media worthy of financial support” in order to introduce the “Swedish subsidy model for quality media” (GEZ/Rundfunkbeitrag für Printmedien) in Germany or throughout Europe, the term “independent media” takes on a completely new dimension.

Stop the money supply

Sometimes things have to rot to the bitter end in order to be open for revitalization and improvement again. The money supply via subscriptions, single purchases, ads and paid content only delays this urgently needed process. In concrete terms, this means: no subscriptions, individual magazine purchases, ads, website visits and clicks, placement of paid content, discussions, interactions or other forms of communication that would enhance posture journalism, but exclusively fact-based deconstruction. For Germany and Europe organised in the EU, the only hope is that the Swedish subsidy model for so-called “quality journalism” for daily newspapers and periodicals will not prevail. This model is ultimately only a euphemism for politically corrupted propaganda under apparently independent holding companies and umbrella brands.

Manipulation by public-broadcasters

In an announcement of a wide-ranging dossier on manipulation methods in public service broadcasting financed by billions, ARD is described as a "collection of ideological individual perpetrators from NDR, WDR, SWR, HR, BR, SR, MDR, RBB and RB, who surprisingly agree completely on the direction of their manipulations". The authors will focus on the following 2015-2019 topics: Anti-AFD, Anti-Trump, Anti-Brexit, Pro-Grüne with the topics climate change, Glypohsat, renewable energies, expropriation advocacy and promotion of socialism, as well as nepotism of protagonists of the "precarious academic middle class" in the own network, for which posts and income are to be created. (7), (8)

The same applies to the public service broadcasters ARD, DLF, ZDF, etc., which have published internal manuals on the manipulation of fee payers, advertising customers and politicians by means of framing* (setting of topics) and nudging by the controversial service provider Eva Elisabeth Wehling of the so-called “Berkeley International Framing Institute” (9, 10, 12, 13):

The same applies to the public broadcasters of ARD, DLF, ZDF, etc., which have published internal manuals on framing (Eva Elisabeth Wehling's strategy paper on manipulation of fee payers, advertising customers and politics using framing and nudging as:

A) Cash payment as an expression of protest

According to the judgment of the Federal Administrative Court (BVerwG) in Leipzig of 27 March 2019 (AZ: BVerwG 6 C 5.18) in the action brought by Norbert Häring against the fee service of public broadcasting (in this case Hessischer Rundfunk), cash payment of the broadcasting contribution is permissible because the refusal to accept cash payments constitutes a violation of Art. 14 Para. 1 Sentence 2 of the Federal Bank Act. The Act stipulates that banknotes denominated in euro are the only unrestricted legal tender. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg is the final instance with regard to the related questions concerning the allocation of powers under monetary law between the EU and Germany. In the meantime, as a form of protest, citizens should make the compulsory levy subject to recovery without paying any fees themselves as a cash transaction upon request to the responsible service. ARD, DLF and ZDF are not prepared for a rush of cash payers. According to the legal opinion of the critics of this hidden tax, the payment recipient has to bear the resulting costs. A first public assessment is given by Prof. em. Dietrich Murswiek, state and administrative scientist and emeritus professor of public law at the University of Freiburg.(13)


B) Refusal to pay as protest against manipulation under “public broadcasting”

Refusal of the payment of radio contribution (formerly GEZ), etc. for clumsy and infantile propaganda, as well as exorbitant pensions should result in blocking of the administrative courts up to the last instances by millions of individual lawsuits against compulsory fees for manipulation, indoctrination and misinformation

How long the crisis of journalism and the death of the mainstream media (14, 15, 16) will last is uncertain:

“No matter whether you say lie press or gap press, mainstream media or standard newspaper, Relotius press or system press - many of the words are often exaggerated, sometimes malicious and unfair. But they are an expression of deep dissatisfaction with the media. They're a warning signal” (16).

Further suggestions concerning the compulsory levy in the context of broadcasting fees in Germany can be found at Rundfunkt Frei, and GenugGEZahlt e. V., Brandenburg (17, 18, 19).

Definitions*, **:

“To frame is to select some aspects of a perceived reality and make them more salient in a communicating text, in such a way as to promote a particular problem definition, causal interpretation, moral evaluation and/or treatment recommendation for the item described.” - Robert M. Entman: Framing: Towards a Clarification of a Fractured Paradigm, 1993

Propaganda is information that is not objective and is used primarily to influence an audience and further an agenda, often by presenting facts selectively to encourage a particular synthesis or perception, or using loaded language to produce an emotional rather than a rational response to the information that is presented. Propaganda is often associated with material prepared by governments, but activist groups, companies, religious organizations and the media can also produce propaganda. In the twentieth century, the term propaganda has often been associated with a manipulative approach, but propaganda historically was a neutral descriptive term (17).

Source references

  1. 1. Googlesuche zur SPIEGEL Affäre 2.0: Claas Relotius, 12/2018
  2. 2. Googlesuche zu Georg Restle et al., 07/2018
  3. 3. RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland (RND), 02/2019
  4. 4. Neues von der Medienmacht der SPD, 02/2019
  5. 5. Das rote Medien-Imperium, 03/2019
  6. 6. SPD bleibt Medienkonzern, 03/2000
  7. 7. Qualitäts-Lügen: ARD-Dossier der systematischen Manipulationsversuche, 06/2019
  8. 8. TBA, TBA
  9. 9. PDF-Strategiepapier von Eva Elisabeth Wehling für die ARD zur Manipulation von Gebührenzahlern, Werbekunden, Politik mittels Framing, Nudging, 02/2019
  10. 10. Internes Handbuch: Wie die ARD ihre Beitragszahler beeinflussen will, 02/2019
  11. 11. Neues deutsches Sendungsbewusstsein: Die ARD will mit Moral das Publikum einseifen, 02.2019
  12. 12. ARD-Strategiepapier, Manipulieren und Moralisieren mit Gebühren, 02/2019
  13. 13. GEZ: Kann man jetzt die Rundfunkgebühr bar bezahlen?, 03/2019
  14. 14. Haltung bis zuletzt, Liebe Schrumpfmedien: die Leser sind nicht weg. Sie lesen nur woanders, 03/2019
  15. 5. Zeitungssterben, Journalismus - ein Geschäftsmodell?, 03/2019.
  16. 16. Zeitungssterben, schwarzes Jahr für Medien – aber nicht für alle, 03/2019
  17. 17. Rundfunkt Frei, 01/2016
  18. 18., 01/2016
  19. 19. GenugGEZahlt e. V., Brandenburg, 01/2016
  20. 20., 03/2004