The day of Germanys "Bundes" election 2017 I was at my parent’s house at the countryside and able to follow the happenings in TV.
Regardless my B.A. title is called “Media Manager”, I decided years ago not have a TV anymore, finding the medium TV not necessary to catch up with information and time-consuming attention-wise. This opinion hasn’t changed. In fact it got worse, by finding the TV a highly manipulative and influencing medium today.
I was watching talkshows on ARD and ZDF – two media channels which are paid by the entire German society, including me as a student / self-employed-underpaid in the Start-Up scene. Moreover I followed Spiegel Online and watched the head of Focus in one of the TV shows – where I am still wondering why I need his personal opinion presented in TV.
After the results of the German election Angela Merkel announced in her very first Interview in TV that there won`t be politics without her and her party – it wasn’t a question to any Journalist anymore from that moment on, regardless the fact, that this is a discussable statement. Fact is that the CDU lost more people voting for them than the SPD, regardless the fact (and an often repeated sentence in ARD TV) that the SPD got their worst result ever. After World War II the liberal party SPD used to be very strong in Germany. Generally parties supporting workers interests become strong in post war szenarios, this is a very likely phenomenon. While in times of wealth and change people tent to vote for conservative parties or more extrem parties to prevent change, it is also a very likely phenomenon – Which again is something you learn in German school, so I am just pointing back to school-book knowledge here.
Conservative parties are called “conservative” leaning back to the Latin word conservare meaning “to keep something”, meaning to keep something like it is.
It makes sense that conservative parties after war, are not the strongest. As said they get strong when people are well and safe and start to fear of loosing what they have - Like many people in Germany the last years.
The refugee politics made by Angela Merkel (head of the conservative party) – free from any judgement if this refugee politics was good or bad – can not be called keeping something like it is. For Germany it was eight years of a democracy with a conservative party, who was leading for change – can be found good or bad –, but it makes it understandable that the actual conservative people in this German democracy didn’t find the right representation in the excising parties anymore. Naturally, in a country with the right of free speech, another party came up. In Germany the right of free speech count to that extend, that even Neo-Nazis can’t be forbidden.
The new conservative party called themselves Alternative for Germany.
Now with this election it is the first time in post-war German history, another party on the right wing makes it to the Bundestag and appeares next to the conservative-actually-not-so-conservative-ruling CDU party.
Now my subjective view: The media world is booming this message as if this is a huge surprise – where I ask myself, did anyone of them even took politics in school? And why they making a thing out of 13% of more conservative/fearful/protest-voters in times of change? Germany mainly has elder people than younger people, is a stronger conservative part in politics a real surprise? Why is that even in the news?
I personally assume after booming years with messages like "AfD - stupid old Nazi people", lighting up the fire of interests for a exact this kind of people, all journalist seem to worry. I ask myself, if they worry that their predictions and prejudices about Afd are wrong and now sending out their journalists to dig as deep as they can until they find what they predicted or if they just really worry that there might be Nazis allowed to take votes in the German Parliament.
Are the Afd Nazis? Well, that is a question that can not be answered without judgement. However fact is that two people were already banned from Afd because they using too much Nazi identification. In the end Afd, as a party, is elected by the same democratic rules as the rest of the parties, as well as they have to follow the same democratic laws but also have the same rights, such as the right of speech - regardless if Nazis or not, they are part of a free democratic system. Now replace the word Nazi with the word idiot and the sentence will sound familiar.
Do we need to listen to what Afd says with their free right of speech though?
No. No need. But it is quite hart to avoid them.
And this is not because the Afd is in Newspapers, TV, Radio and Social Media, where I constantly see what Afd has said now again. This would be still fine.
But it is the fact, that you can not see any news about them without an opinion or judgement being made. I read “stupid Afd” here, “Nazi Afd” there - I have the feeling of a media chivvy, forcing me to think this or that, but making it impossible to find out whats simply been said word by word or done without a context of meanings.
To be honest, I still don't get why they are Nazis yet. I hear/read/see that one thinks that this and that is Nazi-like about Afd and someone else thinks that this other thing is Nazi-like as well and there is a third person who has a opinion on this as well - but those are no facts. This is something I don't get, I don't understand. I am missing on information, why they, "everybody" who is fighting about my attention, thinks these ways.
I feel left out.
It makes me angry, I feel forced to relay on all these peoples opinions - people, I do not really know, nor care about.
To me it feels like all journalists sit in a room and come out with 100 different articles: full of opinions and judgements, but no one who is able to tell me what really happened, without giving me his or her opinion about it.
Suddenly every journalist seems to think that their personal judgement matters. And I assume some might think that their opinion matter, because since the internet they know their reach and reactions. And their reach is higher than Bloggers and other private person. So journalists work for articles that matter. They get payed, thats their job.
And this is where I see my freedom cut.
I do not see a possibility to find facts, information on actual happenings. To find out why someone has a certain opinion on a certain happening, makes me do research on this someone. Then again I only have one opinion so far, which makes me need to look for another opinion, where again I have to find out about the background of the other person again - to find a balance to imagine the reality between opinions, to find out what actually happened.
To be honest, I don't want to spent time on that, when I spent money on a medium.
Why I still do it and think it is important to do so?
I, as a German citizen in a democracy, have to vote about politicians. They decide my rules to live by. Finding information how and what exact they are doing in a neat, short, explicative, non-judgemental way, became impossible, so there is no other way than weighing opinion against opinion and be my own journalist.
Instead of reading news, I have to loose my attention on jokes about all sorts of opinions, in cartoons, sketches, remixes – ect.
I am waiting for the wake-up of Journalism!
News should not be made for attention. The cute Panda bear videos will always have a higher reach then information. Likes, shares and followers don’t change anything for politics! Likes, shares, reach...are pure marketing measurements to justify economical decisions. They don't show the impact, the importance, the maintenance. Critical people don’t like, share or hype and they don’t take an abo from your media channel – these are the people who follow you. Your followers. They will hype you and they will start the next Nazi-regime with you, if you find clever content for it.
Anyone who has read the book The Wave knows, it is still possible. Create a game, rules to play, take away information, blindside and focus on your followers. Hype them!
We hype like Hitler did. That’s not new. And this are not News.
Serious journalism is made by people who go to the uncomfortable and report. By reporting bringng people where they cant go or don’t want to go, speak with people they don't want to speak with. Give them information they need for democracy, to make decisions on situations, which are influenced by their very own chosen politics.
Serious news is to provide information and facts – not a selection, that’s PR again – an objective explanation free from judgement – and most importantly free from opinions – which today has become common sense.
The United Staates of America showed us more than once that it is possible to start wars with lies and the world will calmly watch it – unless there is Journalism. Real journalism, which is providing non-stop facts, numbers, information which will allow people again becoming critical thinkers, rather than balancing between different opinions.
Journalism is a hard job, a dangerous job, a honourable job, a job that’s hard to finance, but part of every democracy. It is most of all needed. Today more than ever.
I wish Press-people and -agencies understand that their USP is a different one than Social Media. Not Opinions, not being the first ones somewhere, not taking the biggest adventure - all of those journalists are welcome to become bloggers - But whats needed is journalists who do research and provide all kind of informations, taking out their opinion on which information are "good", "bad","dangerous", "ethical", "non-ethical",... It is hard to present facts without judgement. But it is the only way to let people form their very own opinion. Nobility of certain journalists, who think they know better whats best to think is a cut of freedom and not any different from dictatorship.
The Antichrist by Nietzsche becomes a lecture to read these days.
I personally want this to be my last judgement on press. I am a Blogger, because I want to share my opinion and I think this is important to be done by many, but I wish for nothing more than to get serious Journalism back. I am personally very concerned at the moment how this option-sharing is misused by the power of journalists and media agencies. It feels like a own growing Lobby, more dangerous than any other propaganda machine.