Contradiction is unhealthy! From Corona to Novichok: Media against democracy

By Uli Gellermann.

What makes democracy so special? Diversity, contradiction, dialogue. What makes a dictatorship? Simplicity, consent, monologue. In democracies, diversity, contradictions and dialogues are essentially carried and carried out by the media. They are the “mediators”, the mediators who spread the diversity of different opinions and interests in a democratic public sphere before all eyes and ears. They give the contradictions a forum in which they compete productively, they create the essence of democracy through dialogue, speech and counter-speech – public exchange, in order to create an understandable, bearable unity out of the many differences: The unity of contradictions.

The Russian is responsible

Already during the virus debate, the majority of the German media have abandoned their role as mediators: Contradiction to the public uniform opinion was no longer considered productive but rather a misconception, almost forbidden concept. People should believe, knowledge was not desirable to the media but faith. This attitude, alien to democracy and science, is currently continuing in the Novichok discussion: “The Russian did it”, shouts a rather closed media and government front. Here, too, faith is more important than knowledge. Doubts are not allowed, the editorial offices are monologizing.

Where NATO appears, the East-West conflict prevails.

While in the debate on the virus, public health was claimed to be the top priority, the new campaign is apparently concerned with the military security of the West: the military alliance NATO has intervened and demands from the mouth of its Secretary General: “Moscow must disclose Novichok’s program”. Where NATO appears, the East-West conflict prevails, and where the East-West conflict dominates, dialogue is switched off and the image of the enemy determines the editorial work. Doubts about the thesis that “the Russian”, i.e. Putin, had the oppositional Alexei Nawalny poisoned with the chemical weapon Novichok, are hardly allowed in the German media. In recent years, the same media have inflated the critic Nawalny into an oppositional giant, even though his influence in Russia is rather limited. The man has long since become a useful idiot within NATO agitation.

Witness of the Bundeswehr is extremely implausible

Just as doubt has disappeared behind a compact wall of opinion, entire stories that belong to the Novichok complex also disappear: Back in the early 1990s, the German secret service BND had already obtained a Novichok sample by guaranteeing a Russian scientist and his family the right of residence in Germany in exchange for the sample. This unconstitutional operation was carried out in cooperation with the Bundeswehr. A hospital of the same German Armed Forces is now being used as a key witness for the thesis of the Russian poisoning his opponents. This witness is extremely implausible and also makes the operation dangerous.

The Russian is a poisoner!

While the virus is by far not as dangerous as the media campaign would have us believe, the campaign against the allegedly poisoning Russian is by all means more threatening. Because it serves the war preparation. There is no immediate threat of war with Russia, but by creating a rather disgusting enemy image – the Russian is a poisoner! – is drawn by our neighbor, the media lower the inhibition threshold. What today only cries out for sanctions, tomorrow may already demand interference in Belarus’ internal affairs. The sympathy for a “color revolution” similar to that in the Ukraine in 2013 has been stirred up in the German public for weeks. The country is located on the western flank of Russia and from NATO’s point of view is perfectly suited for detonation.

Diversity of opinion suspended

Those who override democracy and diversity of opinion in the Corona case have no conscience in the Novichok case. Where the media were once a highly praised component of democratic culture, today they serve to spread uniform opinions. And while German broadcasters and publishers are still spreading strongly about authoritarian countries, they no longer want to see the beam in their own eyes. Contradiction is unhealthy, apparently because it increases the risk of infection. In truth, it can be unhealthy for the career of the respective editor. Only if he participates in the concealment of the real numbers of demonstrators on August 29th in Berlin, only if he well-behavedly spreads the claim that all right-wing radicals were in Berlin, can he look forward to his pension with optimism. Healthy for the career is to spread the distorted image of the Russian. For democracy, however, the denial of contradictions is sick: it promotes the authoritarian state.


Thanks to the author for the right to publish.


This contribution first appeared on 05.09.2020 at


Image source: motioncenter / shutterstock



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