Propaganda instead of balanced information: Alternative media in the spotlight of Tagesschau and Monitor

By Hermann Ploppa.

It is unmistakable that public broadcasting services, which are constitutionally owned by the public and obliged to provide services to the public, are less and less fulfilling their mission of providing balanced, objective reporting. The public broadcasting system must take account of all social groups and opinions. This is what distinguishes them from media run under private law. Private media companies are not obliged to cover a broad spectrum of opinions, but are allowed to unilaterally disseminate the opinions of their owners to the public.

We would be downright disappointed if the famous Bild-Zeitung suddenly paid homage to fact-based journalism. Bild head Julian Röpcke did not miss the opportunity to claim, once again free of any proof or circumstantial evidence, that the online magazine Rubikon is part of a smear campaign by the Russian government to undermine the wise corona prophylaxis measures of our German government. The calls to uphold constitutional rights at a demonstration in Berlin were apparently directly controlled by the Kremlin (1). Things cannot get any sillier, Mr Röpcke! This is really the level of a five-year-old boy who comes up with a particularly stupid excuse because he has done something wrong.

As I said, Mr Röpcke is allowed to do that, because he has no public service obligation to provide information. Which, by the way, does not, of course, make him immune from the civil and criminal liability resulting from his actions. However, one can expect journalism, not propaganda, from public broadcasting services. Journalism means: one presents the position of person A as accurately as possible, and then the different position of person B, in order to then examine what is right about A and about B, in order to then present one’s own position in a very personal statement, clearly recognizable. In school this used to correspond to the dialectical reflection essay.

In the past, the recurring three-step process of thesis-antithesis-synthesis was also used for Spiegel articles. In contrast, propaganda attempts to take the addressee by surprise with manipulative means by awakening fears and hopes, bypassing the critical-analytical abilities. Propaganda and Public Relations originate in advertising, but have long since been incorporated into the public broadcasting channels, drop by drop, until the droplets have become the current flood of political propaganda. Friends of mine drew my attention to the fact that in the Tagesschau an article title of mine was shown in the camera. In a mixture of amusement and a queasy feeling of threat, I watched the Tagesschau recording, which is dated April 2, 2020 on YouTube. In fact, my article was cited as one of two examples of conspiracy theory articles on the KenFM website.

The title of my text: „Coronakrise: ein asymmetrischer Krieg der Superreichen gegen die restlichen 99 Prozent?“ Note the question mark at the end of the title. In fact, in my essay I take the classic journalistic three-step approach. I introduce the official reading and its presentation by well-known politicians. Then, in the antithesis, I question the rationality of those positions. Finally, in the synthesis, to draw facts that might help to find an explanation for the irrationality of the official corona politics that I perceive. Naturally, I make my own position clear from the beginning. It becomes apparent by the fact that I present my perception of the Corona crisis, so I do not claim to be in possession of the unique truth.

The Tagesschau report returned in a revised form as an ARD programme called Monitor (3). This report is a tough one. It begins with the words: “This man has become very well known in recent weeks – Wolfgang Wodarg!” A portrait of Wolfgang Wodarg, a pulmonary physician from Flensburg and long-time SPD member of the Bundestag, can be seen. Underlaid with eerie synthetic ambient sound. It looks like a wanted poster: “Questionable expert opinions”. That is pure propaganda. What is not mentioned is that every day more and more doctors, human biologists and lawyers have joined Wodarg’s position. Even then, at the beginning of April.

This is a method that was already used in the case of Julian Assange. One picks a prominent representative of an unpopular direction and sets an example. In addition, the private website of Wodarg has recently been blocked without any reason. One has to worry about Mr Wodarg’s safety. The pharmaceutical industry has had its eye on him ever since Wodarg uncovered the role of the pharmaceutical industry during the mad cow disease, swine flu and bird flu. At the time, the governments of many countries had bought vast quantities of vaccines and preparations because the World Health Organization had issued warnings of a mass epidemic. These warnings, however, did not come true. Public broadcasting media such as Frontal 21 had called Wolfgang Wodarg a key witness against this gigantic waste of public funds. Apparently, the pharmaceutical lobby has since then worked diligently to close these media loopholes of uncomfortable truths.

Now Monitor and Tagesschau present Wodarg as irresponsibly trivializing a dangerous epidemic. There are, one learns, the ones who simplify, and on the other hand, the experts. The Monitor reporters now introduce us to Dr Gérard Krause. At his desk in his white coat, Krause teaches us that it can’t be that harmless, given the large number of dead. Mr Krause works at the Helmholtz-Zentrum in Braunschweig, we learn. What we do not learn: Krause worked in a leading position at the Robert Koch Institute from 2000 to 2013. So he is part of the staff that is active from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation via Johns Hopkins University, World Health Organisation directly to the Robert Koch Institute in the sense of the Covid-19 campaign. To mention this would have been helpful.

A further expert, namely Jan Rathje from the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, gave a presentation. He talks about simple and catchy conspiracy stories that insecure people would like to relate to during a crisis.

The Amadeu Antonio Foundation enjoys the status of a semi-official authority for finding the truth in cooperation with the German government, as we learn in the documentary Zensur by Markus Fiedler. As a result, the foundation, which is subsidized annually with the handsome sum of 900,000 euros from tax funds, advises the government and people in the area of political education on what is good and what is evil. The head of the Amadeu Foundation is Annetta Kahane. In the GDR, she worked as unofficial collaborator (IM) Victoria for the Ministry for State Security and overheard the dissident writer Thomas Brasch. From 2014 to 2017, the Amadeu Foundation’s political scientist Julia Schramm served as the representative for Hate Speach. She appeared on Twitter with strange messages such as: “Bomber-Harris Flächenbrand – Deutschland wieder Ackerland”; “Sauerkraut Kartoffelbrei – Harris Feuer frei!” or: “Deutschland ist eine Idee – Deutschland darf getötet werden!” Whether the advocate of such a strange public-private authority is capable of informing us about the background of conspiracy theories may be questioned.

The next expert to appear is Professor Dr. Michael Butter. A literary scholar who specializes in conspiracy theories. Butter has founded the COMPACT project throughout Europe. The aim of this pool is to gather knowledge about conspiracy theories and develop strategies to fight them. Butter has called Daniele Ganser’s research work a “science simulation“.

But the crowning glory of the selection is the still relatively unknown psychologist Pia Lamberty from the University of Mainz: “Conspiracy theories are characterized by the fact that people believe that there is a dark force that secretly acts evil! I see. Does Mrs Lamberty seriously believe that all the strategies and plans of powerful people and institutions are publicly negotiated? In Mrs. Lamberty’s language, people who do Power Structure Research are obviously underage children who suspect “evil”. Since I did not know Mrs. Lamberty at all, I took a look at her scientific essays – and quickly found what I was looking for. In a manuscript Lamberty and her co-author Roland Imhoff come to the conclusion that there is a significant correlation between the propensity for conspiracy theories and the preference for alternative medicine.

Conversely, this does not mean that followers of alternative medicine are automatically followers of conspiracy theories, she clarifies for her own protection. The Informationsdienst Wissenschaft presents Ms. Lamberty’s publication: “Western industrialized countries have a highly developed health care system and efficient care. Nevertheless, many people, especially in Germany, turn to complementary and alternative methods, even if explicit warnings are issued against them”. And quotes Lamberty as saying: “The stronger the conspiracy mentality of a person is, the more this person advocates alternative procedures and the more he or she rejects conventional cures such as vaccinations or antibiotics.” It is therefore not surprising that this publication by Lamberty/Imhoff is being discussed extremely favourably by the relevant Internet portals of the pharmaceutical industry. Must we expect that in the near future a new clinical picture “conspiracy mentality” will be defined, for which the relevant guild offers healing methods? We have reason to be curious …
This leaves the alternative media. A sociogram presents us with a multitude of various types of media.

Firstly, those media portals that publish evidence-based articles such as KenFM, Rubikon, Eingeschenkt TV or RT Deutsch are presented. As an example of a completely crazy world view, my article. But the focus soon shifts to other media: Heiko Schrang says in a green garden with a Buddha in the background: Fear makes hard, and whoever is hard can be broken. Who actually wants to oppose this? Then Klartext TV and Antizensurkongress from Switzerland. Finally Jürgen Elsaesser’s magazine COMPACT with a horror-producing title page. A Tour de Force in a few minutes. Apples and pears in the same basket. It ends with the glittering finale: simple truths are dangerous for society. For anyone who trivializes the insidious coronavirus is indirectly responsible for the death of endangered people.

Powerful emotional ending. But what does that have to do with serious journalism? Where is the fair discussion of different positions? Instead, we are presented here with so-called “experts” who are themselves part of the problem. Who are themselves closely connected to the Corona machinery.

While every day more and more people are waking up from a state of shock and protesting against the completely disproportionate corona prophylaxis, the protagonists of the corona machinery are bunkering all the more doggedly around the now most hated man in Germany, the governmental epidemic advisor Christian Drosten. If the Corona spook ever comes to an end, then there will also have to be a large-scale discussion about restoring the plurality of opinions on public television. But first of all, we in the alternative media are making up for this democratic deficit with the most modest of means. As long as this is possible.

Remark: Dr. Gérard Krause mentioned in this article has meanwhile joined the critics of the government’s corona prophylaxis policy.







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Thanks to the author for the right to publish.


Image source: Cineberg / shutterstock


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