It seems bashing the public broadcaster has become a favorite pastime for some. By hitting, I mean not just criticizing, but rather hitting. Pretty ruthless.

“No more money for this disgraceful journalism,” I read from Xi, a former Twitter fan, after Iran's attack on Israel. Because he doesn't like the intro to a TV report. He thinks too critical of Israel. “Anti-Semitic radio must be kicked out,” he angrily said in another tweet. Again, he is disturbed by the title of the “Tagesschau” article. For some, it's just never drastic enough. As if we were all devout anti-Semites because of some infamous single incident, the recently fired SWR journalist. It also makes me angry, which is the reason for this column.

Welcome to the mob fortress

Unfortunately, the Xi user isn't the only one who seems to have found a kind of calling with radio beats. A veritable crowd has gathered on the Internet. A new “Mensch Merz!” has just been released! ZDF documentary about CDU party leader Friedrich Merz, and immediately they start complaining again about how “shockingly one-sided” this documentary is. The reason for the offense: the fact that climate activist Luisa Neubauer and Green Party politician Renate Künast are also interviewed in the documentary, who say not so nice words about Merz.

Anyone who's seen the whole documentary (and I hope everyone who's hitting the keys doesn't just know the short clip) knows that those two aren't the only ones with an opinion about Merz. And that actually makes it really fun when Luisa Neubauer says with a thoughtful and worried expression that if Merz really does become chancellor, she would “expect the worst”. Or when he accuses her of defaming groups of people because, among other things, she once said “Paschas.” And then Markus Söder mocked the But-you-don't-say faction! Each viewer can decide for themselves where their sympathy points go. So pull yourself together.

Some people always have something to complain about

For some people, there is always something to complain about. Even if ARD does everything right. For example, this week, when federal policy debated the decriminalization of abortion. On such an ethically difficult topic, “Tagesthemen” did not decide on any comment, but rather on the side, I was allowed to say an opposing opinion. One would think that no greater balance is possible. Everyone should be happy this time. But none.

As soon as I posted this, some legalization supporters complained: wrong balance! According to a recent poll, 80 percent of the population is actually in favor of legalization! Why did the “Tagesthemen” change it to a pro-contra format – it suggests that the population is divided into half for and half against. “A complete failure of journalism,” exclaimed one person, unfortunately a rather unengaging person. As if we should match the comments with the current opinion polls. It's best to reschedule everything.

It's about the diversity of opinions

Of course, not everything criticized about balance is bullshit. It shows that it was only recently that there was criticism within our own ranks: the broadcasters published a 'diversity manifesto'. They complain that the space for discussion is limited: dissent is vilified and silenced. This is not a new criticism. And not completely unreasonable either. I didn't sign – not that anyone would ask again. I don't know people.

What is particularly interesting is how WDR editor-in-chief Stefan Brandenburg reacted to the “manifesto”. In a guest article for “Zeit”, he writes about the diversity of opinions: Different opinions are not enough, but opinions must be represented as widely and comprehensively as possible, even where it hurts – and in fact he simply quotes the Federal Constitutional Court. One has to look closely at, for example, conservative Islam to see how compatible it is with our way of life and women's rights, she writes. Journalists should publicly name problems and not push. This deprives right-wing populist movements of growth space. Even.

So it's not like there's no review. Despite this, the bullying continues diligently. It is interesting that many of these bullies, who immediately consider public broadcasting to be far-left without any degree of gradation, behave like people who never read the newspaper “Bild”, but by remote diagnosis consider this paper to be “completely right-wing”.

Don't scare young journalists

I fear that the fact that there are so many bullies out there will unfortunately scare away some of the young journalists we need. After all, they are all online now and aware of the hot atmosphere. The young generation is essential, political scientist Jürgen Falter recently said in the newspaper “Münchner Merkur”. More balance can only be achieved if there are politically diverse youth. But it's not that easy, because journalism primarily attracts humanities and social scientists, and most of them are left-wing. Unfortunately, it is. (My fellow columnist Franca Bauernfeind can tell you much more about the mood on campus.)

That's why I was pleasantly surprised when I spoke to a journalism student on the phone this week. He studies at the University of Bavaria and had written to me about his seminar paper. He said most of the people in his journalism course were pretty left-wing. That in the seminar you will also discuss if and which article you should use with non-binary people in order not to discriminate. That he sometimes wonders where he ended up.

There are actually more important things for a journalism seminar. At least he still seems favorable to the media world. And now I'm applying for a BR internship, of all places. Oh wonder. Someone who didn't let himself be put off. He didn't wake up from his fellow students, nor from all the ÖRR bullies on the internet.

302 Found



The document has been temporarily moved.