Kai Gniffke, SWR director's day job and ARD chairman, is outraged by the discussion about the broadcast fee. Understandable. Public broadcasters were used to politicians approving ongoing fee increases and citizens paying in silence.

Public broadcasting (POB) is the most expensive public broadcasting system in the world at 10 billion euros per year. 85 percent comes from (mandatory) broadcasting fees, the rest from advertising revenue.

ARD boss Gniffke: #Quality journalism

But instead of talking about money, Gniffke prefers to talk about what he sees as ÖRR's undeniable quality. On the “Linkedin” platform, he has now spoken about “why public broadcasting exists”.

He asked some questions that were rhetorical in nature. He expected full consent. Among other things, Gniffke asked:

  • Shall we allow ARD, ZDF and Deutschlandradio to sort reality from fake for the people of Germany?
  • Are we at the mercy of American and Chinese tech companies and their problematic #algorithms?
  • Or do we respond to it with the quality German media scene with #qualityjournalism?

It doesn't sound like Gniffke was in the mood for a joke. The man really means that ARD, ZDF and DLF provide 100 percent quality journalism. It would be nice if that were the case.

Since no one wants to eliminate the ÖRR entirely, Gniffke's reference to the threat of remaining entirely at the mercy of American and Chinese tech companies is a killer argument. But really, it's just a transparent diversionary tactic.

ÖRR is being criticized like never before. It is also related to scandals like in RBB. It is ÖRR's own fault that this station acts as self-service for the director and senior editors.

Director and his salary

Gniffke himself contributes to the fact that people at ARD, ZDF and Deutschlandradio are literally bathing in money. Like other directors, he is on the same level as Chancellor Olaf Scholz with nearly 30,000 euros per month.

Not lacking in confidence, Gniffke justified his “appropriate” salary by saying that he is “responsible for 15 million people every day.” That's how many people live in SWR's broadcast area.

According to Gniffke's logic, Scholz should earn 178,000 euros per month. Because the chancellor is responsible for 84 million people and has a much more responsible job than the director.

In addition to the legitimate outrage of license fee payers at the financial behavior of broadcasters, there is growing anger at the political one-sidedness of broadcasters.

The dominant themes are climate, gender politics, redistribution and the fight against the right. At the same time, many presenters and news anchors irritate the majority of Germans every day, who dismiss the “warm talk” forced on them as meaningless.

The fact that ÖRR employs more journalists with left-wing, green attitudes is also reflected in the one-sided selection of interview partners. Regular professors are active in SPD. But this is kept secret from the audience.

ARD and ZDF talk about “individual cases”

Hardly any talk show can do without the leftist Sahra Wagenknecht. The “Sahra Wagenknecht Alliance” has not participated in any elections yet.

It is also no coincidence that in street polls, ÖRR reporters very often come across political activists of the left-green spectrum and present them as “men from the street”.

Broadcasters always refer to them as “isolated cases”. But the number of isolated cases suggests a methodical approach or gross negligence. There is also the question of what would be worse: intention or failure?

At least as bad is how sluggish ÖRR often reacts to explosive political events. When the hosts of the big talk shows are on vacation, the show is canceled – no matter what is happening in Berlin or the rest of the world.

When drastic events occur in global politics, such as the Hamas terrorist attack on October 7th, politically interested people do not tune in to German channels anyway. BBC or CNN is a better choice.

Kai Gniffke can be happy with himself and ÖRR – more and more citizens and ratepayers are not. It is impossible to imagine a country where the main sources of information are global profit making companies.

Most people would probably prefer a “quality media landscape” where public broadcasters are the home of current, pluralistic and unbiased quality journalism. Alone: ​​This ÖRR doesn't give it. And Gniffke does not want to notice this in his self-absorption.

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