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No, I haven't got a link. But I have read it.

That meme is not without some basis in reality, as media people tend to be highly educated fellows who are less impressed by the traditionalist elements of conservative rhetoric.
As people with higher income are more likely to vote for rightwing parties, I guess, this is as well true for more educated people.

So there are a lot of things.

  • opinion parts of journalists are often not about policies, but about how well or not well a party follows its boss. Fawning MPs/PMs towards their boss = good, critical voices and lively discussion = bad \ in the last years the SPD was quite a bit wilder than the CDU. Schroeder in the end had as well problems to keep his people together, why else would he had given up?
  • Everything what "Die Linke" says is bad, toxic. If something isn't introduced by a widely respected person, who hasn't done such a 'betrayal' as Lafontaine (is stepping down was seen very bad from the beginning, not only when he joined Die Linke), it can't be taken serious. If later others follow such ideas, they are called populist (see the heat the CSU got for asking for inflation adjustment of the income tax, this was similar to a Linke proposal earlier).
  • the journalists have to take into account, what people think. This is quite simple. If the economy runs well, the current politicians are seen in a good light. If the economy runs bad, they are seen in a bad light. This is no different than in other countries. Merkel had simply the incredible luck, that her chancellorship started just at the beginning of an unexpectedly very good year. When the economy slows for a longer time, such as in 2001 - 2005, she won't be seen favourable any more.
  • journalists are rarely economists. One idea, which was sold to them by both, the CDU and the Schroederites is, that the budget should be balanced. This specific issue gets much more credit than it should get. And the current grand coalition simply was very successful in doing that.
  • the sense that journalistic ethics requires neutrality leads to views, which are necessarily close to the center. So yes, journalists are at the right edge of the SPD. And when people like Schroeder, Steinmeier, Clement, Muntefering sell something like the agenda 2010, and they say TINA, then the journalists will write TINA, because most of the serious people say TINA.
  • the grand coalition makes economic policies left of Schroeder. Schroeder: record reduction of the top income tax rate/ GC: 3% increase of that rate// Schroeder: agenda 2010 // GC: prolonging jobless pay  for elderly, the change of stock earning taxation (which will bring in more money over time); this are just small steps, but the direction is obviously in the other direction. So why should a journalist who has believed Schroeder, now attack Merkel, when he is favouring left policies?
  • Kohl was not at all popular in the media. He managed even to get into a long dispute with the BILD, (while Schroeder said, he can gouvern with BILD and GLotze(TV))


Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers
by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Thu Sep 11th, 2008 at 08:58:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have read it.

What I'd be interested in is not the bare fact but details - e.g. how wide was the scope of the poll within the realm of journalism, was it a straw poll or scientific, who made it, when, framing of questions and such.

On some of your points:

  1. The center is a moving target :-) And I think the right of the SPD, just like the left of the CDU/CSU as it befits a Volkspartei [how do you say that in English?], are beyond the overall centre.

  2. You yourself contended that Merkel's current leftist economic policies (and perhaps foreign policy, too) run opposite to her and the CDU's 2005 campaign platform. (I could say her lust for power was so strong that she broke all her election promises to get into government in a Grand Coalition ;-) ) The media love for her dates from before the elections, and in fact, I even read some 'reformist' criticisms of her.

  3. Kohl vs. SPIEGEL was legendary, but otherwise, you just named one of the examples I had in mind when I said "universal conservative meme". That Germany has RTL, Sat1 and Pro7 today was born out of Kohl's explicit intentions to 'balance' critical independent public media (coded as always as "left-leaning") with friendly media. The slant of the new privates is nowhere near as drastic as Fox News or Berlusconi's channels or even French media owned by Sarko's personal friends, but Bertelsmann (owner of RTL) is indeed a hardcore conservative giant in the Meinungsmacher business, and ProSiebenSat.1 can't be called left-of-center. Let's not forget about former German media giant Kirch, either, who was a bit too close personal friend of Kohl.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Sep 11th, 2008 at 09:29:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The center is a moving target :-) And I think the right of the SPD, just like the left of the CDU/CSU as it befits a Volkspartei [how do you say that in English?], are beyond the overall centre.
I think major party is used for Volkspartei. It is true of course, that the parties are overlapping. And people like Bluem/Geissler or Clement/Schroeder could be in the other party if only economic policies would count (Bluem/Geissler could even be in the left party then).

You yourself contended that Merkel's current leftist economic policies (and perhaps foreign policy, too) run opposite to her and the CDU's 2005 campaign platform. (I could say her lust for power was so strong that she broke all her election promises to get into government in a Grand Coalition ;-) ) The media love for her dates from before the elections, and in fact, I even read some 'reformist' criticisms of her.
She has broken most of her election promises, except the VAT increase, which was probably among the most important ones. But it is very clear, that the 2005 campaign platform was far away from the center of people's opinion. And of course there are people critisising Merkel for breaking her promises, e.g. Friedrich Merz and co.

RTL, Sat1 and Pro7
Thought we speak about serious journalism. Last time I viewed news on one of these channels, I couldn't detect that. I don't think these channels make people more conservative. I think these channels make people more unpolitical at all, which as it is 'Unterschichtenfernsehen' admittedly helps the right.

Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers

by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Thu Sep 11th, 2008 at 09:55:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think major party is used for Volkspartei.

Does that bear the connotation (pretty strong in German) of being a consolidator of diverse streams from all parts of the population? (Where the suggestion is that minor parties represent specific minority layers of society.)

Thought we speak about serious journalism.

You didn't specify your poll of journalists was among "serious" journalists, so I didn't know we are speaking only about serious journalism :-) At the level of influencing people, the daily news half-hour of either channel compares to tagesschau and heute. But anyway, I could have named n-tv, too.

I think people can be made more unpolitical and conservative at the same time. At least on the economy, preaching consumerist individualism is a 'conservative' propaganda already. When things are dumbed down, and analysis is left away, what remains is often highly saturated spin. That's exactly what Berlusconi's channels are doing. (BTW, have you ever suffered channel-surfing in an Italian hotel? Worst the B effect produced the TV landscape in Europe, no contest.) IMHO RTL & co do the same, but much less overtly, much more subversively.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Sep 11th, 2008 at 10:14:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Minor side comment on RTL & co, given the anniversary. Back then I watched TV practically for 24 hours, flipping between several news channels I then had on satellite. Strangely enough, I found the coverage by RTL and Sat.1 the most informative: ARD and ZDF were then caught at unawares, Hungarian channels did little beyond relaying stuff from US channels, while CNN (and Fox and MSNBC) tried to fill every second with endless repetitions and talking heads babbling away in which real new information, not to mention understanding, was quickly lost.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Sep 11th, 2008 at 10:20:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
preaching consumerist individualism is a 'conservative' propaganda already
No, it isn't. It is 'social-liberal' propaganda. The viewership of these channels is less wealthy than the average. It is nothing said about the source of the money to buy the products. Transfers would be the easiest for the viewership.
Individualism is clearly against conservative values. The hyping of indpendency, the neglect of loyality towards the people in your immediate proximity and ridiculing of family bounds is a left wing issue.
I want to remind you about Jerome's diary 'I don't do charity, I pay taxes'. I have I wouldn't have known, that Jerome does charity, I would have thought 'What an asshole'. Along the lines of an episode, I think written by Tolstoi about charity/Barmherzigkeit and the Russian soul, communists are forbidden to do charity, because you are in either of two situations
  • perfect world, no charity necessary, because nobody has problems
  • prerevolutionary world, charity only softens the suffering, which ultimatively will bring the revolution to the perfect world. So charity prevents the perfect world from coming
Jerome in his diary says - to Americans, who live in a country with a broken gov - don't do charity, just vote for left parties and your moral duty is done. No reason to do anything for those, who suffer, just cold blooded cynism in the face of suffering. No personal responsibility for others, no honour in resign from own rights to help those who suffer more. People really following such ideas, and not just proclaiming them, while doing the opposite, have replaced their heart by a mechanic.

Familyism and local communityism are conservative, the atomisation of the society into individuums, which are only connected by the state, but not with each other, is something favoured by leftys.

Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers

by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Thu Sep 11th, 2008 at 11:09:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Martin:
Familyism and local communityism are conservative, the atomisation of the society into individuums, which are only connected by the state, but not with each other, is something favoured by leftys.

You have some very strange ideas about the Left, certainly as it works in the Anglo world.

Wasn't it Thatcher who said 'There's no such thing about society' and proceeded to act as if that were true?

Left wing discussions are filled with ideas of community and interpersonal responsibility.

How much time have you spent talking to real progressives?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Sep 11th, 2008 at 11:24:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To make it short: the individualism promoted by leftists (and to a much lesser degree liberals) is anti-authoritarian, not anti-community.

When conservatives speak of community, in my observation, it's always in terms of hierarchy and submission. Be it family, state, nation, party, company, military. Consumerism might undermine 'family values', disturbing the 'moral conservatives', but at the same time, it also undermines the sense of solidarity and thus the support for policy proposals based on them and politicians running with those; and undermines the running and survival of authority-challenging communities like unions, parties, consumer groups and such. While Martin is speaking thinking of a political landscape where no major party politician dared to speak like Thatcher, a German conservative doesn't even have to be a Thatcherite/Reaganite/Anglo Disease worshipper to favor such an outcome.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Sep 11th, 2008 at 11:39:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Gemeinschaft vs. Gesellschaft - i.e. the longstanding German intellectual tradition of contrasting traditional style 'community' with the 'society' generated by modernity.
by MarekNYC on Thu Sep 11th, 2008 at 11:39:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The viewership of these channels is less wealthy than the average.

Precisely. But why on Earth do you think that makes them left-of-center oriented? Bild is aimed at lower-class, less educated people too, and I hope even you won't take its support for Schröder as reason to call the flagship of the Axel Springer Verlag left-of-center. But obviously conservatives need to communicate towards lower-class people. Since universal suffrage was introduced, it's not enough for conservatives to get the majority of the feudal, clerical and moneyed wealthy people, so they have to get those less wealthy people.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Sep 11th, 2008 at 11:48:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The sentence stood in connection with the next one. Promoting consumerism to a non-wealthy viewership doesn't make them feel they get too much transfers.


Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers
by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Thu Sep 11th, 2008 at 11:55:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I submit the meaning of that sentence was lost on me, and still is after the above. What do you mean with "transfer"?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Sep 11th, 2008 at 12:00:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Transfers - redistributional policies by the gov't e.g. direct via any kind of welfare, indirect via cross subsidies for the health care system/ retirement system overproportionally benefitting those with less than average income.

In other words, right wing parties in charge are not very likely to produce results with the RTL/Pro7/Sat1 viewers more money in the pocket - at least not in the short term - than left wing parties. So to win them, it doesn't make sense to focus them on the money in their pocket, but distract them with other issues, like telling the left parties are ammoral, or do not have the skills to run the gov't properly.

Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers

by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Thu Sep 11th, 2008 at 12:09:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You know what, this diary was about that Europe's economy does fine, probably better than the US one.

If Europe is as much owned by big corporations and Chicago school boys as the US, then of course using it as an example that different policy is possible for Americans is completely useless. So long live Milton Friedman, long live Dick Cheney, long live fox news, they are doing the only policy which ever proofed to work.

Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers

by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Thu Sep 11th, 2008 at 12:19:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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