Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Election Coverage on State-run TV

On Sunday night....state-run TV here in Germany carried a lengthy piece....live of course, on the issues and the parties (not the candidates).

So they brought in six folks (from each group).  CDU.  CSU. FDP. The Linke folks.  SPD.  And the Green Party.  Naturally, they excluded the Pirates and the anti-Euro folks.  Neither are noted much in the polls, and the general feeling is that neither will get past four percent in the election.  Personally, I think if they'd included them.....it might have made for a more interesting show.

The first segment was this personalized episode of this German guy....mid-20's....unemployed.  I kinda got the opinion after three minutes that it was a slanted piece....to show unemployment is very serious.....when the numbers currently aren't that bad.  The moderation team from the state-TV network....wanted observers to get into this topic.

They wasted around twenty minutes chatting on this.  Each party person gave some notes on unemployment.  The moderators kept noting the personal nature of this guy.  It was hard to figure what was going to be achieved except the government giving this guy a fake job, so he'd feel good, and tax everyone more to cover the fake job.

Then the moderators went to the topic of political parties being 'un-cool'.  It was to be some humor piece and I thought it was geared for the 18-to-25 year old voters.  Frankly, it was a waste of fifteen minutes, and I think a quarter of the TV audience just turned the show off at that point.

So the third piece came.....some wife, with kids, and a job....complaining that she gets up around daylight (I guess 5AM), gets the kid's stuff ready, and leave the house around 6AM.  She drives 23 km (roughly 17 miles), and works till around 1PM, then drives home.  Her husband has a shift job and goes to work at 2PM.  Her complaint is that she never sees her husband except for weekends, and this is just not right.

I sat there and tried to figure out the real issue.  Other than ordering her company to pay her while she stays home.....there's not much of a solution.  I sat and watched the moderator team try to get some curious responses from the political folks.  You could see that they were inventing careful phases or ways to respond.  Of course, blaming the CDU should have been the right response....but it's hard to say what the CDU could have done in this case.

Then came the moment when I just started laughing.  The moderator team's camera guy finally caught the CDU guy taking a text message on his handy.  A close-up occurred....secret text being passed to the guy.  You could sense some thumping on this guy was about to occur.  I just sat there laughing.....it was probably the climax of the episode, and the best rating you could give these state-run TV folks is maybe two stars.

2013's election is turning into a non-election.  Frankly, I think that eighty percent of the adult public doesn't really care, and it might be the lowest number of voters showing up in decades.  The state-run TV folks would like to generate enthusiasm.....I suspect to benefit anyone but the CDU/CSU.  If they'd thrown in the anti-Euro folks and the Pirates.....this might have been a very interesting episode....but they just couldn't do that.

More shows like this over the next three weeks?  I kinda doubt if the public will watch something like this episode again.  If anything....it generated less interest.  Chancellor Merkel watching this?  I doubt it....she was probably playing a poker game with neighbors....sipping cheap German wine.....and gossiping on Berlin activities.  A politician dreams of an election like this....where you can only lose....if you fall over dead with a heart-attack.  In the US.....we would have run you....even as a dead candidate, and she'd still win the election there.  Course, that's another story.

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