Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Lugenpress (Lying Press) and Structure

There's a term used by Germans (since 2014) for the news media.....lugenpress.  It typically means lying press, or a manipulated message.  Journalists hate the image and continually defend themselves against the usage....arguing that they are transparent and fair in their presentation.  The public is split.  You could ask a hundred Germans about their view of the news people, and you might get one hundred different views....some positive, some negative, and some admitting that they've given up and stick with only sports news.

This is my list of ten structural items which make the term stick:

1.  You construct a chat forum with one moderator and five 'experts' on one very argumentative topic.  About five minutes into the forum, you realize that it's four in favor of such-and-such topic, and only one against.  The longer this discussion goes on, the less you can find in agreement with the one single guy arguing the point on his lone side.  Over the past two years, I've probably watched this type of hyped event on state-run TV about forty times.

2.  You have a major event of substance occur, and you basically avoid reporting on this, or you limit your coverage to 30 seconds over an entire week.  The viewer might catch up with this item via FOCUS or Stern or their local newspaper.....but the odds are that they will mess this item.

3.  You have certain journalists who are more of a cheer-leader for a cause, than a reporter delivering facts.  These will be people who tell one particular side of a story.....over and over....to the point where it's obvious that they have been duped by some cause leadership or lobbyist.

4.  The New York Times anchor.  If you come to any story revolving around the US.....doesn't matter if it's economic, political or what ever....if you pull out the New York Times articles on the event and compare against the German story told by state-run news....it's virtually identical.  Most people would just say it's journalistic nature to look at the top 'dog' in the news world, and carry their message forward.  How often is the Times carrying a bad prospective or performing a cheer-leader episode?  Well....yeah, that is a problem.

5.  The funny voice routine.  State-run TV news will occasionally run translation of commentary by a non-German.  Typically, ninety-percent of the voice coverage is normal or average....but then you run into that ten-percent group where an amusing voice or accented voice is used and you take the guy's comment as a joke because of the news voice-gimmick.

6.  The eye-brow routine.  This is typically when a journalist is begging you....like a kid would do when wanting you to buy chocolate at the shop....and you start to notice their eyebrows going up to emphasize that you really need to pay attention.  If you watch the 9:45PM news at night on state-run TV....you notice these particular journalists do this often.

7.  The expert is never wrong.  Various intellectuals and experts are brought on by state-run TV and generally given a pass on reliability or true knowledge.  Some actually fulfill their obligation and do a pretty good job.  Others are just there to fake you out on the situation.

8.  A dozen-odd people off the street will be interviewed by the state-run TV press.  If they want to slam a topic.....they review the dozen interviews and pick the worst of the worst to run on tonight's news as the typical opinion off the street.  It's third-grade journalism but you get used to it after a while.

9.  The necessity of there being only one position or opinion.  When major events occur in Germany, there's typically a position taken by the state-run news media where only one position can be right.  Their theme during this crisis period....goes to that extreme. Their guests, their chat forums.....all geared toward that logical conclusion.  It's almost like a Borg creature from Star Trek....there can only be one simple and logical statement from the collective.

10.  For some odd reason, after a while, you get the impression that just about every single journalist from state-run TV is from either the SPD or Green Party.  Perhaps it's a false feeling, but it's continually something that you go back to and identify.

No comments: