Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Public Chat Forum Topic

Focus wrote a piece today over a SPD political figure and his analysis of public TV chat forums.

So, Marco Bulow, the SPD figure....analyzed 204 talk-shows from ARD and ZDF.

For those who aren't into this public TV thing.....it's a remarkable amount of chat forums that are arranged on a weekly basis.  Some come late at night and likely resemble a Johnny Carson Tonight-Show format.  Some are very political in nature.  All are usually live, which means nothing gets cut out.  So if you uttered something of a shocking nature, well, it's going straight to the home and viewers will get the full dose of your comment.

Average amount per week?  I'd take a guess that 20 hours of chat forums on political or national topics occur each week.

The variety will shift.  You could have 15 hours over an entire week just on the US government or Trump.  You could have 90 minutes dedicated to just pension reform.  You could have six hours in one week devoted to just Erdogan and Turkey.  You could have an entire hour wasted on the reason to pick the FIFA Soccer Championship for Qatar and how it was so legit (while grinning at the camera).

I should note....it's rare that anyone talks over how many people watch the public chat forums.  From the age group of 18 to 25....I doubt if more than 10-percent watch more than one hour per week of these chats.  From the over-40 age group....maybe thirty-percent will catch one to two hours a week.  The idea of someone watching all twenty hours a week?  Maybe one guy out of five-hundred.  In some cases, if given a choice of watching Knight Rider, Japanese cartoons, or a chat forum, you might be shocked that fewer than 10-percent would be interested in the chat forum (total depending on the topic selected for the evening).

So the SPD guy came to this conclusion....from 204 talksshows done over the past 18 months....which include: "Maishberger", "Anne Will", "Hart but fair", "G√ľnther Jauch" and "Maybrit Illner"....roughly a quarter of all these broadcasts were about refugees.  If you included refugees, Islam, terrorism, ISIS, and populism......it's almost fifty percent of the 204 show topics.

So, Bulow says that this is a "distortion of reality".

I sat and read the piece....roughly forty lines.

What interested me is that he carefully picked 18 months (going from summer of 2015 to the past month).  When you cherry-pick your data collection, it begs questions. What happened in this previous 18 months?

I have some memory over the period and readily say that a quarter of chat forums from early 2014 to December of 2015...were pro-immigrant or pro-migrant in nature.  The forums even lined up the guest invited so it'd always be four pro-immigrant talkers and just one anti-immigrant talker.  At some stage toward the end of 2014, this chat forum arrangement even helped to create the various political groups that brought AfD and the anti-immigrant situation to the stage of today.  A segment of Germany society simply felt that the cards were stacked on free and open discussion.

Various Germans would say from early 2014 to the end of 2015....this chat forum cycle was a "distortion of reality".

The overall problem here is the intellectual and news media folks from public TV in Germany, have a perception that the vast number of citizens in the country watch the chat forums, and these arrange the political situation of which the CDU, the SPD, the Greens, etc.....all get support or non-support. I would imagine that roughly half the nation will tell you that they watch less than five hours per year of chat forums.  Maybe in an election year.....it might mean more to watch....but that only occurs once every four years for roughly eight months of a campaign cycle.  From the other half?  You might find that fewer than a quarter of the nation watches two hours a month.

Polling or surveys?  Never done.  This is one of the hundred-odd things in German society that you probably don't want to ask because it would reflect in a negative sense on public TV giving lots of attention to something that the vast majority don't care about.  Put up a Germany versus Italy soccer game?  Oh, that would easily get forty to fifty percent of the viewers on for two hours.

So, maybe this suggestion of lesser chat on migrants and immigrants will push the two public TV networks in Germany to reshuffle their chat schedule....at least until public sentiment goes very negative.  But don't worry, somewhere on the vast number of menu options....there's always Bonanza (with Hoss having a Bavarian accent), Baywatch (Germans seem to like the beach scenes), or some French zombie love-movie on, and you can select that instead of chat forums.

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