- Our Germany correspondent analyzes a recent article in the Frankfurter Algemeine Zeitung, one of Germany's largest and most prestigious newspapers
- The quality of the journalism is appalling
- Germany seems to be living through a sort of journalistic dark age
This is part of our ongoing coverage of German media coverage of Russia, which is just mind-blowingly awful, worse by a long shot than UK and US coverage, which is already spectacularly bad.
What is it about Germans, so straightforward and precise in other matters, that makes them incapable of having a reasonable and fair public discussion?
Part of it seems to be serious meddling on the part of the CIA and German Secret Service, something we have written about extensively.
Here is another classic example.
The German media coverage of Ukraine crisis has failed to win readers' hearts and minds.
Its links to the CIA and NATO have been spectacularly exposed. Its credibility, destroyed. But the FAZ carries on.
Its favorite spin tactics was described during The Information War for Ukraine , a popular satire TV show as "a well tried strategy: put a statement in the headline and leave journalistic standards for the final sentence."
In a recent article in the FAZ, misleading statements occupy the first part of the article. The journalistic standards re-emerge in the second one.
So for example the headline reads: "German companies worry about expropriation". But those readers who venture to the second part of the article learn that: "expropriation of Western assets has so far been requested only by hotheads".
Hotheads they might be, but the FAZ did not think twice about giving their agenda headline prominence?!
The article intro rambles on about Putin "sending his submarine to Brisbane in time for the G20", about companies trying to keep communication channels open "like during the cold war", about Russia "reverting to its darkest soviet times".
This far FAZ describes its sources as "a member of a delegation", and "another manager".
And as examples of what German companies might face, FAZ – clearly short of material -, has to go back to the July closure of Moscow's first McDonald’s.
Unfortunately for FAZ the fast food restaurant reopened Nov 19, just days after the article was published.
FAZ also mentions "agitation against Apple's CEO Tim Cook, after he outed himself as gay". Again old stuff.
The introductory paragraphs now over, the first sub-header asks: "Which is the alternative to Putin?"
Asking instead: "which is the alternative to Western, US-driven, escalation policy against Russia?" was obviously not an option.
Yet most Germans at least remember an alternative to Merkel: former chancellor Schroeder, who, from the very beginning, has spoken out precisely against this US-driven escalation policy against Russia.
Having bashed Putin on the opening paragraphs, and propagated CIA's policy of regime change in Russia on the following ones, the authors of the article FAZ are now free to do their work as journalists.
It also gets interesting:
"German industry will have lost a fifth of its exports towards Russia, so the East-Committee – the Americans, in contrast, could even slightly improve their own exports."
It then produces an hilarious quote from a not named, but "angry" manager:
"The Americans know how to arrange sanctions in a way that does not damage their own economy".
Suddenly, an article that began with Putin arriving in Brisbane on submarines gets real.
It starts to make sense, and even names its sources. But these sources – from Eckhard Cordes, chairman of the Eastern Committee of the German Economy, to Siemens CEO Joe Käser – both top German business leaderrs, have all been very outspoken against Merkel's confrontation policy towards Russia.
And now, afraid that the damage is done, they try to persuade the Kremlin not to hit back, as it already did in August.
The article aptly ends with a paragraph titled: "more diplomatic efforts by Merkel needed".
Max Uthoff was spot on during The Information War for Ukraine satire show. It really is "a well tried strategy," that of putting "a statement in the headline and leave journalistic standards for the final sentence."
And one in which FAZ now excels.