Friday, July 03, 2015

The euro crisis takes the German "quality" press down with it

Georg Diez take a hard look at one of the problems that the euro crisis has highlighted, the subservience of the "quality" media as well as the "boulevard" press to conservative assumptions, and particularly to Angela Merkel's policies and actions in support of her ruinous Herbert Hoover/Heinrich Brüning economic policies for the eurozone and especially for the periphery countries. (Berichterstattung zu Griechenland: Im Dschungelcamp der deutschen Medien Spiegel Online 03.07.2015)

He uses Anja Kohl, financial journalist for ARD, as an example:

Eine Frau, die seit Jahren nichts anderes tut, als dem Dax das Händchen zu halten, wenn es ihm mal nicht gut geht, und den Finanzkapitalismus anzufeuern, der im Kern die Ursache der Griechenlandkrise überhaupt ist ...

[A woman who for years has done nothing else but the hold the DAX's hand if things are going well for it, and to cheer for finance capitalism, which at the core is the main reason for the Greece crisis ...]
On the latter point, he cites Ana Swanson im the Washington Post, The forgotten origins of Greece’s crisis will make you think twice about who’s to blame 07/01/2015:

Once the Greeks joined the euro in 2002, they could borrow at very cheap rates given they were now borrowing under the continent's implicit guarantee, and they dramatically over-borrowed.

"But given that there was high growth, no one was really worried about it,” says Matthias Matthijs, a professor at Johns Hopkins University SAIS and co-editor of the new book, “The Future of the Euro," who relayed the bar metaphor.

Between 1998 and 2007, Greece's annual economic growth per person was 3.8 percent -- the second fastest rate in Europe.

But there were weaknesses within. The booming economy in Greece and other countries such as Ireland and Spain caused prices to rise, and the countries gave generous pay rises to their workers, which made their exports more expensive. That made the countries less competitive, but since they were growing so fast, it didn't matter too much.

Then the financial crisis hit. As economic growth slowed, these countries’ competitive weaknesses and unsustainable debt loads suddenly became glaringly obvious.

“It’s when the tide goes out that you see who’s swimming naked,” Matthijs says.
The is what the "free flow of capital" means. Business and individuals can invest and move funds across borders on the same basis as residents of individual countries. And the free flow of capital is a necessity in a currency zone.

This arrangement is obviously convenient for businesses and speculators. But it isn't necessarily good for individual countries. In the case of the eurozone, it has worked heavily to the benefit of French and German investors and financial institutions and to the detriment of the peripheral countries. As Swanson says, citing Matthias Matthijs, "In short, many in the north pushed for a financial regime that didn't fit the Greek economy, because they personally stood to benefit."

Dietz continues:

Kohl also, die schon 2009 dafür kritisiert wurde, dass sie bei einem dubiosen Börsen-Seminar auftrat und Veranstaltungen von DAX-Firmen moderierte, über die sie eigentlich objektiv berichten sollte, die 2014 bei Frank Plasberg patzig wurde, als es mal wieder um "unser Geld" ging, und die nun bei Günther Jauch auf den neben ihr sitzenden Griechen einschimpfte und dann fauchte, "wir" hätten doch Griechenland dies und das und alles Mögliche angeboten - als sei sie Teil des Verhandlungsteams und nicht des Journalismus.

Oder Rolf-Dieter Krause, der nach langen Jahren in Brüssel an einer Art Stockholm-Syndrom leidet, nur noch in der stahlblauen Rationalität der Macht denkt und wie Kohl sein gebührenfinanziertes Gehalt eigentlich dafür kriegt, dass er möglichst objektiv sein sollte - diesem ARD-Krause platzte bei Plasberg heraus, man solle doch am besten "die Jungs von Syriza zum Teufel jagen".

[Then Kohl, who had already been criticized in 2009 because she appeared at a dubious stock-market seminar and moderated presentations by DAX firms on which she actually was supposed to be reporting objectively. Who in 2014 got insolent on Frank Plasberg's show when it again had to do with "our money." And who now on Günther Jauch's show badmouthed the Greek sitting next to her and then hissed, "we" have offered Greece this and that and other things - as though she were part of the neogitating team and not a journalist.

Or Rolf-Dieter Krause, who for many years in Brussels suffers from a kind of Stockholm Syndrome, thinking only in the steel-blue rationality of power and how Kohl really gets his fee-financed salary for being as objective as possible - this ARD-Krause blurted out to Plasberg, the best things would be "send the boys from Syriza to Hell."]

Plasberg is the host of a TV program called Hart aber fair. Kohl appeared on his show last year out last year dogmatically defending the unending demands by One Percenters and austerians for high interest rates from the ECB to fight the inflation they always says is about to burst upon us, in good times and bad. (Philipp Stempel, Bei "unserem Geld" wird ARD-Expertin Anja Kohl giftig Rheinische Post 28.10.2014)

N-TV reports on Kohl's appearance with Günther Jauch: Thomas Schmoll, Europas Kluft verläuft durchs Gasometer 29.06.2015

Rolf-Dieter Krause heads the ARD office in Brussels, which the EU executive functions reside.

André Tautenhahn also harshes on the performance of the German press in Chaoten am Werk Nachdenkseiten 02.Juli.2015. He links to this video of which he explains was put together by the satirical magazinew Extra3 that shows in what he calls "a terribly humorous way" the tendency of the German media to echo Merkel's line on negotiations with Greece and her hostility to Alexis Tsipras' government, in this case focusing on Sigmund Gottlieb, the chief editor for Bayerisches Fernsehen, Sigmund Gottlieb (BR) und die Griechen | extra 3 | NDR 07/01/2015:

Tautenhahn also has a memorable characterization of SPD Chairman and German Vice Chancellor Sigmar "Sigi Pop" Gabriel, "den man nur noch als aufgeblasene Sprechpuppe der Kanzlerin betrachten kann" "who at this point one can only describe as a gasbag puppet of the Chancellor."

Sigmar Gabriel, den man nur noch als aufgeblasene Sprechpuppe der Kanzlerin betrachten kann

The euro crisis is shaping up to be for German journalism what the Whitewater pseudoscandal and the Iraq War were for the American "quality" media. They may not yet have descended to the low level of their American counterparts. But they are clearly on the way!

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