The political discourse in Germany has not fallen silent. On the contrary, the established media debate, comment, analyse, scandalise, expose and denounce, present expert opinions and studies, which are replaced by new expert opinions and studies the very next day. Readers and spectators have hardly any time to clear the information jungle, to fish important things out of the sea of trivialities, to establish connections.
More than 30 years ago now, the American media scientist Neil Postman described how the gimmicky presentation of fragmented, contextless, meaningless pieces of ‘info’ degrades the political discourse to entertainment. It offers the protagonists the opportunity to put themselves in the limelight, and the consumers the illusion of being informed and able to judge, in addition to being entertained.
We’re “amusing ourselves to death,” was Postman’s summary of such media practice and reception. In the classic work with the same title he sketched a Huxley world full of stupid but cheerful contemporaries who live in an eternal present and are incapable of integrating the rapidly changing events within a framework of meaning and history. However, he saw no political program and no ideology at work, but a purely technical problem, namely the “unintended consequence of a dramatic change in the forms of our public exchange,” triggered by the “happy medium,” television.
The migration pact only became a political issue at the last moment
Postman could not have imagined that the depoliticization, the elimination of the political from the media public could be deliberately brought about in order to make the people support a kind of politics that runs counter to their interests – in order to establish a realm of lies. Digitalization has not made the problem any smaller. While the internet opens up alternative channels for information gathering and discussion, it has also further increased the density of information and the confusing concurrency of unequal items.
The public is bombarded with reports about the sea level in the South Seas, the allegedly arbitrary character of gender or about gay marriage, while the Global Migration Pact only became an issue at the last moment and under pressure from alternative media. Suggestively prepared and factually adjusted reports have planted the phantasm of a ‘right-wing manhunt’ in Chemnitz as a fact in the minds of millions of media users.
Manipulative Reporting on the Islamic Conference
Another example of manipulative reporting was provided by the Islam Conference end of November at the Federal Ministry of the Interior, where three participants needed the protection of bodyguards because they feared being attacked, injured or killed by radical Muslims for being traitors to their faith.
However, it was not this ‘Clash of Civilizations’ on the micro level that dominated the reporting, but instead a discussion about blood sausage, which was offered at the buffet and caused the ministry to clarify that there were 13 different canapés to choose from, which had been put together “with a view to the religiously diverse composition” of the conference. If one enters the terms ‘Islam conference and ‘blood sausage’ in Google, one receives ten to twenty times the number of hits, compared to the results when one enters the combination ‘Islam conference’ and ‘body guard/protection’ – a result of the work of German quality media.
There is hardly a more competent expert on the topics of migration, asylum, causes of flight and immigration law than conflict researcher Gunnar Heinsohn, author of the book ‘Söhne und Weltmacht’ (‘Sons and World Power’). Heinsohn constantly points out that the population explosion (“youth bulge”) in Africa, along with dwindling resources and declining competitiveness vis-à-vis Asia, is resulting in a gruesome mixture that inevitably erupts into civil wars.
Battle for the few lucrative positions in society
The surplus young men fight for the few lucrative positions in society, whereby the religious motive merely provides the emotionalized cause for mobilization. The demand, even from the highest politicians, that Germany should work to combat the causes of refugee migration is incompetent rambling.
It’s similar to the discussion about an immigration law: English is the lingua franca worldwide. For the highly qualified in India, China etc., Great Britain, the US, Canada or Australia are the natural target countries. Acquiring the German language, on the other hand, is a hurdle that Heinsohn believes must be overcome by creating additional incentives. However, the high tax burden acts as a deterrent. But it’s a result of the burden of the mass immigration of illiterate people.
This means that the sought-after highly qualified are faced with the prospect of having to finance, with a considerable part of their earned income, the mis-migration and further ruination of their new homeland, Germany. Most of them will therefore decline with thanks and travel on. Such important contexts will be addressed in small special-interest channels and one-man blogs, while the mass impact talk shows will be frequented by unqualified party hacks and Pharisees.
Sieferle is an issue for the media only in one respect
Not the proven financial expert and Euro critic Max Otte, but a Max Czollek was recently present in all the media. Although his book ‘Desintegriert euch!’ (‘De-integrate Yourselves!’) does not offer much more than the self-discovery trip of a young German Jew, it was celebrated for weeks as a socio-political revelation. It has since been forgotten again, because there is no useful link in to any of his theses. As in a system of communicating tubes, the attention wasted on Czollek has been withdrawn from the much more important, witty, cultural-morphological study “The Strange Death of Europe” by the British writer Douglas Murray.
The historian Rolf Peter Sieferle, in his book ‘Das Migrationsproblem’ (‘The Migration Problem’), had worked out the link between the nation state and the welfare state. Since then, numerous articles about Sieferle have appeared in the established media, but none has ventured to tackle the central point from which Merkel's politics appear to be plain madness. The ‘migration problem’ was almost completely ignored.
Instead, the critics concentrated on the aphoristically conceived secondary work ‘Finis Germania,’ because it contained sentences that – taken out of context – were suitable for scandalization. The aim was to discredit the author as a person. The untruthful conclusion in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) was: “The latter thinking of this sick, old man (...) was thoroughly anti-freedom and resentful. It is rooted in ideas of the ‘volkish’ right that preceded National Socialism.”
“There is an estimable hierarchy of truths.”
The journalist Simon Strauß is right when he, in the same FAZ, gets all worked up about people who “are no longer prepared to acknowledge the superiority of others” and think they may reject any authority. “There are inferior opinions, there is an estimable hierarchy of truths.” There is no doubt that Sieferle is high up in the hierarchy: a mountain against which the sludge rose, which temporarily buried it.
Unfortunately, Strauß meant it quite differently and joined the phalanx of arrogant and streamlined media people. For he defends the old, holier-than-thou authorities of the “churches, parties, trade unions and newspapers” and attacks all who doubt the wisdom of “courts, artists and climate scientists”.
Long-term fact-free campaign and simultaneous insulting of Merkel critics
Although these authorities can still assert themselves on the basis of their quantitative superiority, they are increasingly placed far below in the intellectual and moral hierarchy. Their fall in the wake of the refugee crisis is likely to be irreversible. To recap, a few press comments from 2015 and 2016 on the economic outlook:
“The wave of immigration, which is now in its seventh year, forms the demographic foundation for the second German economic miracle” (Spiegel Online), “Refugees. They are working on the next economic miracle” (Süddeutsche Zeitung), “86 percent of them (the Syrian migrants) have a high school or university degree. The largest groups are students and professionals, including teachers, lawyers, doctors, bakers, designers, hairdressers and IT specialists” (Focus).
The long-term fact-free campaign and the simultaneous berating of Merkel critics has – contrary to other fast-paced media results – embedded itself in the collective memory, so that the gap between quantity and quality of the political discourse is wide. This opens up the chance for new authorities and discourses. On the other hand, the existing discourse is firmly interwoven with political power structures. This is why it could happen that from the brainless, cheerful Huxley reality there will emerge a brutal Orwell reality.
Originally written in German for 'Junge Freiheit', where the article appeared under the title 'Lieber über Blutwurst diskutieren', on January 6th 2019.