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  • Grotesque distortions

    Posted by Ralf Goergens on June 29th, 2004 (All posts by )

    David Kaspar links to an op-ed by prominent feminist Alice Schwarzer and
    claims that she compares Abu Ghraib to Auschwitz
    :

    “(…) Das erste (Foto) zeigt ein Opfer auf einem Podest mit einer Kapuze über dem Kopf, das mit seinen abgewinkelten Armen wie der gekreuzigte Christus das Leid dieser Welt symbolisiert (…). Das zweite Foto zeigt einen nackten Menschenhaufen, der uns an KZ-Bilder erinnert…”

    Translation:

    “(…) The first (photo) shows a hooded victim on a pedestal who, with his arms outstretched like the crucified Christ, symbolizes the world’s sufferings. … The second photo shows a pile of naked men that reminds us of pictures from the concentration camps. …”

    The comparison of this picture from Abu Ghraib with those of concentration camps is very stupid, but she isn’t comparing Abu Ghraib to Auschwitz. Here’s an altavista translation

    But look what David then comes up with:

    “The issue here is nothing less than the revision of German history. Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, Theresienstadt and Dachau are all in the same league with Abu Ghraib. (While under American control – the German media treated Abu Ghraib under Saddam’s rule as a non-event, as a sub-set of the category Arabian folklore.)

    We get it! That’s the way it was in those Nazi concentration camps back then. A bunch of louts, those concentration camp guards – they didn’t always maintain discipline. There were times when the inmates were slapped in the face. And more – occasionally they had to stand on a box for hours. Once the prisoners even had to undress! And then get dressed again! Sure weren’t resorts, those concentration camps. If only the Führer had known!

    So the pictures taken in German concentration camps remind us of American crimes in our day? Well, we don’t want to compare numbers. Every nation has a few bad boys who get carried away once in a while, doesn’t it?…”

    He certainly got a lot of mileage out of this one sentence. Get it? A feminist who has no more influence in Germany than Susan Sontag has in America writes an op-ed that contains a stupid sentence, and all of a sudden it’s all of the German media and *Germans in general* who are comparing Abu Ghraib to Auschwitz in order to excuse the holocaust.

    The reason for this overreaction is easy to understand: David was angered by the German coverage about Abu Ghraib, so he was primed and ready for even the appeareance of such a comparison. Right at the start of the post he writes:

    We expected it. We knew it would come. Only the when and where were in doubt. The German media are drawing parallels among the American soldiers’ abuses in Abu Ghraib, Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and the Nazi’s concentration camps. And the icing on the cake? This moronic idiocy, which first appeared in a low-circulation, leftist, feminist rag, is being reprinted in Germany’s most important conservative newspaper, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

    This passage is misleading in itself (for it Schwarzer and not the German media in general who is making comparisons, and not even the one David is claiming), but it reveals that this is the first instance of any mention of the holocaust David has come across in the context of Abu Ghraib (“We expected it. We knew it would come…” [And oh boy, was he ever ready for it]).

    Then Jeff Jarvis links to David’s post and without bothering to read the original article David linked to he too claims that German media in general make this comparison:

    The death of perspective

    :German media are comparing Abu Ghraib to — yes, I’m actually going to say this – Auschwitz…
    (the rest is an excerpt from David’s post)

    And Glenn Reynolds in turn links to Jarvis:

    “GERMAN MEDIA: Hey, the holocaust wasn’t all that bad! Look what the Americans did in Abu Ghraib!

    This self-serving historical revisionism pretty much explains the German position on the war. Note to Germans: You’re not fooling anyone but yourselves. And Michael Moore. And Al Gore. And maybe Guido Calabresi.

    In other words, the people who want to be fooled. . . .”

    I don’t think that it’s an exaggeration to call this grotesque. I mailed David, Glenn and Jeff. David got two emails. In the first I mailed him the link to Reynolds’ post and told him that I’m pretty sick of this kind of thing by now, for this isn’t the first time one of David’s posts led to collective condemnation of Germans as Nazis (the picture of Dresden is an especially nice touch).

    In the second email I told David among other things that a)that his self-appointed task is to uncover distorted reporting media, but that he has now himself caused an extreme distortion in reporting, b) that foreign bloggers are trusting him blindly and link to him without checking his sources, so that he has the responsibility to get it right.

    So far only David has answered. He said that he has little time to respond right now, but told me that he doesn’t agree with the points I made. He also doesn’t seem to see anything wrong with Jarvis’ or Reynolds’ posts (to which I linked in my email). Reynolds and Jarvis for their part don’t seem to see anything wrong with issuing collective judgments on a very skimpy basis and can’t even be bothered to respond when called on it.

    Bloggers pride themselves on being more accurate and truthful than the press, but in this case they get it completely wrong. A bit of fact-checking instead of just taking David’s word as gospel truth would have helped to avoid this fuck up. I suppose that Reynolds and Jarvis “want to be fooled”, to quote a certain prominent blogger.

     

    25 Responses to “Grotesque distortions”

    1. David Kaspar Says:

      I’m afraid you are fighting for a lost cause, Ralf.

      The Abu Ghraib coverage in the German media is way overblown and deliberatedly insulting to Bush and “America”. The Abu Ghraib – German concentration camp link in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung is only a logical consequence of the hysterical anti-Bush mood that has become the trademark of Germany’s media.

      You are completely wrong comparing Alice Schwarzer’s influence in Germany with Susan Sontag’s in the U.S. Schwarzer can be seen on all them major German tv talk shows – if not daily, then certainly on a weekly basis. She’s even invited to top tv game shows. Sontag in the U.S. is virtually peanuts compared to Schwarzer in Germany. Schwarzer has become a major public personality in Germany.

      Schwarzer + Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung + Abu Ghraib/concentration camp comparison: that’s news fit to be printed in my blog. Thank you Glenn Reynolds and Jeff Jarvis for linking to my posting.

    2. Ralf Goergens Says:

      David,

      I agree that the coverage is way overblown, but your response to this article is also way over the top. There *is* no comparison of concentration camps with Abu Gharib, apart from Schwarzer’s stupid comparison. “Hysterical anti-Bush mood that has become the trademark of Germany’s media”, that’s something that I can agree with. But the German media comparing Abu Ghraib to Auschwitz? That’s simply not true. Or are you claiming that hating being anti-Bush is one and the same as being a Nazi-apologist?
      That is your claim, and it is false.

      Reynolds also didn’t just link to your posting.
      He doesn’t just hold the German media, but *all Germans* responsible. That includes me, and gives me the right to take it personal.

      As to Schwarzer: Yes, she is visible, she appears in talk-shows and game shows, but she isn’t influential, just a kind of gossiping aunt people are used to seeing on TV. She was influential in the 70s and 80s, but she has long since become the classsical celebrity: Well-known, but completely inconcequential.

    3. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      David,

      I’ve been a guest on your blog many times. I also strongly support your mission to call attention to media bias and distortions. A noble mission and a lot more of it is needed. Especially here in the States. However, in this case I just don’t see it.

      While I agree that comparing Abu Ghraib to a concentration camp like Auschwitz is way over the top, it seems the point of her article was to excuse the women’s behavior; they were merely victims of male influence. What a bunch of tripe.

      Compared to the NYT though, this is pretty tame stuff. Since the Abu Graib scandal broke, the NYT has printed nearly 450 articles on it, many on the front page. Does that sound like they have an agenda? Four – hundred – and – fifty – articles.

      Granted, it’s an important story. But with all that’s happening in the world, and all that’s happening in the Middle East, and all that happening in Iraq in particular, what is the justification for 450 articles on the same scandal? There is none. It’s anti-Iraq war, anti-Bush propoganda, pure and simple. Find a weak spot and hammer at it relentlesssly. From the viewpoint of a NYT reader, there are only two stories on Iraq, terrorists and Abu Graib. Blood and abuse, 24/7. Joseph Goebbels would be proud of the NYT editors. The WaPo is almost as bad.

      By the way (to take a tangent here…), what is with the Americans media’s obsession with violence? “If it bleeds, it leads.” has been the guiding principle of American news outlets all my life. There’s something very unhealthy about that. Maybe I should write a post on the topic.

    4. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Michael, is it the media’s obsession with it, or that of its audience ? If a majority of the audience didn’t like it, they wouldn’t be watching/reading/listening and they wouldn’t be leading with it.

      And it’s certainly nothing new, as one can tell by perusing old newspaper archives. It’s a kind of pornography. As to whether it’s unhealthy, well, maybe. Given my experience, I prefer to have media outlets giving their audience what they want and competing to state media deciding what it is I want to hear.

    5. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      Syl, By unhealthy, I mean I believe it’s damaging to our culture. Big Media paints a picture of non-stop carnage in our society. I don’t think it’s an accurate representation. There could be 99,000 intesting things happening in New york or Boston on any given day, but if someone gets murdered in some gruesome way it’s front page news. How does this obsession with violence contribute to a better understanding of the complete picture of our society? It doesn’t. It’s a kind voyuerism of violence. An indulging in it, bathing in it. I think it drives people away from each other. It fosters an unhealthy climate of fear. Everyone is being ‘taught’ that murder and violence surround us. Don’t trust your neighbor. Don’t trust anyone. Killers are everywhere.

      And no, I’m not advocating state control. But I can complain, can’t I? I know lots of folks who simply won’t read papers or watch the news because: A) it’s all bad news, all the time; and B) they don’t trust the media anyway.

      So how are they serving their own interests? They’re not, it seems. They’re simply driving people away. People pay less attention to media and trust them less and less as well. They’re certainly NOT serving the interest of the wider society by constantly serving up a distorted view of reality.

      I don’t have an answer on why they do it. It’s a business model that’s failing more profoundly all the time.

    6. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Michael, a culture is not a static thing but the product of a myriad of individual feedback loops, all good and bad depending on whom you ask. What I’m saying is that cultures are complicated beasts and I just doubt news media have such an influence on it. As you admit yourself, since you believe fewer and fewer people are trusting or watching/reading its output. If that’s the case, whatever unhealthy influence it has should be diminishing, right ?

      Quite honestly, I don’t think any of this is new at all. Our perception that it is has more to do with the distortions of nostalgia than the cold facts. Unhealthy or not, all I care about is that I have alternatives. And there are plenty. I haven’t watched network news in years and do not miss it.

      If they’re not serving their own interests, they’ll change. Clearly, given how old the formula is, it’s working with someone. And there is enough of them to support the business.

      As for a distorted view of reality, that’s all you are ever going to get. The pretense of objectivity is my main problem with the media, and most of its critics, for that matter; accept you are biased, admit it and move on. Do we distrust them because they are as human as everyone else ? Or do we distrust them because they constantly pretend to be objective when they obviously aren’t ? If they didn’t pretend and advertised their product as such, would we complain ? Same with serving the interest of wider society. This is largely a self-serving argument.

      Moreover, if everybody stopped pretending this is about serving society and being objective, it would make it harder for some to justify the existence of state media and other regulatory shenanigans aimed at ensuring whatever outcomes their own political agenda favors.

      Last, you ask why they do it. Competition, pure and simple. With basic information being virtually free and available to all, the emotional battlefield is where it’s at. The thrill. The chase. The fight. The danger. The controversy. The scoop. Live! It’s fact-based entertainment. And it’s a business model that seems to work very well.

      In other words, I’m afraid you’re looking for the product you want in the wrong store. You strike me as the kind of guy who won’t be satisfied by anything but something rather high-end and custom made. But here you are, looking around the aisles of Wal-Mart for a Gucci pyjama and cursing the darn company for having such cheap taste.

      To some extent, I may sound cynical. I don’t think I am. It’s just that most people I know who are frustrated or disappointed about the media essentially buy into the industry’s advertising of itself and its “mission statements”. I don’t. They’re private businesses selling a product. It’s messy, it’s imperfect, but as long as I have access to the means to deal with it, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    7. aaron Says:

      Ralf, I think you’re off base in your criticism. The generalizations of German media are used to bolster the criticism of Schwarzer’s statement. Her statement is not used to represent all German media. It is presented as evidence of her anti-american bias in an unrelated topic. I also don’t see how he played up her level of popularity, or how it is relevent to the post.

    8. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Aaron, that could be a fair point. Reading David’s post closely, I have a hard time seeing what makes it a characterization of Germans in general.

      He does imply that the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung is representative of German media. At the very least, that a) it has a wide circulation and b) it is conservative. And if that’s conservative opinion, one can only wonder what the left has to say about it…

      I don’t necessarily disagree with David. Gross anti-Americanism is quite common in Europe, most of all in my own country. (One can only ponder the level of ignorant hatred required to repeatedly shower the likes of Moore with awards…). And, to a general extent, I’m afraid he is right. What one can print in a major newspaper is a reflection of the general consensus of what is acceptable.

      In the run-up to war, it was quite common for many to question ‘simplistic’ accusation that Saddam was a ‘Hitler’. Only dumb Americans could make such a dumb analogy. Of course, the same people have no issue calling Bush or Sharon Nazis.

      Without any data point or information as to the reaction of Germans to such a column, or at least that of its readers, it’s hard to say what Germans in general believe. But on closer look, I’m not sure at all it was David’s intent to make such a statement.

      Although others could interpret it that way. Especially if they already have such a bias.

    9. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      I’ve been reading Deutsche Welle and FAZ on and off for a couple of months now, trying to get a feel for their style and position. They’re not too bad. Much less of a propoganda broadsheet than the NYT. More like USA Today. FAZ reminds me a little of the WSJ. Der Speigal is a different matter. Here’s a sample opinion piece: Bush’ New Conciliatory Approach. Pretty bad, but not any worse than your typical NYT piece. Which is all the more fascinating if you read the little gray & red inset box, titled Cooperative agreement between SPIEGEL ONLINE and the “New York Times”. Who’d have guessed?

      BTW, I assume they used gray for ‘The Gray Lady’ and red for….hmmmmmmm.

    10. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Pretty cool. I wish French newspapers had an English edition for quoting purposes. Haven’t been able to find one.

    11. Ralf Goergens Says:

      Thanks for your comments. I’ll adress them tomorrow

    12. Helian Says:

      “The comparison of this picture from Abu Ghraib with those of concentration camps is very stupid, but she isn’t comparing Abu Ghraib to Auschwitz. Here’s an altavista translation”

      She’s most definitely comparing Abu Ghraib to the pictures of piled corpses from Nazi concentration camps. Auschwitz can certainly be included in that category. Are we really to conclude from your hairsplitting that David’s article is “grotesque?”

      Why the altavista translation, for that matter? It uses the acronym “KZ” for “concentration camp,” an association that most Americans are unlikely to make. Based on your posts in Medienkritik, you don’t have any trouble with German, and you know very well that the translation of Schwarzer’s comment on David’s blog is entirely accurate. Could it be you’re trying to obfuscate things?

      “He certainly got a lot of mileage out of this one sentence. Get it? A feminist who has no more influence in Germany than Susan Sontag has in America writes an op-ed that contains a stupid sentence, and all of a sudden it’s all of the German media and *Germans in general* who are comparing Abu Ghraib to Auschwitz in order to excuse the holocaust.”

      Is this what we’re supposed to consider “grotesque?” Where, exactly, in the article, or, for that matter, anywhere outside your imagination, does David claim that “all of the German media” and “Germans in general” have made this comparison? I don’t know David personally, but my son does, and he knows very well that David is not only a German patriot but very touchy about anything that smacks of condemnation of Germans in general. Your comment is a gross distortion of his attitude towards his homeland and what he stands for. The claim David does make is that the German media has been obsessed with Abu Ghraib as a convenient tool for its America-bashing agenda. This is entirely correct. As Michael Moore and the editors of “Spiegel” and “Stern” know, anti-American hatemongering in Germany is extremely profitable. The rest of the German media have caught on in the last few years. Hatred of America sells well in Germany. The German media are obsessed with the United States, and the coverage in virtually every significant newspaper and news magazine as well as on TV is more or less vanilla anti-Americanism. Indeed, it is virtually impossible for anyone who speaks only German to even have a clue about why so many Americans, for example, oppose Kyoto and the ICC, why so many very intelligent and well-informed people on the left supported the war, etc., etc. It’s surprising that you find David’s objection to a comparison of Abu Ghraib with Nazi concentration camps “grotesque,” but you have never found anything “grotesque” about the fact that hate-mongering rags like “Spiegel” and “Stern” have succeeded in posing as “news” magazines for so long in Germany, when, in fact, they are nothing but thinly veiled propaganda.

      May I ask how it is that you can work yourself into such a state of virtuous indignation over David’s article, even though you have, no doubt, witnessed the development of gross anti-Americanism in the German media over the last ten years and have not so much as lifted a finger to oppose it? That anti-Americanism is obvious to anyone with a shred of intellectual honesty. It is in no way a reaction to Bush or his policies, currently one of the favorite German journalistic fig leafs. It predates them by many years, and was in full swing during the Clinton Administration (remember the descriptions of the UK as a “traitor” to Europe for continuing to support the Echelon system, and the wails about U.S. “espionage” directed at German “panzer secrets” in Spain. The list goes on and on.) I guarantee you it will continue to flourish long after Bush is gone, because people like you, who know better, and are in a position to make their voices heard in opposition to the gross hate-mongering in the German media, choose instead to aid and abet it. Two or three little blogs in Germany have the courage to confront the media in that country, and you are trying to convince us that they are the evil bad guys, woefully persecuting the poor, defenseless editors of “Spiegel,” “Stern,” and the rest. Your article is a joke. You need to get real.

    13. Ralf Goergens Says:

      Helian,

      David didn’t just say that Schwarzer compared the photograph from Abu Ghraib those from concentration camps, he claimed that German media (in general, not just Schwarzer) are comparing Abu Ghraib to Auschwitz in order to revise history and excuse the holocaust:

      “The issue here is nothing less than the revision of German history. Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen,
      Theresienstadt and Dachau are all in the same league with Abu Ghraib…”

      So the pictures taken in German concentration camps remind us of American crimes in our day? Well, we don’t want to compare numbers. Every nation has a few bad boys who get carried away once in a while, doesn’t it?…”

      Pointing that out isn’t hair-splitting. I posted the Altavista translation so that readers could see for themselves that she isn’t making any such comparisons in the rest of the article.

      Where, exactly, in the article, or, for that matter, anywhere outside your imagination, does David claim that “all of the German media” and “Germans in general” have made this comparison?

      You’ve got something (not much, though) of a point here. I didn’t just refer to David’s post, but also to the posts of bloggers who linked to him. I should have made the clearly distinction in this paragraph:

      “A feminist who has no more influence in Germany than Susan Sontag has in America writes an op-ed that contains a stupid sentence, and all of a sudden it’s all of the German media and *Germans in general* who are comparing Abu Ghraib to Auschwitz in order to excuse the holocaust”.

      The “*Germans in general*” bit indeed isn’t due to David himself, but “The German media are drawing parallels among the American soldiers’ abuses in Abu Ghraib, Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and the Nazi’s concentration camps” (please also note: The crucifixion bit also is from Schwarzer’s article) is right from his blog post, and bloggers who linked to it stated that Germans in general are in on this (Instapundit: “This self-serving historical revisionism pretty much explains the German position on the war. Note to Germans: You’re not fooling anyone but yourselves”). And David doesn’t have a problem
      with it.

      As to this:

      “David is not only a German patriot but very touchy about anything that smacks of condemnation of Germans in general. Your comment is a gross distortion of his attitude towards his homeland and what he stands for”

      Well, I’m also a German patriot who is very touchy about anything that smacks of condemnation of Germans in general.

      “As Michael Moore and the editors of “Spiegel” and “Stern” know, anti-American hatemongering in
      Germany is extremely profitable. The rest of the German media have caught on in the last few years. Hatred of America sells well in Germany. The German media are obsessed with the United States, and the coverage in virtually every significant newspaper and news magazine as well as on TV is more or less
      vanilla anti-Americanism” … It’s surprising that you find David’s objection to a comparison of Abu Ghraib with Nazi concentration camps “grotesque,”…”

      Yes, most of the German media are anti-American, I never claimed anything to the contrary. But I take objection when accusations of Nazi-apologia are thrown around. Not least when the accusations are routinely extended to Germany as a whole (not by David, but by those who link to him). And once again, there was a (albeit very stupid) comaparison of a photo from Abu Ghraib to photos from concentration camps, but she didn’t say That Abu Ghraib was like a concentration camp.

      “…but you have never found anything “grotesque” about the fact that hate-mongering rags like
      “Spiegel” and “Stern” have succeeded in posing as “news” magazines for so long in Germany, when, in fact, they are nothing but thinly veiled propaganda.”

      If I didn’t have a problem with the reporting by Stern Spiegel etc I would hardly post here, Helian. Anyway, you don’t know me, and you also don’t know what else I do and don’t find grotesque. And by the way, most of the German press is in real financial trouble.

      “May I ask how it is that you can work yourself into such a state of virtuous indignation over David’s article, even though you have, no doubt, witnessed the development of gross anti-Americanism in the German media over the last ten years and have not so much as lifted a finger to oppose it?”

      I think I explained the reasons for my anger adequately in my post. And my reaction to the rise of anti-Americanism in the press was to stop paying attention to it and, with occasional exemptions, to stop buying magazines and newspapers.

      “Two or three little blogs in Germany have the courage to confront the media in that country, and you are trying to convince us that they are the evil bad guys, woefully persecuting the poor, defenseless editors of “Spiegel,” “Stern,” and the rest.”

      I did nothing of the kind. I was merely addressing this specific issue. Reread my post if you aren’t clear on this point.

    14. Niko Says:

      Ralf,

      (1) Herta Däubler-Gmelin (former cabinet member in Schröder’s 1998 government) allegedly compared Bush to Hitler. Go google.

      (2) Sharon’s policy is often compared to the Nazi’s pogroms in Germany. Go google.

      (3) Bush and “his minion” John Ashcroft allegedly transformed the United States into a policestate according to German media. Go google.

      All of this has been reiterated and covered in the German press right on front pages in the past 4 years. Countless articles in German op-ed pages basically agreed. Go google.

      I does not take a vivid fantasy to interpret Schwarzer’s essay just in the way it was meant. She DID equate Abu Ghraib with Auschwitz. Why? Because she could. It’s so easy in Germany. No one denies that it’s cheap, that it stirs up controversy. Germans are not discussing whether she really wrote it, but whether it is true. That is the real problem in Germany.

    15. aaron Says:

      Connecting the absurd behavior at Abu Ghraib to concentration camps does serve to diminish the seriousness of that past.

    16. aaron Says:

      I guess you are right though, that the purpose isn’t so much to diminish the seriousness of German history, but to exaggerate the problems that America is dealing with.

    17. Greg Harris Says:

      I suppose Ralf could be justified in claiming that the New York Times and Micheal Moore represent the opinions of **all** Americans, as the fringe left has been masquerading as “mainstream” lately.

      And while reading German makes me sleepy, from what I’ve seen, the American media has no reservations about comparing Abu Ghraib with Dachau.

    18. Ralf Goergens Says:

      aaron,

      as I replied to Helian, I conflated David’s post somewhat with the posts of bloggers who linked to that post (this is from my reply to Helian):

      “You’ve got something (not much, though) of a point here. I didn’t just refer to David’s post, but also to the posts of bloggers who linked to him. I should have made the clearly distinction in this paragraph:

      “A feminist who has no more influence in Germany than Susan Sontag has in America writes an op-ed that contains a stupid sentence, and all of a sudden it’s all of the German media and *Germans in general* who are comparing Abu Ghraib to Auschwitz in order to excuse the holocaust”.

      The “*Germans in general*” bit indeed isn’t due to David himself, but “The German media are drawing parallels among the American soldiers’ abuses in Abu Ghraib, Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and the Nazi’s concentration camps” (please also note: The crucifixion bit also is from Schwarzer’s article) is right from his blog post, and bloggers who linked to it stated that Germans in general are in on this (Instapundit: “This self-serving historical revisionism pretty much explains the German position on the war. Note to Germans: You’re not fooling anyone but yourselves”). And David doesn’t have a problem
      with it”.

    19. Ralf Goergens Says:

      Niko:

      1) She lost her job because of this, and nobody coheered her for making that comparison

      2) Yes, there are such comparisons, but you won’t find them in the regular (if still anti-American media), and there are no more of them than in any other country.

      3) The German media were mostly parroting what American media said about this.

    20. Thomas Says:

      Just yesterday, satiricist Dieter Hildebrandt, a very prominent figure who had his own TV program in state-run ARD television for decades, openly equated Bush and Hitler and even said he would proudly do so. (This is even more shocking since he was born in 1927 and so should have got some impression as to what he is comparing here.)

      He defended Däubler-Gmelin and said she should not have left the administration because she had been right and would be a smart and courageous woman. Hildebrandt also said some very nasty things about John Kerry and claimed all American soldiers were stupid, cold-blooded and violent. And then he stressed that he would be no anti-American(!). (Taking us one step further form the “I am only critical of the Bush administration”-argument, I guess.)

      Talk show host Sandra Maischberger, being of the most respected of our TV journalists, did nothing to put this in perspective. She didn’t ask a single critical question. She even encouraged his rantings with rhetorical questions and seemed to agree with a good part of them.

      It is simply NOT true that you don’t find Hitler-Bush or Nazi/US comparisons in the German media.

    21. Ralf Goergens Says:

      Thomas,

      Hildebrandt is not a journalist. I also didn’t say that there are zero cases of people comparing Bush to Hitler in the German media (but there are rather less of such cases than in the American media, I think). I was talking about comparisons of Abu Ghraib with concnetration camps).

      He’s also wrong that Däubler-Gmelin is smart, she’s anything but. And as far as Maischberger is concerned: I like her much better.

    22. Greg Harris Says:

      “It is simply NOT true that you don’t find Hitler-Bush or Nazi/US comparisons in the German media.” – Thomas

      And it simply IS true that you will find even more Hitler-Bush or Nazi/US comparisons in the AMERICAN media. Der Spiegel takes what it gets from the wire services and runs with it.

    23. Helian Says:

      @ Ralf:

      In response to Glenn Reynolds’ post:

      “GERMAN MEDIA: Hey, the holocaust wasn’t all that bad! Look what the Americans did in Abu Ghraib!

      “This self-seeking historical revisionism pretty much explains the German position on the war. Note to Germans: You’re not fooling anyone but yourselves. And Michael Moore, And Al Gore, And maybe Guido Calabresi.

      “In other words, the people who want to be fooled…”

      You write:

      “Attempts to equate Abu Ghraib with the Holocaust are profoundly dishonest and morally corrupt. The same goes for Glenn Reynold’s post, though.”

      I say that’s a tad strong, especially when it’s obvious from the first two lines in the post that Glenn is referring to the German media, not the German people as a whole. On the other hand, Americans are stereotyped every day in the German media as gun nuts, prudes, puritanical, warmongering, simplistic, etc., etc. Check out the cover of “Spiegel” for the last year Ralf, if you want to see caricatures of Americans every bit as offensive as anything Julius Streicher ever came up with about the Jews. Did you condemn the editors of “Spiegel” as “morally corrupt” as well?

      It’s interesting that Chicagoboyz have acquired a colleague so exquisitely virtuous that he can conclude based on a few lines in a blog that someone is “profoundly dishonest and morally corrupt.” I will have to come by more often to have my own halo adjusted. Tell, me, Ralf, can the corruptible put off corruption, as in the Book of Revelations? I notice that Andrew Sullivan, for example, took back and apologized for a post he had made the day before recently. Was it possible that he was corrupt on the day he made the original post, but “put off corruption” when he reversed himself. Or does one you have first determined to be morally corrupt remain so for all time? More to the point, do you think your ability to so rapidly quantify levels of moral corruption is likely to impress anyone with your debating style?

    24. Ralf Goergens Says:

      I say that’s a tad strong, especially when it’s obvious from the first two lines in the post that Glenn is referring to the German media, not the German people as a whole

      That`s more than a tad strong, I went too far there. But “This self-seeking historical revisionism pretty much explains the German position on the war” doesn`t sound as if he only means the German media.

      Check out the cover of “Spiegel” for the last year Ralf, if you want to see caricatures of Americans every bit as offensive as anything Julius Streicher ever came up with about the Jews

      I don`t buy the Spiegel (not since the early nineties) so I haven`t seen the covers you are talking about.

      At your service, Helian. Anyway, I never made any claims that I`m morally superior to anybody.

      Tell, me, Ralf, can the corruptible put off corruption, as in the Book of Revelations? I notice that Andrew Sullivan, for example, took back and apologized for a post he had made the day before recently. Was it possible that he was corrupt on the day he made the original post, but “put off corruption” when he reversed himself. Or does one you have first determined to be morally corrupt remain so for all time? More to the point, do you think your ability to so rapidly quantify levels of moral corruption is likely to impress anyone with your debating style?

      I`m not religious, so I don`t know anything about the book of revelations beyond what I have read about the “Left Behind” series of novels. And I feltt that the post was a blanket-accusations against Germans. This has nothing to do with my debating-style.

    25. Greg Harris Says:

      “On the other hand, Americans are stereotyped every day in the German media as gun nuts, prudes, puritanical, warmongering, simplistic, etc., etc. Check out the cover of “Spiegel” for the last year Ralf,”

      Checked out any American movies, lately Helian?

      How about “the Green Mile” or “the Shawshank Redemption.” Based on novels by Stephen King, who is arguably the most popular writer in the United States.

      What do we learn from these films? In the United States, prisons are full of kind, gentle black men who have been railroaded by “the system” and abused by sadistic redneck prison guards.

      Seen anything by John Grisolm? Maybe “the Pelican Brief”, where we see the passionate young liberal Julia Roberts persecuted by the sinister dark forces of the evil American government?

      They didn’t make those films in Munich.

      Americans are stereo typed everyday in the ***American media*** as “gun nuts, prudes, puritanical, warmongering, simplistic, etc., etc.”

      Why would you expect anything different from Der Spiegel? They’re only rehashing what we feed them.