While most of you were sleeping, the German media were carrying on a campaign of anti-American hate mongering that made one wonder exactly what they’d learned, if anything, from losing two world wars. At its peak, during the final years of the Clinton and the first years of the Bush Administration, it became incredibly vicious, amounting to little less than racism without the race.
It was driven, to some extent, by the hatred of the German 68ers for the United States, but, more importantly, by greed. When editors who had previously taken a more or less neutral attitude towards the US noticed that Spiegel and its hangers on in the “avant garde” of anti-Americanism were raking in big dough by peddling hate, that quickly jumped on the bandwagon.
There are, however, a lot of decent Germans who were revolted by the shameless America bashing. One of them was David of Davids Medienkritik. Medienkritik is inactive now, but you can still find much of what I’ve alluded to above amply documented there. David and many others started pushing back, in forums, blogs, and wherever they could make their voices heard. Eventually, a few Americans noticed, too, and the word started getting around that what was going on in the German media has nothing to do with “objective criticism,” a favorite euphemism of the hatemongers.
In the end, Spiegel and the rest realized they couldn’t continue the brazen peddling of hate and maintain any credibility or reputation for “objectivity” at the same time. As a result, anti-Americanism in the German media has become a great deal more subdued. However, the bottom line requires that they still occasionally throw out a little red meat to keep the interest of the America haters from waning.
At the moment, “red meat” takes the form of exploiting any opportune accident or disaster to pontificate about how whatever system, infrastructure, or whatever, happened to be involved was “antiquated,” “typical of Third World countries,” “rotting,” “decaying,” etc., etc. You get the idea. The deaths of nine people and the injury of many more in the recent Washington Metro accident gave them a perfect opening. They didn’t fail to exploit it.
An article that appeared in Spiegel, as noted above, one of the most unabashed hate peddlers during the heyday of anti-Americanism, is typical. According to the article:
“Nine people were killed and more than 70 injured in the collision of two subway trains in the Capital of the US. The exact cause of the accident is still unclear, but pointed questions are being raised: Is Washingon’s antiquated traffic net a security risk?”
According to the “zinger” sentence at the end of the article, “‘The system is becoming obsolete, and must be carefully investigated,’ said Peter Goelz, former head of the Transportation Safety Board, to the New York Times.”
Of course, the investigation into the actual cause of the accident isn’t anywhere near complete. Perhaps old equipment will eventually get the blame, and perhaps not. The point is that Spiegel had no way of knowing one way or the other at the time their article appeared. No serious attempt was made to compare the subway infrastructure in Washington with that of any city in Europe, or the United States for that matter.
It doesn’t matter to Spiegel, and it won’t matter in the future. I guarantee you, you will see this pattern repeated over and over again, every time there is a significant accident or disaster in the United States. It’s the current manifestation of the anti-American narrative in the German media. True, that narrative isn’t nearly as “over the top” as it was five years ago, but it’s still there. I will occasionally draw your attention to the most egregious examples.