German Anti-Americanism Watch: Wild West Conditions in Dallas

The apologists told us that German anti-Americanism was all about Bush, and would disappear as soon as Obama became President. Dream on! Here’s a charming example that turned up on Spiegel’s website yesterday. In her unctuous opening sentence, the narrator provides the proper “context:” “Here’s a video of the sort that we’ve become all too familiar with from America.” The German media never fail to take advantage of such incidents to throw out some anti-American red meat to the legions of haters in their audiences. I helps the bottom line.

Meanwhile, today we learn that a witness was stabbed to death in a courtroom in Dresden. Can anyone find a holier-than-thou dig about how this is “typical of German conditions” in the US media? I didn’t think so. One would have thought that, by now, the Germans, of all people, would have learned the drawbacks of smearing a whole people for the actions of a few.

German Anti-Americanism for Connoisseurs

A recent Spiegel cover
A recent Spiegel cover
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.

Der Spiegel, anti-Americanism, and the Suck Up

There must have been some serious tutt-tutting in the Spiegel editorial offices over the rabid anti-Americanism on display in its recent coverage of the Opel affair. After all, Spiegel has been trying to project a kinder, gentler image lately, ever since a few Americans noticed that its coverage of the US had deteriorated to something rather akin to racism. Some of it was vile enough to make Julius Streicher blush. People did start noticing, though, and Spiegel had to throttle back on the hate mongering. Lately it has been carefully balancing a policy of maintaining a façade of objectivity with the occasional need to toss red meat to its legions of Amerika hating readers, imperative for keeping the bottom line above sea level. The kid glove treatment became more pronounced after Obama’s inauguration, as, according to the German media narrative, anti-Americanism was “all about Bush,” even though it was actually far more vicious and flagrant in the final years of the Clinton administration than it was in Bush’s final years. Be that as it may, Spiegel Online just published a piece dripping with such unctuous praise of the US, for Spiegel at least, that the disconnect with its usual line is enough to give you whiplash. It’s always had a policy of posting a token pro-American piece once a month or so to “balance things out,” but this was way over the top. Here are a few snippets:

Why our Picture of the USA is False

“Lots of money for child care, few cancer deaths: in comparison to Europe, the USA often ranks better than commonly believed. The historian Peter Baldwin explains why America is the land of bookworms – and why corruption is much worse in France.”

Of course, Teutonic superiority must be vindicated. Ergo, the next paragraph:

“The level of social services in the US is often portrayed as miserable and underdeveloped in comparison to Europe. And that picture is true – if one takes Sweden or Germany (my emphasis) as the standard. However, if one considers social policy in Europe as a whole, things look completely different.”

…and so on, with more reassurances that the US isn’t entirely barbaric after all, and its population is quite erudite to boot. For anyone who’s actually been following the coverage of the US in Spiegel for the last decade, the hypocrisy is enough to choke a horse.

Of course, after all this abject kow-towing, it was necessary to quickly restore “balance” to avoid disorienting Spiegel’s loyal fans. The editors didn’t disappoint, taking the occasion to post one of their regular US “history lessons.” To wit:

Secret Operation Mongoose

(Under a picture of Castro’s unfortunate predecessor) “Fulgencio Batista: The former Cuban president in front of a map of the island nation. With his US-friendly politics, Batista turned the island into an el Dorado for investors, casino barons, and Mafia dons.

Deadly Greetings from Washington

“Tainted handkerchiefs and explosives in cigars: In the early 60’s the CIA tried to kill their worst enemy with methods à la James Bond. The perfidious murder conspiracy against the Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro had the personal approval of the US President – but still failed.”

And so on. You get the picture. Spiegel is hardly the only guilty party. I’ve added some covers from Stern to “restore balance” myself.

I think it unlikely, by the way, that most of the movers and shakers in the German media world really suffer from the crude, quasi-racist anti-Americanism they peddle in their rags. They’re just greedy. They do it because, as Spiegel discovered more than a decade ago, there’s big dough in catering to hatred of the United States. Stern, Focus, and the rest caught on quickly.

Finally, I wish to draw attention to some heroes that most Americans have been blithely unaware of, although they have been fighting thanklessly on our behalf for more than a decade. They are individual Germans, who, motivated only by a sense of common decency and an elementary desire for justice, have met the America haters head on, confronting them on blogs, forums, and wherever they could make their voices heard. Some of them are more articulate in their fight for fairness and against the mindless promotion of hate between peoples than I could ever hope to be. Their reward has been abuse and vilification. There have always been Germans like this, willing to take a firm stand against the national prejudices that afflict every land. I know what it has cost them to stand up for us, and I am deeply grateful to them. The rest of America should be, too.


Opel and German anti-Americanism

washington-spiegel-coverAfter assuring us for years that their blatant anti-Americanism was merely a reaction to the Bush Administration, the evil deeds of the Great Satan once again have the German media in full cry. Amusing examples abound at the websites of the usual suspects, such as the histrionic Der Spiegel (“Germany hands an Opel ultimatum to the US” “Nerves are on edge. Frustration reigns among the German negotiators, who don’t know where to turn after the failure of the Opel summit. They point to the Americans as the guilty party, claiming they blocked a solution. The US side now has until Friday to put new suggestions on the table – otherwise bankruptcy threatens the car manufacturer.”), the abject Focus (“Outrage grows over the behavior of the US government during the late night Opel negotiations. Now foreign minister Steinmeier is also leveling heavy accusations at the Americans”), and noted purveyor of female pulchritude Stern (“New demand for millions blocks a solution,” “General Motors torpedoes an agreement by demanding an additional 300 million euros. The US government is, obviously, similarly clueless.”)

Similar frothing at the mouth pervades the German MSM, to the point that eyebrows are being raised at the BBC and elsewhere in the European English language media. This has, apparently, had a tonic effect, as the tone of German “reporting” has become rather more sober since this morning.