Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Restart

Okay, since

a.) a couple of weeks ago Andrew Hammel of terrific German Joys linked to this blog

b.) the other day fabulous Academia blogger and blog friend! Mad Minerva also linked to this blog and Trans Atlantic Review blogger Joerg asked me to contribute to the upcoming German-American Blog Carnival, plus

c.) this blog ist on #7 in search results of a certain CCP-friendly search engine, if you enter my name and

d.) today Ray D. of Davids Medienkritik featured one of my entries which was meant as a contribution to the first German-American blog Carnival and is now one to the second blog German-American blog Carnival...

...well, I think it's time for a restart of this blog, exactly three months after it was set on stand-by due to Christmas holidays.


Problem with running my own English blog is my enduring lack of self-disclipline, plus I'm shying away from blogging in English.


FYI, since February 24, 2006, I'm a regular contributor to Bissige Liberale, a German blog, whose name roughly translates to "sarcastic liberals" ("liberal" in the European meaning of this term, that is, meaning "business-friendly" and "free markets cheerleading"). That's kinda odd, since I'm a member of the German Social Democratic Party (SPD), which makes me far loony left to U.S. standards. Um, I think, I'm a maverick. Just call me John McLieberman ;-).

As for Davids Medienkritik, I want to make clear that I'm not too happy with their media coverage in general and with the SPD coverage in particular. In his entry concerning my post, Ray D. mentioned the anti-American spin in Germany's media. Well, Davids Medienkritik responds to this biased spin by "counter spinning" and that is certainly not my cup of tea.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Regarding Davids Medienkritik: He responds to the German media "anti-American" bias by presenting the truth.
FOX News presents both sides of an issue so the viewer can decide. Before FOX News, the MSM presented their news slant–take it or lump it. Appreciate the truth. Enjoyed your posts.

Patrick
Atlanta

Marian said...

Patrick,

thanks for your comment. You have a point, as it is possible to come near(er) to the truth by reading both the DM entries and the source they quote.

But still, I'd appreciate it, if David & Ray would be less vitriolic.

Ymarsakar said...

I don't know what vitriolic comments you are refering to, but nothing David has written in English would be vitriolic by American standards. Using the same word that is.

You can certainly feel his bitterness and sadness at the monopoly German media has on information.

My view is that the best results occur from adversarial methods. It doesn't matter how biased you are, so long as your arguments win out against the arguments of the opposition, who is just as biased in the opposite direction as you are.

In this contest of ideas, this competition between truth and falsity, the winner takes the prize. And David is winning, in the ideological realm.

What the German media does, doesn't seem any different than what the American media has done in the past. Which is to say one thing, and then say that they are not biased when they say it.

That is not the truth, but what is more important, a person like you Marian, will believe more easily in someone who is said to be independent than someone who has an obvious strong opinion in one way that might differs with yours.

Psychologically, it is a way of bypassing a person's mental barriers to disbelief, and programming their internal beliefs to be consistent with the facts as reported. Not all the facts, just the facts as reported.

This produces a skewed perception. A person will never know or believe his perception is skewed, however. Until that person sees something with his own eyes that contradicts what he thought was true before.

The difference between David and the German media he writes about, is probably the same difference between Fox News and the other cable and print networks. Fox News presents their positions very clearly, they are not equal, they focus only on fair and balanced. Balanced in the sense that two lawyers are balanced, and just as biased in one way and the other. Alan and Colmes.

The other news networks don't present their bias clearly, they hide it, they use deception to lull people into false beliefs and selective reporting. That is the difference, and it makes all the difference in the world in manipulating a person's beliefs.

Rayson said...

"Business-friendly"? Marian, in my opinion people who like free markets are quite far from that. At least if they are honest.

@ymarsakar

I don't know which monopoly you are talking about. What "David's Medienkritik" actually sports is a kind of selective perception. I could show you some people who will tell you convincingly enough that the German media are in the hands of evil capitalists and US vassals, hiding the truth from the masses which otherwise would have started revolution already.

Generally, this "when you disagree you are brainwashed" thing is a very poor start for a discussion.

Don said...

Amrian, I am also disturbed by the vitirol I see - both from tiny little Davids Mediakritik and from the big and no doubt benign German media establishment. Somehow the former disturbs me less than the latter, however.

I'd like to share a lesson I learned from the US media - that bias presents itself in several ways.

There is the obvious overt bias of the far left and right as represented in the news media. There is the obvious bias introduced by the almost complete exclusion of certain parts of the opinion spectrum from the ranks of journalism. For example in the US the 'average' national journalist is probably to the left of John Kerry. And the US media as a whole apparently believe that reporting from that midpoint is being 'moderate'.

That said for a long time I think the US 'MSM' tried to be 'fair' in covering the other side even though they could not begin to understand it...

But the final and most insiduous bias is news selection. What gets published and what not. Where it gets published and how often. Above the fold of the NY Times every day for a week counts a lot more than page 23 of the Little Rock Statesman-Democrat. This is where the really destructive slanting occurs and it's not obvious to the average reader.

This last form of bias is what finally made me cynical. I used to believe that I could spot press bias and edit it out, reading for the facts. But if news is not reported how can one do that?

In the US the average citizen has learned about these tricks of the trade, and the press as an institution is viewed as untrustworthy. As little as most people trust the Congress they trust the news media even less.

Don said...

Marian,

On the subject of Davids Mediakritik's caustic tone - I reluctantly conclude that it's probably necessary. An example from the US was the 'Rathergate' incident which occurred late in the 2004 US Presidential election.

It has become a custom in any close Presidential election for a very nasty story to be sprung within the last few weeks of the election. The news media plays it to the sky and it becomes a major factor in the election. Thus far it's happened 3 times and to Bush and his father (both Republicans).

Rathergate was the latest of these stories. A respected evening program named '60 Minutes' ran a story about a memo and notes purporting to have been written Bush's one-time commander in the Air National Guard stating that Bush had been away without leave and disobeyed orders. This seemed to be the final evidence of an ongoing story which had been running in the national media. The commander died some years ago so confirmation wasn't possible, although the commander's family could not confirm it.

The memos were posted on the internet where people in the blogosphere went to work on them. Within hours it was evident that the memos had not been produced on technology widely available in the early 70's but had been produced using Microsoft Word.

The lead reporter of the story and it's main defender was a man named Dan Rather who had a 'distinguished' 40 year career of reporting often biased news, though he could be fair as well. Thus the name Rathergate.

The fact is that the bias behind these kinds of stories had been perfectly obvious for many years and yet they kept on happening. Mildly phrased protests against unfairness went completely un-noticed and certainly were not acted upon.

Causticry and humiliation was what finally drove the lesson home - nothing else.

Had the bloggers been polite Rather & company would have gotten away with perverting the US presidential election - and we would likely be discussing President Kerry's current policies even now.....

DM is caustic I'll grant you - but they actually seem to get a response from the German media Powers That Be. In some cases, anyway. Do you really think that would happen if they tried to be polite and 'fair'?