Anyone who is mainly informed about media such as Der SPIEGEL could easily come up with the idea that Germany is the 51st state of the USA. This weekend alone, the reader was bombarded with eleven articles on the replacement of a judge on the US Supreme Court. While the attentive reader can now probably list almost all of Donald Trump’s associates by name, surely only the very least know who the head of government of France and Russia is or what the Prime Minister of Brandenburg or the Lord Mayor of Bremen is called – not to mention the necessary background to be able to evaluate events. The method has a System-as long as we feel like" little Americans, " it’s hard for us to break away from this country. “We’re all living in Amerika, Amerika ist wunderbar”, as the German Band Rammstein ironically wrote.
Hand on your heart-do you know who in Germany nominates the judges of the Federal Constitutional Court, who determines them and what function this Institution has at all? If not, you can console yourself. As an attentive reader of Der SPIEGEL, you are surely now so well informed about all main and secondary aspects of the US Supreme Court that it could be enough for a specialist thesis in the field of “American Studies”. About the late federal judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg can be found in the SPIEGEL 102 articles incl. Obituary, more than twice as much as the President of the Federal constitutional court, Stephan Harbarth. However, if you want to read something critical about the Personalie Harbarth, you should visit others anyway.
Whether there is such a thing as a Supreme Court in countries such as France, Austria, Russia or Poland and what political function it has is already expert knowledge – this is not reported. Why? The music comes from Washington. While the staffing of the Supreme Court may still be attributed – although certainly not to this extent-a certain news value for the foreign department, this does not apply to the majority of reports from the USA. In the last three weeks alone, Der SPIEGEL once again clashed with US news, which has no news value at all.
On September 7, The inclined Spiegel reader was able to read a detailed report on the real estate market and the Trend to move to the suburbs – certainly not from Germany, but from the USA. Only what does the German reader care what a terraced house in southern Washington costs? Wouldn’t it be much more informative to read about the amazingly well-functioning social housing in Vienna and compare it with the astonishingly poorly functioning social housing in Germany? Who wants to buy a terraced house in Washington?
On September 14, Der SPIEGEL reported on the planned departure of the US ambassador in Beijing. By the way, the man’s name is Terry Branstad. Do you know a single German Ambassador, by name? Doesn’t matter. Don’t even think about it and rather learn all the Details about the “marriage-off” of a well-known US pop singer. Not backgrounds, but names have to be interested – the more profane the Person to whom the Name belongs, the better.
US celebrities seem to attribute a very high News value to SPIEGEL anyway. For example, in the self-proclaimed news magazine, we learn how an American actor organizes his family life “in the pandemic” or that an American Model “warns their children about racism”-“regardless of money or Status, they will always have their skin color”. So so. But what are these messages? Wouldn’t it be much more relevant for the readership how a single cashier organizes her family life “in the pandemic” or what experiences of racism young mothers without money and Status have to make in Germany?
On September 19, Der SPIEGEL deemed it worth reporting that a second-rate US serial actor is on trial for “alleged rape”. A few hours later, readers learned that a dentist in Alaska who “operated standing on a Hoverboard” was convicted. And on September 25, they published a story about a pregnant woman who saved her husband from a shark attack in the Florida Keys. Such shallow “Panorama stories” may well find their readers as light entertainment for in between. But why do these messages, which undoubtedly have no real news value, always come from the USA?
When you train as a journalist, you learn that the news value of a report also has something to do with the regional context. Thus, a fatal motorcycle accident in one’s own city area is worth a headline for a local newspaper, while a similar accident from another city is uninteresting. However, traffic accidents are also interesting for the mirror when they take place across the Atlantic. Then we read that in New Jersey a school bus collided with a truck and from a bus accident in New Mexico with seven dead. In California, an SUV crashed into the sea and in New Hampshire, a small truck collided with a group of motorcyclists. There are similar tragedies in the neighborhood, but apparently the SPIEGEL editorial office is at least mentally closer to New Hampshire than the Harz.
This US fixation is then reflected in the" big " political coverage. Trump in all facets on all channels-Trump, Trump, Trump, his environment, his son-in-law, his communications director, his advisors. Who is actually the communications director of the German Chancellor and who are her renowned and influential advisors? It is paradoxical that the leading German media reports much more extensively on the power apparatus of the USA than on the power apparatus in Berlin. Yesterday, Spiegel Online made a smooth start with the costs of Trump’s hairstyle – shouldn’t you rather invest your editorial energy in the question of where the billion-dollar German “Coronahilfen” go and why they do not arrive at the small companies?
Many German media and especially Der SPIEGEL read like the German edition of a US newspaper. But the cultural dominance of the USA is also bizarre to grotesque in other areas. Thanks to Hollywood and German TV stations, which also like to send US Productions up and down in the X-fold repetition, Berlin is closer to California than Brandenburg and the worries and hardships of rich young people from Los Angeles are more familiar to the media than the worries and hardships of poor young people from their own city. This planted cultural imperialism is hardly ever questioned and hardly ever criticized. We are made small Americans and-consciously or unconsciously – take an American perspective with which we view the world and world politics. The pause-and merciless news stalking from the USA deepens this influence and it becomes increasingly difficult to ignore it or even to free oneself from it.
If you look at the World Day in, day out through the media with American glasses, you will also see the world American at some point. How can we become more European When we see the world through the eyes of America and know more about life in Miami than about life in Prague? How are we supposed to free ourselves from the Empire’s political and economic grip when we are repeatedly suggested by our media consumption that we are part of this empire? As ridiculous as the ticker reports about the sack of corn that fell in Texas may be, they shape our thinking, whether we want it or not. Constant drop Hollows the stone. We’re all living in America.
To return to the initial questions – the head of government of France is Jean Castex, the one of Russia Mikhail Mishustin. Both play no significant role in the Spiegel archive with less than 40 and 30 entries respectively. Incidentally, the Prime Minister of Brandenburg’s name is Dietmar Woidke and the Spiegel archive has just as many hits as Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York. The mayor of Bremen is Andreas Bovenschulte; Gavin Newsom, governor of California, has three times as many entries in the Spiegel archive.