Is it good or bad to pursue BAMS

BY CLEMENS POKORNY | 07/07/2014 5:01 p.m.

Image, BamS and politics

The fact that the “Bildzeitung” incites against minorities such as ALG II recipients, Muslims or asylum seekers is nothing new. But a new study by a trade union foundation shows: Bild and BamS appear with the claim to be relevant political actors. Your influence on the decision-makers in Berlin should primarily serve your profit. Unfortunately, the Springer Group is no longer a dirty kid, but a pioneer in the industry.

"Bild" is ugly, every educated middle-class child learns that at the latest in German lessons in middle school at grammar school. But the Springer media work with more than just a lot of images, scandals and concentration on the superficial, and they pursue clearly identifiable purposes with them. These are the conclusions of a current study by the Otto Brenner Foundation, which is part of IG Metall. After an interim assessment (UNI.DE reported), the entire study is now available.

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Under the title “Abused Politics. Wolfgang Storz (former editor-in-chief of the Frankfurter Rundschau) and Hans-Jürgen Arlt (publicist) have published a study on the current reporting of the two most important organs of the Springer Group for the third time, "Bild" and "BamS" in the 2013 Bundestag election campaign. Their tenor is: With Bild and BamS, the publishing house is at the forefront of those mass media in which profit comes before quality. Arlt and Storz call this approach “publicism” - there can be no more talk of “journalism”. They come to this conclusion primarily through their analysis of the presentation of political processes and actors in Bild and BamS. Because, according to Arlt and Storz, these media do not do justice to their role as organs in democracy.

The authors support this thesis with a number of facts that they gained from their analysis of Bild and BamS between June 15 and September 22, 2013 (day of the federal election). No political topic was as prominent in the Springer papers during this period as that of Angela Merkel. Although she largely eluded the portrayal of her private life, on which the picture and BamS reports on politicians primarily stand, she was systematically portrayed positively, while her most promising challenger, Peer Steinbrück, was permanently exposed to ridicule. Pirates, AfD and LINKE were marginalized or ignored in the papers. Image and BamS ran a smear campaign against Alliance 90 / Greens, which reduced this party to individual details: it wanted to increase taxes, dictate a green lifestyle for people and still have an unresolved relationship with pedophilia. Overall, the Spinger Group committed itself to the support of a grand coalition under black leadership in its governing bodies as early as June, which, according to Arlts and Storz 'interpretation, is only in its interest: Anyone who wants to expand market leadership in "publicism" needs the " Cooperation of the major political forces ”. But the reverse is also true: if you don't want to be written down by Germany's best-selling paper, you better not mess with it.

The most important political actor, however, is the "Bildzeitung" itself. Like a tribune of the people, she denounces above all socio-political grievances, as if no one had noticed them before her, and presents itself as the most sensible political force that occasionally claims to give good advice to the Union, which comes in second place, as it were. It is noticeable that the causes and those responsible for political grievances are almost never named. At most, “politics” is criticized across the board - without differentiating between opposition parties and the government, for example, although the latter is primarily responsible for promoting solutions.

But overall, politics in Bild and BamS is a marginal phenomenon even during election campaigns, accounting for only 10-15% of an issue. And even these few contributions are mostly limited to less relevant details such as the private lives of politicians. The picture editors follow three working principles: arbitrariness, partiality and self-marketing. They allow arbitrariness in the highly selective choice of topics - in the sports section, on the other hand, attention is paid to completeness within a topic. Partiality lies in the lack of separation of information and opinion contributions: In this way, politics is presented in an unobjective or polemical way, as an unfair means of forming opinions as well as accommodating the convenience of lazy readers who are not interested in complex articles. Finally, the aspect of self-marketing is expressed in a disproportion between the message and the deliverer: a message only becomes really sensational when and because it is in the “picture”, and the content must be subordinate to the goal of growth.

With all this, the Springer Group has moved far away from journalism as Arlt and Storz understand it. The mentioned aspects of image publicism are unfortunately not a unique selling point of the medium, but nowhere else in the German media landscape are operated so systematically and successfully. Image and BamS have long since assumed a terrifying pioneering role in Germany. Arrogant picture-reader bashing, as the green daily newspaper taz once did in a promotional video, is out of place. Bild and BamS all too skillfully serve the needs of less intellectual people, who may well have been studied and who cannot be accused of their interests manipulated by the mass media. To provide in-depth information about the means and goals of the eerie tabloid flagship would be a demanding task of German lessons in the upper classes of all types of schools.
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