Germans call their mainstream media the "lying press" for a reason it seems. German media amplified “boos” at a speech given by President Donald Trump in Davos, Switzerland to cast him in a bad light.
Tagesschau boosted the volume of boos heard from mainstream journalists for Donald Trump, essentially confirming the slight against the media, known as the “Lügenpresse” in Germany.
The Tagesschau even admittid that they changed the audio in a report about Donald Trump. Critics denounced the state TV channel ARD of an impermissible manipulation of news.
ARD publicly said stated – the Tagesschau published it on Twitter – that at the end of a report about Donald Trump, the sound level was turned up higher. The reason: Boos against the US president should be augmented.
Trump spoke last Thursday at a press conference at the World Economic Forum in Davos about a “nasty, mean, vicious, fake press”, and for that he was booed by mainly a small group of journalists who were present in the hall. But the boos were not loud enough for the newscast.
“Yes, we indeed increased the volume a bit in the end so that one can hear the boos. Only in doing so, we were able to reflect what our correspondents had reported on. The microphone recorded mainly Trump, and not so much of the crowd-noise in the hall,” the Tagesschau explained their manipulation in a Twitter message.
But critics accuse the ARD flagship of improper manipulation. “You know what? You confirm exactly what Trump accuses you all of,” a user commented on Tagesschau’s unprofessional move. Another joked: “But then you make the boos a little quieter at the next Merkel appearance. That’s how we know you and love you.”
The editor-in-chief of the Bild newspaper, Julian Reichelt, also sounded the charge and tweeted to the Tagesschau’s boss: “The Tagesschau ‘helped a little’ so that boos against Trump become louder and clearer. Clear crossing of boundaries for a news format, dear Kai Gniffke. And difficult to imagine you would have done the same had it been applause.
Gniffke spoke up on Saturday afternoon with a statement on the Tagesschau website. In his blogpost the ARD editor-in-chief again justified the change in volume citing “the acoustics in the hall”.
“If a reporter conveys the information that the US President was booed, then he has to prove it, and that’s what this tone is, it’s the original sound from the hall, nothing was invented, nothing was suppressed or manipulated,” writes Gniffke, and draws parallels to print media: “By the way, newspapers also make comparisons when they enlarge image sections and may even mark them with a red circle — nobody would come up with the idea of calling this manipulation, but rather journalistic precision.”
Although Germany has the most strict censorship regime in the world when it comes to censoring conservative political speech on social media, calling for members of the patriotic Alternative for Deutschland party to be murdered is allowed.
The reported comment reads: “It’s time to strike the AfDers dead. I’m arming myself now. Away with this pack of pigs!”
Facebook responded: “Thank you for communicating with us. We have viewed the comment. Although it does not violate our community standards, it was right of you to inform us about it. We know that you may still find it repulsive or tasteless. For that reason we want to help you see less of this content in future.
“It does not violate our community standards.”