The best-selling European newspaper – The German tabloid Bild – with the sixteenth-largest circulation worldwide, has refused to conduct interviews with the country’s largest opposition party.
The AfD has sharply criticized the decision of Bild editor-in-chief Julian Reichelt not to conduct interviews with AfD politicians. “It is inconceivable that a medium like the Bild newspaper is in the service of established politics and distances itself from the largest opposition party, the AfD,” said the media spokesman for the AfD parliamentary group in the Bundestag, Martin Renner on Monday.
The task of the fourth estate is to control the executive and legislative branches, Renner told Berlin weekly Junge Freiheit. “But instead most media become praise singers and advocates of the politically powerful,” added Renner. “And when you see how millions of dollars have recently been waved through to support the media, one wonders whether this has anything to do with this issue.”
Reichelt announced on the industry portal site Quota Meter that his newspaper would offer the AfD “no space and no range – we will not allow them to stage themselves. A classic interview with the AfD will therefore not take place with us.” Reichelt also emphasized that the AfD will not be involved in the Springer media TV format during the election campaign for the 2021 Bundestag election.
The journalist also criticized Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg, because they conducted an interview with the Brandenburg AfD head of state, Andreas Kalbitz.
The AfD politician Renner responded: “That borders on mockery.” The AfD is already very rarely invited to talks on public channels. “I was very surprised when I read this.” Such an “explicit exclusion” of the party can have only one reason: “You don’t want democratically justified political opposing positions and opinions to become known about current and fundamental political decisions by the executive and through the presentation understandable or worth considering for citizens and voters during a political interview.”
The media spokesman for the AfD parliamentary group in Rhineland-Palatinate, Joachim Paul, also sharply criticized Reichelt’s decision. “Reichelt’s statements represent a journalistic oath of revelation. The Bild motto ‘picture your opinion’ will probably become ‘we want to form your opinion’ in the course of the federal election.”
Paul added: “As if the loss of trust and circulation in the established media is not already palpable.” And he warned: “Anyone wishing to report during the election campaign, should no longer be upset about the media landscape in Hungary and Russia. He [Reichelt] lacks all credibility.”
Reichelt justified his decision, among other things, by the fact that the AfD was being monitored by the domestic spy service, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, and that it was a party “that relativized the Holocaust, the worst crime that ever emanated from German soil, in many parts, even with statements like Hitler was just like a speck of bird shit in German history.”
Reichelt praised the former CSU leader Franz Josef Strauß, who consistently excluded cooperation with the Republicans and emphasized that there should be no party to the right of the CSU in Germany. “I also know that there are debates about whether such parties tend to be stronger when they are ostracized. But I always prefer the option that such a ban also contributes something.”
AfD voters had chosen this party primarily out of political frustration, not out of a real political conviction, he said. “But the elected are now being accommodated in friendly German talk shows, while the voting citizen is being denigrated. These citizens are all marked as neo-Nazis. But it’s the other way around,” emphasized the chief of Bild.
The actual owner of the Bildzeitung and the Springer group, is an American investment company. Influential American circles evidently fear a more self-confident Germany under an AfD leadership.
This would explain why the newspaper has become a gagging instrument in Germany. Anti-Germany forces are beginning to position themselves ahead of the huge election year in 2021.