The Bertelsmann Foundation in Gütersloh has classified the political attitudes of around five million Germans as “right-wing extremist”. This has emerged from a study published by the foundation established in 1977 as a tax-evasion scheme.
The authors see right-wing extremist potential in the voters of all parties, even in the Greens, the SPD and the Left, but above all – the AfD.
In the past, there was a consensus that political extremism was a matter for the fringes, the splinter parties that only represent a few per thousand of the population. This basic understanding of what the term “extremism” actually means, is evidently changing to include everyone who does not slavishly follow mainstream dictates.
For example, anyone who dared to say that “their country should have the courage to foster a strong national feeling” immediately aroused suspicion. If instead one were to speak of a “normal national feeling”, then the sentiment was deemed to be correct. Many respondents in interviews naturally did not pay attention to these linguistic details.
“Right-wing extremists” were also those who agreed with the sentence: “The [German] Federal Republic is dangerously being swamped by the many foreigners.” This happens to be true, but apparently stating the obvious, is an extremist stance.
Furthermore, “right-wing extremists” were also those who agreed with the statement: “If jobs become scarce, the foreigners should be sent back to their homeland.”
The thrust of the study is evident: While the CDU/CSU, SPD, FDP, Greens and Left were only mentioned a dozen times in the study, the AfD party members gave the “wrong” answers more than all the other parties combined. The study, which supposedly meets “scientific requirements” is therefore nothing more than an extended campaign against the AfD.
The Bertelsmann Foundation’s tax-evasion scheme has been particularly useful in keeping the political class in power. Apparently, the authors do not even shy away from blanket insults against large sections of the population.
Presenter Peter Hahne, a former employee of the ZDF public broadcaster, has meanwhile accused public broadcasters of a one-sided guest selection. AfD politicians – the largest opposition in the Bundestag – are being totally marginalized there, Hahne told Berlin weekly Junge Freiheit. “The fact that talk shows mutate into high government offices despite their complete failure in Corona and vaccination policy shows that the parallel society of media makers has absolutely no sensitivity to the world of AfD voters: teachers, police officers, unconventional scientists, soldiers, workers.”
It is apparently easier to “pay homage to the ruling line of the mighty” than to familiarize oneself with any matter to counter it.
In the evaluation of guest lists of the various talk shows, until mid-December, the most frequent representatives were politicians from the CDU and CSU (94), followed by the SPD (83), the Greens (32), the FDP (28) and the Left Party (19). The AfD as the largest opposition party in the Bundestag was lagging behind with a mere six appearances in last place.
Even in the first month of the German election year 2021, the four biggest talk shows did not change their invitation policy, as an evaluation by Junge Freiheitof the guest lists from January showed. The Union made 14 appearances, the SPD eleven, the Greens four invitations and the FDP three. Politicians from the AfD and the Left Party, on the other hand, were not allowed to sit in the panel discussions once.