"Germany is spineless," quitting Bild editor tells Hungarian paper
As head of the parliamentary editorial department of the daily Bild-Zeitung newspaper, Ralf Schuler is one of the most prominent political journalists in Germany. However, he has recently resigned, accusing his publisher of "imposing on him an ideological conformity".
Although publicly the Springer Publishing House has always consistently stated that it is opposed to ideologically subordinated thinking, it has – based on the strategic considerations of the company – obviously lined up behind the rainbow movement, Mr Schuler said, explaining his resignation to the Hungarian Mandiner newspaper.
The former editor of Bild stated that there is nothing wrong with the principles. He said:
“We are on the side of democracy and the transatlantic alliance, and we stand for the right of the state of Israel to exist. These guidelines also state that we speak out against discrimination based on gender. That’s perfectly fine. For some time now, however, it’s not just the rainbow flag that’s been flying in front of the publisher’s headquarters. As part of the company’s internal communication and general approach towards employees, a general mood, or atmosphere has evolved, in which everyone must stand ‘firmly on the side of the LMBQ movement’.”
According to Mr Schuler, the publishing house is creating an atmosphere where employees feel that they need to conform to a certain ideology. He added,
“Of course, all this is not done in a way that it would have been done in an authoritarian regime, like back in East Germany (GDR), but I still see the rainbow flag cropping up in a growing number of my colleagues’ social media profiles, and they also seem happy to share their pictures taken at the Pride parade. It’s hard to say how much of this is out of conviction, or simply because they fell in line. I know this phenomenon, when people’s precautionary, over-zealous humility leads to the development of herd mentality, from the old GDR. Until now, however, the Springer Publishing House has stood as a solid bulwark against any form of collectivist tendencies and movements.”
The editor believes that journalism can never be a patron of any movement, because it represents itself and opposes everything that is authoritarian. Journalism is not meant to support a particular social movement or to be “firmly on its side.” Journalism always serves to look for the underlying cause of what is happening and, where appropriate, to formulate a contrary position, he noted, and pointed out that all this is widespread in the media.
“The trend stems from America, where it has become commonplace, especially in the creative industry, from actors to all kinds of artists to journalists. So far, Springer has been one of the few exceptions. It’s actually a good thing to take action against discrimination, but the rainbow movement isn’t just about that anymore. For example, the organizers cancelled the participation of the Springer Publishing House in an LGBTQ job fair after an article written by several professionals had appeared in the daily Die Welt newspaper, warning about the proliferation of gender propaganda in the public media. This brings back a well-known atmosphere from before 1989 when the authority – upon witnessing some forms of behavior considered wrong – would not even wait for a political decision before beginning to exert pressure. They simply cancelled the affected person’s participation in an event. If something like this happens, then the reaction should not be to obsequiously submit to this ideology, but to the contrary: we should recognise this as a sign of authoritarian tendencies,” he explained.
Mr Schuler also recalled that biologist Marie-Luise Vollbrecht was recently planning to hold a lecture entitled “There are only two sexes in biology” at Berlin’s Humboldt University. Although this is an undisputed fact of biology, upon receiving word about the upcoming event, LGBT+ activists threatened the university with such a huge protest that the institution – allegedly a place of knowledge and scientific debate – decided to cancel the lecture on this banal topic, which everyone already out of high school has leanred about anyway. It is an alarming sign, something like this should not happen in a liberal society, he opined.
Responding to a question, Mr Schuler said Springer SE did not react in any particular way to his quitting, apart from insisting that he would serve the full duration of his notice period. As he said,
“they probably did it so that I would not be looking for a new job during that time. By the way, I’ve experienced a very broad range of support, which I was really surprised at, as I didn’t think that I would be a central figure of this media circus. I got hundreds of positive e-mails, text messages and phone calls, in some cases from active, high-profile politicians, and even from some who would not make such clear statements in public. They were glad that I stood up for my conviction. I was amazed by the sheer number and positive tone of the messages, which, however, revealed that my move was merely an exception, while what we can witness is the increasing prevalence of ’spineless’ behaviour.”
Ralph Schuler recalled that he is not the only one who left: in early June, Judit Sevinc Basad, a female colleague at Bild, also quit citing similar reasons. The reason for her resignation was based on an incident at the Springer publishing company. The daily Welt newspaper published an op-ed by five scientists, who called on Germany’s public radio and television station to stop the uncritical dissemination of transgender ideology. The issue surfaced, because – among other things – Die Sendung mit der Maus, one of the country’s most-viewed children shows targeting 4-9 year old children, aired an episode which suggested that a man can turn himself into a woman, and depicted this prospect in a very positive light. This caught the scientists’ attention, and they responded by writing that we simply cannot tell children to try and swap genders if they encounter any problems in life.
The media expert underlined that similar trends and tendencies are also visible at public service shows. Of the interns working for Germany’s public media – which is the next generation of journalists – 94 per cent sympathise politically with the greens and the leftist parties, a fresh survey suggests. Such a one-sided shift of the opinion spectrum is not a healthy thing if we want to achieve balanced information, Mr Schuler said. Moreover, the public radio and television consistently use language emphasizing social gender, regardless of the fact that it does not have a mandate to do so. Those whose native language is Hungarian may have a hard time understanding how this works, when journalists are trying to mention a multitude of social genders in speech, all marked with asterisks in print. In essence, they strive to verbally express every imaginable social gender, which leads to a terrible stuttering and the mutilation of human language. No official linguistic rules require this, but it is done anyway, despite the fact that more than three quarters of Germans reject such indoctrinating speech, according to surveys. This, however, is simply ignored, and instead the public service task is degraded into a tool of spreading a certain world view, which Mr Schuler described as terribly annoying.
The moment they voice an opinion that does not fit the picture, the situation of actors and artists also becomes pretty bad, Mr Schuler said. Dieter Nuhr, a regularly featured comedian, has suffered an all-out attack on social media when he had the courage to crack jokes about Greta Thunberg. In another case, when popular host Barbara Schonberger casually remarked that it was foolish for men to apply make-up, her comments have led to hysteria, with homosexual men trying to portray it as outright homophobic, Mr Schuler recalled.
Responding to a question about what he plans to do in the future, Ralf Schuler said: “I can choose from several professional options, and at some point I will have to decide. Interestingly, I received a few pretty good offers after the uproar caused by my resignation, so now I have even more options to choose from.”