There is something deeply sad about this media scandal because it is so unnecessary. It's not a reporter who made up stories. Not a boss who was looking for personal advantage. No money to be distributed.
Everything is very mundane: WDR journalists produce a satire video on climate protection in which small children chant repeatedly in chorus that their grandmother is an old environmental pig. Not nice, this piece, but it is still being put online, which encourages right-wing Fundis to launch a campaign that also gets the liberal audience upset and seniors are offended. Then the broadcaster takes the video off the network again.
Nevertheless, the father of North Rhine-Westphalia gets excited on the Internet. Shortly afterwards, WDR director and ARD chair Tom Buhrow publicly apologized for the contribution. This now brings dozens of his authors and editors to the scene. They see freedom from satire and broadcasting endangered and in a letter call for Buhrow's resignation, which is hardly stipulated.
Suddenly the most powerful man in public broadcasting is damaged - and with him the so important institution itself.
Does the Prime Minister really have to interfere?
Small occasion, big effect: You have to get such a fuck-up first. Or in German: The thing was thoroughly messed up. A few truths help when asked why.
First, the satire itself went wrong. In the video, which only shows the choir recording in the studio, she does not convey herself, and her pseudo-conciliatory ending, in which the children come to the conclusion that her grandma is not an environmental pig, is more exhausting than stimulating.
Second: satire can go wrong. And if the editors responsible bring the video first and later withdraw it in the face of an impending shit storm, that is not very easy.
The apology of the director, who knew how sensitive satire is at a time when right-wing critics want to undermine democracy and with them most of all, was then really unnecessary. The employees who feel how the trust in a strong, independent broadcasting station fades are correspondingly unsettled.
Third, their attack on Tom Buhrow is completely exaggerated. It is the pinnacle of the left-liberal counter-attack on targeted aggression from the right. But the keepers of freedom shouldn't be so calculable.
If WDR authors now want to persuade the new ARD chairman to abdicate, then one has to say: This form of self-assurance does not ask about the damage it in turn does. After all, Tom Buhrow is not a bad populist, but rather a modernizer of the public service, who insolently asks what the audience wants. His resignation would only be one thing: a victory for the system opponents on the ultra-right side.
To question yourself once would have helped everyone enormously
All reflexes shown are highly human. But it is the affectative and sometimes vain actions that play into the hands of the destroyers. A rational question would have helped at any point: Do we really want to publish this video? What follows from an apology that deprives employees of all cover? Who benefits from an internal storm of indignation against the director?
Incidentally, a request could also have been good for the country's father Armin Laschet: Are the almost 4,000 likes really worth this interference on social media, in which people complain completely humor-free that young people are used here against old?
No, no and two more times no. The incident would only be a good thing if the people affected all learned from this that in this way they were missing a common goal: namely to preserve the institutions of liberal democracy.
In Germany, this includes public law. Anyone who watches colorful, low-content television news in other European countries knows immediately what he or she has about them. In order for them to continue playing their role, however, they must become more sensitive to the wishes of their audience - and to the areas of attack that they offer their opponents.