Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Unfair Treatment of Germany in the Press

Because of the legacy of World War II and the Holocaust, the people of Germany are quite rightly sensitive about accusations or implications of anything touching on fascism in their current Government. Germany wants to be thought of as the birthplace of Strauss and Beethoven, as the producer of finely engineered luxury vehicles and as a modern democratic nation.

So the hullabaloo in the international press last week must have been painful. Lurid headlines such as Time Magazine's particularly offensive, "Why Germany Hates Tom Cruise" were bringing back unpleasant echos of the 1930s.

The ordinary people of Germany must have been gritting their teeth in frustration at the reports by Reuters, AP, Time, etc., etc., all loudly trumpeting the "fact" that a Hollywood movie studio, partly owned by the world's biggest movie star, was being denied access to a German military memorial because of his religious beliefs.

Worse still, the movie that was being thwarted was about the attempt by the German Resistance to assassinate Hitler. Tom Cruise was to play Col. Claus von Stauffenberg, the leader of the plot. Surely this movie was a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate to the world that during WW II Germans were opposed to Hitler and his atrocities? Yet, according to the media, the German Government was saying, "Nein!" for reasons that sounded hollow to any reasonable person.

After a few days of this the German Ministry of Defense finally spoke up saying that they weren't responsible for approving film shoots at the building in questions. The Ministry also said they had no opposition to the film shooting in Germany. (Germany now would welcome Cruise production)

It turns out that the source of the report was the web site of, Antje Blumenthal, a right-wing, anti-religious politician. No one in the news media had bothered to verify the accuracy of her posting.

The truth about the "ban" was not reported anywhere near as much as the lie. It seems that accuracy in reporting comes a poor second to sensationalism.

Personally, I think Reuters, AP, Time and the rest of the crew who published this lie should apologize, not only to Tom Cruise, but also to the people of Germany who now have a new stigma to live down, and this time it's not even a factual one.


Don Grey said...

Grahame, this is the most honest and accurate report on this absolutely absurd story. How the voice of one right wing politician becomes headlines accross the world boggles the mind. It just goes to show how far south the press really is.

Keep posting. It's like a breath of fresh air on a really polluted afternoon.

Bellboy said...

I only wanted to say that if it wasn't for Scientology i won't probably be here writing this message, Scientology has practically saved my life. Those who are "afraid" of us it's because of their crimes and their intollerance towards others. We are to stay for the eternity because we mean truth and do good.