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Everything that is no longer allowed to be said is said by Markus Lanz

Created: 10/4/2022 5:03 am

Talk mit Freunden: Markus Lanz und Gäste am 29.09.2022
Talk with friends: Markus Lanz and guests on September 29th, 2022 © Screenshot ZDF

It becomes fundamental with Markus Lanz: The talk on September 29th is about the role of the media in general and in the Ukraine war in particular.

Hamburg – The question of whether one is still allowed to say everything, to ask it on a talk show of all places, is of course not without a certain irony. The theses of Richard David Precht and Harald Welzer, who presented their joint book to their friend Markus Lanz, shouldn’t be that easy.

“The Fourth Estate – How Majority Opinion is Made, Even if It Isn’t One” is the name of the book that has just been published, no, the polemic, by Richard David Precht, philosopher, and Harald Welzer, social psychologist. This duo was a frequent guest with Markus Lanz on ZDF, sometimes in an intimate dialogue with the host. So to claim that Precht or Welzer are not being heard is obviously absurd.

Precht and Welzer at Lanz on ZDF: The “Putin understanders”

As long as both gentlemen do not give in in the face of sometimes harsh criticism in traditional and social media, nobody will prevent them from publishing more or less clever texts and books, appearing on talk shows and earning money with their words.

A lot of criticism was leveled at their attitude towards the Ukraine war in particular. Welzer and Precht had to be insulted as “Putin understanders” simply because they raised the question of whether a diplomatic solution might not also be possible.

But even Welzer had to admit to Markus Lanz on ZDF that he was worried about the escalation: “Where is there still an exit option in this dynamic?”. Welzer criticized the activism of parts of the media. From his point of view, the attempt to urge the chancellor and his government to participate more actively and intensively in the war, for moral reasons, against which no argument can help.

Precht and Welzer at Lanz on ZDF: No “diversity of opinions”

Melanie Amann, a journalist at Spiegel, denied Markus Lanz on ZDF the accusation of doing more than pure, objective reporting. Robin Alexander, deputy editor-in-chief of Die Welt, also denied any allegations, especially that the mainstream media had pushed the government to do this or anyone.

“Have we reached an agreement with Scholz or are we driving him?” Robin Alexander asked Precht, but he contradicted. It’s about what’s right in a situation where there’s no script, where nobody knows what to do. Nevertheless, there are positions in large parts of the press that largely reflect what Ukraine thinks and demands. Precht and Welzer did not want to perceive a variety of opinions, which Melanie Amann rated as too superficial.

“Do you seriously believe that the position of those who doubted the arms deliveries also had their say?” asked Precht Amann, who wanted to downplay this as a mere lack of research. It’s opinion-making, pure gut feeling without any factual basis, says Melanie Amann. Were the signers of the open letter in the Emma, which called for the war to end as soon as possible, invited to Markus Lanz? But above all in which constellation. Even Richard David Precht accused his friend Markus Lanz that all too often a guest who has a different opinion has to defend himself against three or four other guests (and usually the host as well).

Markus Lanz on ZDF The guests of the program from September 29th
Richard David Precht philosopher
Harold Welzer social psychologist
Robin Alexander journalist
Melanie Amann journalist

Harald Welzer noted a “subtle mechanism of self-alignment” with Markus Lanz on ZDF, a form of conformity, even if the term is problematic. And of course in Germany, the German media, the German talk shows, almost all opinions have their say. But does that automatically mean that all positions are given a similar weight? “What is the difference between public and published opinion?” asked Welzer, who repeatedly emphasized that the conditions of public opinion, which are documented by numerous surveys, are not reflected.

Markus Lanz on ZDF: An entertaining talk

The opponents did not find an agreement with Markus Lanz on ZDF, which was not to be expected. Alexander and Amann, the representatives of the classic media, (of course) denied any criticism of their work. Amann in particular seemed extremely annoyed at having to deal with the book by Precht and Welzer at all.

The one who hardly ever had a say in this Markus Lanz program was: Markus Lanz. The host rarely spoke, just as little as on this show, didn’t try to score points with annoyingly insistent questions, but held back. The guests, who were deliberately confrontational but also invited equally, made for a controversial, tough discussion that was very entertaining.

Above all, more constructive than those rounds in which a lone fighter expresses an opinion and is tackled by three or four others (plus the host). Perhaps this variety and the silence of the host would be an opportunity to make Markus Lanz’ ZDF show more controversial and interesting – or the whole of German journalism. (Michael Meyns)

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