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ZDF Magazin Royale: Böhmermann does not deliver a great moment – but hits a sore point

In the ZDF Magazin Royale, Jan Böhmermann takes on the US investor and billionaire Peter Thiel and his tech company Palantir. The TV review.

Cologne – Great moments happen again and again, in which late-night formats unveil scandals and uncover the almost incomprehensible, in which connections suddenly become clear and complicated things become very simple. To make it short: Jan Böhmermann’s edition of ZDF Magazin Royale from Friday (02/11/2022) was not one of them. But – and this can also be appreciated – she still came up with some aspects about the US investor and Trump supporter Peter Thiel, which should be given more public attention.

In Böhmermann’s narrative, Thiel is a kind of Republican “James Bond” villain who wants to inject human blood and invest in floating island states where evil issues such as gun laws, minimum wages and any form of social assistance are a thing of the past. He is also a multi-billionaire and as such has repeatedly attracted attention as a campaign supporter of Donald Trump and several arch-conservative Republicans. And now he’s bringing Austria’s ex-chancellor Sebastian Kurz into his corporate empire, Thiel Capital, as a “global strategist”.

ZDF Magazin Royale: Böhmermann takes on Paypal co-founder Thiel

Now you can argue that everything is more or less zeitgeist and that sooner or later everything that should be found will be found – a bit of fear and anxiety can be with everything that Jan Böhmermann quotes from the US media in his article about Thiel , shows in video excerpts or sings at the end of the issue in the best James Bond theme music style, but it will be.

Born in Frankfurt, Thiel, who emigrated to the USA with his family at the age of one, studied philosophy at Stanford, then founded the fintech company Paypal together with Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk and was until the takeover of the Company through Ebay, which made Thiel, like Musk, extremely rich, its CEO. Musk has remained true to his image as an innovator, Thiel went in the direction of capital investments and was the first investor in Facebook, today’s meta group. His $2.7 billion net worth makes Thiel one of the richest men in America. And where there is money, power is of course also not far away.

ZDF Magazin Royale with Jan Böhmermann: Peter Thiel supported Donald Trump

Thiel makes no secret of the fact that, strictly speaking, he is not very interested in serious politics. Böhmermann quotes a statement from Thiel in an interview, according to which Jesus Christ was also “extremely skeptical” about politics. Appropriately, he also supports the self-proclaimed savior Donald Trump and other radical conservative Republicans who have, shall we say, a creative understanding of concepts such as politics, democracy or state authority. This makes him one of the most important and hardly visible influences of the American “alt-right” movement.

And also similar to Donald Trump, Thiel is someone who, despite everything, is carelessly underestimated, simply because he sometimes says and does things that are so unbelievable, so ludicrous and so satirical that they simply cannot be true. According to reports by the Washington Post, Thiel invested millions “in the construction of floating microstates”, i.e. islands on which “alternative forms of government” should be experimented with. Thiel is said to have expressed interest in being treated by injecting human blood and being involved in a primeval Renaissance project that wants to breed mammoths. What one tends to forget: when Donald Trump won the election in 2016, one sometimes stopped laughing.

ZDF Magazin Royale with Jan Böhmermann: That’s behind Palantir Technologies

Thiel is particularly exciting and relevant for the ZDF audience for one reason, because one of his projects is something more than a pseudo-apocalyptic fantasy, although the idea is even based on a red “giant marble” in JRR Tolkien’s fantasy saga “Lord of the Lord”. Rings” returns. Thiel’s company Palantir Technologies, named after the crystal ball that the evil wizard Saruman uses to primarily spy on his opponents, isn’t just a little subtle when it comes to naming. The company, which specializes in the analysis, linking and use of large amounts of data, is also quite firm when it comes to customer acquisition and is therefore active in Germany. “Big money is watching you…” and it doesn’t even try to pretend to look away. Well thanks too.

ZDF Magazine Royale

The late-night show with Jan Böhmermann runs every Friday at 11 p.m. on ZDF. You can see the episode in the media library here.

Founded in 2004, the company already works with a number of security agencies in the USA. According to research by Böhmermann’s team, Palantir is said to have supported the LAPD police department in Los Angeles in “justifying racist police work”. And as much as one would like to believe that the strict data protection bases in the EU must prevent that, after they last got Thiel’s “favorite child” Meta to withdraw sulkily under the silent stairs and sniffling loudly threatening to withdraw from Europe, it would be naturally presumptuous and naive. Good news: The police in Hessen has been using parts of the Palantir technology for years. This poses risks, no matter how much the company says it should avoid.

And so Jan Böhmermann, with all the missing moments of shock and incomprehensible revelations in his current program, has just caught a sore point, especially since it is becoming apparent that – actually no longer a surprise – a number of federal ministries are already showing increased interest in working with Palantir. Böhmermann: “It is a fantastic idea that German security authorities and federal ministries put our national critical security infrastructure in the trustworthy hands of a man who wants to clone immortal right-wing extremist chess mammoths”. irony mode off. (Sandra Kathe)

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