Mittwoch, Januar 04, 2006

A Small Detour in Austria...

Sorry this got delayed, but here it is...

I regularly read David's Medienkritik, an english-language blog on German media, since it is one of the few truly critical readings of the German media.

I've posted a comment over there that I'd like to expand on, slightly, here.

But go and read the article over there that I've commented on before reading further.

Hans Rauscher is one of the editorialists over at Der Standard that is actually worth reading. He's got a new editorial piece up that I'd like more people to read, since it actually makes sense. Which is what drives the on-line crowd over there into a feeding frenzy of ad hominem.

I've been reading Der Standard since it started up. It was a breath of fresh air for Austrian journalism, which is largely pretty weak and subservient to commercial and political interests. Most Austrian newspapers are bad small-town papers with lots of Dog Bites Man stories and virtally no Corrupt Politicians Convicted stories because there aren't many of those. But that's another story all together.

The comments over at Der Standard resemble nothing less than the Comments over at Daily Kos, and in many ways are more insipid and self-congratulatory and self-serving.

What motivates these people? I remember, way back when, pointing out in one comment that the US was in the process of destroying its CBW weapons, and was bombarded by posters who were throwing old Soviet AgitProp at me. I gave up on commenting because it was so completely and totally pointless: it's not like talking to a tree, it's more like trying to outyell a hurricane.

But Hans Rauscher is still over there at Der Standard, writing stuff like this for those who have German amongst the languages that they speak.

The post I linked to gives a good example of what is wrong with so much of the left: Rauscher, very correctly, states (my translation):

One must avoid "great concepts". Fighting that poverty that results from sickness would be best fought by getting people to simply wash their hands and supporting policies that get people to do this, according to an international study. Most of the "great plans", even those that are meant well, shatter on the fact that the world and human behavior are simply uncalculable and cannot be pressured to change with a big bang in order to change something for the better. The only possible solution is to take thousands of smaller steps, such as minicredits, given to people in the Third World in order to set them up for themselves in a small business.

For this sentiment he gets bashed: the very first comment crucifies him as "Marie Antionette Rauscher".

But that's nothing in comparison with this editorial.

Rauscher is very sensible here and I can only agree: he calls for not demonizing the US because we're different, but rather to realize that the US, for all of its warts and problems, is critical for the advancement of democracy in the world.

112 comments. Filled with US-Bashing, how happy people are that the US is stopping its green card lottery, with a couple of comments saying "yes, but...".

If you really want to understand a newspaper's readers, read the online comments. At the end of the day, that is to whom the writers will pander to.

Instead of writing something that people will react to. This is where Rauscher is the better journalist: his comments show how little the left likes him and his speaking what none of them wants to hear.

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