The Fear Mongers22 Feb 2004
Now that I'm taking the train to work, I have time to read things like an article on populism and the Bild newspaper in Die Zeit. It makes a number of good points. Bild is now the most important media outlet (Leitmedium) in Germany, having replaced Der Spiegel. True... if I were to imagine a federal minister today ordering a police raid of a newsroom, à la Franz-Josef Strauss, it would be at Bild, not Spiegel. Bild's editorial line (against health reform and pension reform) reflects to a large degree its older, lower-income readership, a clientele it shares with the SPD. But while the paper can strengthen trends, it cannot set them. It was unable to elect Stoiber, who it heavily supported in 2002. In the end the paper, whose circulation of 3.8 million is at a long-time low, is not trying to set a political agenda, but trying to cement its readership by playing on its fear of reform.