The German press misery

- Yg. 1921, No. 6 -

"We have been hopelessly and shamelessly lied to and cheated on by our newspapers." That was the verdict of very calm and very considerate men into the most conservative circles when they had the opportunity to look at the damage to their good faith - 1918 in the fall. And it did not make such a big impression back then as the press defended itself. Of course she did that, as every sinner is right.

First, she said: "The others, the enemies, did not do it any better than we did." That was partly true, and partly not. Who in wartime z. For example, the Times read its daily column: "Through German Eyes," which knows that the English newspaper reader was perfectly up to date with everything the German press had to say. Our newspapers, on the other hand, have given us some "lieutenant-fed" "Courant" or even more mendacious "Tidende" as the "voice of foreigners." And secondly, it said, "We had lie on command! The AOK called and everyone, everyone lied. Only out of patriotic duty! ”So be it. You had to lie. But then it stays that way: we have been lied to and betrayed. It is lucky for you that the German public is the most good-natured of all and the public with the shortest memory.

Now it is said today that we should let the past pass by. Reconstruction, unity, trust - that's what it's all about now. Nice and good. Although one may ask oneself whether a human being and a people can learn something, if they undertake to throw their most drastic experiences aside and basically to forget a tempo.

But now hand on heart! Is it a lot different today than it was then? The Supreme Army Command is no longer there. In return, some Stinnes or some other powerful general of heavy finance has the press firmly in hand. But one cannot serve the truth and the mammon, says somewhere - roughly - the gospel. Capital is certainly not all-powerful; it cannot lay its powerful fist on all the organs of the press. But even then the German newspaper reader does not escape his fate; the supple hand of those in power in the party awaits him, and massages and rolls the honest man in his body sheet without his even suspecting it. Because the gentlemen may mean it kindly with their foster companions, they may be extremely honorable - they are all, all honorable - but they just live of the belief that the bread of pure truth is simply not digestible for our weak stomachs.

Everyone who has a palate to taste will notice that this is the case, at the lavish mess that is presented to him daily in his press.

We want to know how we are, abroad, what the circles think of us, of which for the next few years our fate depends on the fate of the whole world. And we should think that we should now know that now that no "final victory" and no "holding out" depends solely on our not knowing. "We want to know how it is with us, here with us inside, how long we can B. may still practice the fresh pious-happy-free game of gymnastics on the levers of the music press with impunity. And we should think that the simplest possible information about the weather patterns of our impending bankruptcy is more useful to us than the noise of the droning Frasen, with which we are stunned: about "völkische concerns", "social ethical values" and what the newfangled moral gossip otherwise on Schlern Promotes days. But no. Of what we need to know, no word of dying! What we really learn from editorials and parliamentary reports is, at the most, that the makers of our public opinion think we are incredible jerks of reason and judgment. Goethe was certainly a profound obdurator of public opinion; and the words that can be read about the mind of the German newspaper reader in Schopenhauer, are certainly nothing less than flattering. But their sentiments and words are still mild, compared with the contempt for public discernment, as reflected in the practice of our newspaper publishers and newspaper writers.

Corrupt, frivolous, lazy to the core is our money economy and the way in which taxes are passed on, collected and paid with us. At least as corrupt, frivolous, lazy to the core is the way in which we manage the truth. Except that it should perhaps not be expressed so harshly, so bitterly, so indignantly. How does Goethe say in the Kophtische Lied? "Fooled the fools as it should be." If you just want to hear what your ears itchy about, you shouldn't regret if you are shown the tiller instead of the truth. Just as a people have exactly the government they deserve, so too have the press that are good enough for them. The New German doesn't let it be seen indistinctly that the truth is worth a damn to him.

But other things have fallen in the New German course, as can be read off the level of his press again. Diligence, solidity, orderliness, discipline are the old good qualities of German, deeply rooted in its essence and skillfully "hammered in" by its historical educators, in order to make use of this favorite German favorite expression. The dangers of lying in the trenches, of loitering in the stages and homeland garrisons, of the so-called revolution's lumpening, resulted in a temporary eclipse of these virtues. The temporary loss of these moral goods has now aroused such a longing for them, and the longing is whipped up by fanatics by clever harassers, so that over this our people give other goods, which are also moral goods, a cheap one: I mean the sense of freedom the personality and the sense of law and justice.

What counts among us still the freedom, if in Wuerttemberg - not in the Prussia of the old style, but in the Free State of Wuerttemberg - a case became possible, like the case Wieland. A judge gives a lecture on a historical subject, a lecture of dry-referential objectivity and scholarship, a lecture that can only be criticized for offering research results that no connoisseur denies that any theology student could say he had heard his fox semester in his lecture halls. This lecture is used by the Minister of Justice to quote the speaker, a judge, before his superiors and initiate a kind of disciplinary proceedings against him. And when the minister is reminded of the constitution, the "freest constitution in the world" in which he has been active, he beckons with the civil service law, which, it would seem, declares "respect for unworthy" the simple historical one Truth determines. We are run down and do not know how. Such a thing would not have been possible among our Wilhelms - the Wiirttemberg and Prussian ones. Had a cult minister of the 80s of the last century dared, for example, the esthetician F. Th. Vischer because of his really sharp and biting words about the confession - to read in his lyric chants - to quote before his superiors - not the esthete, the minister would have you put the chair in front of the door. And think of the lords of the past Evangelical Covenant with their high tones of the so-called "Lutheran anger against Roman after-Christianity". A storm of indignation not from the left, but from the National Liberal Center and the conservative right wing would have swept away the minister, who dared to quote one of these wrestlers before his superiors. Today, no cock crows such interference in the freedom of thought of a hostile minister. The bourgeois press felt that it was their duty to suppress such an unprecedented fact from their audience. She could do this because this audience's freedom of personality is considered a chanterelle.

And justice and justice are not much more for him and his press. The present rulers have recently solemnly and indignantly protested against the accusation of right-bending. But how else to describe the facts? Violent acts have been committed from left and right. The sword of German justice has been cut to the left, but nothing can be said. If the one who attacks the sword dies by the sword, there is no reason for indignation. But what has been rightly sinned has found no or only a ridiculous atonement. The high-traitors, who with the booted and spurred foot of the Noske government kicked off that they flew in a swing from Berlin to Stuttgart, not a hair is bent; They are literally invited to venture on a second dance. If justice is the foundation of the empires, the so-called Free State of Germany stands on wobbly feet. The vast majority of the well-to-do German newspaper readers have not the slightest idea of ​​this double standard measure.

What follows from all this? We want a newspaper that does not feed us with lies on a daily basis, with mommy lies, with party lieutenants, with official lies; We want a newspaper whose leader does not need to be an angel or a model boy, who can also spank himself once, because God gave him the wrath of free speech, of which we only need to know the one thing, that he is an upright man to ask for nothing but his honest conviction. Such a newspaper does not bother us as much as the daily bread, and we can be happy that we in Württemberg at least a have such.

1921, 6 Paul Sakmann

Good that there is also a Sunday newspaper!

Hermann Hesse