Filzmaier analyzes – The great indignation: politicians, the media and us


The chancellor was furious. Two drunken bodyguards of his family caused a car accident. The SPÖ has asked a parliamentary question about the circumstances. Which upset Karl Nehammer and the ÖVP. The strange troop also revealed a complicated triangle between politics, media and electorate. Outrage is politically staged as well as a national sport for all viewers.

What happened? The red security spokesman quoted from an anonymous letter, in which the “drunken story” presumed political interventions as well as details of the daily lives of the chancellor’s children. Whereupon the Turquoise and Black Chancellor convened a press conference to angrily expose the former as a lie and, above all, regard the latter as a security threat to his posterity.

Whether it’s a tangible scandal or not even a scandal clearly depends on whether the booze-loving cops at Cobra — or even their superiors at political acclaim, which Nehammer vehemently denied — have covered up anything. Specifically, the issue is whether the binge really was “after the end of the service period” or, so to speak, had simply shifted there in location and time in a glossed over presentation. The requested Interior Minister must provide information about this and journalists can seriously investigate this. However, children should be kept out. point and out.

But what does this have to do with the media, with all of us, and with actress Barbara Streisand? In 2003, 12,000 photographs were taken of the California coastline. There were many luxury houses to see. One was from Streisand. What no one knew and no one would have been interested in. But good Barbara felt her privacy had been violated and sued her for $50 million. Which of course made everyone look even more at the photo of her house. Nothing was more private.

Since then, communication science has spoken of a Streisand effect when the exact opposite is achieved in attempts to suppress personal information: namely, that said “information” becomes known to a particularly large number of people. That is exactly what happened to Chancellor Nehammer. It was only through his press conference that he himself made the blood alcohol affair of his bodyguards for the general public.

Everyone can burst their collar
The incident highlighted how often politics and media interact less professionally than emotionally. Anyone can burst their collars, but why is a specially prepared media event being created for this? Nehammer’s press conference was nothing else. Likewise, the media representatives present should not have picked up on the Chancellor’s outrage so quickly.

There is also the question of how we all interact with politicians, use the media and behave on Facebook, Twitter & Co. Multitudes of virtual commentators gleefully spread everything about the lives of politicians’ children on the internet, even though at least 99 percent of those are none of our business. A few aspiring activists drove even weirder: Since Home Secretary Nehammer has been rightly accused of the current state of illegal deportation of refugee children, one could now put their children through the cocoa.

An earlier injustice on the one hand – loosely based on the writer Erich Fried – cannot justify later injustice on the other. But the culture of outrage in our society is moving in this direction. In the politicians, in the media and ultimately in all of us. Wild emotions predominate, while facts hardly interest anyone.

Democracy means that – according to sociologist Max Weber – politicians must follow a high degree of responsibility and ethics. They must consider the consequences of their actions and strive to do what is morally right. The same standard applies to journalists. Conversely, no one in politics should be our fair game to innuendo. Despite constant observation, politicians have a right to privacy. Sharp criticism is important, but specifically related to a political-fact context. Not as a personal insult or general scolding at the inclusive community level of over 40,000 politicians in Austria.

Outrage is the only link between the people and the politicians
In a German survey, 95 percent of those who berated politicians said they knew nothing about their daily lives. At the same time, party politicians are accused of not knowing the daily worries of the population somewhere ‘up there’. The distance between the people and their representatives is so great that the mutual indignation described is the only connection. Admittedly, the media are often not intermediaries here, but play out indignant politicians and indignant people against each other for the sake of quotas and reach.

Source: Krone


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