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German State Broadcaster Admits to 'Mistakes' in Climate-Related Reporting
Another day brings yet more evidence of malpractice and fraud, and today it is ZDF's turn to admit to fraudulent and therefore misleading content
As per Merkur, more evidence of absurd levels of gaslighting are emerging, literally every day now. Note that ZDF, or zweites deutsches Fernsehen, is the second of Germany’s two big state broadcasters (the other being ARD, which featured in yesterday’s posting).
As always, translation and emphases mine, as are the bottom lines.
False Climate Data: ZDF Admits to Mistakes in Science Programme following IPPEN Research
By Andreas Schmid, Merkur, 25 July 2023 [source]
The ZDF science show ‘Leschs Kosmos’ recently drew attention to the consequences of climate change. Scientist Harald Lesch asked the question: ‘Health risk climate crisis—how hot is too hot?’ There is a broad scientific consensus that the earth is warming up due to climate change—and that this is having increasingly serious consequences for humanity. The programme had only one catch: the figures used by ZDF had very little to do with science.
Questionable Climate Graph on ZDF
For example, ZDF reported on the number of days in Germany with a temperature of more than 30 degrees Celsius. These days are also called ‘hot days’. ‘Leschs Kosmos’ shared a graph with three time periods. 1970 to 1989, 1990 to 2009 and 2010 to 2022. According to ZDF, there were 13 hot days in the first period, 90 already in the second and 143 in the last, which only covers 13 years. Lesch comments: ‘For decades, the days with temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius have been increasing in Germany, especially since the 1990s.’ ZDF viewers, however, do not learn the source of these statements, as the Federal Environment Agency also states on request: ‘No data source for the graph shown can be taken from the TV report, either in words or in pictures.’
According to the Federal Environment Agency, the number of ‘hot days’ in Germany is, as a matter of fact, increasing. The federal authority refers to data from the German Weather Service. According to this, there were 143.38 such days from 2010 to 2022. In other words, as shown by ZDF.
What is explosive is that there are serious deviations for the other two periods. According to IPPEN calculations, which the German Weather Service confirms to the exact decimal point, there were 83.34 ‘hot days’ from 1970 to 1989 and 151.44 from 1990 to 2009. For the first period, that is 70 days more than indicated, for the second 61. The topic also caused a stir in social media.
[editorial comment: I am reproducing but one such Tweet here]
Yet these official figures are no less interesting. ‘We can clearly confirm that the linear trend of “hot days” is increasing’, says the German Weather Service, albeit not as blatantly as presented by ZDF. [line break added]
But how does ZDF arrive at its data? When asked by IPPEN.MEDIA, they say that the data is based on data from the German Weather Service and the statistics platform Statista. However, only selected years are presented for the first two periods, and there is not data for every year.
ZDF has since acknowledged this error after our enquiry. ‘After checking again, the editorial team has determined that these figures are incorrect for the periods 1970-1989 as well as 1990-2009’, a press spokeswoman explained to our editorial team. ‘We are correcting the graph as soon as possible.’ She continues: ‘However, these figures do not change anything in our statements. The trend towards more heat days remains unaffected.’
Following the depravity and cataclysms of the totalitarian régimes of the first half of the twentieth century, state broadcasters were instituted to safeguard ‘democracies’ against such abuses as wrought by Fascist Italy or Nazi Germany.
For a few decades, albeit not without certain amounts of undue influence over programming, this arrangement worked reasonably well. Proof positive of such ‘adversarial’ stances can be found in virtually any long-form interviews with politicians in the 1960s and 1970s. From thence, things became progressively worse.
The main change in (West) Germany occurred early in Helmut Kohl’s chancellorship (in office 1982-98), as documented by Old Labour webzine Nachdenkseiten: in 1983, commercial TV based on US models was permitted, which began operations on 1 Jan. 1984. I shall briefly quote from Wolfgang Lieb’s excellent piece, which originally appeared on 3 Jan. 2014:
Shortly after the Kohl government rolled out the red carpet for Leo Kirch, the ‘Reds’ [SPD] adapted once again. Peter Glotz, then federal chairman of the SPD, wanted to ‘get his foot in the door’, too, and ‘help shape’ private television. Thus, controlled and financed by the Bertelsmann group with the help of Wolfgang Clement (then head of the Düsseldorf state chancellery) and his later media advisor, RTL managing director Helmut Thoma, the channel RTL was established in North Rhine-Westphalia (and later also VOX)—so to speak as a ‘social democratic counterweight’ (no joke!) to the Kohl channel SAT.1.
RTL Group has since become one of the main profit generators of Bertelsmann AG. The Bertelsmann Group, in turn, is three-quarters owned by the Bertelsmann Foundation, which is so keen to give itself the image of a promoter of education. However, if you look at the afternoon programmes of RTL, they contribute to the lack of education, even to the brutalisation of young people. According to scientific studies, children hailing from so-called educationally deprived classes, who statistically also watch more television, are particularly affected by the negative behavioural models offered there. Even in afternoon programmes with high viewing figures of young people, films with brutal depictions of violence are offered. And last but not least, profits are made by unscrupulously exploiting their search for identity with psychologically sophisticated advertising aimed precisely at young people and children.
Note, again, that this was written in 2014.
What, then, does this mean for the future? I shall delimit myself to three points:
I suspect that ‘apologies’ and ‘corrections’ of the same sort cited by the above piece will be issued even more frequently in the future—before these embarrassments can simply be memory-holed. So far, the internet does not allow for the latter option, but I suspect that this will become possible before too long. This gaslighting will feed the divisions and strife in our societies, as all sides retreat and retrench—for those who collaborate in these shenanigans, the above statement of ‘admission’ by ZDF is indicative of a ‘ah, yes, but…’ (which, as a bonus feature, allows for a hefty dose of virtue-signalling, too) while those who are a tad more critical will increasingly tune out of ‘society’ (or what remains thereof). Factionalism and increasing strife are the consequences.
Public broadcasting in general and legacy media in particular is dead, and it has been putrefying for some time; the stench of this cadaverous zombie-like critter is evidently as disgusting as the (self) delusion of those who still work inside these institutions. If you desire a close look behind these curtains, I humbly propose to you the ‘confessions’ by one Ole Skambraks who was one such editor and who, in autumn 2021, published—under his own name—an open letter decrying the dramatic one-sidedness of legacy media in times of Covid. I have translated Mr. Skambraks’ open letter in three parts, all of which are linked here:
As everyday becomes ever more commercialised and fictional, the outward appearance and stances taken by many will ever more resemble ‘The Truman Show’, I fear. We’ve already come a long way down that road, and while places such as Substack provide a bit of relieve, the question remains: how much longer will this be permitted? Here in EU Europe, on 25 August 2023, a new social media regulation will enter into effect that permits
law enforcementsecurity services access to the contents of messages exchanged via phone. This will only get worse as time progresses, which indicates two tendencies: the majority of people will, likely, simply not care, citing absurdities, such as ‘I don’t have anything to hide, so what’s the harm’, thereby revealing at-once the utter depravity and mis-education about the foundations of the Western-style Liberalism. A small group will voluntarily relinquish, as much as this is possible, the trappings and seeming conveniences of ‘smart phones’ and the like while returning, to a certain extent, to communicating more in person and in hand-writing. Václav Havel’s essays from Communist Czechoslovakia come to my mind.
All told, we’re about to enter a new era—technologically empowered surveillance will permit governments to transcend the limitations of past totalitarianisms with ease; that is, as long as the electricity grid continues to work.
What happens once many trappings of ‘modern life’ become a tad less secure for the masses, however, might look very different.
We do live in very interesting times, indeed.