The Feigned Objectivity of Television Reporting

The late German comedian Loriot understood the deep political bias and dishonesty of television more than forty years ago, all the way back in 1979. In the following clip from a talk show broadcast that year, the comedian expressed his opinion on politics and TV.

Many thanks to Hellequin GB for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes and RAIR Foundation for the subtitling. The translator sends this thumbnail bio from Wikipedia:

Bernhard-Viktor Christoph-Carl von Bülow (12 November 1923-22 August 2011), known as Vicco von Bülow or Loriot, was a German comedian, humorist, cartoonist, film director, actor and writer.

He is best known for his cartoons, the sketches from his 1976 television series Loriot, alongside Evelyn Hamann, and his two movies, Ödipussi (1988) and Pappa Ante Portas (1991).

On the television series Unsere Besten (Our Best), Loriot was ranked the 54th best German ever. In a special comedy episode of Unsere Besten, he was ranked as the most famous German comedian ever.

Video transcript:

00:00   What bothers me about television is something that actually has nothing to do with television,
00:05   but touches exactly the topic we just touched.
00:08   Namely, that politics is made using television,
00:13   and that it is unfortunately necessary,
00:16   that it is actually, I admit it, necessary
00:19   that political officials have to take care of the program,
00:22   because a lot of television people cannot help themselves,
00:26   but have to spread their own, totally irrelevant political opinion, over the screen.
00:31   Yes wait a minute … —It’s true
00:35   But you can’t abstract a person’s political opinion.
00:38   You cannot demand that he suddenly leave aside his political convictions
00:42   in what he does and thinks. Can you?
00:46   I would say at once: CERTAINLY.
00:49   Of course, he can always sit down, a man in front of the screen
00:53   where it says, “This is the CDU speaking.”
00:56   Then he has half an hour and can say WHAT he wants.
00:59   Then the man comes and says: Here is a new person, “The SPD is speaking.”
01:03   Should say what he wants. But there is one who PRETENDS to be in possession of the truth,
01:10   and says that he is completely objective.
01:13   What he is actually doing, in the worst manner of advertising,
01:16   is selling his personal political views.
01:19   It’s DISGUSTING. It’s really disgusting. —Maybe he’s doing it unconsciously?
01:22   NO, NO.
01:31   As long as this does not change, the parties and their terrible officials
01:38   have the right and the duty to interfere in television.
01:42   Only when television people are willing
01:45   to turn their political views into a puzzle.
01:48   I meant that to be taken literally. That means, (yes, well)…
01:52   That means, if you look at a TV man, and you can’t see what his political affiliation is,
01:57   he can express that personally, but for God’s sake not on this damned screen.
02:01   Excuse me, You really ask an awful lot. —Yes, I demand it.
02:05   If someone cannot do the impossible on television,
02:08   then he should leave it, because then he is not in the right place there.
02:12   I mean, that’s an balanced apotheosis I’ve never seen before.
02:15   And they have balance. The balance has to take place personally for each individual.
02:21   Overall, however, the right place for a responsible television maker
02:25   is between all the seats… Indeed, and not on the same one.

3 thoughts on “The Feigned Objectivity of Television Reporting

  1. Sorry did not copy video from uTube: “Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser laughing at hijab requirement in 1958”(subtitled)

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