For the broadcasters’ detractors, Cologne represents the latest example of months of tendentious coverage. One common complaint is news reports on the refugees often picture families and women, even though single young men make up the vast majority of those arriving.
Another is that the broadcasters downplay or conceal events that might rouse the public’s emotions. The alleged gang rape of two teenage girls in southwest Germany on New Year’s Eve by four Syrian refugees was not reported by any of the main news programs, for example, despite the parallels to the attacks in Cologne and other cities.
SWR, the regional public channel, reported on the rapes but was quick to add: “The nationality of the suspects played an ‘insignificant role’ in the crime, investigators and prosecutors said.”
Such reporting has fueled criticism that the broadcasters soft pedal any hint of criminal behavior among refugees. It also earned them a new moniker: “Willkommens Broadcaster” — a play on the so-called “Willkommenskultur,” or culture of welcome that swept Germany in the early days of the refugee crisis.
The quips are only partly in jest. Opponents of Angela Merkel’s refugee policies say the public media demonize anyone who dares speak out against them.
Good thing we never see anything like that from our own press.