Traditional news media are accused of being untrustworthy, public debates seem to become more polarizing and elections are faced with propaganda campaigns. Issues such like these were discussed at a workshop organized by Deutschlandradio in Berlin on Tuesday, May 15, 2017. It was entitled “public broadcasting in the age of populism” and featured an array of international guests which explored current tendencies and examples from Germany, Austria and the UK.
Lena Frischlich (PhD) of the PropStop project detailed the possibilities of detecting and counteracting fake news and bots. Other participants included Prof. Dr. Karola Wille (ARD director), Helen Boaden (Harvard University/BBC), Dr. Klaus Unterberger (ORF) and the director of Deutschlandradio, Dr. Willi Steul.
In an interview with Deutschlandfunk Frischlich cautioned journalists against repeating the messages of populists:„Repetition is something that leaves traces in the brain. ist etwas, was im Gehirn jedes Mal einen Abdruck hinterlässt. It doesn’t matter if you negate the message while repeating it. If I say “not all immigrants are criminals”, what people remember is “immigrants criminals”.
Helen Boaden also reminded the participants of the amount of media attention Donald Trump received in the US presidential election, even in the primaries when there were still other contenders around.