Springer boss Döpfner: harsh criticism from within our own ranks
Photo: Christoph Hardt / Future Image / IMAGO
There is increasing public criticism of newspaper publisher and Springer boss Mathias Döpfner from media companies. The reason for the displeasure is an older private short message from Döpfner, from which the "New York Times" quoted. In it, the 58-year-old had named the then »Bild« editor-in-chief Julian Reichelt as the last and only journalist in Germany who was still courageously revolting against the »new GDR authoritarian state«. Almost everyone else has become "propaganda assistants".
The chairman of the management of the Madsack media group, Thomas Düffert, told the dpa news agency: »The statements by Mr Döpfner that have now become public from a private environment are for all journalists of the Madsack media group and certainly beyond an inappropriateness and inadequate disparagement. «The Madsack Mediengruppe is very committed to journalism with its newspaper titles in northern Germany, but especially in many eastern German states.
"In the meantime, the statements by Axel Springer Verlag have been put into perspective and classified accordingly," continues Düffert. "In principle, however, there should be no doubt about the integrity and independence of the editorial offices of the newspaper publishers, even in private discussions. Instead, they should be defended against such allegations." The Springer Group had classified the short message as ironic.
The Funke media group, which has several regional newspapers in several federal states in its portfolio, had also commented on the Döpfner SMS.
The media magazine "Übermedien" quoted Funke managing director Christoph Rüth.
He said that Springer had classified Döpfner's statements and found that he did not consider the Federal Republic of Germany to be comparable with the GDR, even in the Corona era.
"We would have clearly contradicted everything else." The phrase "propaganda assistants" was "completely inappropriate," said Rueth.
"Such a thought and such a tone are not appropriate for the office of BDZV President."
The statements lead to calls for resignation
On Wednesday, Döpfner responded to the short message in a video message to the Springer employees, among other things. He said: “A private text message is not a tweet, it is not a post, it is not a public speech. And if you quote something out of context in a private conversation, you ignore polemics, irony, exaggeration. ”He attaches importance to the fact that this is private and not treated like a quotation. "That is a border crossing," said the Springer boss.
Now the subject of resignation came up because of the Döpfner SMS from media companies.
The publishing director of the »Mindener Tageblatt«, Carsten Lohmann, told Deutschlandfunk: »I think that someone who is the top representative of the daily newspapers in Germany is no longer tenable with such a statement.« The editor-in-chief of the magazine »Stern«, Florian Gless, wrote the final sentence in a column: "Mathias Döpfner should step down from all posts and offices."
After the "New York Times" article had appeared, Springer announced on Monday evening that "Bild" editor-in-chief Julian Reichelt would be relieved of his duties.
mic / dpa-afx