Since it became known that "Hard but fair" moderator Louis Klamroth is in a relationship with activist Luisa Neubauer, critics have questioned his political neutrality - in contrast to the WDR boardroom.
Now the 33-year-old presented an issue on the subject of climate - and rarely intervened when the participants said something questionable.
He would not invite his partner to his show, "it goes without saying," Louis Klamroth was forced to assure himself when it became known that he was taking over the ARD talk show "Hart aber fair".
As reported, the successor to Frank Plasberg is in a relationship with the climate activist Luisa Neubauer, which was not known to West German Broadcasting (WDR) when the contract was signed and has led to criticism in the station's broadcasting council.
But can Klamroth have a “neutral” discussion about the climate at all, even without Neubauer in the group?
At least 2.85 million viewers (market share: 10.6 percent) asked themselves this question in the latest edition on the topic "Last descent - How does the climate crisis change everyday life and life?" That was more than ever since the 33-year-old adopted the format in early January.
However, the show raised more questions than it answered, which, in addition to the somewhat undecided motto that would fit more into a documentary, also had something to do with Klamroth's conduct of the conversation.
Because he too often just let the discussion run its course, opening again and again with pseudo-provocative sentences like "Now it's snowing - problem solved?" Luckily he had an expert in the group in meteorologist Sven Plöger, who had reliable facts and figures about climate change and the much-vaunted "new technologies" that are the salvation from the climate catastrophe.
Otherwise, Klamroth seemed to rely on the famous “fact check” the next day, many (bogus) arguments were allowed to stand without his intervention, such as the remarkable statement by the President of the Automobile Association, Hildegard Müller, that SUVs are no bigger than other cars.
CDU economic politician Gitta Connemann was also able to pass far too often unchallenged with her “scapegoat tourism” and “scapegoat motorists” rhetoric.
But also on the other side, represented by the young climate activist Aimée van Baalen, many things were not questioned, for example her speech about an obscure "social council" as a kind of substitute parliament.
Klamroth left the counter-speech almost entirely to the other participants, led by FDP man Konstantin Kuhle ("This is the way to the arbitrary state").
Only to later, as if to make up for the omission, slammed the "Last Generation" spokeswoman with questions about the source of her earnings.
It is telling that the moderator, unlike his predecessor, was only able to play a few clips, which experience has shown to turn the discussion upside down.
The last one, which dealt with young people's worries about their future, even remained in the room practically without discussion.
Instead, the editors had the idea of placing a survey at the airport instead of audience reactions, in which passengers were confronted with the carbon footprint of flights.
Bad conscience in total.
As expected, viewers on social networks rated this "Hard but fair" edition controversially.
"Climate activists now also have their own weekly show on public radio," etched a certain Holger Kopp on Twitter.
"The unbearable Gitta Connemann, FDP man Konstantin Kuhle and Hildegard Müller, chief lobbyist for the auto industry, are lying to us full of pigs.
Poor Sven Plöger, poor format,” rumbled a user who calls himself “Tjards Wendebourg”.
An echo that might have been a little less disparate if Louis Klamroth had actually played his role as moderator who asked hard questions.
And in all directions.
WDR Director Tom Buhrow and the Broadcasting Council of West German Broadcasting have meanwhile expressed their confidence in Klamroth.
According to Buhrow, he sees no violation of the compliance rule because it did not apply to Klamroth before the contract was signed.
As a new employee, he reacted immediately and disclosed a possible conflict of interest: "We are not interested in who our program protagonists share a table and bed with," says the director.
The only interesting thing is whether the people concerned meet professional standards.
This is the case with Klamroth, said Buhrow and referred to the most recent broadcast.
Incidentally, a “vote of no confidence” by the Broadcasting Council would not be binding on the broadcaster.
"The committee does not decide on moderators of individual programs, but advises the director",