Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD)
Photo: Michael Kappeler / dpa
An interview passage by Karl Lauterbach (SPD) led to a dispute between the Federal Minister of Health and a journalist on Twitter.
In an interview with the “Rheinische Post” published on Saturday, Lauterbach spoke of an “immune deficiency that can no longer be cured”, which often occurs in people who have survived several corona infections.
A science journalist from the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” criticized the statement – Lauterbach finally rowed back on Monday night.
Accordingly, the sentence was printed incorrectly, there can be no question of incurable immune deficiencies.
A "technical transmission error" on the part of his ministry is responsible.
In other words: an employee incorrectly released the sentence, which was allegedly never spoken, for printing.
If a medium conducts a conversation with a politician, this is usually authorized.
This means that the politician or someone from his team can read the interview before it is published and may change the wording if necessary.
Lauterbach now corrected what he actually wanted to say on Twitter: "Studies now show very clearly that those affected often have to deal with an immune deficiency, the duration of which we do not yet know." How exactly the quote in the interview should have come, the minister did not explain.
Calling him a liar "I don't think is appropriate"
The journalist Jan Drebes from the »Rheinische Post« defended Lauterbach after the interview was printed.
His newspaper had received an authorized version containing the sentence in question.
However, it is possible that this happened "due to an internal error" in the Ministry of Health, Drebes wrote on Twitter.
"I don't think it's appropriate to describe Lauterbach as a liar because of this," he added.
The questionable sentence is about new studies on the consequences of corona.
Lauterbach explained that the findings were "not yet certain".
The interview made the rounds in numerous media outlets over the weekend.
The science journalist Christina Berndt then criticized in an opinion piece that Lauterbach was discussing data that had not been published in scientific journals or in a so-called preprint.
One should be "very careful" with the interpretation of such data.