September 9, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

With national elections a year away, German newspapers whoop up politics

The United States is not the only country where an upcoming election rates Page One attention. Germany has a national election due a year from now but every one of the 16 daily newspapers on our Web site from that country today has a Page One story bearing on the election, generally involving the selection of a new leader for the SPD, the Socialist Party, and the challenge facing current Chancellor Angela Merkel. And the challenger will be Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, an SPD leader in Merkel’s coalition government.

The Augsburger Allgemeine in Augsburg has a picture of Steinmeier with the new Socialist leader and the head “New SPD-Duo goes on the offensive,” Der Tagesspiegel in Berlin focuses on the ousted SPD leader who “will continue to fight,” Die Tageszeitung in Berlin has a big photo of the candidate and the new party leader and a commentary headed “Back to the future,” while the third Berlin daily, Die Welt, also whoops up the SPD change. In Bielefeld, the Neue Westfaelische reports the SPD is ready to take on Merkel, the Braunschweiger Zeitung in Braunschweig reports about the new SPD leader and the two dailies in Bremen — Bremer Nachrichten and the Weser Kurier — do the same.

Even the Financial Times Deutschland in Hamburg has a photo of the two, with a head reporting that the SPD will not follow a course to the left, the Fuldaer Zeitung in Fulda focuses on SPD party discipline, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung in Munich reports on the SPD and the economic situation, the Nuernberger Zeitung in Nuernberg quotes the SPD leader about surprises to come while the Passauer Neue Presse in Passau leads with Merkel congratulating Steinmeier on being selected to challenge her in next year’s election. The Potsdamer Neueste Nachrichten in Potsdam and the Suedwest Presse in lovely Ulm focus on the new ”duo” leading the Socialist Party while the Wolfsburger Nachrichten reports about the new SPD leader to its readers in one of the newest towns in Germany, Wolfsburg, built only about 70 years ago to house the workers of the then-new Volkswagen factory.

For the American readers who might complain about coverage overkill of an election two months away, try the German press for an election a year away.

Gene Mater is a Freedom Forum media consultant.

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