Bild Zeitung Von Heute Titelseite

The newspaper video has lang poured vitriol on die country’s left-wingers und ‘do gooders’. But now it has actually a neu target: die chancellor

‘It would certainly be ideal if sie could hit a deer,” julianisch Reichelt, editor-in-chief of Europe’s biggest tabloid, video Zeitung, told his chauffeur. “Guardian readers can do with a bit more colour.” We had actually reached escape velocity out des ice-encrusted Düsseldorf. The mercedes S-Class locked right into place choose a bobsled on the Autobahn. Ich sat shotgun with Reichelt’s assortment von sports gear, a hockey stick bolzen my legs. “We are lucky an our treiber today,” Reichelt said, deadpan. “Last time we hit a grausam boar and the boar and the vehicle went flying.”

I was travelling v Reichelt on one des his publicity tours across Germany. For the past two years, he has actually made bei appointment once a month zu commune v groups von Bild’s 1.3 million readers. “You oase to feel their emotions,” he told me from the backseat. “You oase to aufführen to their hearts.”

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Reichelt, who ist 40, do his benennen as a war reporter an Syria, but today confines most des his fight courage to Twitter, where he enjoys needling die German politics establishment and barging into leftwing echo chambers. In person, Reichelt exudes a twitchy exuberance, prefer a fighter pilot who has managed zu smuggle champagne into the cockpit. His eye restlessly gauge the world roughly him, clocking who he needs kommen sie avoid and who that needs kommen sie attract. Right into his phone, he volleys directives zu subeditors, assistants and the band of young masculine disciples he sends around die world zu collect stories. “The top populist an western Germany,” ist how Albrecht by Lucke, editor von the prestigious left-liberal monthly Blätter, describes him.

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Available hinweisen train stations, supermarkets, bakeries, kiosks, factories, Portuguese beach resorts, online, und everywhere rather Germans purchase things, bild Zeitung squats prefer a large toad on German life. Bild, which was partly modelled ~ above the täglich Mirror, is the largest newsprint publication an the world that uses roman characters. Uneven its the next analogue bei Britain, the täglich Mail, it has no real national competitors. Twenty regional editions seep right into every pore des the country. Every month, its webseite attracts around 25 million readers. Bild is ns prize battleship of Axel Springer, the German firm founded bei 1945 by the rightwing publisher von the very same name. Today, Axel Springer ist the biggest media publishing firm in Europe, und is valued punkt about €7bn. Tonnage year, the US private equity for sure KKR gained a 44% stake in the company.

For decades, bild was in object of scorn zum any self-respecting west German des social autonomous orientation. Bei a political culture more conformist and decorous 보다 most of its western peers, bild functioned like the las Vegas strip, concentrating all of the federal Republic’s seediness in one place. Seven days a week, video pumped free-market mantras, together ads zum car tyres und chicken wings, into die stiff arteries des cold war West Germany. Bild decried lang hair on men und the marriage von its top models to foreigners. It genuflected before South african apartheid, Greek dictatorship, Bavarian sedans und American Pershing missiles. Over all, video dedicated chin to ns destruction des communist east Germany, and fought a lang battle against what it regarded as foe collaborators in the leftist student movement at home.

Such was the stature von Bild an West Germany that in 1965, after ~ the daily rose in price from 10 to 15 pfennigs, Axel Springer, that referred to bild as his “dog ~ above a chain”, proposed kommen sie Chancellor Ludwig Erhard that the zustand introduce a special fünfzehn pfennig coin to make that easier zu purchase die paper. Meanwhile, the east German stasi was deshalb impressed by video as a state propaganda tool that the crafted its very own – imaginatively title – NEUE video Zeitung, which was sold at die border with west Germany, whereby it conspicuously failed zu wean klasse enemies off ns original.

Today bild is paradoxically less significant than it was an the 60s, but more politically important. “I read it first an the morning due to the fact that it is the agenda-setter,” says josef Joffe, the publisher-editor von the free weekly, die Zeit. “Politicos in Berlin most likely read the first an the morning as well.” ns paper enjoys a close connection with die German politics elite. Ns former German chancellor, Helmut Kohl, was one von the ideal men at the wedding des former bild editor, Kai Diekmann, and in 2008, derkmann performed ns same role weil das Kohl weist his wedding. “Kohl rules through Bild,” die Nobel laureate heinrich Böll wrote, and Kohl’s follower as chancellor, gerhard Schröder, affirmed die practice: “To govern ich need Bild, video Sunday’s edition, and the telly,” he as soon as said.

Bild’s intimate connection with some des Germany’s most powerful figures ist a vestige of its job as ns country’s decisive reputation maker-and-breaker. The former defence minister, now the president des the european commission, Ursula über der Leyen, has bezeichnen up hinweisen one of Reichelt’s dinner parties at the video offices in Berlin, und for ns past few years bild has hosted part of the annual Munich protection Conference, ns equivalent of Davos zum the globalen defence industry. Although angela Merkel has not ingratiated herself with die Springer complicated — regardless of receiving at an early stage political support from bild — produziert husband ist nevertheless paid €10,000 a year to grace ns board of the nonprofit Friede Springer Foundation, named after Axel Springer’s widow.


Axel Springer bei 1985. Photograph: AF archive/Alamy stange PhotoDespite its traditional proximity zu power, bild has mutated into something past a stalwart defender of the German status quo. Now, states Joffe, it is “an equal-opportunity anti-establishment force”. “Previous bild editors made your alliances much more based on mitarbeiter feeling,” states the journalisten Stefan Niggemeier, who in 2004 co-founded die BILDBlog, a webseite that corrects Bild’s factual errors and misrepresentations. “But Reichelt ist different. The is bei actually politics person.”

Reichelt’s agenda ist marked less von novelty than von a chest-crunching resuscitation of Bild’s core commitments: pro-US, pro-Nato, pro-Israel, pro-austerity, pro-capital, anti-Russia, anti-China. According to the bild worldview, the best way zu counter ns left zu sein to portray its requirements as totalitarian, und the ideal way to kill off the far right zu sein to cannibalise that is grievances. While bild prints reasonably little zutat that a supporter des the far-right Alternative weil das Germany (AfD) splitter linterparty would object to, Reichelt look at the splitter linterparty as a threat zu his effort zu remake die German political scene. “We want nothing kommen sie do with die imbeciles des the AfD,” that told me. “The way to destroy them is to do room weil das their voters in what used zu be the political mainstream of this country.”

Bild’s taste attack targets stay Germany’s “Gutmenschen” – ns do-gooders, vegetarians, Greens und 1968ers who room treated together parasites and irritants to Germany’s robust economy and middle class. Much more recently, ns paper’s sights have also turned ~ above Merkel und her party, the christian Democratic gewerkschaftern (CDU). “The paper’s consistent targeting des Merkel, but so its present take top top refugees and all sorts of minorities definitely reproduces rhetorical elements of the AfD,” claims Fatma Aydemir, a novelist and columnist for the leftwing täglich Tageszeitung, recognized as Taz. Bei the absence des serious obstacles from in ~ Merkel’s very own party, or indigenous other partys – she has been chancellor zum 14 years, a tenure gone beyond only über Kohl und Bismarck – bild has attempted to make itself into that opposition. Yet any populist challenger finds itself in the hard position des convincing Germans that Merkel’s really successful form of reactive politics has actually run out von historical steam. “We are die voice of ordinary people,” cases Reichelt. “If we didn’t exist, they would really think ns whole system is against them.”

We pulled into ns fire station an the proud town of Sprockhövel, around 18 miles north-east of Düsseldorf, where a few dozen civilization greeted us, most von them an firefighter gear. Bild beere steins, video lighters und other bild paraphernalia had been laid out on ns firefighters’ bar. Reichelt marched out kommen sie the garage with die fire engines, where a klein table stood. He take it a sip of beer, und addressed the gruppe with aplomb.

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“It’s in honour to be among sie because, as freundin know, ich like zu meet our readers face to face,” Reichelt said. That wanted to know why castle had come to be firefighters. “It’s that feeling that we’re brothers,” claimed one of the younger firefighters. “That we schutz each rather back. Sie don’t get that emotion elsewhere.” Yes, Reichelt agreed, vessel was an short supply in Germany. Courage: that was a virtue bild could get behind.

“The only trouble we oase with Bild,” stated another, alt fireman, “is your gemälde contest!”

Reichelt do a show of pricking up his ears. “Oh really? ist there miscellaneous we’re act wrong? ich welcome her criticism!”

“It urges people zu send in the many sensational photos possible, yet people block the way zu fires due to the fact that they’re trying kommen sie take photos for Bild!”


Julian Reichelt, editor-in-chief of Bild, visiting a fire station close to Düsseldorf. Photograph: thomas MeaneyReichelt’s face registered ns gravity of the charge. He moved like a matador, coaxing anyone else with negativ things zu say kommen sie hurl them at his face. “Look, that’s terrible, and we’ll oase to stop that. I’ll obtain on the immediately,” he told the einer who complained about ns photo contest.

After Reichelt had presided end dinner in the firefighters’ hall, us got rückseitig into ns Mercedes and sped into the dark. Ich asked er why that goes out des his way zum pow-wows v his readership. “Bild ist the belastung national campfire experience in German life,” that told me. “It’s the last thing the Germans kann sein come with each other for.” It was a curious way von viewing a newspaper the has, zum decades, polarised a nation otherwise committed zu “consensus politics” into two camps: video readers and Bild haters. Yet Reichelt delivered this well-greased lump of Springer-speak with what seemed choose sincerity.

The experience des reading video is a sugar-rush of gossip, accompanied über the clanging gong of headlines. As zu sein traditional, scandals room designated for the front page, but bei Bild’s current iteration, fear-mongering appears zu be privileged end celebrity soup: “Germany’s many dangerous empfangshalle leader zu sein free again” reads a usual headline. Alongside the hauptsächlich stories, the front page deshalb lists the dollar exchange rate and the price des gold, too as the “winners” and “losers” des the day. A loser can be prinz Charles, whose charity, follow to the Organized Crime and Corruption report Project, may have received dark money from Russians. (“Bild says: schwarz money weil das blue blood!”) Or a loser might be Sergei Lavrov, die foreign minister des Russia, claiming the there zu sein a “large, combination campaign” über the German federal government to fonds misinformation bei Russia: “Bild says: what nonsense!” Winners tend to be businessmen making big deals or celebrities gift nice to children.


A bild Zeitung front buchseite from 2015. Photograph: BildThe many reliably absurdist ar of bild typically wenn on seite 3 or 4, through a report from paul Ronzheimer, Reichelt’s star protege. There one finds Ronzheimer posing an front of a Brazilian forest fire; Ronzheimer posing in front des the Venezuelan opposition leader; Ronzheimer posing in front of a hong Kong street fight; Ronzheimer posing in front of Syrian refugees; Ronzheimer disbursing fake Drachmas kommen sie poor Greeks encouraging them kommen sie leave Europe. His stories appear as little frames des text under giant, hard-won selfies, as if to declare: bild was here! “Ronzheimer does schutz a discernible function,” says by Lucke. “He makes bild readers feel prefer they’re analysis a record that has actually incredible access, that bild has a global presence.”

As editor, Reichelt watch himself less as a news impresario than as in emotional entrepreneur. “Journalism ist basically about emotions, as all von the other nachrichten outlets an this nation seem to have forgotten,” that told me. Reichelt likes to suggest out what the sees as die shared delusions of the much more “respectable” German press. He gave ns example von Merkel, around whom he stated the press had created an “elaborate mythology” the she has such natural wit und is very clever, whereas her skill lay in identifying ns direction von the prevailing winds.

For Reichelt, merkel represents ns depoliticisation des German society, a procedure that has actually obscured ns faultlines betwee conservatives und liberals. Weil das almost two decades, punkt a series of decisive moments, merkel has deftly stolen produziert antagonists’ platforms out from under them. Bei 2003, she phased in a neoliberal agenda in the CDU, but when it virtually backfired at the polls 2 years later, she started to introduce program from ns Social Democrats. In the wake des the Fukushima disaster, merkel became anti-nuclear overnight. Merkel’s response to die 1 million migrants entering Germany an the summer von 2015 has actually been widely taken as bei instance von principle end pragmatism – a chancellor seizing the wahrscheinlichkeit to make amends weil das her nation’s previous – but even then, merkel had closely weighed German windy opinion, and promptly ramped hoch anti-refugee law once the middle class’s pro-refugee enthusiasm had actually subsided. Ns leftwing sociologist wolf Streeck as soon as described merkel as “a postmodern politician through a premodern, machiavellian contempt weil das both causes and people”.

This shape-shifting has made German national politics a viel more complicated game to play, and Reichelt sees it together his job to gain back the old pre-Merkel divisions. To this end, he has made video into a loudspeaker zum some of the chancellor’s fiercest critics. In early september 2018, an the wake von violent far-right demonstrations in the Saxon city of Chemnitz, Reichelt met through Hans-Georg Maassen, the head von German intelligence, und offered him the ns pulpit of video when Maassen wanted to contradict Merkel’s account des anti-migrant “hunts” that had actually allegedly bring away place in Chemnitz. Maassen’s attempt to cast doubt on ns chancellor’s version des events got him gotten rid of from his post, yet it transformed er into one des the many vocal martyrs von the German right.

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Since his faster teenage years, Reichelt dreamed of becoming the editor of video Zeitung. I asked ihm how someone choose himself, born in Hamburg an 1980 – when bild was ausblüten considered radioactive von most teachers and students throughout Germany – could schutz concocted such in ambition. “I was born right into a family of journalists,” Reichelt said me. “In ours household, Axel Springer was a hero, and Heinrich Böll was in enemy.” Reichelt, who perfected his English abroad weist Cushing Academy, a boarding school in Massachusetts, looked up kommen sie young bild reporters as bürgerliche paladins pitted against ns leftwing rabble von 1980s Hamburg, a stadt teeming v wealth, but so one of the hubs des the country’s anarchist left.

“You must recognize that bild was best about ns three significant questions des postwar German life,” Reichelt said. “We backed israel … , which you tun können hardly say zum the international left. We backed die USA … , which the student protesters didn’t want. Und we were persuaded that German reunification might work, unlike those leftist worthies, Habermas und Günter Grass.” Reichelt is correct that video had confidence an a reunified Germany that might purge itself des any lingering leftwing utopian residues in the East. “The German left basically gave nach oben on reunification in the 1980s,” Niggemeier told me. “The reason became nearly quaint zum them. Meanwhile, Axel Springer developed the video headquarters best smack up against the berlin Wall – and now, look, it’s an the middle von Berlin. Deshalb they tun können say: ‘We never provided up.’”

It is hard zu think of an institution more tightly bound up with ns history of the commonwealth Republic than video Zeitung. The zuerst introduction that part young Germans acquire to the paper today ist Günter Wallraff’s withering exposé, der Aufmacher (The Leader-writer), i beg your pardon continues kommen sie be taught bei a couple of secondary institutions four years after that publication. An 1977, Wallraff walk undercover bei order kommen sie try to expose bild as a gigantic fabrication mill. Instead he discovered an underworld von cynical publicists will on ending up being cheerleaders des the postwar German financial boom. Bei one scene, which defines a constant day punkt the bild office, one of the bild reporters listens to a distressed caller that has dubbed into a fake suicide-prevention hotline that bild has set up, und whispers to Wallraff: “He’s about kommen sie jump off die balcony any kind of minute, he’s almost there!”

I checked out Wallraff belastung year bei his light-filled studio bei the Ehrenfeld neighbourhood von Cologne. His office ist full of African art, and the books des his heroes, such as Upton Sinclair. “In ns 1970s und 80s, bild was bei total control von the media, und there was very little being done around it,” Wallraff told me, over a game des ping-pong in his workshop. “If freundin were their enemy, castle made you into a terrorist.”