Facing the Music

von Maximilian Steinbeis

Something is going seriously wrong with the media. Fake are the news and alternative the facts, as everyone seems to agree from left to right, one side accusing the other and vice-versa; hate is the speech and political the correctness, and who refers to one is blind to the other, trapped as we all are in our filter bubbles and echo chambers. This all has to do with the Internet, with the rise of what people over 50 refer to as the “new media”, and because this is what some still tend to consider a clunky old blog like this to be, I was invited this week by the Karlsruhe Forum for Culture, Law and Technology to reflect on Verfassungsblog’s role at a conference unter the freshly outdated title “Making a State in 140 Characters. New Forms of Communication Change Politics and Culture”.

In fact, it’s true that the way the media have changed over the years reflects a great deal of my professional biography. I entered my journalistic profession shortly before the turn of the millennium, in the glorious, sunset-adorned fin de sciècle of print capitalism. In 1999, I joined the staff of a major national daily newspaper which was printed overnight in hundreds of thousands of copies and delivered to what we liked to call the “decision-makers”, the powerful elite of German business and politics, to provide them with a solid information basis to make their decisions on. This editorial staff was populated predominantly by males with oversized egos who were constantly fighting with one another, the whole business was wildly competitive, everyone jealously watching over who could talk to whom and who could cultivate which accesses to those powerful decision-makers (also, as goes without saying, mostly big-ego males) informing and informed by us ...

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