As a part of our seminar Inside the News Media we recently dealt with new forms of media criticism. An article which was published on 14th of May 2015 in the German daily newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung discusses the recent development very well.
The article by Stefan Niggemeier focuses on the heavy criticism that some news channels and newspapers received in consequence to their reporting on the crash of the German Wings machine in March 2015. Especially in social networks, the journalists were attacked massively. Previously, images of the “suicide pilot” Andreas Lubitz and of the grieving and desperate relatives had been published in various News medias. Many critics judged that this crossed the boundaries of good and the newspapers and TV channels suffered under heavy Shitstorms. The critique went so far that the chief editors of daily newspaper BILD Zeitung felt compelled to defend their actions in a Facebook post. The BILD Zeitung is otherwise not known for a very gentle sound in their reporting. The fact that the chief editors of that this newspaper responded directly to criticism shows how much influence the readers can have in the age of Facebook and Twitter. Journalists have to defend their articles against a huge community of media critics and “wannabe investigative journalists”.
This may have some advantages, however, it has become much easier to spread dubious conspiracy and defamation. These days, nearly every news article which is published on social media platforms is followed by accusations against the “Lying Press”. This is a completely new type of media criticism, with which the major news channels and newspapers have to deal.