EUROPE – Two top European newspapers have released apologies to their readers for consistently delivering sensationalized, over-the-top, “fear-driven” coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic without remaining grounded on scientific facts.
Writer Brian Weichardt of the Denmark tabloid Ekstra Bladet penned a January 7 op-ed entitled “We Failed,” where he stated that his newspaper had not lived up to its journalistic responsibilities due to never questioning official government messages regarding the pandemic that they regularly published.
“For ALMOST two years, we – the press and the population – have been almost hypnotically preoccupied with the authorities’ daily coronavirus figures,” he said, translated from Danish. “The constant mental alertness has worn out tremendously on all of us. That is why we – the press – must also take stock of our own efforts. And we have failed.”
“Of course it is first and foremost the authorities who are responsible for informing the population correctly, accurately and honestly. The figures for how many are sick and died of corona should, for obvious reasons, have been published long ago,” Weichardt continued. “In all, the messages of the authorities and politicians to the people in this historic crisis leave much to be desired. And therefore they lie as they have ridden when parts of the population lose confidence in them.”
Germany has implemented some of the strictest lockdown measures against the pandemic in all of Europe, locking down unvaccinated people as its government weighs the possibility of making vaccination shots compulsory.
In August, Julian Reichelt – editor-in-chief of the German newspaper Bild, which has a daily circulation of 1.24 million copies – delivered a televised speech where he apologized for his staff penning articles that made children feel as if they would essentially “murder their grandmas” if they did not adhere to strict quarantine measures in order to curb the spread of COVID-19.
“Forgive us for this policy which, for a year and a half, has made you victims of violence, neglect, isolation and loneliness. Sorry for this policy and media coverage which, like poison, made you feel like you were a mortal danger to society. You are not a danger to society, don’t believe this lie,” Reichelt said. “What happened to our children, many people and Bild, denounced it. Nothing happened. [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel organized a summit for children? No! Instead, we persuaded our children that they were going to murder their grandma if they dared to be what they are – children – or if they met their friends. None of this has been scientifically proven.”
Reichelt called upon the German government to end the country’s lockdown measures, claiming that they are doing more harm than good.
“When a state steals the rights of a child, they must prove that by doing so it protects him against concrete and imminent danger. This proof has never been provided. It has been replaced by propaganda,” he said. “Our policies would do better to open schools and sports halls rather than polling stations! Otherwise they will have on their conscience, and will leave in the history books, a multitude of innocent souls.”