Less science at WELT: 3 employees quit from the knowledge department


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Less science: WELT flees from science journalists

Three people have resigned from the knowledge department of WELT. Is this a sign of the growing distance between Axel Springer’s centrist agenda and the flag? what happened?

Trench warfare and hunting on the skewed anti-science edge

The three journalists are Department Chair Wes Pia Heinemann, Medical Editor Michael Brendler and Knowledge Editor Birgit Heerden. There is no statement regarding the terminations, neither from the journalists nor from WELT. However, it is very likely that the change in the subject and type of reporting and associated internal trench warfare was the driver behind this. Lately, WELT has been gurgling in several places, particularly regarding the Corona reports. For example, WELT offered a platform for false news about hospital bed occupancy (more on this) and misinformation about PCR tests (more on this).

‘Misleading Claims’: ‘WELT’ Spreads False About DIVI Use – Intensive Care Doctors Dismayed

WELT cheats about facts about PCR testing – gets applause from right-wing extremists and side-thinkers

Similar reports can be found ignoring scientific findings in WELT, particularly regarding the climate crisis, which in some cases negates the consensus on man-made climate change (more on this).

WELT wants to downplay the importance of climate change and use studies that prove otherwise

The final cause of internal dissatisfaction was apparently the anti-trans and gay article published on June 1, at the start of Pride Month.

The hostile contribution of homosexuals to WELT causes justified excitement

In the guest article, five authors claim that contributions made to ARD and ZDF children are “indoctrinally indoctrinated and […] sexually intrusive.” In particular, they blame the “alleged misrepresentation of polygamy” and “transgender ideology.” It was “a few activists” who “undermined the stabilization movement in Europe with their trans” awakened ideology.” In this setting, where a small circle of an often discriminated group has allegedly infiltrated and is now controlling to the detriment of everyone, especially children, alarm bells must sound for practicing readers of the popular whistleblower: that is exactly how hostile – it has been fueled Anti-Semitism for hundreds of years. Annika Bruckschmidt showed us how far-right narratives are approached in the article. There was also much applause from right-wing extremists.

WELT enables far-right narratives to be popularized with transphobia

Smooth transitions to the far right edge

In the USA, where these narratives are particularly strong, there are already changes in some countries that endanger the lives of transgender people and significantly limit their right to self-determination. Guest article authors classify themselves as scientific experts, but they often have little or no scientific experience in research in the area of ​​gender or child and adolescent psychology.

A look at co-author Rieke Hümpel’s Twitter channel indicates the extent to which some of them seem to have already drifted. There she retweeted, among other things, a video of radical ex-BILD chief Julian Reichelt. Reichelt, who has now become one of the most popular voices of lateral thinking and right-wing extremists, says in the video that Sven Lehmann (Federal Commissioner for Gender and Sexual Diversity) wants to “throw parents on his ideological garbage heap”. Reichelt also claims (without arguments or even evidence of course) that the Ministry of Family Affairs “has no less objective than the abolition of the family.” Uh huh???

Accordingly, many people found this guest article not very funny, including several employees of the Axel Springer Group. For example, the Springer LGBTQ+ employee network posted an Instagram post that stated: “The guest comment shows us from an uninformed global perspective, and does not take into account what children, teens, and young adults are actually fighting over identity issues. Worse, guest posts like This shames them.” (source)

Constant and severe criticism of WELT causes unrest

Thanks to the constant criticism, Springer Group President Matthias Dubfner, and Editor-in-Chief, Ulf Poschardt, finally commented on the guest post. Döpfner finds clear words in his letter to staff and describes the guest’s contribution as “secret on the matter”, “blatantly scientifically one-sided” and “superficial, condescending and resentful” (source). However, after reading both statements, the impression remains that the real culprits in the chaos are those who criticize the guest post, not those who promote attitudes that further stigmatize and potentially endanger the gay community.

The WELT logic behind articles like this is clear: Increase subscription numbers. The mentioned article was also behind the paywall ban. Subscriptions increased significantly in the days following publication (source). WELT’s new (and successful) strategy appears to be serving the far-right and ideological conspiracy parties by spreading disinformation and counter-narratives in order to gain clicks and subscriptions. A strategy we already saw with WELT’s famous DIVI fake last year (more on that).

For serious media #DIVIGate would be a disaster, for WELT it was a complete success

The departure of the three journalists from the knowledge resort suggests that the “undercover” press strategy (to use Döpfner’s words) to increase subscription numbers could continue to shift into a system. It’s a good thing that not all journalists play along – it’s a shame that many do.

about this subject

Abolition of culture: WELT warns journalists not to cite people’s rumors – but not us

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