German Joys Gets Results Again

OK, the headline may be a bit self-aggrandizing. But here are the facts: In the early afternoon, I read an interview with Thomas Wüppesahl, a German activist, about the police tactics used during the "Welcome to Hell" demonstration.

Wüppesahl was harshly critical of the German police, claiming they provoked the demonstrators unnecessarily and used excessive force. The title of the article is "That is just like Turkey!". In the sub-heading of the article, Wüppesahl is described as a "police expert".

Here is a snapshot of the original description of Wüppesahl's qualifications as of 12:30 PM today courtesy of the Wayback Machine:

Wuepopesahl 1


"Thomas Wüppesahl is a former policeman and and was a Green Party Bundestag delegate from 1987 to 1990. He founded the Working Group of Critical Policewomen and Policemen, which advocates for civil rights."

I found this description to be another example of the overuse of the word "expert" by German journalists. German journalists routinely refer to activists as "experts". This is two journalistic sins at once. First, it gives the activist an undeserved veneer of objectivity. Second, it preempts the reader's judgment.

So I tweeted this:



Including a link to the former version of the piece, I tweeted "Sigh. No, he's not an expert, he's an activist."

Later, a Facebook friend asked me why I had been so critical of Die Zeit. After all, they had warned readers that Wüppesahl's views were "extremely controversial."

Wait, what? No they didn't! I called up the page again, and sure enough, everything had been changed. The introduction to the piece now identified Wüppesahle not as a police expert, but as a police critic. The graf about his background now (as of 8 pm) reads as follows:


The added sentence, highlighted, reads: "Wüppesahl is highly controversial as a police expert."

I don't know whether my tweet prompted this change, but it's for the better. It might be a good idea for Die Zeit to let its readers know about the change, no?


6 thoughts on “German Joys Gets Results Again

  1. I do think that Mr Wüppesahl is a a-hole of magnitude, but that conviction seems pretty fishy even to me:

    a) He was 59 at the time and had a career (the TS writes he was 52(?!)). Old farts tend not to rob and kill.
    b) The security guard’s hand was chained to a money-suitcase. Supposedly, he wanted to chop it off with a hatchet–a bolt cutter would do the trick without gore and splatter. Else, cordless angle-grinders were available in 2004 already.


  2. Know that we are all beyond this and know what an absolute bootlicking bunch the Deutsche Welle is, but…look at this hatchet job on the AfD done today. Unbelievable that they can even dare to call themselves either journalists OR impartial. Pathetic.

    And notice that it always has to be the “right-wing” Afd–NOT just the AfD. Just to constantly remind you. Utter horseshit.


  3. And what exactly is wrong with the facts stated in that article? Give me some counter-arguments, otherwise you appear like one of those whiney “The media are all evil” cry-babies that most AfD supporters tend to be.

    Also, what’s not correct with the expression “right-wing AfD”? Liberal, centrist or left-wing they certainly ain’t.


  4. What you mean is that ‘right-wing’ has become another word for normal and mainstream. Propagandists might like to take more care of other useful words before changing their meaning while they feign shock at the pedestrian views of workers and mums and dads.


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