If you think the BBC’s journalists are opinionated and anti-Brexit, try this from Germany.

Graham Charles Lear
5 min readDec 23, 2019
Barbara Wesel is DW’s senior correspondent in Brussels

You have heard about the Ghost of Marley from Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol. Well meet the Ghost of Goebbels from the Third Reich

‘Brexiteers lied all the time, Boris is brainwashing the people, the UK is now the enemy’

On Friday, Germany’s state-funded broadcaster (DW) published an extraordinary article written by its senior Brussels correspondent.

This article constitutes an epic rant against Brexiteers, Brexit, and the British Government.

Key points in an article from German state broadcaster’s senior Brussels correspondent

Almost all of what Brexiteers said were lies

Boris Johnson “is trying to effectively brainwash the people”

The PM “is inspired by the right-wing populist playbook”

Boris “has peddled countless lies, deliberately misrepresented reality, persistently employed hyperbole and clouded peoples’ minds through propaganda”

He “cannot be trusted, and neither can his Brexit negotiator, Michael Gove”

“The [EU27] bloc will have to treat Britain like an adversary”

From the outset, it must made clear that this appeared in the opinion section. Nevertheless, it is written (in English) by the senior Brussels

correspondent of this international media organisation, which is funded by the German federal government.

As such it gives a rare insight into some of the thinking of the continental media regarding Brexit, and about the UK’s new Government.

Key excerpts from the article by
German state international broadcaster’s senior Brussels correspondent

The full article is available in English here

“It was almost shocking to see how little impact arguments against Brexit, and for a close relationship with the EU, have had.”

“Johnson’s talk of “Canada-plus” and striking a great deal with the EU is just empty rhetoric. In reality, this is simply the manifestation of the well-known right-wing Conservative project to further deregulate the UK and transform it into some kind of international buccaneer.”

“Parliament no longer has a say… An ironic turn of events, given that Brexiteers had always argued leaving the EU was about returning power to their very own ‘mother of all parliaments.’ This was, simply put, a lie — just like almost all other arguments put forward for Brexit.”

“Likewise, the bill no longer pledges to align British workers’ rights along with EU standards, and has watered down the rights of refugee children to be reunited with their families.”

“This marks a victory for those who want a hard Brexit, who want to sever all ties with the EU. They are ecstatic. And Johnson, it is now clear for all to see, is not the moderate Tory he masqueraded as during the election campaign.

“Now that the path to a hard Brexit has been paved, Johnson is trying to effectively brainwash the people… Johnson wants to bring [the country] together again — by telling Brits to stop discussing the matter.”

“Typical populist behaviour”

“Johnson’s behaviour so far is inspired by the right-wing populist playbook: He has peddled countless lies, deliberately misrepresented reality, persistently employed hyperbole and clouded peoples’ minds through propaganda. This is the behavior we have seen by many other populist regimes across the world. And, in this populist vein, Johnson now wants to axe the funding for public broadcaster BBC. Its journalists, who could have done more to scrutinize and question Brexit, are in Johnson’s view too independent and lack loyalty towards the government.”

“Nobody, in short, should be lulled into thinking they can trust Johnson when he talks about “neighbours and friends” on the continent. This is merely part of his carefully cultivated facade, just like his unruly haircut.”

“It is a painful but simple fact that from now, one will have to be extremely careful in dealing with the British government and prepare for all kinds of trickery. Johnson cannot be trusted, and neither can his Brexit negotiator, Michael Gove. Both will do whatever they can to take advantage of the EU. The bloc will have to treat Britain like an adversary when it negotiates its future relationship with the country, a trade deal and other things — a tragic nadir after decades of good neighbourly relations.”

About Deutsche Welle

“Deutsche Welle is Germany’s international broadcaster. We convey a comprehensive image of Germany, report events and developments, incorporate German and other perspectives in a journalistically independent manner. By doing so we promote understanding between cultures and peoples.”

- DW website

DW has “a legal mandate through television, radio and internet” and says it reaches 197 million people each week in 30 languages. DW is financed by German federal taxes.

Opinion’ pieces should be reserved for outside commentators, politicians, and experts in their field. When an opinion piece is written by a staffer of a media organisation — and published by that same organisation — then it inherits the authenticity and reputation of its publisher, whether intentionally or not. And when the funder of the publisher is the German state, this is not a good look.

Call me old-fashioned but I believe that state-funded reporters should report. Their personal views should be just that, and these should not interfere in the reporting of facts.

Deutsche Welle does in fact produce good journalism. It does a good job of reporting on a wide range of stories from Germany and around the world.

That said, DW’s motto is “Made for minds.” My Christmas message to DW and its reporters — just as it is to the BBC and its reporters — is not to come across as “Our minds are made up.”

Please just report facts and let your readers’ and viewers’ minds do the rest.

Finally, I suggest that DW journalists stop reading the Financial Times, the Guardian, and The Economist, (and stop watching the BBC), if they want to understand Brexit the and British people. I know that these are the primary sources for information amongst Brussels correspondents from EU27 countries. Instead, perhaps they might wish to review the results of the general election to get a better idea of what is really going on in the United Kingdom.

[ Sources: Deutsche Welle ]



Graham Charles Lear

What is life without a little controversy in it? Quite boring and sterile would be my answer.