A vivid example of how boldly our media are able to mess about with the public has been given by the “Tagesspiegel”. The Berlin daily newspaper is distorting a judicial defeat for homeschoolers at the EU-commission in Brussels in a way as to suggest that forced schooling had been given the OK from high up. deutsche Version
On July 11, 2012 the “Tagesspiegel” titled, “EU confirms: Compulsory schooling lawful in Germany”. The completely misleading headline implies that a judgement about the legality of German compulsory schooling had been made in Brussels. Adding to this manipulation the paper claims that the homeschoolers in question had been “trying to overturn German compulsory schooling” and had now been “finally defeated”. The newspaper completes its ‘success’ story of sorts by elaborating on this family’s futile attempts at achieving legal recognition of its homeschooling. Writing that the family were “symbols of the German homeschooling-movement”, leaves the reader with the impression that with this defeat you can forget about homeschooling altogether.
Controlled opinion making in the battle against educational freedom
In fact, the commission in Brussels only had to decide about whether the Federal Republic of Germany was breaking the EU-Treaty because there was compulsory schooling in Germany. All they’ve been talking about has been an interpretation of supra-national treaties. Brussels has answered the legal question concerning citizens of the Union with “No”, who felt restricted in their freedom of movement in the whole region of the EU by forced schooling.
Such legal argumentation may seem to confirm those who favour forced schooling. But publishing an article that actually claims a victory against homeschooling is poor journalistic standard. You need to keep in mind that the author, a free-lance journalist from Bremen, is allocated in a strictly leftist environment with ties to the teachers’ union and high-ranking observers of political correctness in German media.
This illustrates German reality as far as the chances for educational freedom are concerned. Large parts of the published opinion are miles away from an objective journalistic point of view in this matter. All it takes is to repeat an untruth often enough for everyone to believe it. But the winds of change are blowing softly, surely. A bit of whistling in the dark but also of the inimitable self-affirmation of the sinking GDR (East German dictatorship) is in the air whenever the media resort to this kind of means.