The German mega-publisher Axel Springer SE said that in purchasing Politico and Politico Europe last year and Business Insider (now Insider) in 2015, its end goal was to become the leading digital publisher of the “democratic world.” There is only one major problem with that goal. Axel Springer is a media cipher for right-wing politics, not only in Germany, but in other nations where its media tentacles extend.
In acquiring Politico, Springer, which is privately-held and is 40 percent owned by KKR & Co. Inc. of New York, did not have to alter the website’s political slant all that much. Ever since Politico’s start-up in 2007 with seed capital from Republican banker and communications media mogul Robert Allbritton, the so-called Washington “insider” outlet has taken a decidedly pro-Republican slant. In 2013, Albritton sold its Washington broadcast holdings — ABC affiliate WJLA Channel 7 and NewsChannel 8 — to the far-right wing Sinclair Broadcasting Corporation.
Springer, which owns the German tabloid Bild and the broadsheet Die Welt, is fiercely pro-Israel and tacitly supported Donald Trump’s two presidential campaigns. Springer’s CEO Mathias Döpfner has stated that any of its staff members who do not vigorously support Israel, NATO, the European Union, or an unfettered free-market system “should not work for Axel Springer.” Employees of Bild are required to sign a pledge to support Israel and NATO. The Springer media outlets have strongly opposed public health efforts to limit the spread of Covid-19 in Germany and elsewhere. Döpfner has ridiculously referred to the German government, which has supported public health restrictions, as the “new GDR authoritarian state,” a reference to the former Communist East Germany, also known as the German Democratic Republic.
There are reports that Springer has also been angling to buy another Washington-based political media site, Axios. Such a move would create a strongly pro-Israel, anti-public health regulation, and pro-NATO media empire reporting from the nation’s capital.
With the right-wing buying up major portions of the digital and what remains of the print media, there has been additional discomforting news out of Europe. The Euronews media network, billed as “Europe’s CNN,” is being acquired by the Portuguese investment firm Alpac Capital, whose CEO is Pedro Vargas David. David is the son of Mario David, an ex-member of the European Parliament and an adviser to fascist Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Orban has extended a welcome mat to the embryonic Fascist International forces of Steve Bannon and other pro-Trump individuals and political entities, including the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC), which is scheduled to hold its CPAC 2022 conference in Hungary..
Global fascists are on the move in acquiring as many broadcast, print, and digital media outlets as possible. The debilitating effects on unfettered journalism are being felt in the United States and around the world as more and more media is swallowed up by the far-right.
Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.
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Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist, author and nationally-distributed columnist. A member of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and the National Press Club. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).