The WDR Broadcasting Council meets on Tuesday for a meeting. The topic: The relationship between “Hard but fair” moderator Louis Klamroth and climate activist Luisa Neubauer. In an interview with FOCUS online, CDU politician and WDR broadcaster Gregor Golland is critical.

FOCUS online: Mr. Golland, WDR has now admitted that before the contract was signed, the new tough-but-fair presenter Louis Klamroth informed you about your relationship with climate activist Luise Neubauer. Isn’t the station violating its own compliance rules?

Golland: Lawyers, who should take a look at the internal compliance rules again, have to judge that. What is not good, however, is the fact that the broadcaster’s communication was not very transparent in this case. At first one had to assume that Mr. Klamroth only informed those responsible about his partner when they could no longer go back. This should have been straightened out much sooner.

Where exactly do you see the conflict of interest?

Golland: That’s obvious. Do you really think that a man who is in a relationship with a prominent climate activist can moderate neutrally on questions of environmental protection or a number of other pressing political issues? Especially since Ms. Neubauer has not yet clearly distanced herself from extremists and violent criminals during the protests at the brown coal mine in Lützerath. You can also see how embarrassing this discussion is for WDR and how thin the comments from the broadcasting company are.

What is your request?

Golland: From my point of view, WDR should question the contract with Mr. Klamroth if you stick to your own compliance rules. But that’s just one case: there are so many little things that made the camel’s back spill. That’s why the CDU broadcasting councils – with the full backing of the entire NRW state parliamentary group – wrote a fire letter to the WDR director Tom Buhrow.

Was there a specific reason?

Golland: The trigger was the inhuman agitation by WDR moderator Jean-Philipp Kindler against the Christian Democratic Party, which he had spread via his Instagram channel. A freelancer from the largest public broadcaster, ARD, goes there and propagates pure hatred of a democratic party. He openly calls for a radical fight against the CDU. Tenor: You have to fight this shitty party wherever you can. That is not how it works.

But the man is considered a satirist.

Golland: Kindler made it clear in his video that this is not satire. That’s one of those reflexes you like to choose. Whenever things get tight on the left, it is said that it is satire and that such comments are part of artistic freedom. Because satire allows everything.

But Kindler ruled that out himself. This WDR employee is bitterly serious. Just imagine if a conservative artist would incite such agitation against the Greens or the SPD. We would probably have been with the prosecutor by then.

Now the WDR has withdrawn to the fact that it is a matter of a private statement by Kindler; You have nothing to do with that. Is the broadcaster right?

Golland: That’s often said when employees of public service broadcasters make such verbal gaffes. We’ve seen that before. Mr. Kindler would certainly not have the media reach if he had not become so well-known through the WDR.

Therefore his employer cannot simply argue that he had nothing to do with these defamations. After all, the man works for the station on radio and television. At least it would be necessary for the WDR to formally distance itself from this baiting.

Do you have the impression that West German Broadcasting reports one-sided politically?

Golland: A survey of trainees in the editorial offices of public service broadcasters reveals a strong preference for red-red-green. According to this, a good 90 percent of public service media professionals tend to be left of center.

This is clearly reflected in the reporting. The contributions are all too often very one-sided. Facts are sometimes left out if they don’t fit into the political portfolio.

I’m thinking of the first NDR reports about the train gunman in Schleswig-Holstein. It was initially not reported that he was a Palestinian refugee. And with the hint that this serves to preserve democracy.

What nonsense. But exactly such things lead to the current acceptance crisis of the ÖRR among the people. The majority of people don’t want gender, they don’t want to be re-educated and they don’t want so-called attitude journalism, but rather objective information. More neutral reporting would be needed than dumb folk pedagogy. Citizens can think and judge for themselves.

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Against this background, are GEZ fees still up to date?

Golland: Citizens have to pay GEZ fees. It doesn’t matter whether they agree with the program or not. The acceptance for it dwindles more and more with increasing contributions. But people want and expect the opposite. Instead of fee increases, structural reforms, as brought up for discussion by WDR director Tom Buhrow, are appropriate and unavoidable. Also with regard to fairness towards private media producers who have to earn their money on the market.

Rarely in the past has the NRW-CDU tackled the WDR as vigorously as it does today. Are you concerned that your party could suffer disadvantages as a result?

Golland: Unfortunately, you have to reckon with that, but it would speak for a false error culture and would strengthen and justify the criticism of the CDU all the more.

How was the WDR’s Lützerath reporting received in the parliamentary group?

Golland: That was unspeakable. For almost an hour, sometimes violent climate chaos were allowed to agitate in front of the camera, among other things against the free democratic basic order. The largest radio station in the republic offered them a public stage – without serious questioning, commenting or classification.

Just imagine if they were lateral thinkers, citizens of the Reich or right-wing extremists, then the media outcry would be enormous. And rightly so. Conclusion: Neither right-wing nor left-wing extremists should be offered an unfiltered forum by reputable media – especially not by public broadcasters.

On January 31st, Director General Buhrow is to provide answers at the Broadcasting Council meeting. What has to change at WDR?

Golland: Firstly, in the interests of the many thousands of decent and hard-working employees, it is necessary to strictly implement our own compliance rules. And secondly, sustainable structural reforms are needed to secure financing. Thirdly, balanced reporting to maintain the loyalty and acceptance of readers, viewers and listeners.

Editor’s note: In an earlier version, it was stated in the first question and the first answer as a fact that moderator Louis Klamroth had concealed his relationship with climate activist Luisa Neubauer before signing the contract with WDR. According to the WDR, this is not correct and has therefore been adjusted.