“B(u)ild your Opinion” on Greece and “the Greeks”. The Coverage of the Greek Debt Crisis in the German Tabloid Bild

“B(u)ild your Opinion”1 on Greece and “the Greeks”.

The Coverage of the Greek Debt Crisis in the German Tabloid Bild

by Stephanie Klier


Greece in the German popular press

“Pilloried naked as a defaulter, a country to whom you used to owe thanks is suffering.”2

With these words, from the poem “Europe’s shame”, the German writer Günter Grass expressed his disapproval of Europe and its handling of Greece during the financial crisis. This included what he saw as the abasement of the county that is still today often referred to as the “cradle of European culture”. Even after Grass had been criticized following his controversial poem on Israel, these lines continue to apply to parts of the German press. Beginning in 2010, the German press’s coverage of the event was of such unfamiliar fierceness and aggressiveness that the neologism “Greece-bashing” emerged to describe it.3 An example of this phenomenon is the article published in FOCUS titled “2000 Years of Decline”. In it, the author first identified the contrast between glorious ancient Greece and its deficient modern successor state. Secondly, the article pushed Greece into an inglorious special position among the European nations: Weiterlesen

  1.  Allusion to BILD’s German slogan: “Bild dir deine Meinung” (Engl.: Build/Form your opinion).
  2.  Günter Grass, Europas Schande, Website of the Süddeutsche Zeitung, 27 May 2012, http://www.sueddeutsche.de/kultur/gedicht-von-guenter-grass-zur-griechenland-krise-europas-schande-1.1366941.” Translations from German by the author.
  3.  Hans Bickes/ Tina Otten/ Laura Chelsea Weymann, Die Rolle der Medien, in: Ulf-Dieter Klemm/ Wolfgang Schultheiß, eds, Die Krise in Griechenland. Ursprünge, Verlauf, Folgen, Frankfurt am Main 2015, 326-351, 326.