69% of Germans Support the Farmers’ Protest

Undeterred by the protesters’ popularity, the press continue their smear campaigns, while “Extremism researcher” Matthias Quent demands that the farmers paint rainbows on their placards to repel Nazis.

Almost 70% of Germans support the great farmers’ protest, and only 22% are opposed, according to a new INSA survey. The support is present across the political spectrum but strongest on the right, with 88% of AfD voters siding with the farmers. By comparison, Letzte Generation enjoys the support of only 11% of Germans.

You might think that this would encourage the press to moderate their ongoing smear campaign, but that would be wrong. Der Spiegel, a consistent pioneer in journalistic dishonesty, today has this dubious item drawing an ominous historical analogy with the Landvolkbewegung, or Rural People’s Movement, from the Weimar Republic:

Some of today’s farmers see themselves in the tradition of the Landvolkbewegung, which became radicalised during an agricultural crisis from 1928. When mass demonstrations and tax strikes did not work, some turned to terror. In the end, the Nazis profited.

The daily one-ply toilet paper mill known as the Süddeutsche Zeitung, for its part, has run a long intensely anecdotal article alleging that various right-wing extremists and others with “revolutionary fantasies” have seized control of the protests – a late contribution to a genre that is now quite bloated and tired. After reading dozens of these pieces, I’ve come to realise that their dishonesty functions at two levels. Most obvious is their disingenuous effort to recast the overwhelmingly centrist middle-class farmers in an extremist light. Somewhat more subtle is the obfuscation they bring to the meaning of the protests. It is not just farmers who are demonstrating, but a great many truck drivers, tradesmen and ordinary people. Rather than admit that the protests have become a more general statement of dissatisfaction with the direction of German politics and the lunatic traffic light coalition, our journalistic luminaries write instead that they have been hijacked and instrumentalised.

This tactic permits complementary attacks rooted in the premise that the farmers are simply spoiled children, who are ungratefully continuing their demonstrations despite the concessions they’ve already won from the Scholz government. Whereas the leftist press prefer the hijacked-by-extremists trope, the centre-right papers generally opt for this angle. Thus we have this piece in Welt on the “the myth of the poor farmer,” and a very similar (if low-effort) editorial in the Frankfurter Allgemeine about how “the farmers have already won” and should therefore go home. Those among the farmers who have taken pains to distance themselves from “the right” would do well to contemplate this coordinated messaging. The papers they might’ve expected to support them are at this very moment dismissing their narrow demands as illegitimate, while their enemies on the left eagerly denounce any broader complaints as evidence of extreme right-wing elements.

Then there are the interviews. For some reason – and I can’t imagine what it might be – journalists aren’t interested in talking with the actual people at the actual protests. When they interview “farmers” at all, they turn out to be carefully selected personalities. Thus we have Der Spiegel interviewing some 22-year-old woman named Inka Baumgart. It is not clear whether Baumgart is a farmer at all, but she belongs to the youth division of some agricultural association and she uploaded an amateurish video to Instagram condemning protesters who say that “the traffic light must go,” so that’s good enough to platform this silly woman, who is representative of approximately nobody at the demonstrations right now.

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