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November 07, 2008



It's quite harsh but "Die Gedanken sind frei"!


No one is talking of the Austrian government arresting Emmerich and sending him off to a concentration camp; the right to say what one pleases is not the same as the right to say anything without suffering consequences from any agent other than the government: Emmerich would still be as free to think whatever he chose if he were fired. ORF has a right to select whom it chooses to keep on its payrolls, and the fact that it sees nothing wrong with keeping someone like this as an employee speaks volumes, both about the management of that organization and the society which tolerates such management, namely that Austria is unusually rife with racism even by European standards - but then again, with the popularity of Joerg Haider and Heinz-Christian Strache, that much was already apparent.

Gedanken sind frei, aber das ist die Wahrheit nicht nur für Österreichische rassisten, sondern auch für die ganze Welt außerhalb Österreichs.


This is why I hate blogs. You got it wrong from start to finish. Here are the facts:

1. Klaus Emmerich is NOT an employee of Austrian Television. The man is 80 years old and has been retired from ORF for over a decade. He is not on any payroll of ORF.

2. He is NOT the station's "top political commentator for US-affairs". With all due respect - by 2008, that torch has passed. Even if "Der Spiegel" may say so - it is plain wrong. The man has not been on the air for years. There are new kids on the block - I am one of them.

3. How do you fire a man that has been in retirement for more than a decade, you smart guys?

4. He is a retiree - and we are civilized enough to NOT revoke his pension just because he has - undoubtetly - turned senile. Turning senile does not yet constitute a reason to cut off your pension payments in Austria. And I hope it stays that way.

And - here is one for you:

5. Klaus Emmerich quite obviously is a racist, as he himself has admitted live on air. A racist, 80 year old man - but NOT an employee of ORF, and more importantly: No, the senile old man is NOT Austria's Wolf Blitzer. That would be - no pun intended - Mr Armin Wolf.

Get the facts - then blog.

All the best,

Hanno Settele, Austrian Television ORF, Washington DC.


If you're going to criticize "blogs" for "getting it all wrong", you should note a few things:

1. Most of the points you dispute were actually raised in a *newspaper article* - the one by the Daily Mail which I actually provided a link to - and not by any blog.

2. YOU may say that "He is NOT the station's "top political commentator for US-affairs"", but the fact is that Emmerich was still widely regarded as such until his statements on Obama: that is *precisely* why his opinion was sought out to begin with. Indeed, many in the German media seem to think of Emmerich as the top commentator you claim he isn't:,1518,588882,00.html

["Bis vor kurzem galt der österreichische Fernsehjournalist Klaus Emmerich als ausgewiesener US-Experte. Doch mit fragwürdigen Kommentaren zur Wahl Barack Obamas schockierte er jetzt das TV-Publikum. "]

3. That Emmerich has been retired for years hasn't stopped ORF from bringing him on-board on multiple occasions since, and I presume he hasn't been appearing for free, has he? As of the time the Spiegel article was written, the following was the state of affairs:

["Ob Emmerich allerdings ein Auftrittsverbot im ORF bekommen würde, müssten die jeweiligen Redaktionen entscheiden"].

Are you telling me that Der Spiegel had the facts wrong (and if so, is Der Spiegel therefore a hate-worthy blog in your eyes)?

4. Your bringing up his pension is a complete red herring, as no one has suggested touching it. Knocking down straw men may make you feel better, but it does nothing to make me take what you have to say seriously.

5. All you raise here are quibbles which are of no real interest; of course he isn't Austria's "Wolf Blitzer" - there is only one Wolf Blitzer anywhere, as there is only one instance of anybody - but this hairsplitting is of no relevance to the main issue here, which is that ORF is actually *hesitating* in deciding whether or not it will ever again request the services of a self-declared racist! In any case, if you don't like the "Wolf Blitzer" phrase, take it up with the Daily Mail's writer, not me.

In short, not only have I gotten very little wrong, but the same is true of the newspaper article which I chose as a source - a decision I made because I didn't want to be bothered translating, and *not* because I can't understand the German press. Please take your own advice in future: first get your facts right, and only THEN criticize what you read on a blog, instead of writing based on nothing more than a generalized dislike of blogging.

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