‘Russia has invaded Estonia, NATO is on the way’: German TV fake war broadcast

A revered German analytical TV program opened its newest version by informing viewers that Russian forces intruded into the Baltics. Was this “fantasy” simply juvenile attention-seeking, or crude pro-NATO propaganda?

“Together with European and German allies, the US military is at the moment shifting via land, air and sea to Estonia to expel Russian forces, which have as soon as once more invaded, as in Crimea earlier than,” introduced a fearful Claus Kleber, host of heute journal, on the nationwide public broadcaster ZDF Thursday night time.

As tens of millions of viewers tensed up, the veteran host introduced that it was a “gotcha!”

“Do not worry. It is not true. This is just a fantasy scenario – but a realistic one,” stated Kleber.

One of the largest names in German journalism, Kleber defined that the fake-out was designed to make it clear {that a} war could also be imminent, that it is more likely to be a shock, and that Germany must defend even its smallest allies, together with Estonia.

“The drawback at this time is that NATO appears extra fragile at this time on its 70th birthday than throughout any time in its historical past. During which it has been an unprecedented success story,” stated the host, earlier than introducing a piece that gave a potted historical past of the alliance, from its post-WWII founding, to supposed revanchism from Russia, to its present bête noire Donald Trump.

Unless one believes there is really some legitimate perception that is achieved by the total episode, there are two methods of these sub-Orson Welles shenanigans.

The first is to regard the trendy information media as entertainers, who’re to not be taken at face worth. For all his PhD {qualifications} and lengthy historical past as a prime overseas correspondent, Kleber leads a moribund broadcast format – a scheduled information journal present on terrestrial TV – and is attempting to remain related by turning ever-more shrill. In the bland world of Germany’s information media, the extra provocative strategy has led to greater rankings for the esteemed heute-journal.

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