A couple of weeks ago I was in a news kiosk in Franfurt and spotted an unfamiliar magazine - Zuerst! - which calls itself a "Deutsches Nachrichten Magazin" a German News Magazine. I wasn't about to shell out 6.50 euros for a magazine I knew nothing about. Checking out the Web site I learned that Zuerst! is a right-wing extremist publication, more of a monthly companion to the neo-fascist weekly Junge Freiheit. What do the publishers of Zuerst! hope to accomplish? They outline the broad scope of their program in this press release:
Braucht Deutschland ein neues Nachrichtenmagazin? Unbedingt – finden Verlag und Redaktion! Linke und wirtschaftsliberale Publikationen erscheinen allerdings mehr als genug. Doch nachdem es Focus in siebzehn langen Jahren nicht gelungen ist, sich als überzeugender Gegenentwurf zum Spiegel zu profilie-ren, braucht das Land endlich ein Nachrichtenmagazin mit klarer politischer Positionierung. Ein Magazin, das genau jene Politikfelder ausleuchtet, die in der vorhandenen Publizistik unterschlagen oder im Sinne der Political correctness abgehandelt werden. Das Deutsche Nachrichtenmagazin ZUERST! dient deutschen – und keinen fremden – Interessen.
(Does Germany need a new news magazine? Absolutely - say the publisher and the editors! There are already more than enough left-wing and economically liberal publications. But since Focus has not been able to make any significant inroads against Der Spiegel in 17 years the nation needs a news magazine with a clear political message. A magazine that covers political ground that the established media ignores through its political correctness. The German news magazine ZUERST! will serve German - not foreign - interests.)
The magazine has caught the attention of the Landesamts für Verfassungsschutz Baden-Württemberg (The State Office for the Protection of the Constitution):
Darüber hinaus agitiert die Schrift gegen die „endlosen Entnazifizierungsbemühungen", verbreitet gebietsrevisionistische Auffassungen und bewertet die Sprengstoffanschläge der „Südtiroler Freiheitskämpfer" in den 1960er Jahren als positiv. (The publication rails against the "unending de-nazification efforts", spreads revisionist theories on national boundaries, and writes approvingly of the terrorist activities of the "South Tirolean Freedom Fighters" in the 1960s.)
But after perusing the content on the magazines Web site, I don't think the authorities need to be concerned. I'd be surprised if Zuerst! lasts more than just a few issues. The articles are a noxious mixture of Islamophobia, völkisch ideology, and anti-American populism which anyone can get for free at Politically Incorrect or the Web site of the Kopp Verlag. Why would anyone pay 6.60 Euros for such drivel? Also, the "news" presented here is hardly current. What is the news value of an article about the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff, which happened 65 years ago? When the editors of Zuerst! do venture into current politics they badly shoot themselves in the foot, such as the weird attack on Germany's new family minister, Kristina Köhler - the darling of the Neue Rechte (the New Right) - , because of her tolerance for gays and lesbians. I'm sure there are still some homophobic folks among the fundamentalist Christian groups, but even the American "Tea-Bag" conservatives have realized that fomenting hate against gays is a losing proposition nowadays and does not help their right-wing extremist cause.
So I'll be watching this latest effort spearhead a "movement" with an outdated and dying medium with a great deal of amusement. How much money are the backers of this venture willing to lose before they shut it down?