On 29 October, the German tabloid paper Bild ran with the front page headline ‘Deutschland, wir haben ein problem!’, meaning ‘Germany, We Have a Problem!’. Still on their front page, the paper goes on to elaborate that since the recent series of attacks by the Palestinian terror group Hamas against Israel, Germany ‘has been experiencing a new dimension of hate,’ putting the blame on people who want to murder innocent civilians and who ‘take advantage of tolerance because they want a different society’.
The manifesto in the editorial is a lot more specific, and it has also been translated to English by the staff. It starts off by saying ‘our world is in chaos’, followed by the Bild editorial staff pointing out that since 2015 alone, Germany has taken in over 3 million refugees. At the encouragement of Former Chancellor Angela Merkel, Germans held up ‘welcome signs’ for them. However, based on the current state of affairs, the Bild editorial staff opines this was a mistake.
‘We do not want to change our way of life just because we have guests,’
The piece then goes on to outline the 50-point manifesto, which includes declarations such as Point #3: ‘Anyone who considers our constitution and our legal system as a collection of non-binding recommendations should leave Germany as soon as possible,’ Point #4: ‘Anyone who wants to live here permanently must learn German,’ Point #8: ‘Against the backdrop of the darkest chapter in our history, Israel’s security is a matter of German national interest,’ Point #11: ‘ We see the police as “friend and helper,” not as a repressive force or an enemy,’ and Point #37: ‘We expect everyone who can and is allowed to, to seek employment and provide for themselves—even if social assistance or citizen’s income might initially be higher than the salary’.
Multiple points out of the 50 are dedicated to the equal treatment of women, with the implication that the recently arrived migrants tend to come from cultures where women are treated as second-class citizens.
Bild has the largest circulation of any newspaper in Germany by far, 1.150 million copies. The second most-read paper, Süddeutsche Zeitung, is in a distant second place with a circulation of 360,000 copies.
While Bild has always been seen as a right-leaning, populist paper (with strong ties to Former Chancellor Helmut Kohl of the Christian Democratic Union party), this is a sharp shift in tone on migration compared to 2015, when they first started covering the topic. Back in September 2015, the tabloid paper pushed for tolerance and welcome for refugees coming from war-torn countries like Syria.
However, a lot has changed since 2015.
Mass migration into Europe and its consequent uptick in crime turned public opinion away from mass migration across Europe. As a result, in Germany, the far-right party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) siphoned a lot of support from CDU—the increased level of migration started under Chancellor Merkel from the CDU. The Christian Democrats ended up losing the federal election in Germany in 2021.
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán of Hungary was at the forefront of leading the opposition against mass migration within the EU from the start of the migration crisis in 2015.