What’s the news of the day? Media makers, as editors are often called, have to answer this question on an ongoing basis. What’s at the top of the homepage, what’s the headline on the first page, what’s the news that the Tagesschau opens with? Different factors are important: the news value, the relevance, the meaning for life.
It characterizes this 25th week of 2022 that a bit of arbitrariness is mixed into the decision-making process. More and more candidates are available who meet all the criteria. The competition is fierce and depressing. The signatures of the present are concentrated like in a magnifying glass. Anyone who reads the reports in a staccato rhythm, without claiming to be complete, can easily get caught up in a whirlpool of bewilderment.
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Christian Drosten, Germany’s most famous virologist, fears a massive autumn wave of corona. From September, he says, “we will have very high case numbers”. In working life there could be “a lot of sickness-related absences”. The number of hospitalizations and deaths could also rise again. Can this be avoided? “We should be able to immunize up to 40 million people again before winter.” Well then.
However, the severe economic crisis due to the gas problem is likely to be worse than Corona, warns Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck. The throttling of Russian deliveries is an “economic attack” on Germany. Vladimir Putin wants to stir up fear: “Because of the material need, the high inflation, the high energy prices, people are of course afraid.” Of poverty and loss of prosperity and the loss of “what they have built up over a long life”. What to do? It is necessary, says Habeck, who as Minister is also responsible for climate protection, that Germany resorts to climate-damaging coal again in order to reduce gas consumption in industry.
This seems to climate protection activists as if the devil were being driven out with Beelzebub. Heat waves are occurring earlier and more intensely, says the spokeswoman for the World Weather Organization. In parts of Spain and France, the thermometers have already climbed more than ten degrees above the mean. This is due to the record high concentrations of gases in the atmosphere that cause the greenhouse effect.
This fits in with a recently published Lancet study, according to which around 70,000 people died in twelve European countries in the legendary summer month of August 2003 as a result of the heat. According to “Zeit” calculations, up to 2,000 more people died from the heat in 2018 than in road traffic throughout the year. The Federal Environment Agency is also forecasting a rapid increase in heat-related morbidity.
If you don’t die from the heat, you could suffer from starvation. Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir predicts that food prices will continue to rise. He doesn’t think “we’ve reached the peak yet,” he says.
And where is the positive? At least Germans can be happy about not living in the USA. The Supreme Court there has declared carrying a gun a fundamental right. As a reminder: In May, an 18-year-old murdered ten people in the state of New York with an assault rifle, apparently for racist reasons. Shortly thereafter, another 18-year-old killed 19 children and two teachers in the small Texas town of Uvalde. Overall, the number of firearms sold and firearm-related deaths continues to rise.
German women in particular can be happy about not living in the USA. The recent Supreme Court ruling abolishing abortion rights will have devastating consequences for millions of American women. In addition, it testifies to an abysmal distrust of women’s general ability to make morally correct judgments in a conflict situation that also affects their own bodies. More paternalism is hardly possible. Human life now begins at conception and ends in an elementary school, according to the US Constitutional Court, because 18-year-olds are allowed to carry guns in public.
So much for today. A lot is missing. For example, the dramatic situation in Ukraine, where Russian troops continue to rage, the consequences of the earthquake in Afghanistan, the ongoing drought in parts of Africa. The planet moans and groans. Appeals to persevere suggest that an end is in sight. Terms such as resilience are intended to strengthen the will. Learning to do without is issued as a slogan.
There is a touch of melancholy about everything. And defiance. And longing for the joy of hope.