The events are of dramatic proportions: a world power begins to falter - and the rest is watching spellbound. For ARD and ZDF, however, no reason to interrupt the program. At some point, Ulrich Deppendorf burst his collar: "I don't understand it anymore. Not even ZDF," wrote the long-standing editor-in-chief of ARD-Aktuell on Twitter.
This is what happened on January 6, 2021. Supporters of President-elect Donald Trump stormed the Capitol to prevent confirmation of Joe Biden's victory. If the insurgents had gotten away with it, it would have been the end of American democracy. But neither ARD nor ZDF felt compelled to change the program that evening. Instead of world history, the public broadcasters showed a feature film and a crime thriller.
The same picture has emerged since yesterday evening in relation to what is happening in Russia: While it has become apparent since late Friday evening that the mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin is turning against President Putin and is heading for Moscow with his troops, the viewers of ARD and ZDF not informed about the events outside of the news broadcasts.
When the country was already in civil war on Saturday morning and international broadcasters such as the BBC and CNN had been showing the situation for hours, the public broadcasters were showing their audience children's programs. The first started at 5.30 a.m. with "Lena's Ranch", followed by formats such as "Die Pfefferkörner" and "Panda, Gorilla
The broadcaster only reacted in the afternoon and inserted a "ZDF special: power struggle in Russia" at 2:10 p.m. and 5:50 p.m. A "heute journal special" is planned for 8.15 p.m., at 10.45 p.m. the "heute journal" will be extended, as ZDF announced on request.
On social media such as Twitter, displeasure spread that the fee-financed broadcasters did not see themselves in a position to provide comprehensive information about the civil war in Russia. "Can it be true that
While the Phoenix channel, which belongs to the public broadcaster family, jumped into the breach when the Capitol was stormed and kept the viewers up to date, on Saturday morning only nature documentaries were shown here. As important as the melting glaciers of Greenland are - special programs on the situation in Russia would certainly have better satisfied the viewers' need for information that day.
Interested fee payers were left with what the then chief moderator of the "heute journal", Claus Kleber, tweeted on the evening of January 6, 2021: "Switch on CNN. Immediately."