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Corona Talk with Maybrit Illner, Anne Will & Frank Plasberg: Partisan and superficial or balanced and informative?

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An Analysis of the quality of discussions on the Covid-19 pandemic in selected German political talk shows

Political talk shows are regularly criticized that their selection of guests is endangering the diversity of opinion. The majority of invited guests are politicians, men, West Germans, older people, or employer representatives. Women, minorities, East Germans, parents or employee representatives, on the other hand, are significantly less represented. Not infrequently, research has also found a lack of expertise among the invited guests. This raises the question of how close political talk shows actually are to the reality of people's lives and how well, substantively and in a balanced way, they can inform people about important political and social issues against this background, if important voices are missing from the discourse of German political talk shows. At the same time, however, political talk shows are seen as a gauge of public-media discourse. They shape the narratives that inform political debate, and in this sense they are of considerable importance for politics in Germany.


Particularly in the wake of an issue as important as the Covid-19 pandemic, the question of the quality of political discourse about corona in the German talk shows arises, especially since the media itself became the object of public criticism early on in the pandemic. Whose voices were heard and which voices were ignored? How informative was the broadcast? What positions and narratives drove the debate? Were political talk shows rightly or wrongly criticized?