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Urgently needed: Journalism that looks behind the facade
English version of this text will be published soon.

Was geschieht hinter den Fassaden der Konzerne und Ministerien? Wie groß ist die Macht der Lobbyisten? Warum wächst die soziale Ungleichheit? Solche Fragen recher­chieren wir seit vielen Jahren. Wir, das sind die Journalisten Malte Heynen und Holger Balodis.

Eines kann man über uns auf jeden Fall sagen: Wir recherchieren sehr gern. Wir finden es spannend, Dingen auf den Grund zu gehen.

Im Lauf der letzten 30 Jahre sind wir bei unseren Recherchen immer häufiger auf beunruhigende Indizien gestoßen. Indizien dafür,  dass die Demokratie und die soziale Marktwirtschaft nicht mehr so funktionieren, wie sie funktionieren sollten: "Alle Staatsgewalt geht vom Volke aus", heißt es im Grundgesetz. Doch immer stärker bestimmen Konzerne und Großinvestoren, nach welchen Regeln in unserer Gesellschaft gespielt wird.

Und oft sind es Regeln, bei denen nur die Oberschicht gewinnen kann.

Klingt übertrieben? Im Kasten unten finden Sie ein Beispiel, das in wenigen Zeilen aufzeigt, wie sehr unsere Demokratie bereits Schaden genommen hat. Es geht um den größten Steuerbetrug in der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik, die so genannten "Cum-Ex-Geschäfte", ausführlich dokumentiert unter anderem von einem Team von ARD und "DIE ZEIT"↗. Das Beispiel erinnert uns an viele Vorgänge, auf die wir bei unseren eigenen Recherchen gestoßen sind.

Die "Cum-Ex-Geschäfte": Großinvestoren prellen die Staatskasse um mindestens 32 Milliarden Euro. Der Betrug läuft über Jahre, und die Bundesregierung hat angeblich nichts bemerkt. Dabei ist die Sache offensichtlich: Investoren lassen sich eine Steuer mehrmals erstatten, die sie nur einmal gezahlt haben. Als Medien den Skandal schließlich aufdecken, wird er nicht abgestellt – im Gegenteil: Die große Koa­lition lässt sich von der Bankenlobby beraten, wie man das Steuer­schlupfloch schließen solle. Das Ergebnis: Der Betrug wird nur im Inland gestoppt, doch Schlupflöcher über das Ausland lässt man offen. Der Milliarden­betrug geht weiter.


Doch warum kann in vielen Fällen die Lobby durchregieren? Immerhin leben wir in einer Demokratie mit freien Wahlen. Wie können es da die Netzwerke des Geldes schaffen, ihre Interessen durchzusetzen, gegen die Interessen der Bevölkerung?

Nach unserer Einschätzung ist die Antwort verblüffend einfach. Schon eine kleine Umfrage unter unseren Bekannten zeigt das Problem auf:
Gehört haben die meisten vom Cum-Ex-Skandal, aber Details weiß niemand.

Wenn es keiner so richtig mitbekommt, wie soll dann öffentlicher Druck entstehen, dass sich die Dinge ändern? Tatsächlich wurde kein verantwortlicher Politiker für Cum-Ex zur Rechenschaft gezogen.

Und da kommen wir zum Kern des Problems: Skandale, die keiner so richtig mitbekommt – auch das ist das Ergebnis von Lobbyarbeit. Lobbyisten manipulieren nicht nur die Politik, sondern auch die öffentliche Meinung: Da werden teure "Gutachten" in Auftrag gegeben, Journalisten durch "Hintergrundgespräche" beeinflusst oder manipulierte Twitter-Accounts in Stellung gebracht. Ergebnis: Die Lobby-Botschaften prasseln täglich auf uns ein – und prägen unser Weltbild. Auch wir beide (Holger Balodis und Malte Heynen) haben oft erst nach monatelangen Recherchen zu einem Thema gemerkt, wie sehr wir selbst auf die geschickten Stories der Lobbyisten reingefallen waren.

Daher kann man sagen, wir machen Freiblatt für uns selbst. Und für unsere Bekannten. Und für alle anderen, die das Herz am richtigen Fleck haben. Wir wollen zeigen, was falsch läuft. Und wir wollen zeigen, wie man das ändern kann. Die Herrschaft der Lobby ist kein Schicksal.

Mit Freiblatt wollen wir mehr Raum für Journalismus schaffen, der wirklich unabhängig ist. Wir versuchen, durch gründliche Recherchen aufzudecken, wo Lobbyisten der Öffentlichkeit verzerrte Stories unterjubeln. Und wir werden jede Woche auf starke Medienberichte hinweisen, die einer Sache wirklich auf den Grund gehen.

Wir gehören übrigens nicht zu denjenigen, die pauschal sagen "die da oben sind alle korrupt". Wir schauen genau hin, wo Politik und Medien die Interessen der Bevölkerung vertreten – und wo sie sich für ganz andere Interessen einspannen lassen.

Um sicherzustellen, dass diese Seite unabhängig bleibt, wird sie dauerhaft werbefrei bleiben. Sie können uns durch ein Förder-Abo unterstützen. Wir freuen uns sehr über jeden Betrag, egal ob 50 cent oder 5 Euro im Monat. Um unabhängig zu bleiben, nehmen wir keine größeren Spenden an.





 




















Holger Balodis
Ich bin Holger Balodis, 60, gelernter Volkswirt und habe als Journalist die deutsche Sozialpolitik über 30 Jahre lang kritisch begleitet. Die meiste Zeit davon für öffentlich-rechtliche Radio und TV-Programme wie ‚plusminus’ und ‚monitor’. Es waren sehr gute Jahre, bis der Quoten- und Häppchenjournalismus meines Erachtens überhand nahm. Also konzentrierte ich mich zunächst auf Ratgeberliteratur, die meine Frau Dagmar Hühne und ich für Verbraucherzentralen und Stiftung Warentest verfassten:
 
Fundierte und nutzwertige Informationen zur Sozialversicherung und ihren privaten Alternativen. Doch am Ende fehlte uns da die klare politische Einordnung: Wer hat den Niedergang der gesetzlichen Rente zu verantworten? Wer hat Politik und Gesellschaft davon überzeugt, dass mehr private Vorsorge dringend geboten sei? Sind die Reformen wirklich alternativlos oder machen es andere Länder besser? Antworten finden sich in unseren vier Büchern ("Die Vorsorgelüge", 2012, "Garantiert beschissen'" 2015, "Die große Rentenlüge", 2017 und  "Rente rauf", 2020).

Tatsächlich sind die Sozialreformen der vergangenen 20 Jahre ein wenig rühmliches Gemeinschaftswerk von Lobbyisten, willigen Wissenschaftlern und machtbewussten Politikern. Es gelang ihnen, die
Öffentlichkeit zu täuschen: Die ehedem solidarische Alterssicherung müsse – so die quasi alternativlose Botschaft – Stück für Stück durch eine private Altersvorsorge ersetzt werden. Meine Recherchen haben gezeigt: Das ist Unfug. Es bestimmt aber noch immer das Regierungshandeln in diesem Land.

Deshalb engagiere ich mich für Freiblatt. Stets kritisch, notfalls auch parteiisch und immer unabhängig.


 




















Malte Heynen
Ich bin Malte Heynen, 49, und arbeite seit fast 30 Jahren als Journalist, zunächst für Radio und Zeitung, seit 2001 für das Fernsehen. In den letzten Jahren habe ich einige sehr aufwendige Recherchen gemacht, unter anderem für den NDR (über die Steuertricks der Großkonzerne) und für die Random-House-Verlagsgruppe (über die Skandale hinter den Fassaden der Banken). Die Ergebnisse dieser Recherchen haben mich selbst oft erschrocken:
Zum Beispiel 2007, kurz vor dem drohnenden Zusammenbruch des Bankensystems. Damals habe ich miterlebt, wie stark Lobbyisten die Berichterstattung verzerren können. Ich war auf vereinzelte Berichte gestoßen, die vor einem gewaltigen Crash an den Finanzmärkten warnten. Die Argumente der Warner waren überzeugend. Aber fast alle Wirtschaftswissenschaftler und Finanzjournalisten wiegelten ab. Fast niemand hat die heraufziehende Katastrophe erkannt: 2009 standen die Großbanken der Welt am Abgrund, und die Staaten stellten hunderte Milliarden Euro Steuergeld bereit, um große Finanzkonzerne zu retten.

Später ist wissenschaftlich untersucht worden, wie viele Finanzexperten vor dem Crash gewarnt haben. Ergebnis: In den USA haben gerade einmal ein Dutzend Journalisten und Wirtschaftsforscher die Katastrophe kommen sehen und öffentlich davor gewarnt. Ein unglaubliches Versagen: Die Experten in Medien und Wissenschaft hatten weitgehend die Darstellung der Finanzindustrie übernommen. Sogar noch dann, als der Crash unmittelbar bevorstand.

Ich freue mich auf die Arbeit für Freiblatt. Diese Seite deckt auf und analysiert kritisch, aber sie soll immer Spaß machen: Leichtverständlich, unterhaltsam und Mut machend.

 
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We maintain an online presence on Twitter to present our company and our services and to communicate with customers/prospects. Twitter is a service provided by Twitter Inc., 1355 Market Street, Suite 900, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA.

 

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https://www.privacyshield.gov/participant?id=a2zt0000000TORzAAO&status=Active

 

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Facebook Inc. has submitted to the EU-US Privacy Shield, thereby complying with the data protection requirements of the EU when processing data in the USA.

 

https://www.privacyshield.gov/participant?id=a2zt0000000GnywAAC&status=Active

 

 

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We also integrate the following social media sites into our website. The integration takes place via a linked graphic of the respective site. The use of these graphics stored on our own servers prevents the automatic connection to the servers of these networks for their display. Only by clicking on the corresponding graphic will you be forwarded to the service of the respective social network.

 

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The following social networks are integrated into our site by linked graphics:

 

Facebook

 

Facebook Ireland Limited, 4 Grand Canal Square, Dublin 2, Ireland, a subsidiary of Facebook Inc., 1601 S. California Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94304, USA.

 

Privacy Policy: https://www.facebook.com/policy.php

 

EU-US Privacy Shield https://www.privacyshield.gov/participant?id=a2zt0000000GnywAAC&status=Active

twitter

 

Twitter Inc., 795 Folsom St., Suite 600, San Francisco, CA 94107, USA

 

Privacy Policy: https://twitter.com/privacy

 

EU-US Privacy Shield

 

https://www.privacyshield.gov/…0000TORzAAO&status=Active

 

 

Google Analytics

 

We use Google Analytics on our website. This is a web analytics service provided by Google Ireland Limited, Gordon House, Barrow Street, Dublin 4, Irland (hereinafter: Google).

 

Through certification according to the EU-US Privacy Shield

 

https://www.privacyshield.gov/participant?id=a2zt000000001L5AAI&status=Active

 

Google guarantees that it will follow the EU's data protection regulations when processing data in the United States.

 

The Google Analytics service is used to analyze how our website is used. The legal basis is Art. 6 Para. 1 lit. f) GDPR. Our legitimate interest lies in the analysis, optimization, and economic operation of our site.

 

Usage and user-related information, such as IP address, place, time, or frequency of your visits to our website will be transmitted to a Google server in the United States and stored there. However, we use Google Analytics with the so-called anonymization function, whereby Google truncates the IP address within the EU or the EEA before it is transmitted to the US.

 

The data collected in this way is in turn used by Google to provide us with an evaluation of visits to our website and what visitors do once there. This data can also be used to provide other services related to the use of our website and of the internet in general.

 

Google states that it will not connect your IP address to other data. In addition, Google provides further information with regard to its data protection practices at

 

https://www.google.com/intl/de/policies/privacy/partners,

 

including options you can exercise to prevent such use of your data.

 

In addition, Google offers an opt-out add-on at

 

https://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout?hl=en

 

in addition with further information. This add-on can be installed on the most popular browsers and offers you further control over the data that Google collects when you visit our website. The add-on informs Google Analytics' JavaScript (ga.js) that no information about the website visit should be transmitted to Google Analytics. However, this does not prevent information from being transmitted to us or to other web analytics services we may use as detailed herein.

 

 

Google Fonts

 

Our website uses Google Fonts to display external fonts. This is a service provided by Google Ireland Limited, Gordon House, Barrow Street, Dublin 4, Irland (hereinafter: Google).

 

Through certification according to the EU-US Privacy Shield

 

https://www.privacyshield.gov/participant?id=a2zt000000001L5AAI&status=Active

 

Google guarantees that it will follow the EU's data protection regulations when processing data in the United States.

 

To enable the display of certain fonts on our website, a connection to the Google server in the USA is established whenever our website is accessed.

 

The legal basis is Art. 6 Para. 1 lit. f) GDPR. Our legitimate interest lies in the optimization and economic operation of our site.

 

When you access our site, a connection to Google is established from which Google can identify the site from which your request has been sent and to which IP address the fonts are being transmitted for display.

 

Google offers detailed information at

 

https://adssettings.google.com/authenticated

 

https://policies.google.com/privacy

 

in particular on options for preventing the use of data.

 

 

Model Data Protection Statement for Anwaltskanzlei Weiß & Partner