Europe

German Greens leader Baerbock faces plagiarism allegations



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BERLIN — Annalena Baerbock, the German Greens’ chancellor candidate, has been hit with plagiarism allegations simply weeks after it emerged that she had padded her résumé with false info.

German media on Tuesday picked up a blog post by Austrian media researcher Stefan Weber wherein he recognized a number of passages in Baerbock’s new guide, “Now. How We Renew Our Country,” that have been taken instantly from varied sources with out correct attribution.

“Text plagiarism is ethically not correct,” Weber wrote, “and if you look closely, there are multiple copyright violations.”

Among the sources Baerbock copied from with out attribution have been Germany’s Spiegel journal, the Tagesspiegel newspaper, in addition to the Federal Agency for Civic Education, a authorities physique.

The allegations come at a really inconvenient second for Baerbock, who — three months earlier than the nationwide election in September — has come beneath rising scrutiny because it was found earlier this month that she made untruthful claims on her CV.

The revelations are additionally rising because the Greens falter within the polls, dropping from the highest spot as just lately as May. According to POLITICO’s Poll of Polls, the Greens’ efficiency has fallen from 22 p.c to twenty p.c over the course of June, trailing behind Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and their Bavarian sister get together the CSU, which collectively stand at 29 p.c.

Baerbock on Tuesday responded to the accusations by way of her lawyer Christian Schertz, a media legislation lawyer who has defended distinguished German media personalities akin to tv host Jan Böhmermann and disgraced journalist Claas Relotius, who received caught making up details.

“I cannot see the slightest trace of copyright infringement, since the few passages referenced are nothing more than reproductions of commonly known facts as well as political views,” Schertz wrote.

Such generally identified details — associated to local weather change in Baerbock’s case — “are so-called public domain,” he continued, including: “Thus, the accusation lacks any basis. It is obviously yet another attempt at a campaign to the detriment of Ms. Baerbock.”

Andreas Kappler, the Greens’ marketing campaign spokesman, took to Twitter, calling tweets with the hashtag #Baerplag — a portmanteau of Baerbock and plagiarism — “an attempt at character assassination.”

“We firmly reject the accusation of copyright infringement,” he mentioned.

Media wars

Weber, the weblog publish creator, has told German media the passages he discovered have been “nothing earth shattering.” But the harm to Baerbock’s status might already be achieved.

“She deceived deliberately, worked sloppily and again piled on when it comes to her own performance — this appears to be systematic with Annalena Baerbock, and once again shakes her credibility,” CSU Secretary General Markus Blume mentioned on Twitter.

Blume was chiming into what has turn out to be a comparatively fierce election battle by German requirements.

Jürgen Trittin, a veteran Green MP who served as German setting minister between 1998 and 2005, referred to as the accusations “the latest dirty campaign by [conservative tabloid] Bild” towards Baerbock, drawing on animosities between Bild proprietor Axel Springer and Germany’s leftists that stretch again to the Nineteen Sixties. (Axel Springer can also be co-owner of POLITICO Europe.)

However, Bild was neither the one nor the primary media outlet to select up the story, which was first revealed within the journal Focus.

Bild struck again on Wednesday, calling accusations that they have been making an attempt to delegitimize Baerbock a “crude conspiracy theory.” The tabloid argued that it was really Germany’s public broadcasters, which it accused of leaning inexperienced, who have been making an attempt to propel Baerbock to success — a view standard in conservative circles.

As an instance, Bild referenced a remark by a journalist on WDR, a public broadcaster, who said the purpose of the plagiarism accusations was presumably to maintain adverse Baerbock headlines in individuals’s minds forward of the election.

“Whether that succeeds or not is up to you, the voters,” he mentioned in what Bild termed “an almost unapologetic call to vote for the Greens.”

Meanwhile, Baerbock’s official opponents within the race for the chancellery, Olaf Scholz of the Social Democrats and the CDU’s Armin Laschet, have up to now remained silent on the problem. But it’s more likely to solely assist their standing, regardless.





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