Feature

A politician brought down by YouTube.

The week's news at a glance.

Germany

Lothar Müller
Süddeutsche Zeitung

An “avalanche of mockery” has buried the career of Bavaria’s top leader, said Lothar Müller in Munich’s Süddeutsche Zeitung. Just five years ago, Edmund Stoiber was close to becoming chancellor of Germany, losing narrowly to Gerhard Schröder. Now, though, he’s facing a serious challenge within his own Christian Social Union for Bavarian leadership, and he’s been accused of spying on the challengers in a Watergate-style scandal. This “spectacular decline” of Stoiber the politician coincides with the rise of “Stoiber the comedy star.” Clips of Stoiber stammering and stuttering his way through boring speeches are some of the most popular German videos on YouTube. And they aren’t just snippets from TV; Stoiber’s “fans” doctor up the videos with mocking subtitles and jazzy music. True, Stoiber was never the most articulate politician, and some of his less elegant utterances were pretty funny. But this is far more than the “normal, good-natured ribbing that politicians should expect.” These videos have made Stoiber a national joke. Now that everyone is laughing at him, it’s doubtful he will ever be taken seriously again.

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