Infotainment television was taken to a whole new level in Germany this week as floods ravaged Europe.
Journalist Susanna Ohlen of the television network RTL has been suspended for putting mud on her clothing and face prior to going on air.
“As a journalist, this should never have happened to me. As a person who takes the suffering of all those affected to heart, it has happened to me. I’m sorry,” she apologized in an Instagram post.
“After I had already helped privately in the region in previous days, I was ashamed to stand in front of the camera in clean clothes, in front of the other relief workers. As a result, without thinking twice, I smeared mud on my clothes.”
A video emerged of the journalist in action before the broadcast, making it obvious she was trying to dramatize her report.
Artikel: “Aufräumarbeiten nach Flut: RTL-Moderatorin Susanna Ohlen packt in Bad Münstereifel mit an”
Was auch geschah:pic.twitter.com/zp1p3XbAaK
— Argo Nerd (@argonerd) July 22, 2021
“The actions of our reporter clearly contradicts journalistic principles and our own standards. We therefore suspended her on Monday, after we learned of it,” a spokeswoman for the television network said Thursday, according to DW News.
Floods in Germany killed at least 165 people last week.
To make matters much worse, RTL released a piece titled “Cleaning up after the flood: RTL presenter Susanna Ohlen lends a hand in Bad Münstereifel” about Ohlen prior to learning about what she did.
The Weather Channel dealt with a similar controversy in 2018 with reporter Mike Seidel after he was accused of faking the high winds of Hurricane Florence as people walked normally right behind him.
While performative activism is usually reserved for self-righteous Hollywood celebrities and college students, this is a rare nonpolitical example.
People feel constantly compelled to show that they are doing good deeds when oftentimes they are either faking it or exaggerating.
Germans are well aware of the consequences of these damaging floods, and they did not need a broadcast journalist making it more dramatic than it already was.
Additionally, the article RTL put out is a sad, virtue-signaling attempt to help Ohlen build her “brand,” and the network needs to take caution when writing puff pieces for its own employees.
Ohlen should not be permanently “canceled” for this mistake, but the network was right to rebuke her for the stunt.
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