The German Greens‘ party leader, Annalena Baerbock, is increasingly close by allegations of plagiarism. Baerbock recently released a book in which she explains her personal motivations and plans for Germany. Last week, a “plagiarism hunter” revealed that multiple passages were almost literally taken over from other authors and websites.
The criticism of Baerbock’s list tractors is now taking serious forms. Earlier mistakes in the campaign, such as polishing her resume, a number of painful spreads and a bonus that remained unmentioned at first, has put her credibility at stake.
End list tractors?
In the polls, too, the Greens are much worse than a few weeks ago. Where she was first mentioned as a possible successor to Merkel, the chances of it are getting smaller. Some commentators even ask if she shouldn‘t give the list tractors to her co-party chairman Robert Habeck.
The controversial passages in Jetzt: Wie wir unser Land erneuern (‘Now: how we renew our country‘) were found by the Austrian researcher and self-appointed plagiarist Michael Weber. He already published about errors in Baerbock’s resume. Weber discovered 29 passages in Jetzt so far that are very similar to previously published pieces.
A short example is this phrase: “The one who only thinks from the present starts in short-term thinking and loses strategic depth.” Previously, it was almost literally in a text by the scientist Florence Gaub. Descriptions of extreme weather conditions as a driver of conflict and something simple as a list of wooden flats have also been taken from other media without mention.
Baerbock rejects criticism. She says she didn‘t want to write a scientific book. “Yes, ideas from others have been included in my book. But there’s no copyright infringement anywhere”.
Where she apologized for the mistakes in her resume and said “the last thing I want is to pretend myself bigger than I am,” she now chooses the attack. She talks about fake news. From her party, the wording is even sharper. According to them, there is a “slander” and a deliberate “propaganda war” to destroy Baerbock‘s reputation.
‘s just that defense that she has a lot of criticism now. Apart from the brief statements above, she does not want to respond to the allegations. By taking off plagiarism allegations as a witch hunt, she makes her feel too easy, many opinion makers think.
The right-wing liberal newspaper Die Welt writes: “In their election program, the Greens write that they will run the campaign with facts and arguments. I hope they start with that soon. It may be that Baerbock isn‘t the right candidate for that.”
“Baerbock, it’s past”
Bild and die Welt have been very critical of Baerbock since the start of the campaign, but left-wing media are also heavily leathered after this mistake. The TAZ, which also falls on the mat with many Green voters, writes: “Baerbock, it‘s over”.
According to columnist Silke Mertins, the party leader can’t win the election anymore because her credibility has been too badly compromised. Mertins urged Baerbock to give her co-party chairman her place: “Robert Habeck has everything it lacks at Baerbock,” says Mertens. “He has government experience, can make speeches without speaking, and has written his books himself.”