Television column: journalists who provoke? Ew!

Jurgen Klopp and Jochen Breyer argue. And Markus Lanz talks about "stupid" questions with his guests afterwards. Unfortunately, no one points the finger at him.

Didn’t go as planned for Jurgen Klopp in Madrid. Image: dpa

What would Markus Lanz have actually been chatting about with his guests on Wednesday evening if Jurgen Klopp hadn’t peppered his ZDF mic on the counter in the distant studio in Madrid shortly beforehand?

Klopp had just lost 3-0 at Real with his BVB team, and presenter Jochen Breyer was about to send him off for the night with the question "It’s all over, isn’t it?". Klopp shook his head for a moment – and then blaffed back, "You can also give a stupid answer to a stupid question." He mimicked Breyer standing next to him, asked briefly, "Are we done here?" and then the microphone flew.

And now six guests are sitting around Markus Lanz’s cozy fireplace, chatting about this "memorable interview" (Lanz). After Champions League matches, the ZDF talk show host always has a soccer panel together. Once again, Lars Ricken, ex-BVB pro and the club’s current youth coordinator, is among them. He complains about journalists who try to get Klopp to react by asking questions in a jovial manner – and thus not provoking "08/15 answers" from Jurgen Klopp.

Journalists who do not expect 08/15 answers and tickle that out! Ricken is right: The common sports journalist does not do such things. He has to cheer when German teams win, and he has to console them when they lose.

Thomas Helmer sits two seats away. Once a professional soccer player at Bayern, he’s now a presenter on Sport1. He warns that a moderator "especially after defeats" should not make such a "laughing stock" of the conversation. Respect and all that. And Anna-Sara Lange from Sky thinks that Breyer should have asked the question differently, more openly, for example, like this: "What chances do you still see for the second leg?

That’s right, that would have been a top question. Answer: It will be difficult. But we will fight. Thank you. Bye. Bye-bye.

Do you prefer 08/15 questions?

Such 08/15-questions lead to 08/15-answers lead into a negative area of gaining knowledge and to stultification.

Speaking of stultification: Lanz naturally begins to broaden the topic. (Again the question: What would he have done without the Breyer-Klopp dispute?!?) He asks his guests about "stupid" and "dumbest" questions they have ever been asked by fellow journalists. Unfortunately, none of the guests has the chutzpah to point the finger at the moderator.

So Lanz can actually – watch out! – together with Jasmin Tabatabai about the journaille: "Seriously," they ask that? "That’s brazen." And this business, this game, "that’s perfidious."

The only thing that nobody in the group finds perfidious is that Jurgen Klopp now has great difficulty in showing the necessary respect to his interviewees (Bela Rethy, Claudia Neumann, Oliver Kahn and now Breyer), or that boring questioners who don’t provoke anything at all in the other person are an imposition on the viewer. What a pity.

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