The German CEO of Europe’s largest media publisher tried to use his flagship tabloid, Bild, to influence the outcome of Germany’s last election and fed the newspaper his personal views attacking climate change activism, Covid measures and the former chancellor Angela Merkel, leaked messages suggest.
The internal chats, emails and text messages published by the German weekly Die Zeit on Wednesday clash with the public presentation of Axel Springer SE’s chief executive, Mathias Döpfner, who recently said he wanted to bring “non-partisan” journalism to a too-polarised US media landscape through his acquisition of the English-language title Politico.
In one of the messages quoted verbatim in Die Zeit, from 2017, Döpfner says: “I am all for climate change,” seemingly arguing that human civilisation in periods of warm climate was always “more successful” than during cold-climate periods. “We shouldn’t fight climate change but adjust to it.”
Döpfner, who holds a 22% share in the Berlin-based company Axel Springer and sits on the board of directors of Netflix, repeatedly voiced his distrust of the population of the formerly socialist states of eastern Germany. “The ossis [east Germans] are either communists or fascists. They don’t do in-between. Disgusting.”