Johannes Kunz, Helene von Damm & Paul Lendvai: “Bruno Kreisky’s Media Offensive”

The news desk of the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF), the Austrian equivalent of the BBC, underwent some big changes at the end of the 1960s.  A large reorganization took place and new bylaws were instituted in order to de-politicize the editorial process.  Also, a young reporter joined its ranks.  Johannes Kunz may very well have been hired because his political views contrasted so starkly with those of the man who decided to hire him.  After a few years at the ORF as an independent journalist, Kunz became press secretary of the now legendary Austrian Chancellor Bruno Kreisky.  Kreisky fully expected Kunz to do whatever it took to get his message across and dominate the news cycle (sound familiar?).  Politics and media may never have enjoyed an “objective” relationship, but where does independent journalism stop, and fake news begin?  Moreover, who needs news desks (or even press secretaries) when you can get the news you’re looking for by reading Tweets?  The veteran ORF journalist Paul Lendvai and former United States Ambassador to Austria, Helene von Damm, join our special debate about media institutions then and now.

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