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BERLIN – Annalena Baerbock, the German Greens’ chancellor candidate, was hit with accusations of plagiarism just weeks after it emerged that she had filled her resume with false information.
The German media on Tuesday picked up a blog post by Austrian media researcher Stefan Weber in which he identified several passages from Baerbock’s new book, “Now. How we renew our country ”, which were taken directly from various sources without due attribution.
“Plagiarism of texts is not ethically correct,” Weber wrote, “and if you look closely, there are multiple copyright violations.”
Among the sources from which Baerbock copied without attribution were Germany’s Spiegel magazine, the Tagesspiegel newspaper, as well as the Federal Agency for Civic Education, a government body.
The accusations come at a very inconvenient time for Baerbock, who, three months before the September national elections, has come under increasing scrutiny since he was found earlier this month who made false claims on his CV.
The revelations are also emerging as the Greens falter in the polls, falling from top spot in May. According to POLITICO survey survey, the performance of the Greens has fallen from 22 percent to 20 percent over the course of June, behind Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and her Bavarian sister party, the CSU, who together account for 29 percent. hundred.
Baerbock responded to the allegations Tuesday through his attorney Christian Schertz, a media law attorney who has defended prominent German media personalities such as the television host. Jan Böhmermann and disgraced journalist Claas Relotius, who got caught making up facts.
“I cannot see the slightest trace of copyright infringement, as the few passages referenced are nothing more than reproductions of commonly known facts as well as political opinions,” Schertz wrote.
These commonly known facts – related to climate change in the Baerbock case – “are so-called in the public domain,” he continued, adding: “Therefore, the accusation is unfounded. Obviously, it’s another campaign attempt to the detriment of Ms. Baerbock. “
Andreas Kappler, the Greens campaign spokesman, said Twitter, calling tweets with the hashtag #Baerplag, an acronym for Baerbock and plagiarism, “an attempted murder of characters.”
“We firmly reject the charge of copyright infringement,” he said.
Weber, the author of the blog post, has told the german media the passages he found were “nothing to shatter the earth.” But the damage to Baerbock’s reputation may already be done.
“She deliberately cheated, worked sloppily, and again piled high when it comes to her own performance; this appears to be systematic with Annalena Baerbock, and once again shakes her credibility,” said CSU Secretary General Markus Blume, on Twitter.
Blume was getting into what has become a relatively fierce electoral battle by German standards.
Jürgen Trittin, a veteran green MP who served as German environment minister between 1998 and 2005, called the accusations “the latest dirty campaign by [conservative tabloid] Bild ”against Baerbock, based on animosities between Bild’s owner, Axel Springer, and German leftists dating back to the 1960s. (Axel Springer is also a co-owner of POLITICO Europe).
However, Bild was neither the only nor the first media outlet to pick up the story, which was first published in the magazine. Focus.
Bild responded Wednesday, calling the allegations that they were trying to delegitimize Baerbock a “crude conspiracy theory. “The tabloid argued that it was actually Germany’s public broadcasters, which it accused of going green, that were trying to propel Baerbock to success, a popular opinion in conservative circles.
As an example, Bild referenced a comment by a journalist at WDR, a public broadcaster, that saying The aim of the plagiarism allegations was presumably to keep Baerbock’s negative headlines on people’s minds before the election.
“Whether that succeeds or not is up to you, the voters,” he said in what Bild called “an almost unapologetic call to vote for the Greens.”
Meanwhile, Baerbock’s official opponents in the chancellor race, Olaf Scholz of the Social Democrats and Armin Laschet of the CDU, have so far been silent on the issue. But it’s likely only helping your position, regardless.