Analysis

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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 225

The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum is, in large part, a commentary on state power and the complex relationship between the government and the media. It shows how the government and the media work together to control public belief, and it shows how the cooperation of the media is key to state power. Germany, a democratic country, engaged in a campaign of terror against Katharina by sensationalizing the news and printing stories about her personal life that were based on distortion and lies. The story stresses the irresponsibility of the press, as Totges, the journalist, accepts the government’s version of the facts without question. The stories he prints show the capability of the media to manipulate public opinion and advance the state’s goals—and do so by assaulting personal freedoms.

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The book shows that the influence of the press is pervasive, as Katharina is victimized not only by the media, but also by the society who condemns her based on the media hype. First and foremost, however, she is victimized by the government. The German press is intent on exposing communist activities and terrorism, and it is quick to throw communist accusations at anyone connected to Katharina’s ordeal. Furthermore, the fact that Katharina was not active politically and had no clear political affiliations shows that anyone can be a target of abuse.

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