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The truth crisis

What does truth mean? What is true, what is false? Does science equal truth? The Corona crisis has once again shown how divided public opinion in this country, at least, is. What are the facts that we as a society still believe? Have they ever existed? What does it mean when the "alternative facts" model runs rampant? To find answers to these questions, publisher and journalist Jakob Augstein travels through Germany.

Augstein meets Hendrik Streeck, one of the most prominent faces of the Corona crisis. In conversation with Jakob Augstein, the virology professor at Bonn University Hospital tells how it feels to have an entire nation looking to you for "the truth" about the virus. How frightening is it when, as a scientist, you are suddenly aggressively attacked because, instead of an absolute truth, you can only proclaim findings with an announced limited shelf life about the virus?

Jakob Augstein talks with SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach about the communication performance of political actors. Have they acted more credibly in this new existential shake-up than they did at the time of the migration crisis? Augstein debates the role of the media in the Corona crisis with Heribert Prantl, the former head of domestic politics at the Süddeutsche Zeitung, and the epistemologist Elke Brendel outlines what truth actually means philosophically and what significance the construct has for a society.

The "Fridays for Future" activist Line Niedeggen, on the other hand, hopes that the growing importance of science in public discourse will also have an impact on her fight against climate change.

What do we as a society still believe in? What is our lowest common denominator? The concept of truth, at any rate, has recently come under fire. After the social upheavals of the migration crisis, the battle for interpretive sovereignty has once again taken on new dimensions in the course of the fight against the virus.

  • Director: Tim Klimes
  • Co-Author: Jakob Augstein
  • Camera: Harald Schmuck
  • Sound: Mike Glöckner
  • Editing & Graphics: Konstantin Gramalla
  • Production Manager: Brian A. Moser
  • Production Manager ZDF/3sat: Jörg Schmidt
  • Editorial Office ZDF/3sat: Bettina von Pfeil