D.If it is a “bang”, Tanit Koch Armin Laschet would probably be the first to delete from the speech manuscript. In any case, the Union Chancellor candidate and CDU chairman managed to surprise with a person in his previously sluggish Bundestag election campaign. Laschet brings the former editor-in-chief of Bild and the RTL central editorial office, Tanit Koch, into his campaign team in Berlin’s Konrad-Adenauer-Haus.
The 43-year-old tabloid journalist is now responsible for his campaign communications and coordinates his press work. It is also intended to expand Laschet’s manageable presence in the increasingly important social networks. Corresponding information from the German Press Agency from CDU circles confirmed Laschet on Wednesday: “With Tanit Koch we are gaining an experienced journalist and communication expert – she is now on my team and I am very happy.”
In his long run to the Chancellery, Laschet has so far set one highlight: the application speech for the CDU chairmanship in January. At the party congress, the Aachener played with pathos and emotions, for example showing his father’s old miner’s badge into the camera and quoting him with the words: “Tell people they can trust you.” So Laschet beat out his competitors Friedrich Merz and Norbert Röttgen the field.
Reinforcing this impression and preventing Laschet’s weak moments in the future as much as possible, that should be Tanit Koch’s primary task. Like an appearance on the ZDF talk show “Markus Lanz” at the end of March. The host cornered Laschet with persistent questions. The NRW Prime Minister stammered.
That shouldn’t happen again. Clear messages at press conferences, in the media and, above all, in social networks such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter – that should help Koch structure, without letting Laschet’s qualities such as closeness to the people and steadfastness become invisible, according to the CDU leadership. Political competition is more present on the internet, especially the AfD.
The new communication strategist suits the fact that Laschet has had a tailwind since the unexpectedly clear CDU election victory in Saxony-Anhalt last Sunday. At the same time, Laschet’s probably most dangerous competitor in the struggle for the chancellorship, the Greens co-chair Annalena Baerbock, stumbled over ambiguities in her résumé and the booking of additional income and – of all things – the amateurish communicative handling of it.
Koch will also have to deal with such topics. New reports about a less beautiful place in Laschet’s curriculum vitae were a foretaste. It’s about his work as a lecturer at his home university, the Rheinisch-Westfälisch Technische Hochschule (RWTH) Aachen, which ended in a scandal over shoddy student work, for which Laschet still gave grades. He then gave up his office and deleted the activity from his official résumé. However, the process was rolled out in his authorized biography “Der Machtmenschliche”, which appeared last year.
The fact that former journalists from the conservative Springer group advise politicians is not new: One of Koch’s predecessors at the top of the picture, Peter Boenisch, served as government spokesman for Chancellor Helmut Kohl. Former Bild politician Béla Anda worked in this role for SPD Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. Schröder also wrote the bon mot that to rule he only needed “picture”, “bams” and “telly”. Image editor Georg Streiter even managed the feat of being nominated first by the FDP and then by the CSU Horst Seehofers as deputy government spokesman. The former head of Bild am Sonntag, Michael Spreng, in turn advised CSU chief Edmund Stoiber on his unsuccessful candidacy for chancellor in 2002.
In this respect, Tanit Koch, who claims to be non-partisan and previously seen as liberal by observers, is part of a tradition. Born in Constance and raised in Bonn, after studying politics and law in the male-dominated Springer Group, she had a steep career that finally led her to the top of the print edition of the Bild newspaper in 2016.
But only two years later, after a falling out with her co-editor-in-chief Julian Reichelt, who was responsible for online, she gave up this post and one year later she was hired as editor-in-chief of the central editorial office and managing director of the news channel n-tv. This guest appearance ended a good year later. As a reason, the broadcaster gave “different views on the way forward”.
According to the interpretation of the specialist press, the urbane, reserved, but determined Koch failed twice in a short time because of the persistence of male structures. These experiences should help her now in the CDU.