Volltext: Liechtenstein and the German tax affair:

The passive audience is the largest part of the audience, which usually remains politically 
passive and appears in statistics as bearers of the "public opinion". An example is a study 
among managers conducted by the Droege & Comp. management consulting company, which 
concludes that 59% of respondents are in favor of "levying lower taxes than now", and 60% 
are in favor of "making stronger use of the existing penalties than now" (Handelsblatt, 
29.2.2008, 6). 
> Conclusion: The active audience had very different opinions, depending on the viewpoint 
from which the current case was observed. 
6.5.5 Political actors 
Political actors are representatives of the executive and legislative branches and are supposed 
to realize social goals and ideals. The determination of political priorities 1s influenced by the 
public opinion, and political actors in turn influence public opinion (see Eichhorn 2005, 154). 
Institutions and interest groups may be linked with each other at different levels. The social 
role of politics allows it to access the media. In this way, the political system and all persons 
and institutions acting in its environment or in its name become a mighty actor in the 
definition of public agendas. Sometimes, the relationship is characterized by conflict — when 
the interest groups try to impose their priorities on the media — and sometimes by cooperation 
— when both have the same understanding of the problem or their interests coincide. This 
could be observed in the Zumwinkel case, when the cameras were already waiting in front of 
his home in order to broadcast his arrest. The public prosecutor's office (or whoever it actually 
was) apparently had an interest in publicizing its activity, and the mass media had the same 
interest. Practice moreover has shown that links at the individual level can be at least as 
effective when the goal is to make "one's own" topics public via the media (see Eichhorn 
2005, 150) — for instance the statement launched by Federal Minister of Finance Peer 
Steinbrück in SZ of 19 June 2008 that one might "contemplate the use of torture instruments 
for Liechtenstein" (exact quote: "In the Grand Coalition, we are now thinking about penalties 
for tax offenses. For instance, imprisonment might be imposed more frequently than fines," p. 
While in the first few days, from 14 to 17 February, the main actors appearing in public were 
the Bochum public prosecutor's office and the mass media, the political actors were the ones 
announcing their opinions and interests in the tax affair via the mass media beginning 18 
February. Within this group, we already see major differences in the "social objectives" 
represented here: not only diametrically opposed differences between the political actors in 
Germany and in Liechtenstein, but also within each of the countries. Chapter 6.6 discusses in 
more detail the topics associated with the "social objectives" that were expressed during the 
tax affair. 
Political actors in Germany 
Under the given circumstances, the following political actors can be identified: 
> (Government members (Federal Chancellor, Federal Minister of Finance, Federal 
Minister of the Interior, Federal Foreign Minister) 


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