On Tuesday, a panel of linguists in Germany declared Lügenpresse the dubious winner in the annual "Unwort des Jahres" competition. The annual, politically charged "non-word of the year" event critiques phrases that have taken on a pernicious meaning in the country over the course of a given year.
The coronation of Lügenpresse represents a troubling trend. The phrase, which means "lying press" and found most recent use in the Nazi era, has become something of a watchword among Germany's increasingly vociferous anti-immigrant (and largely anti-Muslim) activists. In recent months, these demonstrators have called on the media to "tell the truth" about what immigrants are doing to Germany.
Other recent winners include Sozialtourismus ("social tourism"), which in a certain context also relates to immigrants who come to Germany to indulge in state benefits, and Döner-Morde (Döner murder), which dismissively refers to murders of Turkish and Greek people. (For a compelling contrast, consider that just last week, the American Dialect Society named #blacklivesmatter as 2014's word of the year—the first time a hashtag has won.)
The non-word announcement came one day after the anti-immigrant group PEGIDA, the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West, staged a massive, 25,000-strong rally in the German city of Dresden. The event, scheduled before last week's shootings in Paris, doubled as a tribute to victims of the Charlie Hebdo massacre and a rally to promote an anti-immigration platform. According to Reuters, the crowd marched to chants of Lügenpresse, halt die Fresse ("Shut up, lying press").