Christoph & Lollo take on the tabloid press

The popular Viennese singer-songwriters Christoph & Lollo have a new target: Austria’s free tabloids.

After satirical zingers about the miserable lives of ski jumpers and political scandals, the comedian-musicians have taken aim at the dubious financial ties between gratis newspapers and politics in their latest song, Bettelmafia. The title refers to the “beggar mafia,” or alleged organized panhandling (generally claimed to be the work of criminal gypsy gangs from eastern Europe), which is a tried-and-tested staple of the Austrian yellow press alongside fake-quoting, fear-mongering, pictures of puppies and attacking entitlements for the needy.

With the three dominant Austrian tabloids Kronenzeitung, Heute and Österreich grabbing a total of €47 million in ad revenue from political and public institutions like the City of Vienna or the federal chancellery however, Christoph and Lollo reasonably wonder: “Who is the real beggar mafia?” These costly ads (paid for by public funds) convey indispensable service messages, for instance on the excellent state of municipal garbage collection – ironically, a job which consists largely of picking up scraps of gratis tabloids off Vienna streets.

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