A video featuring broadcaster WDR's children's choir singing an altered version of “My grandma rides a motorbike in the chicken coop,” something of a German children's classic, was pulled from a WDR channel's Facebook page on Friday evening. On Saturday, WDR boss Tom Buhrow apologized personally “with no ifs and buts.”
Critics, many of them online, took offense at a section in the altered song that had the grandmother driving to the doctor in an SUV and declared: “My grandma is an old environmental pig.” The governor of North Rhine-Westphalia state, where WDR is based, was among those who weren't amused.
“The debate about the best climate protection is increasingly being escalated by some into a generational conflict,” Armin Laschet wrote on Twitter. He added that WDR's song “crossed the limits of style and respect for older people. Instrumentalizing the young against the old is not acceptable.”
Mass-circulation daily Bild gave the flap front-page treatment on Monday, saying in an editorial that people born in the 1950s did a lot “to hand over a better, rich, peaceful country to their children and grandchildren.”
The government's efforts to combat climate change have been a top political issue in Germany over recent months. Environmental activists have criticized them for not going far enough.