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German tabloid Bild takes down politicians with its unmatched megaphone

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"Bild is a dangerous political instrument," she wrote, "a malicious creature that does not describe a certain Germany, but creates it."

It is often compared to The Sun, Rupert Murdoch's famous British tabloid, which has a similar circulation and style and wields comparable power in Britain.

'Only as powerful as politicians believe it to be'

"Bild can set the agenda politicians have to follow," wrote Michael Spreng, former editor of the sister publication Bild am Sonntag, on his blog Sprengsatz. "But it is only as powerful as politicians believe it to be."

Wulff assumed the presidency, largely a figurehead position, in 2010. He is a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union party, and she strongly backed him for the role.

In mid-December, several German papers simultaneously published reports that, during his term as prime minister of Lower Saxony, Wulff received a €500,000 ($640,000) home loan with unusually favorable terms from the wife of a wealthy businessman.

Faced with a media frenzy, Wulff apologized for not disclosing the loan before he became president. There is no evidence that Wulff broke any laws, but the consensus – acknowledged by Wulff in his apology – is that his actions were morally questionable and that his handling of the affair was clumsy.

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