Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. New posts: Mondays & Wednesdays.
SPOTLIGHT: Why conduct research when you can publish rumours?
BIG PICTURE: The media wants us to believe the Swedish Democrats, a political party expected to make history in Sweden’s September 9th election, are racist Neanderthals. For example, according to Bloomberg news, this party has “neo-Nazi roots” and therefore shouldn’t be taken seriously.
But Bloomberg provides no specifics. There’s no suggestion it examined actual evidence and came to its own, independent conclusion. What’s really going on is this: An anti-establishment political party routinely smeared by Swedish journalists is now being smeared by North American journalists (see my earlier discussions here, here, and here).
Bloomberg published its evidence free neo-Nazi allegations in April. In fact, it included them in its headline. Four months later, when the Washington Post reported on cars being torched in Sweden, that newspaper described the Sweden Democrats as “a far-right party with links to neo-Nazism.”
Did the Post go to the trouble of supporting its claim with concrete details? Nope. It merely pointed to the evidence free Bloomberg story. This, dear readers, is modern journalism. Much of what you read in newspapers relies on second or third or fourth hand knowledge. Rumours get taken as fact. Repetition is confused with truth.
Figuring out what went on in the early years of a 30-year-old political party isn’t easy. British journalist Douglas Murray concedes that racism was a problem in the Sweden Democrats at the beginning, but says the bad actors were ejected long ago. It’s worth noticing that even though there are definite links between Nazis and the German Green Party, news outlets don’t talk about this incessantly.
In any case, everyone – including journalists at Bloomberg and the Washington Post – can read present day statements by the Sweden Democrats on social media. Indeed, Facebook handily translates this material into English. Having examined more than eight months’ worth of these posts, I’ve found no evidence of Nazi sympathies. Quite the opposite.
In May of this year, the Sweden Democrats celebrated America’s decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem. Calling this “a great moment for the state of Israel,” it urged Sweden’s government to do likewise. Instead, Sweden has publicly criticized the US position, and voted against it at the United Nations Security Council.
How ironic that the Sweden Democrats are, in fact, noticeably more pro-Israel than the people who call that party ugly names.
In March and June of this year, it protested the fact that Swedish taxpayers are funding Palestinian organizations that financially reward the families of suicide bombers who murder Israeli civilians. A third post condemned militant Islamic preachers for spreading anti-Semitism and homophobia in Sweden.
But it is a December 2017 post that is most illuminating. In that instance, Mattias Karlsson, a former leader of the Sweden Democrats, responded to an arson attack on a synagogue in the Swedish city of Gothenburg by declaring (in translation):
I would like to point out that I personally have been involved in this issue for at least a decade and that the [Sweden Democrats] warned and tried to counter this development for at least a decade…there were very few who listened to us over the years.
In contrast to journalists, Karlsson backs up his statements. A blog post he published in early 2012 (Google translation here) points to three separate occasions in 2008, 2009, and 2010 when the Sweden Democrats rang alarm bells at Malmo city council about growing anti-Semitism in local schools.
So here’s the big picture. The Sweden Democrats is an unabashedly anti-immigration party. It believes recent immigrants have harmed Sweden in multiple ways. For example, coming in large part from countries where anti-Semitism is rampant, immigrants bring anti-Semitism with them. (German Chancellor Angela Merkel has admitted this problem also exists in Germany.)
How bizarre that the political party that has been shouting itself hoarse about anti-Semitism is the one journalists keep describing as neo-Nazi.
|The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam
→ Receive posts via e-mail by signing up on the right side of this page, above – or by following this blog on Facebook and Twitter.
→ Download or e-mail a PDF of this post by clicking the Print button under Share This below – then select the blue arrow beside PDF at the bottom left.