When I woke up this morning, P. was still sleeping and I took my phone to read some news. I often start with Svenska Dagbladet and Spiegel, to then check what Aftonbladet has to say. Aftonbladet is an equally good mirror for the Swedish collective mood, as BILD in Germany. Neither of them known for fantastic journalism, but both read by so many citizens, they have a loud voice.
If you have read previous posts, you are familiar with my scepticismtowards the dominant left-wing currents in Swedish journalism. Journalists somehow share socialist backgrounds more vigorously than a passion for the profession, which I find disputable, considering their influence.
If you have additionally read some yellow press last year, you are probably aware of it being a turbulent one for the Swedish Royals. After Victoria and Daniels wedding, the King ended up in the limelight of a ”Skandalbok” (scandalous book), Madeleine separated and did, outrageously enough not, surprisingly-suddenly-unexpected then anyway show up at ”castle dinners”, the Prince got a new girlfriend and they tried to make Silvia look like a Nazi. A TV documentary, followed by many articles of course. (watch it here). Please do watch it. My description here is a purposely short one.
But getting back to my morning lecture: The CEO of TV4, Jan Scherman, wrote a long article headed: ”Elitistic kindergarten children”, which quickly summarized came into being after opening a Christmas card from Queen Silvia. She had wished him Merry Christmas and added a personal note about how hurt she was when TV4 compared her with Adolf Eichmann, also called “the architect of the holocaust, in a documentary about her father, Walther Sommerlath.
”Det är inte lätt att svälja att bli likställd med Adolf Eichmann i TV4s Kalla Fakta den 5 december 2010.”
Jan Scherman gets so provoked, that he takes the time to write an article and get it published in one of Sweden’s biggest newspapers.
Why? I wonder. And with me 600 others who commented on the article within a couple of hours.
He starts with the assumption of the Queen trying to give him a bad conscience to then recognize this as an attempt to take control over the freedom of speech.
Wow. Isn’t that a bit overdone?
”The Queens, the Kings and their friends reactions to medias revelations show that our almost 100 year old parlamentary democracy is continuously threatened by those who want to direct the interpretation of democracy, not least when it comes to something as crucial as freedom of speech. (…) not only do they consider themselves better/ higher than all others, but they also don’t appreciate medias autonomy. We are supposed to be obedient subjects.” (read the rest here)
Obedient subjects? Jan points out that the Royals are trying to take power by deciding which stories should be told and which analysis is valid. I am pointing out that this is what media does all day long and therefore has more inbuilt power than a number of institutions in our democracy. The Swedish monarchy has no political power. It is also been voted into being by the parliament – a rather democratic procedure.
I think: (not about the documentary, not about Silvias family, just about the latest article in Aftonbladet)
- It is not particularly good behaviour to publish (parts of) a private letter in Aftonbladet. What makes you do something like that? How provoked can you get by a Christmas card?
- Interesting Aftonbladet prints this, since the news value is very small and they did not choose the subjective form of a chronicle or review.
- Great media is not controlled by the royals anymore. But it is not good if it tips over to another extreme either. After all, broadcast has huge responsibility.
- I agree with Jan Scherman that we should review who is steering us (neither Walther nor Silvia Sommerlath are in that position though). It would be very interesting to review media, unions, the courts and of course the Idol jury’s influence on public opinion and individual destinies. I am sure we will find extreme political backgrounds and false singing even there.
- “Media Circus” should be made an official word
- Happy New Year everyone! Royals, socialists, schlager musicians and Steve Jobs. I can’t wait for the new ipad.