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Crisis in the constitutional monarchy.
STOCKHOLM (Rixstep) — Sweden is in the throes of a constitutional monarchy crisis - there's a severe lack of snow shovels in the country.
This is the top story today with the country's most respected news source Svenska Dagbladet (SvD).
Sparse mention of Julian Assange's release is found only on the third fold of the home page.
SvD's article on the shortage of snow shovels represents a milestone in investigative journalism in Sweden: SvD's reporter Karin Thurfjell rang around to a number of garden supply outlets across the country to find out how bad the situation really was. Her article was condensed/expanded down/to 308 words.
Mention of Julian Assange now being free on bail was given 100 words and buried deep in the site.
This token article was however followed by a hyperlink list of previous articles with the giving title 'Read More About the Sex Crime Suspicions Against Julian Assange'.
The Swedes have taken the Rupert Murdoch idea to heart and perfected it for their own conditions. Sweden may have source protection in theory but it matters not when the media so gleefully play into the hands of the powers that be and simply refuse to report the news that matters.
There's no mention of the recent embassy cables, no mention of Assange's interviews today, no mention of Björn Hurtig's revelations about intercepted SMS traffic, no mention of the CNN coverage of the condemned harassment of Julian Assange - none of that. And this from Sweden's most respected news source. What happens outside Sweden stays outside Sweden and is only newsworthy in Sweden if it has something to do with Britney Spears, new accidental beaver shots, some celeb getting a divorce, or new makeup and wardrobe strategies for the weekend.
Swedish media, despite the much overhyped source protection, are part of an unholy alliance with the Swedish government, something akin to the Steve Ballmer OEM agreements. Media companies have to pay a revenue tax they can't afford and after paying that tax are normally entitled to government subsidies amounting to roughly the same thing. Garbage in, garbage out. The trick is the powers that be don't have to pay the tax revenues back in the form of subsidies - they can withhold payment at any time for in principle any reason. This effectively keeps the private parts of media corporation editors in a vise-like grip that results in a severe level of self-censorship.
Swedes may be second best in Europe when it comes to using English but they're notoriously chauvinistic when it comes to their own language. And few venture out from the confines of their constitutional monarchy duck pond to see what the media and the people in the world outside have to say - they've mostly only heard 'wild rumours' about the disgrace the current legal mess has put their country through, how they as a nation and a people have been roundly derided for their weird ideas.
Get your snow shovel as soon as you can. Get a bullshit shovel while you're at it. And use both to try to uncover the truth.
Screenshots from SvD Friday evening 17 December 2010. Happy holidays.
1. The complete article on Assange's release. Even the photo is crap. You don't crop Jennifer and get away with it.
2. The SvD home page. It's all about snow shovels.
3. SvD's 'sleaze list' of articles about Assange and his 'sex crimes'.
If I am able to reveal what I know, everyone will realise this is all a charade. If I could tell the British courts, I suspect it would make extradition a moot point.
- Björn Hurtig
SvD: Svårt att få tag på snöskyfflar
SvD: Assange släppt
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