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Time for Wolo to Say Goodbye
The truth's taken too much of a beating.
MARIEBERG (Rixstep) — Swedish mainstream media are at an all-time low. Now, with the latest scandal still fresh in people's minds, demands for real change are growing, in particular for the resignation of Bonnier attack poodle Peter 'Wolo' Wolodarski, a key chief editor of less than four years.
But what a four years it's been.
Most of us remember the 'Assange years' and how Bonnier continually harassed Julian Assange every time they got a chance. They published the first headline on the morning of Saturday 21 August 2010, they organised the fake '#TalkAboutIt' grassroots movement designed to stop Assange getting bail in Britain, they gave an award to their own journalist for that very same smear campaign, they published DDB's idiot book through one of their German subsidiaries, they they sent photographers to 3HC when Marianne Ny proclaimed a blackout for all media, and so forth.
The Bonniers are a breed apart. They're based in little Sweden, but they have a lot of power beyond those borders. They're an extended real-life family. One of them's been the country's ambassador to Israel, and been known to side with her host country against her own government. The Bonniers own stuff all over the place. They own Popular Mechanics and National Geographic, as but two examples. They own book publishing companies, reams of magazine companies, cinemas...
But ten years ago, and perhaps even to this day, none of that is bringing in the money they want.
[This is a long story, so kick back and enjoy the ride.]
Switch the narrative to one Jan Stenbeck for a moment. Stenbeck was a maverick in Swedish commerce, with a number of companies with names ending in 'vik' or 'viq', such as the mobile carrier Comvik (later Comviq). His main holding company was known as Kinnevik.
Stenbeck wanted to expand into television. And if you knew anything about Swedish media, you'd know how hard that is. Former parliamentarian Anders Björck, who led the important parliamentary committee on media expansion, told tales of the atmosphere in the parliament (riksdagen). The very thought of a 'free media' was considered 'a threat to democracy'. Yes it was that bad, says Anders.
Jan Stenbeck wanted to break the state monopoly. He had cable television companies and was all set. The Swedish state ran the only radio and television in the country. The radio stations were called P1, P2, P3, and so forth. The television stations were two in number - twice that of the smaller Nordic neighbours - and were called TV1 and TV2. TV1 was more for 'commoners', TV2 for those who at least thought they were more 'sophisticated'.
Jan Stenbeck hatched the idea of TV3. TV3 would be based in the UK but would 'bounce signals cross the sky' to the Nordic countries, including Sweden. Stenbeck needed revenues, so adverts were welcome on TV3.
The Swedes didn't like this. They tried to stop Stenbeck from using adverts. Stenbeck said that as TV3 was not based in Sweden, adverts couldn't be illegal. But the Swedes wouldn't budge.
One of Stenbeck's sisters - either Margaretha af Ugglas or Elisabeth Silfverstolpe or both - didn't like sport. And Stenbeck didn't much like them either. And that's where he supposedly got his idea. Namely to buy rights to all the major sport events, from right under the nose of Swedish state media who are expected to send them, just to piss his sisters off.
This gave Stenbeck another advantage. Swedes pay licence fees for their televisions. So they expect something for their money. Now that Stenbeck grabbed all the rights, the Swedish state had nothing.
The politicians were in a cold sweat panic. Stenbeck gave the Swedes an offer they couldn't possibly like but couldn't possibly refuse. The state needed to save face, and Stenbeck gave them a way to save face. At least a bit of it.
The deal went like this. Stenbeck would give state media a feed with a half hour delay. State media would then, as in a hilarious case with sport presenter Arne Hegefors, hide their own commentator in an obscure flat in the burbs, watching the television like anyone else, but pretending to be on location. State television would of course have no interruptions for adverts. And state media would of course pay dearly for the concession. But state media needed to do one more thing to please Jan Stenbeck. They had to get off his case about running adverts on his satellite TV3 channel.
This seems to have finally opened the way for Sweden to finally consider privately owned terrestrial television channels. As the state already had TV1 and TV2, and Jan Stenbeck had TV3, the name of this proposed channel would be TV4.
Parliamentary deliberations for TV4 were extensive. Advertising would be allowed, but only under the strictest of limitations. Feature films, for instance, could not be interrupted by adverts. (TV4 found a way around this, scheduling their movies a half hour before the evening news, so they could claim the adverts were before and after the news and the weather and had nothing to do with the movie.)
Ownership of this new TV4 was also critical. The Swedish state didn't want a private company setting an agenda. So the rules specified there had to be at least three stakeholders in TV4, and that none of the stakeholders could have a majority share.
That's how Jan Stenbeck moved into terrestrial Swedish TV. But also how the Bonniers moved in, as it turns out. For Stenbeck needed partners, as he couldn't have it all for himself. After a lot of shuffling, Bonnier took over, Stenbeck was gone, and TV4 - which had metamorphosed into the monster TV4 Group - was the cash cow the Bonniers had long needed. They wanted it all, but legislation stood in their way (and still does).
(All of this was researched in excruciating detail by WikiLeaks associate Johannes Wahlström whose article series can be found here.)
The Bonniers & Social Democracy
And then the social democrats lost power in 2006. This mostly because of their arrogant response to the tsunami disaster. One minister was alerted already on Friday evening, but barked back down the phone that she was at the theatre and didn't want to be disturbed. The prime minister was having a party at his summer cottage and didn't want to be disturbed either. A parliamentary enquiry ensued, and the social democrats were justifiably hated. In came Fredrik 'Sleeping Brain' Reinfeldt.
The social democrats never let up on the Bonniers. The Bonniers, forced to keep their TV4 ownership under 50%, were always trying new tricks, and the social democrat minister kept after them every step of the way. They never gave up, but she didn't give up either. Now there was a new government, and the Bonniers knew of a loophole in the legislation.
The law that made TV4 possible stipulated that criminal charges could be filed against TV4 stakeholders, but only by the sitting government. Which is what the social democrat minister in the old government could hold over the Bonniers' heads.
As Johannes Wahlström details in his report, emissaries of the Bonniers approached the new government shortly after the election. And they had an interesting proposition. If the new government would promise to not file charges against the Bonniers for gobbling up all the remaining stock in the lucrative TV4 Group, the Bonniers would promise that their publications - chiefly their newspapers - would come out for every election (and between whenever possible) in support of this new government.
The new government of Reinfeldt made it even easier for the Bonniers. They repealed a long-standing 'fair play' media law, so equal time for contrary opinions was no longer mandatory. But perhaps even more importantly, media were no longer required to clarify when articles were not factual but only opinion. Deliberately flawed (misleading) journalism was suddenly kosher.
[Note: this takes place four (4) years before Julian Assange comes to town in August 2010.]
And now we're finally up to date.
Shortly after Peter 'Wolo' Wolodarski took over as chief editor of Bonnier broadsheet DN.se in March 2013, he stated: 'we'll be investing more efforts into agenda-setting journalism'. Agenda-setting journalism basically means that if you keep repeating a news item for your readership, they'll ultimately believe that it's more important than other items, says blogger 'Morpheus'.
In other words, Wolo wanted to steer things in a more 'opinion-forming' direction. This tradition goes back to the 1960s when then-chief editor Olof Lagercrantz abandoned his fact-based journalism for liberal opinion-building. Under Wolo's management, falsehoods and blackouts have degenerated to such an extent that it's reasonable to demand his resignation.
Wolo's used his agenda heavily as regards immigration policy. In several reports he's used Orwellian terms to convince people that immigration is profitable - when in fact it's the opposite, costing the country hundreds of billions. His misleading coverage of the OECD report, of Sandviken, of UK immigration: they were all caught by our economist Tino Sanandaji. Sanandaji contacted Wolo's people and asked them to correct their errors, but he couldn't even get a response. It's disgraceful that Sweden's biggest broadsheet should report direct lies and refuse to correct them, says Morpheus.
In 2014 Wolo published an article by one Golnaz Hashemzadeh, who claimed to be a farmer, and who claimed that there were racist firemen in the polar town of Boden. The article claimed that an immigrant fireman had been forced to quit because of racist bullying. A closer examination revealed however that the entire story was a falsehood. Bengt Nilsson, fire chief in Boden, denied the story in its entirety.
'I've read the article, and in my world, it's defective. We've never employed anyone like that.'
The only fireman in Boden who's not native to Scandinavia comes from White Russia, and he's still working there, and he loves it.
Wolo doesn't have high regard for his employees. The story of this horror is related here and should be a chapter unto itself. Wolo wasted millions trying to harass a dozen veteran journos to voluntarily quit (as it's almost impossible to sack someone in Sweden).
One of the journos said:
'I'm still traumatised by it all. I actually pity the bosses who were forced to be so brutal with their employees. I hope they can sleep at night. It goes against everything we're taught about ethical management and our current legislation. Put simply: those poor people were bullied.'
It was a personal insult. Our legislation protecting workers' rights had just had its 40th anniversary. It was a double insult.'
Of the dozen journos that were to be bullied until they quit, eight had worked there for at least 15 and up to 40 (forty) years. Seven were qualified editors. Some of them had been the recipients of international awards. One of them had only half a year remaining before her retirement.
The Journalist Association made a statement calling Wolo's management 'Ryanair in Swedish', adding:
'Wolo's employees are threatened to remain silent. They're bullied and harassed. Their union representatives are put under gag orders.'
Wolo refused for several months to comment on the 'Freezer'. He was confronted by a journalist during the Almedalen week in 2015. He not only refused to talk to the reporter, he literally ran away. This is behaviour inappropriate for the chief editor of the country's biggest broadsheet, says Morpheus.
Refugees & Criminality
Wolo deliberately keeps a blackout on refugee criminality. Reporter Ulrika By admitted as much in an interview she gave in 2013 after the Husby riots.
'All I know, from my own experience, is that we filter out stories and events that can play to xenophobic sentiment. We do not cite everything we hear, and we do not report everything we see.'
Wolo's coverage of the horrific 'IKEA murders' was also driven by agenda. His front page used the headline 'Lethal violence decreasing, despite all' - which is nothing short of an insult to the victims. But more: it's an outright lie. For many more people are being murdered today than at any time in the past forty years.
Barbro Jöberger worked for the Bonniers for 23 years. She later chose to write independently under the nom de plume Julia Caesar. Super-veteran reporter Ulf Nilsson wrote a review of one her books in October 2010, saying it was 'exceptionally well written'. As for her nom de plume, he wrote:
'Julia Caesar chose a nom de plume for security reasons. That's right: security reasons. There's a risk she'll be attacked, perhaps murdered. For those who discuss issues like this, Sweden is a scary place - a bit hard to understand for those of us who grew up in poverty but back when the country was still in many ways a paradise.'
In August 2015 Julia Caesar revealed that she'd been harassed and persecuted for several months by Wolo's journalist Niklas Orrenius and his photographer Annika Hamrud. Julia pleaded with them to protect her anonymity, but they kept coming back to both her home and her summer cottage. And in the end, Wolo hung her out with her real name and with Annika Hamrud's photos at the sister tabloid Expressen. The incident caused a wave of protests, and Marika Formgren called for Wolo's boycott.
At the same time, Ulf Nilsson's article on Julia Caesar's book was silently removed from the web.
In September 2015, Wolo reported that 'experts dismiss worries about jihadists reaching Europe'. At the same time, Lebanon's Minister for Education warns that 2-3% of all refugees are in fact terrorists send out by Islamic State. The 'Charlie Hebdo' attack takes place two months later. The criminal investigation that followed showed that at least one of those jihadists entered the EU carrying a Syrian passport and claiming to be a refugee.
On New Year's Eve in Cologne Germany, approximately 1,000 (one thousand) men, from the middle east and north Africa, robbed, groped, harassed, sexually assaulted, and raped German ladies at the central train station. Wolo tried a blackout for several days until the news went viral on social media. His hypocrisy reached new heights when his headline finally read 'the silence is an insult to the victims'.
But the biggest scandal of them all - the ultimate Wolo - happened on 9 January 2016.
Back in August 2015, several hundred teenage (and preteen) girls were sexually assaulted, at the 'We Are Stockholm' music festival in the Royal Park in downtown Stockholm, by supposed 'child refugees' from Afghanistan. A counselor, who'd helped many of the victims, contacted Wolo's reporter Hanne Kjöller on 17 August 2015. The counselor later reported:
'She was very interested, and listened intently, until I mentioned that those arrested were all child refugees. Her tone changed immediately.'
For Wolo and his assistant Caspar had Kjöller shut down, with rumours she might be sent to the dreaded 'Freezer'. Kjöller later told the counselor that her 'Stockholm editor' had taken over the story, and had concluded it was all 'xenophobic fabrications'.
But after the events in Cologne were out, Wolo suddenly reported on the incidents in Stockholm - only half a year late in the one case, 18 months in the other. Wolo's columnist Lars Wierup wrote:
'I have no idea why there was a blackout on the sexual assaults these past two years in Stockholm. But the mere suspicion, that this was something we were not to report, is a betrayal of the victims.'
That was all Chang Frick of the independent Nyheter Idag (News Today) needed. He saw the gaffe and ran it down.
'I reacted to not having seen anything about the park incidents before that, and here it was only mentioned in passing', wrote Frick, and adds:
'Simultaneously I got an email message drop into the inbox. And it didn't take me more than a second or two to add 1 to 1 and arrive at 2. I rang up the psychologist, I met with him, and we went through all the materials. Then I spoke a long time with the police constable. This was all legit.'
So Wolo was exposed. And potentially had to deal with tens of thousands of angry parents, not to say an equal number of angry young girls, who would never have considered getting anywhere near the park, had they known what was going on.
[Yes, the police covered it up too. Yes, on government orders.]
This map should be easy to read. Dark blue is 2014 (18 incidents) and dark red is 2015 (20 incidents). 'Sexofredande' means 'sexual assault'. 'Grov våldtäkt' means aggravated rape, of which one was reported for each year. '15-17 år' means '15-17 years old', 'över 18 år' means 'over 18 years old', and 'under 15 år' means 'under 15 years old'. These assaults all took place in the most central of locations of Stockholm, on the capital's 'banking street', within view of the Royal Palace, the Guide Michelin restaurant Operakällaren, and the legendary Grand Hôtel.
(To read the rest of this incredible story, click here.)
Wolo & Janouch
But this is only scraping the surface.
Katerina Janouch is a popular author in Sweden, but she's from Czechoslovakia. She's seen the latest reports from the national crime prevention agency BRÅ and she knows things are getting worse in Sweden. A full third of all Swedish women are afraid to go outdoors at night. And so forth.
Katerina was recently interviewed by Czech media. She reported on the sad trends in Sweden. That was too much for Wolo.
Unfortunately for Katerina, Wolo has a reporter who's also from Czechoslovakia. He was tasked with studying Katerina's interview and responding to it.
Although experts, such as economist Tino Sanandaji, have since come forward and corroborated everything Katerina said, Wolo unleashed his columnists to destroy her, to the extent that bookstores are now refusing to continue carrying her books.
'I couldn't believe it was true until I saw it in black and white', wrote reporter Marcus Birro. 'They're after her children's books! I've read one of them. It's fantastic! Katerina is now being hunted!'
'One year ago, I wrote an article calling for Wolo's resignation', wrote Morpheus in response. 'But when none of us thought things could possibly get worse, he's now taken a step into outright mafia methods to silence people.'
'And now Wolo's taken a further step: contacting Katerina's publisher. This is reminiscent of methods used by the GDR who stopped dissidents from publishing.'
'So now Katerina's demanded Wolo's resignation.'
'And we can only agree - it's time for Wolo to say goodbye.'
Peter 'Wolo' Wolodarski is but the tip of an iceberg. Ridding Sweden's biggest broadsheet of Wolo is certainly called for, but there's more to be done. A lot lot more.
Rixstep Learning Curve: #dngate
Nyheter Idag: Dagens Nyheter Not Telling Truth About Sexual Assault Coverup
Nyheter Idag: Dagens Nyheter Refused to Write About Sex Crimes in Stockholm
Morpheus: Time for Wolo to Say Goodbye (Swedish)
Rixstep Industry Watch: The Bonnier Political Kindergarten
The Technological: Assange Shames Expressen
Rixstep's Hall of Monkeys: Thomas Mattsson: The Curse of Journalism
Rixstep Learning Curve: Swedish Right + Bonniers = TRUE
Rixstep Industry Watch: Assange & UNWGAD, Bonnier & Taxi Stockholm
Rixstep Industry Watch: Assange/Sweden: Bonnier Continue Attack on Harald Ullman
Rixstep Industry Watch: Another Bonnier Sunday
The Technological: Fashioning Your Career in the Swedish MSM
Rixstep's Hall of Monkeys: Candypig & Humpty Dumpty
Rixstep Industry Watch: These Two Own Sweden
Rixstep Industry Watch: 'Pig Farm Expressen'
Rixstep Industry Watch: Our Man Bildt
Rixstep Industry Watch: The Bildt Files