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Thomas Mattsson: The Curse of Journalism

Mattsson's - and Expressen's - journalism is the worst kind ever.

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Right as rain: Sweden's revolting afternoon tabloid Expressen already responded to being pwned by Julian Assange at today's WikiLeaks press conference in London.


Beholding the behaviour of Expressen is something that makes decent Swedes everywhere cringe. Swedes don't have any affection for the rag or the rag's editor in chief Thomas Mattsson. They might have held out a milligram of sympathy in the old days when the rag could occasionally surprise with real journalism and was fronted by decent editors and reporters. But those days are long gone.

Here's what they published minutes after their football reporter Robert Börjesson got totally pwned. Note the way they lead off.

Assange refuses to talk with Expressen

Expressen was first to reveal that Julian Assange is suspected of sex crimes in Sweden.

Recently Expressen revealed as well that WikiLeaks is planning a smear campaign against Carl Bildt if Assange is threatened with rendition from Sweden to the US.

Now the WikiLeaks founder refuses to talk with Expressen.

'As a result, we simply do not answer your questions', he said at a press conference Monday in London.

WikiLeaks spokesperson Julian Assange, suspected of sex crimes, refuses to answer Expressen's questions. He doesn't appreciate how Expressen revealed an internal document from the organisation which says that they're planning a smear campaign against minister for foreign affairs Carl Bildt (conservative party) if Assange is extradited to Sweden.

Julian Assange is afraid he'll be rendered to the US if he comes to Sweden.

'You are from Expressen who fabricated an entire story and made it front page in four editions last week', he said when Expressen's Robert Börjesson asked a question about Bildt at the press conference on Monday in connection with WikiLeaks releasing mail from the US-based think tank Strategic Forecasting (Stratfor).

Sweden acting like a kindergarten

In a mail exchange from a MEP very close to Bildt, Bildt is described as being very intelligent and having a photographic memory. Bildt also has a frosty relationship with [prime minister] Fredrik Reinfeldt dating back to Reinfeldt's time as head of the conservatives' youth movement when Bildt himself was prime minister.

'Sweden in relation to Carl Bildt is acting like a political kindergarten. It is totally absurd. And as a result, we simply do not answer questions to your organisation. As you know, your organisation works hand in hand with the Moderate Party, it is owned by the Bonniers.'

Expressen's editor in chief: strange behaviour

Expressen's editor in chief Thomas Mattsson says:

'This is of course very strange behaviour on the part of WikiLeaks to call a press conference and then not answer questions about alleged details about Carl Bildt which Julian Assange has spoken about previously and as spokesperson for WikiLeaks has told Expressen that the organisation has.'

'WikiLeaks has several times played an important role in exposing injustices, but the organisation seems unprepared to handle criticism and would rather control the media. I'm guessing that's why serious desks like the New York Times and the Guardian will no longer work with WikiLeaks.'

The above 'article' was put together on the spot by one Erik Högström who must have been thrilled to be able to interview his adored boss.

The Facts

The Expressen treatment of their embarrassing moment in London is ripe with dirty little tricks. But the most important fact in this context is to understand what Mattsson knows too well: Swedes don't read, and they rarely go outside of the Duckpond even when they do read.

So you can basically get away with telling them anything you please.

This is the tactic used up to now to smear Julian Assange inside the duckpond.

If Mattsson remarks casually 'I'm guessing that's why serious desks like the New York Times and the Guardian will no longer work with WikiLeaks' then that's what the Swedes in the duckpond will know - that and nothing else.

Free people outside the duckpond - as undoubtedly Mattsson himself - know full well it's the other way around: the NY Times and the Guardian conspired to go behind Julian Assange's back and release Cablegate without his knowledge - and it was only his threat to give all 250,000+ cables to Rupert Murdoch that got them to stop, shut up, and listen. Even then David Leigh was in the process of writing a book with notorious Guardian hatchet man Luke Harding, and as revenge they printed the entire encryption key to the Cablegate database - even the part that was never ever to be written down.

That's why there's nothing going on between the NY Times, the Guardian, and WikiLeaks - and that little fat shit Thomas Mattsson knows it.

Mattsson's the #1 purveyor of smear in Sweden today. He ascended the throne at Expressen after Otto Sjöberg in 2009. The Bonniers called in Sjöberg from their television station TV4 when it became obvious that rival Aftonbladet were cleaning up online. Sjöberg's solution? Start witch hunts. Start stalking innocent people.

Sjöberg began a campaign against Swedish celebrity Mikael Persbrandt. They literally made stuff up as they went along. Persbrandt was literally being stalked. And Sjöberg and the Bonniers watched their ad revenues slowly recover.

This reached a fever pitch in 2006 when Sweden's chancellor for justice Göran Lambertz intervened in the legal process to personally file charges against Sjöberg and Expressen. Sjöberg was convicted in 2010. He was of course moved to the side by the Bonniers before that, probably getting a watch and a medal or two in addition to a nice pension. And that's when the current editor Thomas Mattsson took over.

The new 'regime' at Expressen had been established. Thomas Mattsson became the curse of journalism.

Mattsson's time at the helm of Sweden's by far poorest excuse for toilet paper hasn't been easy - at least not for anyone but him (and perhaps his #1 attack dog Karin Olsson and professional thief Niklas Svensson). The leaks from the Expressen HQ in Marieberg are never abating: highly qualified journalists with guaranteed gravy train tickets for life are resigning in droves. All because none of them can stand Mattsson or the way he works (and the way he forces them to work).

Mattsson's in a lot of trouble today with the Swedish police. He sent a reporter down south out to buy a firearm on the black market. Then he had the reporter turn the weapon over to the police. He was after an article series on how easy it is to purchase weapons illegally in Sweden today. Except the police didn't like it - they don't appreciate Mattsson playing sheriff in town. Buying weapons illegally is illegal. But Mattsson thinks he's better than the law and doesn't have to abide by it. Mattsson is plummeting to earth.

That Old Standing Joke at Expressen

It's an old standing joke at Expressen: an editor assigns a lead to a neophyte who comes back a few hours afterwards to report there is no story, and the editor shouts back: 'THEN MAKE ONE UP, GODDAMMIT!'

Not even Expressen was always this bad. It was always a tabloid but there was some decency about the organisation. Bo Strömstedt was editor until 1991. He's the father of famous Swedish rock musician Niklas Strömstedt. (Curiously the latter's wife works for Expressen today as well as Bonnier's TV4.) But Bosse was a well respected man, and after his time at Expressen he became a professor in practical journalism at a Swedish university. Shock and horror if it ever be found Thomas Mattsson's given such a position.

Mattsson's - and Expressen's - journalism is the worst kind ever. It's sleaze that would rather concentrate on the Kardashians. It's horrendously proofread and copyedited - they don't have time for that. It's 90% ads and 10% gossip coming from the National Enquirer and a bevy of Rupert Murdoch websites. But it's worse.

The Bonniers and Mattsson are both notorious for their obsession with the Swedish Pirate Party and founder Rick Falkvinge, file sharing, The Pirate Bay, and anything associated with them. For example: Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.

All the major news outlets in Sweden - Aftonbladet, DN.se, SvD - were granted a chat session with Julian Assange during his August 2010 visit - except Expressen. That shouldn't be a coincidence. Mattsson's hatred of WikiLeaks - expertly disguised in the statement prepared by his reporter - borders on the deranged. And Mattsson's thinking patterns are all too reminiscent of Sarah Palin.

It was Thomas Mattsson who had to give the go-ahead to publish Julian Assange's name on the morning of Saturday 21 August 2010. But Thomas Mattsson hates Julian Assange. And so it didn't matter that Swedish publicists have a golden rule to never ever reveal identities.

In short: Thomas Mattsson is a disease.

At the end of the day, Mattsson is nothing more than the lapdog of the Bonnier family. He does what they want. Period. If Mattsson's any good at all to us, it's because he shows us just how it's done when people of unconscionable minds are told to skew the truth.

See Also
The Technological: Assange Shames Expressen
Fokus: Så gick det till när Expressen körde i diket

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