GOTHENBURG (Rixstep) — In the autumn of 2017, #MeToo gained widespread attention worldwide when actress Alyssa Milano responded to allegations of sexual assaults against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein uncovered by the New York Times. To showcase the magnitude and ubiquity of sexual violence and harassment, Milano encouraged women to use the hashtag #MeToo.
So write university researchers Tina Askanius and Jannie Møller Hartley of Sweden's Malmö University and Denmark's Roskilde University respectively.
But the media reactions in these neighbouring Scandinavian countries were wildly different. Whilst Denmark's media took a cautious approach to the ensuing hysteria, the media elite in Sweden went all-in.
This is the subject of the new 18-page paper 'Framing Gender Justice: A comparative analysis of the media coverage of #metoo in Denmark and Sweden', now published online as of 6 September and freely available.
The study was conducted under the auspices of Sweden's Gothenburg University. Denmark's media were reluctant to create big headlines of the hysteria, and thereby profit by it, whereas the opposite was true in Sweden. Denmark took the more mature approach, attempting to look at the phenomenon, rather than to capitalise on it.
Sweden's media had a walloping 400% more articles.
Tina Askanius and Jannie Møller Hartley write in their press release that the decisive difference between Denmark and Sweden in this regard is that the Danes accepted that people's opinions could be important, whilst, in Sweden, it was all regarded as incontestable fact.
Sweden's journalists portrayed their country as a hotbed of sexual attacks, and very few readers dared challenge that perspective. The researchers also note that Denmark's politicians opted to keep MeToo at arm's length, whilst Sweden's political elite rushed to jump on the MeToo bandwagon.
Here's a clip of Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson asking PM Stefan Löfven why convicted rapists are not expelled as should happen, and Löfven, stuttering, trying to regroup, and trying to change the subject, asking Åkesson 'aren't you following the MeToo debate?' - And thereby getting laughed at by an otherwise sympathetic state media audience. This debate was televised live on 6 May last year.
In contrast to the lukewarm scepticism in most countries, MeToo went hysteric in both the US and Sweden. Denmark is one of the countries - a neighbouring Scandinavian country - where people were able to keep their cool.
Several Swedish journalists tried to jump on the MeToo bandwagon and were subsequently exposed as frauds. Others recanted and finally admitted they'd fabricated the stories they'd spread. Other media sources in the US have exposed how the tidal wave of MeToo has been cynically coopted to destroy the careers and lives of ideological adversaries.
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