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The Comfortable Life

What you can't see won't hurt you.


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Dick Erixon's a good guy. He really is. Like a favourite uncle. But Dick is old school. That means something special in Sweden.

Dick Erixon is the official publisher ('ansvarig utgivare') of the website 'Samtiden', where he's the principal contributor, and also of the hit YouTube channel Riks. Both Samtiden and Riks are sponsored by the up-and-coming Sweden Democrats, the popular haven for Social Democrats who've been disappointed with their party which they describe as 'off the rails'.

Riks upload short news segments all day, every day, including weekends. From time to time they have international guests and collaborators, and then the shows can run in English instead. They had Dutch Eva Vlaardingerbroek for half a year, and Eva became good friends with Emmie Mikaelsson, a Riks regular who herself has some of her roots in the US and in diplomatic work. Here's Eva's opening.

Riks has rapidly become the 'go to' destination for people who are justifiably fed up with seeing their country go to the dogs. Sweden recently received the distinction of being crowned the most dangerous country in Europe. Here's Eva on Tucker talking about it, back when Sweden was only second most dangerous.

And here they are at Riks, celebrating their first anniversary.

Recently Riks covered the Kyle Rittenhouse case in one of their morning segments. Four reporters were on hand: Christopher Jarnvall, Richard Sörman, Emmie Mikaelsson who emceed, and Dick Erixon. The show wandered towards the end to Dick who covered the US part in seven minutes.

Dick began by explaining that the US has been hit with record-high inflation. 6.3%. The highest in thirty years. But, Dick explains, it's not an 'explosive' development, despite it being the highest in thirty years.

OK...

But where did that inflation come from, ask the others. Oh that's just the economy recovering from the pandemic, Dick tells them. There may be a few snags along the way with supply and demand and stuff, but things will be OK, Dick assures them.

And CNN already warned Biden, Dick tells them.

(There went the supply chain crisis - did you see it?)

And now comes Thanksgiving, Dick says, that's next Thursday, and petrol is more expensive, so is the cost of food, and people will want turkey and that kind of stuff, Dick reminds them, so politicians are sounding the alarm, saying Biden has to fix this.

The Democrats are getting nervous, says Dick.

So does inflation go up all the time? asks Emmie.

Oh no, says Dick. It was high back in the 1990s, but it's been low since then. Both in the US and the EU.

So it's gone up because of the recovery after the pandemic? asks Richard.

Precisely! says Dick. Things have been a bit shaky with the 'global pandemic', he adds. (Pandemics are always global, Dick. That's what the word means.)

Transportation's not working as it should, Dick tells them. We're vulnerable with all this globalisation. And this can hurt Biden.

Biden is crashing and burning, says Christopher.

Dick turns to Kenosha. There's a big trial going on over there in - here he has to put on his glasses to read - in Ke... Ke-NOOSHA, where they had huge riots last year, with *BLACK LIFE MATTER*. That's when the police shot a black man. IN THE BACK. He survived but that started things...

[No further background info there. Dick must have been watching CNN.]

There was vandalism for days on end in Ke-NOOSHA, says Dick.

And then a seventeen-year-old named - Dick has to put on his glasses again - KYLE RITTENHOUSE set out with an AUTOMATIC WEAPON to protect homes and shops. And so he was there the third night, with that weapon, WHICH HE IS NOT LEGALLY PERMITTED TO HAVE, according to 'US law', says Dick. And then he was chased by THREE PEOPLE into a CORNER...

So it's a debate about law and order, Dick concludes. And, because there were other shots heard in the background, Kyle's attorney claims that Kyle acted in self-defence...

[This is the same Rittenhouse case that the rest of us have been following?]

They're good at bringing politics into the courtroom in the US, says Dick, and the others agree.

Is this the result of 'defund the police'? asks Emmie.

Precisely! says Dick. That's what got this... KYLE... to come to Ke-NOOSHA, with all the vandalism and stuff... And Kyle was an APPRENTICE with the FIRE DEPARTMENT in his own home town... He just wanted to help! And it's mostly black folks who are hurt by the riots! But they don't mention that in the media!

What do you think will happen, asks Emmie.

Acquittal, guesses Dick. BUT HE HAS COMMITTED A CRIME, he reminds the others. POSSESSION OF AN ILLEGAL FIREARM! So he'll get convicted for that!

The comments come in. Of 118 comments at the time, ten of them were to point out Dick's error.

Kyle Rittenhouse didn't do anything illegal, wrote 'David C'. Kyle Rittenhouse had a legal right to bear that weapon, and it wasn't an automatic weapon, wrote 'loukasmaki'. Wrong! It wasn't an automatic weapon. It was an AR-15 which is semi-automatic, wrote fy2447. Kyle Rittenhouse, according to state law, had a right to bear that weapon, but not a pistol, due to his age. Dick is wrong here, wrote Kai Johnsson. Kyle hasn't broken any laws, Dick is wrong, wrote Andreas Larsson. He didn't use an automatic weapon. The AR-15 is semi-automatic, wrote 'Kyle R'. 1. Kyle Rittenhouse had a semi-automatic, not an automatic, weapon. 2. Kyle had a legal right to bear that weapon, wrote Alexander Arvidsson. That wasn't an illegal firearm, wrote 'Jolstein'. Factual error. He had a legal right to bear that weapon, and it was NOT an automatic weapon, wrote 'BiolBoir Vids'. The AR-15 is not an automatic weapon, wrote 'Ghost Rider'.

Those ten are readers, not journalists like Dick Erixon. Nearly 10% of the comments point out the error.

But why is the case such a big deal? Dick tells the others that it is a big deal, but he doesn't actually explain.

It turns out that, when Dick wants to know what's going on in the US, he turns to CNN. (For news about the UK, he seems to like 'Grauniad'.)

And that could explain a lot of it. This is perhaps because CNN and little more is available on Swedish cable subscriptions. Ordinary punters probably don't get MSNBC, and Fox is notoriously hard to get in Europe - Sky in the UK used to have Fox, they're part of the same company, but they only got about 5,000 viewers per night. As for Epoch and Newsmax and OAN: forget it.

But that's for punters, not journalists. Journalists are supposed to go further. And although the US has never been his speciality, Dick is reporting on the US now, and he should understand that due diligence is therefore required. But he doesn't understand. Does it really matter? Something happening outside Sweden? Dick isn't too good at English anyway. Riks used to have another reporter to cover events in the US, but he's gone now for some reason.

But the Kyle Rittenhouse case is a big deal, and that goes way over Dick's head. The Kyle Rittenhouse case is about trust in the media. For over a year the MSM in the US had been feeding people with outright lies about the case. People had heard the name before but never had the time to look into it. Now they did - and they were in for a shock.

Dick evidently relies on CNN. Perhaps he can blame them for getting even the most basic facts of the Rittenhouse case wrong.

√ Kyle was not in illegal possession of a firearm. His first lawyer pointed this out over a year ago. The matter was finally resolved on the final day of the trial, but everyone already knew it - everyone but Dick Erixon who gets his news from CNN.

√ The three 'bad guys' didn't chase Kyle into a corner. There was no corner at all, unless you call an empty lot or the middle of Sheridan Road a corner.

Sweden was a more amenable place before the European Union. The country was closed-off, and that was a good thing. No military alliances, no trade groups, near-perfect neutrality. So no need to know what's going on in the outside world.

Evening tabloids liked to lead with photo-heavy pieces on stupid shit going on in the outside world. These were mostly 'feel good' pieces. Readers absorbed them, shook their heads in disbelief, did a bit of 'tsk tsk', and felt better about their own situation afterwards. Very gratifying.

You didn't have to do good journalism back then. You take a piece of three thousand words in a foreign language, struggle to understand a bit of it, sketch out a summary in a few grafs of perhaps three hundred words all told, and you submit it. Did you get the story right? Did you catch all the nuances? It doesn't matter: no one's ever going to know anyway.

That is undeniably a comforting world to live in. But as long as Sweden is in the EU and thereby the outside world, it's not good enough.

Emmie, Richard, and Christopher listened to Dick explain what was going on in Kenosha, and probably swallowed it all. The YouTube page where this clip is published has, however, received at least ten comments correcting Dick on his 'fake news'. Given that 2022 is a crucial election year for Sweden, and given that Riks can otherwise play a decisive role in that election's outcome, this is not a happy development. Riks needs to have people trust them, and trust them more than they do their other MSM outlets, some of which are infamously dishonest.

If Dick can't do better reporting on events outside Sweden, perhaps he should let it go.

Dick's sloppy journalism is going to make people look closer at his own website Samtiden. The pieces there are often opinion pieces, but how solid is the information on which those opinions are based?

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