by Bruce Bawer
It’s hard to believe now, but there actually was a time when I viewed journalism as a noble profession.
(I was very young.)
On Monday, Norwegian voters, by a convincing margin, turned out the socialists and opted for a new, non-socialist government. This was how the British daily the Independent – which is regarded in some circles as a serious paper – headlined the news:
“Norway election results: Anti-immigrant party with links to mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik set to enter government under Conservative leader Erna Solberg.”
Just below the headline, to underscore the most important part of the message – namely, that the Progress Party has “links” to Breivik – were two equally large pictures of Breivik, the murderer, and Siv Jensen, the head of the Progress Party, which won 16.3 percent of the vote in Monday’s parliamentary ballot. The Independent‘s reporter, Tony Paterson, devoted a considerable chunk of his text to a recap of the Breivik murders, and only several paragraphs into the piece did he make it clear that the nature of Breivik’s “links” to the party was that he’d supported it “in his youth,” but later turned away from it because it wasn’t “militant enough.”
Paterson also claimed that after the Breivik atrocities the Progress Party had “toned down its radical anti-Islamic rhetoric” (as if radicalism consisted in opposing, rather than imposing, things like forced marriage and honor killing) and “tried to present itself as a party of government” (as opposed to a party of what?).
“Polls,” Paterson wrote, “have shown that Progress appeals to one in seven of Norway’s voters.” Quick question: why cite polls when there was an election on Monday that tells you exactly how many Norwegian voters support the Progress Party!?
(And those voters did so, note well, in defiance of years of vicious, concentrated effort by the Norwegian media and political establishment to isolate the Progress Party and to brand its supporters as racists, bigots, and – since 2011 – associates of a mass murderer.)
The Independent wasn’t the only international media outlet that seemed determined to make Breivik the face of the Progress Party. The New York Times worked him into the second sentence of its article on the election results. So did Le Monde. Ditto the Toronto Globe and Mail, which perpetrated this disgusting affirmation: “The Progress party, which once had among its members Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people in 2011 in a gun and bomb attack targeting Labour, came third in Monday’s poll, giving it a kingmaker role in coalition building.”
Meanwhile, next door in Sweden, Aftonbladet columnist Katrine Kielos went easy on the Breivik angle, but could barely contain her shock and disgust at the decision of the Norwegian electorate: “Who ever said that politics was fair?” Apparently implying that Siv Jensen was the second coming of Hitler, Kielos fulminated that it was “as if World War II never happened. This in the country that hands out the Nobel Peace Prize.”
And Britain’s Guardian, not to be outdone by its rival the Independent, hired a Norwegian sociology professor to pen a whole article – illustrated with a huge picture of Breivik – the only aim of which was to yoke the Progress Party to the insane killer.
The theme running through most of this coverage was clear: as a survivor of Breivik’s shooting spree told Paterson, the Progress Party’s “anti-immigrant rhetoric…will create a more hostile environment.”
Yes, hostile. We don’t want any hostility, do we? For, you see, under socialist rule, Norway is one big lovefest. Take these examples:
* Earlier this month, Oslo imams and police officials went on a buddy-buddy “team-building” exercise to strengthen their (supposedly) already powerful bonds of mutual respect and trust. Aftenposten depicted the whole thing as just plain adorable. (“Did you remember your sneakers?” one imam was quoted as asking another.) Only a wet blanket – a truly hostile type – would point out that this gaggle of clerics included the likes of Mehtab Afsar, who has argued aggressively that Islam should be exempt from criticism, and Ghulam Sarwar, who in an interview earlier this year expanded at length on his theory that negative images of Islam in the Western media can be traced to the nefarious influence of “the Jews.”
* Just before the election, the Norwegian government announced its plan to cover the salaries of 380 Somalian government officials. How magnanimous – and how typical of the loving spirit of the Stoltenberg regime! Who but a (yes) hostile observer would draw attention to the fact that Somalia is governed according to sharia law?
* Then there’s the story of Ola Thune, head of the homicide division at Norway’s National Criminal Investigation Service, who – as TV2 reported the other day – converted to Islam at “a beautiful ceremony in an Oslo mosque” where Thune (now known as Ola Amir) “pledged his allegiance to Allah in ringing Arabic.” Who but the most unbearably hostile individual would question the wisdom of having a Muslim convert at the highest level of Norway’s version of the FBI?
Community! Solidarity! These are Labor Party’s very slogans; anybody who’s paid the slightest bit of attention to the election campaign has heard Stoltenberg repeat them dozens of times – and has seen them echoed endlessly in the almost exclusively left-wing Norwegian media.
To be sure, when the subject shifts to Jews…well, consider the following.
In May, the proudly socialist Dagbladet ran a cartoon that showed a baby lying on a table, screaming in pain and bleeding profusely. While a rabbi sticks a giant fork in the infant’s head, the hand of another person, presumably a mohel, holds something that looks like a pair of hedge clippers, with which he’s just circumcised the newborn. A woman holding what is apparently meant to be a copy of the Hebrew Bible tells a cop: “Abuse? No, this is tradition! An important part of our faith!” The cop, smiling, replies: “Faith? Oh, well then it’s OK!” And another cop, also smiling and already halfway out the door, says: “Sorry for the interruption.”
It was far from the first anti-Semitic cartoon to appear in a major Norwegian newspaper. (Cartoons equating Jews with Nazis are a beloved staple of the Norwegian press.) But this particular cartoon happened to gain a degree of international attention, so much so that Dagbladet felt obliged to publish on its website an incredibly lame statement, composed in English, in which it defended its decision to run the cartoon, claimed to have “a long and consistent history of fighting antisemitism” (ha!), and insisted that “religious sentiments, dogmas or rituals cannot be exempt from criticism” – an argument that the same newspaper has rejected time and time in regard to Islam, notably in the case of the Danish Muhammed cartoons.
Indeed, Dagbladet, like other major Norwegian dailies, has consistently maintained that freedom of speech doesn’t give one the right to offend the most cherished religious beliefs of others. But by “others,” it means Muslims – not Jews. Among the latest examples of the paper’s valiant struggle against anti-Semitism was an August 26 editorial headlined “The cancerous tumor that is spreading.” The message was straightforward: all the troubles in the Middle East – Iran, Syria, Egypt, Libya, you name it – can be attributed to “the mother of all conflicts,” namely the one between Israel and Palestine. In other words, it’s all Israel’s fault.
Such is the beautiful, hostility-free social harmony that’s being threatened by the ascent of the Progress Party and Siv Jensen – a woman who, over the years, has gotten into hot water for such insufferably hostile activities as defending Israel’s right to exist, challenging the Labor Party’s chummy contacts with Hamas, and giving the keynote speech at a 2009 pro-Israel rally.
Then again, Stoltenberg and his socialist cronies will probably be back in power soon enough. Consider this: a new report shows that about 50% of the country’s Third World immigrants support Labor, while another 25% vote for the two parties on the far side of Labor – the Socialist Left and the Reds (i.e., Communists). After the new government takes control, any effort at significant immigration reform by the Progress Party is likely to be heavily watered down (if not killed outright) by other parties. Meaning that non-Westerners will continue to flow into Norway – and that the socialists will stand a better chance every day of being returned to power, so they can crush the “hostile environment” created by the Progress Party and reboot the left-wing, Islamophilic, anti-Semitic lovefest.
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