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Don't forget about the 'good' internet hatred

13 Feb 2013, 14:09

Published: 13 Feb 2013 14:09 GMT+01:00

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There's no doubt that internet hatred and threats against people who actively take part in public discourse are a growing problem. But when Sveriges Television's (SVT) investigative news programme Uppdrag granskning examined the topic last week, the perspective was almost entirely restricted to women who were attacked for their leftist views.

Internet hatred, I can tell you, also affects women who are not on the left. We have that in common, but there is a striking difference: Hatred directed at us from the left often finds its way into the established media.

Some examples: Last summer, Sara Skyttedal, vice chairwoman of the Young Christian Democrats, wrote a critical piece about the Pride Festival in which she argued that the festival was fixated on sex and exhibitionism, and in so doing did homosexuals a disservice.

She was subsequently met with aggressive, unwarranted attacks from established journalists and pundits.

The one who probably went the farthest was musician and liberal commentator Alexander Bard who wrote: "WHO ASKED YOU FOR YOUR FASCIST OPINION? We are NOT HERE TO PLEASE YOU! Fuck off, BITCH!"

Nor do these phenomena only affect women.

Last summer, the left-wing cartoonists at Galago Magazine joked that Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) editorial writer Per Gudmundson should be shot. When SvD filed a report with the Justice Chancellor (Justitiekanslern, JK), Gudmundson was mocked for being easily offended.

Simon Fors, a local Left Party politician who sits on the municipal and county councils in Pajala and Norrbotten in northern Sweden, tweeted: "Don't all people with a brain advocate that Gudmundson be executed?"

Additionally, the site Vita kränkta män ('Wronged white men') regularly exposes and mocks men whom its administrator considers not to be sufficiently equality-minded or left-leaning. This site and its author are celebrated in the traditional media for being amusing and progressive.

Conservative columnist and blogger Alice Teodorescu has received death threats for her views on integration and equality - partly because she's not a feminist. Among other things, people have written that you should "load your rifle" when you see her and accused her of writing that "foments class hatred".

Another SvD columnist, Johanne Hildebrandt, has been threatened with rape and murder. She has also said that the hateful internet trolls targeting her become more active every time Åsa Linderborg or Jan Guillou accuse her in the Aftonbladet newspaper of being a warmonger.

"The hatred from the left is the worst," she said when we met up this week.

"They think they are morally superior, that they can spout off anything they want."

Pundits that would scream bloody murder if Skyttedal, Teodorescu, Hildebrandt, or I were paid less than men, or were subjected to repressive tactics in the boardroom, do not hesitate to write that we are disgusting, idiots, and fascists.

And this isn't behaviour exclusive to the internet trolls.

When Aftonbladet's opinion pages devoted two articles to finding similarities between me and Anders Behring Breivik - to underpin their thesis that we were both child killers - I had the same concern as Hildebrandt did: that such a comparison would spawn many more and more aggressive attacks from the haters.

We expected comments like those who agree with the Left Party's Simon Fors when he wrote that "Moderates deserve nothing but bullets".

Story continues below…

That's what hatred from the left looks like. The refined, "good" hatred that affects men and women because we are not sufficiently pacifist, queer, feminist, or simply because we aren't on the left.

Paulina Neuding

Editor-in-Chief, Neo


This article was originally published in Swedish in the (SvD) newspaper Svenska Dagbladet

English translation by The Local.

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Your comments about this article

15:41 February 13, 2013 by RobinHood
Extremist trolls have always existed on both sides of the political spectrum. But, in Sweden, extremists from the Left are not recognised for what they are.

People, who in most societies would be thought of as morally unfit for employment or public office, gain senior jobs as journalists and politicians.

One thing trolls do not like, is the light. Thank you Ms Neuding, and the Local, for illuminating what kind of repugnant people Simon Fors and Alexander Bard really are. At least two trolls have been named, if not shamed. It would be useful to know the names of other public people (particularly journalists at Aftonbladet) who go too far, so we can be more aware of their troll-like qualities. Perhaps a website, where we can look at their trollery?
17:48 February 13, 2013 by Migga
One of the best articles I`ve ever read. SVT and Uppdrag Granskning is a joke, why only show leftish women when the left attack the right just as much? Hardly objective and balanced reporting.
20:15 February 13, 2013 by nathan45
"The hatred from the left is the worst," she said when we met up this week.

"They think they are morally superior, that they can spout off anything they want."

I think this comment really called this problem out. For some reason it's ok in the media to promote for left opinions but anything remotly right leaning is regarded as hatred, racist, Xenophobic and so on.

It's no suprise that people from the right become radicalized because they simply cant operate in the main streem without being called a nazi.
17:28 February 14, 2013 by cogito
Thank you TL and the writer for exposing the rampant hypocrisy of Swedish state television-

Uppdrag granskning has long been platform for aging lefties.

"Public" television that has to coerce, threaten, confiscate and punish citizens? No thanks.

Let those who want their propaganda pay for it.
20:16 February 14, 2013 by johan rebel
Hear hear!
09:57 February 15, 2013 by Kevin Harris
A really interesting piece.

It would be useful if The Local asked people like Simon Fors could be given an opportunity to explain why it is OK for him to say that Moderates should be executed?

The execution of political opponents is a common feature among those on the far left. Give this wannabe Stalin enough rope, and I'm sure The Local would get excellent value out of him.
15:11 February 15, 2013 by leonore
The one who probably went the farthest was musician and liberal commentator Alexander Bard who wrote: "WHO ASKED YOU FOR YOUR FASCIST OPINION? We are NOT HERE TO PLEASE YOU! F*** Off *****"

Is that what passes for a liberal in Sweden?

I was quoting what is said in your column and you ban my comment for abusive content? Your paper is really a joke. I keep logging in and then I am told I am not logged in, this happens every time I come here
15:15 February 15, 2013 by MarshaLynn
The concept of "hate speech" is a contrivance by Leftists to control the debate. That's all it is.
17:53 February 15, 2013 by james_g
As one whose views are VERY definitely left of centre - I agree with every word in the above comments and applaud the content of the article wholeheartedly! Good-humoured ridicule is fine. Reasoned debate is fine. Having a good old argument is fine. Resorting to the kind of language and views expressed by the like of Alexander Bard is disgusting and should by rights be illegal - but at the same time it's also downright PATHETIC!
18:21 February 15, 2013 by kemoe
Nothing meaner than a Hippicryte.
13:46 February 17, 2013 by oddsock
She is blanket accusing the entire left of being on the moral high ground by taking a stance on the moral high ground herself.

People on the left blame people on the right and people on the right blame people on the left.

Anybody who identifies themselves using these archaic left-right terms is stupid. Politics is the art of bullshit and pretending to be offended.
12:14 February 18, 2013 by cogito
"The concept of "hate speech" is a contrivance by Leftists to control the debate." (#9)

In the same way the intellectually challenged Left use "racist."
09:57 February 19, 2013 by Scambaiter
Can't help laughing at some of the comments above.

As soon as there's any story at the Local regarding immigration in Sweden or anything vaguely related to Muslims, the entire comment board fills ups with hateful, (literally) racist and bigoted generalizations, usually including a few myths and phoney stats for good measure. Anyone who calls them for what they are gets sneered at and abused. Muslims are the new Jews.

The real irony is that almost none of these commenters have any real connection with Sweden or its politics. They seem to spend most of their lives trawling the Internet looking for trouble.

I think that anyone who spends any amount of time on internet comment boards would agree that there are idiots on both sides, but the extreme right are far more prolific, and this is exacerbated by the fact that their views are so self-centered, inhumane and divisive in the first place. Ander Bering Breivik is the archetype of a loser who spent too much time on the net feeding his hatred and delusions until eventually he turned to mass murder and slaughtered dozens of unarmed teenagers. Sick!

Fact: The right to freedom of speech is not absolute in any country and the right is commonly subject to limitations, as with libel, slander, obscenity, sedition (including, for example inciting ethnic hatred), copyright violation, revelation of information that is classified or otherwise.

Above all, in this country (Sweden) we have laws against hate speech, eg writing which is forbidden because it may incite violence or prejudicial action against or by a protected individual or group, or because it disparages or intimidates a protected individual or group. The law may identify a protected individual or a protected group by disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, nationality, religion, race and sexual orientation. In other words bullying and harrassment of minorities who can't defend themselves.

At the end of the day, the litmus test is "would you say your comments out loud face-to-face to the people that they're indirectly or directly addressed to". If the answer is no, then you shouldn't be posting them in the first place. If the answer is yes, don't be surprised if you get arrested or your nose broken in response.
12:40 February 19, 2013 by cogito
@#14. I have a question: Don't your fingers hurt from typing all that?
19:07 February 19, 2013 by Scambaiter
@#15 Absolutely not, even if it challenges your intellect and attention span: but it pains me that it has to be written at all.

PS..I'm not "Leftist", nor a neo-Nazi loser with a grudge.
09:39 February 20, 2013 by rise
I have yet to meet a human that doesn't deserve hate in its purest form.

There, that's my share of Internet hate. What's your share?
15:51 February 20, 2013 by Freyr
It's great to finally get people to see what the left really does (the right has done it too). The thing with the left, though, is that they can get away with it. If someone speaks out against mass immigration, the effects Islam is having in the native people, preservation of the ethnic Swedes and Swedish culture, they are slandered as "racists", "nazis", and revive numerous public death threats or kill suggestions.

I hope that the Swedish right has a more positive opinion regarding homosexuality. I agree that the "Pride" parades are nothing but exhibitionism and sex, taking away that the most important thing to many of us: love of another person of the same sex.
11:16 February 22, 2013 by AntiL
What a terribly written article this is!

Confusing mere criticism (as in the example of vita krankta man) with crimes of hatred and violent threats will not help to anyone, including to those who locate themselves in the right wing of the political spectrum and fall victim to such actions.

And since when calling people what politically they are a sign of hatred or an act of attack? Call me a leftie, or commie, well I don't mind, and I'll call you (or better your ideas/proposals) a fascist or a neo-nazist, if that is what you (your ideas/proposals) are.

And seriously, since when Alexander Bard is left wing?! I hate generalizations, but so typical of the conservatives and right wing people - misinformation! Bard's connection to both FolkPartiet and Centern are well known. Please, put things as what they are, or do actually some research before you publish!
16:59 February 24, 2013 by cogito
# 18 "I hate generalizations, but so typical of the conservatives and right wing people - misinformation!"

I hope this statement is meant to be funny. If not, the irony is exquisite.
14:41 February 25, 2013 by rohermoker
There is nothing wrong with hate if it is for the right reason. Now does that make me a fasist, or communist-you decide.
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