Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

Swedish media in denial after being called out for concealing facts about immigrants

March 22, 2016

It is always amusing when the sanctimonious get their comeuppance.

The mainstream, politically correct, Swedish media are flailing about protesting their innocence after being accused by two political heavyweights that they have been concealing the true picture about immigrants and asylum seekers. But even if they are fooling themselves, they are not fooling anybody else.

I have observed for many years the lengths to which Swedish media will go to conceal anything that is politically incorrect. It applies not only to the criminality of some immigrants but also to the gods of multiculturalism and alarmism and ecofascism. I perceive the journalist corps as being dominated by the intolerant left. There are some very good writers among them, but they are, almost to a man, political cowards. They are usually very good fact checkers and they do not – usually – make up facts. (They do however “spin” facts to fit into politically correct memes). Their cowardice takes the form mainly of omission. Their fears of being labelled racist have led to the non-reporting – if not active concealment – of any facts about immigrants which might be considered derogatory.

The mainstream media have not created the far-right, anti-immigrant websites (Avpixlat for example), but their concealment of the facts has certainly driven people to such sites looking for information that they know is being withheld by the msm.

An article in Dagens Nyheter by Ulf Adelsohn (former leader of the Moderate party) and his wife, Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth (former Minister of Culture) has set the cat among the pigeons. They accused the media of concealing facts about immigration. And the pigeons are soiling themselves in the rush to deny their cowardice and their biases.

The Swedish media is extremely self-righteous with an unhealthy conviction about its own virtue. But the media is one of the most politically correct groups I have ever experienced. They are also fairly cowardly when it comes to challenging political correctness. Swedish Television and Swedish Radio are by far the worst. But DN, Aftonbladet, SvD and Expressen – in that order – are not much better.

And it is entertaining to see them squirm.


 

US media overwhelmingly against Trump, but yet …..

March 21, 2016

There is something strange in the mood abroad among the US electorate and it is something that the US media either do not understand or are deliberately ignoring.

That the liberal media oppose Trump is only to be expected. The Washington Post, the Boston Globe, the LA Times, Politico and their ilk cannot be expected to support any GOP candidate at the best of times. But against Trump they are positively vitriolic. The “hard left” media (Slate, Salon, Huffington Post etc) are apoplectic when it comes to Trump. They have compared him to Hitler, Mussolini and even Kim Jung-Un. But now even the right of centre media (Wall Street Journal, Fox News….) are lambasting him. Even the hard right media (Breitbart, Drudge, Washington Times….) will not endorse Trump but just stay “neutral”.

And yet Trump’s numbers continue to rise. It is apparent that the media are failing to capture the mood in the country. I am sticking to my theory that Trump has activated an anti-establishment sentiment where all the mainstream media are considered “establishment”. And this gives the peculiar situation where any attack by an establishment figure only sustains the anti-establishment sentiment that Trump has tapped into.

Observing this from across the Atlantic has proven to be even more fascinating than my wildest expectations. But the anti-establishment sentiment is also abroad in Europe. It shows up in the BREXIT campaign and in the rise of parties which challenge the “politically correct” view. It is not just anti-immigration, far-right parties which are prospering but any party which occupies the “anti-establishment” space. That can be seen in Denmark and Norway and Sweden where mainstream centre-right parties are taking away some support from the far-right  by adopting somewhat “politically incorrect” positions.

I suspect that this is not just restricted to the US and Europe. I see in India and Africa the beginnings of something similar. It is a mood which has global dimensions and is, I think, something primal. A reaction perhaps to 3 decades of sanctimonious “political correctness” which has – or is perceived to have:

  • excused criminality and bad behaviour on genetic or social grounds
  • downgraded the victims of crime or bad behaviour
  • protected criminals and “bad people” in the name of human rights,
  • downgraded “family values”
  • promoted the bureaucracy against the individual
  • downgraded the individual
  • relaxed moral values
  • promoted deviation and deviants
  • demonised progress and economic growth
  • …….

Maybe I am reading too much into this, but the fact remains that the US media are missing something quite fundamental. i expect that to defeat Trump it needs someone to take his ground away from him – not just attack the ground he stands on. And that requires someone who is perceived to be just as “anti-establishment”. And there is no one on the GOP side who can do that and only Bernie Sanders among the Democrats comes close.

From the Reuters tracking poll:

Reuters tracking 18032016


 

What the Swedish press plays down or does not report

January 26, 2016

These are the top headlines in the Daily Mail in the UK about Sweden. The question I have is why similar headlines are not to be seen in Sweden? The same information is hidden away in the msm and the obvious conclusions are never explicitly expressed. Even allowing for the sensationalism of the Daily Mail and their anti-immigrant bent, it is I think, a remarkable dereliction of journalistic “duty” by the Swedish press.


 

Update: Some Swedish media are now giving more space to this — but only after it had made headlines abroad.


 

The same stories are played down and, to my mind, overly subdued in the Swedish media. Part of that is because the Swedish laws are very restrictive about publicising details of those accused of criminal acts. Victims of criminal acts are also generally underrepresented within the justice system. But most of the non-reporting is by the choice of the media. My impression is that the Swedish media are not only scared of being accused of “racism”, but also that they make the fundamental error themselves of equating “culture” with ethnicity. They do not report on the differences of culture, which lead to young asylum seekers not fitting in, for fear of being labelled racist and because they do not want to admit their past blunders. That is the same phenomenon on display also in Germany. In the UK it applies to the government and local authorities but not, to the same extent, to the media.

Much of the “political correctness” on display by the Swedish media has, in fact, been created by the media and is self-inflicted and self-perpetuating. Currently, for example, the media have created a raging storm in a teacup about Margot Wallström’s hiring (at market prices) of an apartment from a friendly trade union. (So what?) But they are silent about the realities of integrating gangs of young “asylum seekers”. Much of the media and the political left (Social Democrats, the Green Party and the Left Party) are in denial about the failure of multiculturalism. They will not, can not, admit to 5 decades of the fundamental blunder of equating multicultural with multiethnic. It is only now that there is some reluctant acceptance politically – but not yet in the self-deluding media – that the future of Europe (and Sweden) lies in a multiethnic, but not multicultural, society.

Daily Mail Sweden0

Migrant centre worker Alexandra Mezher, 22, (pictured left and centre) was attacked today at a centre for unaccompanied migrant children aged between 14 and 17 in Molndal, on Sweden’s west coast. She was taken to Sahlgrenska Hospital but later died of her injuries. A boy, aged 15, has been arrested on suspicion of murder following the ‘frenzied attack.’ Miss Mezher, whose family are originally from Lebanon, had only worked at the accommodation (right) for unaccompanied refugee children for a few months. The stabbing comes on the same day as police in Sweden demanded more resources to stem rising violence they claim is linked to the migrant crisis. According to the Swedish Migration Agency, as the tide of asylum seekers grows ever larger (bottom right) the number of threats and violent incidents at asylum facilities more than doubled between 2014 and 2015. In 2014, there were 148 incidents but in 2015 that number jumped to 322.

The Swedish press are effectively betraying the victim by their silence. Being 15 years old, there will be more time spent by the media on finding excuses for the murderer than on the immeasurable loss of Alexandra Mezher. Whatever mild consequence the murderer may face, it will have no component of recompense for the loss suffered by the victim (not possible in this case of course), or her family or the society she was part of.

And yesterday’s Daily Mail had this story which I did not see highlighted in the Swedish media. Not that I was specially looking for it but I do manage to scan all the headlines. The only reason I looked for it later, was because it was among the headlines in the Daily Mail.

Swedish police warn Stockholm’s main train station is now overrun by migrant teen gangs ‘stealing and groping girls’

  • Hundreds of Moroccan children living on the streets in Stockholm
  • Accused of stealing and assaulting security guards at the main station 
  • Police say they grope girls and ‘slap them in the face when they protest’
  • One in five Moroccan migrant children run away from housing since 2012

Swedish police warns that Stockholm’s main train station has become unsafe after being ‘taken over’ by dozens of Moroccan street children. The all-male migrant teen gangs are spreading terror in the centre of the Swedish capital, stealing, groping girls and assaulting security guards, according to Stockholm police.

Members of the gangs, some as young as nine, roam central Stockholm day and night, refusing help provided by the Swedish authorities. 

It is the oppression of the do-gooders who cannot admit that their sanctimonious do-gooding is itself the problem.

Good Grief! Scientists uncover a difference between the sexes

August 16, 2015

Perhaps somebody could tell the politically correct that “different” is not an issue of “better” or “worse”. It is about not being the same. Vive la différence.

From the “science is wonderful” category.

Scientists have discovered there are fundamental differences between the brains of men and women. You cannot blame the scientists for the headlines of course, otherwise I would not know whether to be worried or relieved. In any case we could always pass a law saying this is not so.

N. Tabatadze, G. Huang, R. M. May, A. Jain, C. S. Woolley. Sex Differences in Molecular Signaling at Inhibitory Synapses in the Hippocampus. Journal of Neuroscience, 2015; 35 (32): 11252 DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1067-15.2015

Press Release from Northwestern University:

Scientists Uncover a Difference Between the Sexes

Male and female brains operate differently at a molecular level, a Northwestern University research team reports in a new study of a brain region involved in learning and memory, responses to stress and epilepsy.

Many brain disorders vary between the sexes, but how biology and culture contribute to these differences has been unclear. Now Northwestern neuroscientists have found an intrinsic biological difference between males and females in the molecular regulation of synapses in the hippocampus. This provides a scientific reason to believe that female and male brains may respond differently to drugs targeting certain synaptic pathways. 

“The importance of studying sex differences in the brain is about making biology and medicine relevant to everyone, to both men and women,” said Catherine S. Woolley, senior author of the study. “It is not about things such as who is better at reading a map or why more men than women choose to enter certain professions.”

Among their findings, the scientists found that a drug called URB-597, which regulates a molecule important in neurotransmitter release, had an effect in females that it did not have in males. While the study was done in rats, it has broad implications for humans because this drug and others like it are currently being tested in clinical trials in humans.

“Our study starts to put some specifics on what types of molecular differences there are in male and female brains,” Woolley said. 

 

Windows 10 buys your soul (with your consent)

August 2, 2015

I suppose I have little option but to upgrade.

And I am resigned to being “targeted” by advertisers selected specifically for me. I take some comfort in the fact that I cannot recall actually buying anything because of a web advertisement. I suppose I am just too old for them.

Image result for windows 10

The soul – however you want to define it – is manifested (not defined) in your behaviour. The advent of the internet and its apparent anonymity actually makes visible some parts of your hidden self.  People visit sites and make comments that they would never otherwise do if they were in public view. Of course much of that anonymity is only a perception. Your internet “self” (ID, email, passwords, sites visited, on-line community memberships,…. ) comes closer to painting a picture of your soul than just your visible behaviour.

And Windows 10 acquires more of your soul than ever before – and all with your consent.  It is with your consent because few will ever read and understand the 45 pages of terms and conditions that must be agreed to. Not that Apple and Google are not also involved in photographing and capturing your soul. But even an on-line presence is only a manifestation of your soul and each of Microsoft or Google or Apple have have their own painting of your essence. And these perceptions of who you are, these paintings of your soul, are theirs to sell – to advertisers or to governments or to other interested parties.

The Guardian:

Hundreds of commenters on sites such as Hacker News and Reddit have criticised default settings that send personal information to Microsoft, use bandwidth to upload data to other computers running the operating system, share Wi-Fi passwords with online friends and remove the ability to opt out of security updates.

Many of the complaints relate to the new personalised adverts embedded in Windows 10. When the OS is installed, Microsoft assigns the user a unique advertising ID, which it ties to the email address registered with the company. That email address is also associated with a raft of other services, such as the company’s productivity and communication programs, as well as app downloads and cloud-storage uploads.

Using that information, Microsoft is able to personalise ads to the user, during both web surfing and, for newer apps downloaded from the Windows Store, app usage. Microsoft itself is leading the way on that front, even turning the in-built version of Solitaire (the card game that has been a staple of Windows installations since 1990’s Windows 3.0) into a freemium game, complete with unskippable video adverts.

Elsewhere, Windows 10 also harvests user information in order to teach the built-in personal digital assistant Cortana, Microsoft’s answer to Siri. To enable Cortana, the company says, it “collects and uses various types of data, such as your device location, data from your calendar, the apps you use, data from your emails and text messages, who you call, your contacts and how often you interact with them on your device”.

“There is no world in which 45 pages of policy documents and opt-out settings split across 13 different Settings screens and an external website constitutes ‘real transparency’.”

……. The European digital rights organisation (EDRi) sums up the company’s 45 pages of terms and conditions by saying: “Microsoft basically grants itself very broad rights to collect everything you do, say and write with and on your devices in order to sell more targeted advertising or to sell your data to third parties.”

In many ways, however, Windows 10 is merely moving closer towards what has become the new normal thanks to mobile operating systems. Both Siri and Google Now require access to the user’s personal information to personalise responses, while both Apple and Google offer developers the ability to deliver personalised ads to users based on information such as app installs.

Web ads may not be the dominating revenue model in the future

June 11, 2015

I find web ads always irritating and sometimes so intrusive that they have put me off the site altogether. Now I use Adblocker with Chrome, which works very well and this allows me to visit and stay on sites which I would otherwise have avoided. Apparently Apple will also allow ad blocker apps with Safari (iOS9) and clearly they see it as a way of improving the experience of their users. But what Apple plans will allow more than just ad blocking:

“Content Blocking gives your extensions a fast and efficient way to block cookies, images, resources, pop-ups, and other content.”

Effectively Apple are offering”ghostery” rather than ad blocking:

QuartzGhostery is a popular browser extension for all major desktop browsers. It blocks all content pulled in from third-party servers.

The way the modern web works is this: if you go to a website, it only sends some text and images your way. But it also pulls in data from dozens of analytics tools, ad servers, ad exchanges, web analytics firms, social buttons and trackers, and various other forms of online surveillance that serve you ads, measure you responses, gauge your profile, figure out your shoe size, and so on. Ghostery stops all of it. Apple’s content blocker appears to allow developers to do something similar.

Why is Apple doing this? Joshua Benton at Nieman Lab lays out three ways of looking at it: either Apple is serious about all its recent privacy talk, or it is out to get Google and Facebook, or it wants people to look at the ads served by its own iAds service on its new News app. Perhaps it is a mix of the three.

But what is clear is that small businesses that rely entirely on online advertising are going to have to rethink how they make money.

In fact it could be a way for Apple not only to to differentiate themselves from their competitors but also to develop some brand loyalty from among the increasing number of web and mobile users who are just irritated and get no added value from the ads and 3rd party content.

Since using Adblocker I have returned to many sites which I had abandoned because of their intrusive ads. Typically on the news sites, “quality” news sites have upto 5 ads blocked per web page while the “tabloids” have 10 – 20 ads blocked. One tentative conclusion that I come to is that the experience of getting the “news” is inversely proportional to the number of ads on the page.

Surfing some of the news sites just now I found the number of ads being blocked as below:

NYT – 5, Wa Po – 3, Huff Po – 13, CNN – 5, NY Post – 9, CBS News – 18

The Telegraph – 13, The Guardian – 5, The Independent – 19, Daily Mail – 12, The Times -8, BBC – 4, The Mirror – 38

The Hindu – 3, Times of India – 5, Hindustan Times -6

Expressen – 7, Svenska Dagbladet – 2, Dagens Nyheter – 7, Aftonbladet – 21

Der Spiegel -3, Deutsche Welle – 0, Reuters – 17, Le Monde – 4, El Pais – 6

So by my simple reckoning, without an adblocker, The Mirror provides about the worst experience and Deutsche Welle, SvD, BBC, Der Spiegel and Le Monde offer the least intrusion and disturbance to their readers.

In spite of Google apology, Modi still prominent in “Top 10 criminals” image search

June 4, 2015

It seems the Google search algorithms are all too easily subverted. I suspect that Google itself carries out “subversion” to put its favoured documents or images higher up in the list of “hits”.

BBCInternet giant Google has apologised after Indian PM Narendra Modi’s photos started appearing in the image search results for “Top 10 criminals”. 

“We apologise for any confusion or misunderstanding this has caused,” a Google statement said. Mr Modi figures prominently in the search alongside images of terrorists, murderers and dictators. Other world leaders on the list include former US president George Bush and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi. 

Other prominent Indians who come up in the search include Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, lawyer Ram Jethmalani, fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt who is serving a jail term in connection with deadly blasts in Mumbai in 1993. “These results trouble us and are not reflective of the opinions of Google,” the company said in its statement released on Wednesday night.

But a search just now (screenshot below) shows that Google have not been able to correct their algorithms. In a Google image search for “top 10 criminals”, Narendra Modi appears 8 times among the first 40 images and more often than anyone else, even Osama bin Laden. I gave up counting after that but his image keeps cropping up. George Bush and Bill Gates are there as well. But I couldn’t find Tony Blair.

Modi as

Modi as “top 10 criminal” on google

The internet firm said the result was due to a British daily which had published an image of Mr Modi with erroneous metadata.

Really?

For 8 images out of 40?

It is pretty obvious that the results of a Google search do not represent a listing by popularity or importance. In fact the first 4 or 5 entries after the ads are often subverted. And switching from “News” to “web” to “images” or back again can very easily confuse the Google algorithms.

In any event it is best to assume that a Google search gives a list of mainly relevant results. The list is neither comprehensive nor objective. The ranking of hits on the list of is no real relevance since it can be so easily subverted and sometimes, it seems, the subversion is by Google itself. The first 4 or 5 “hits” after the obvious ads – for some searches – also seem to be sponsored in some way. Almost as if Google has overt and covert ads.

Dreadful Swedish interview of President causes upset in India

May 27, 2015

I have posted earlier about the dreadful interview conducted by the Editor-in Chief of Dagens Nyheter, Peter Wolodarski, with President Pranab Mukherjee in advance of the latter’s State visit to Sweden at the end of this week. It was not quite incompetent but it was pretty bad in that the interviewer’s own preconceptions, misconceptions and “political correctness” were all on display. Of course Pranab Mukherjee was quite inept as well and kept referring to the Swiss instead of to the Swedish. But the President did manage to resist all the words that Wolodarski tried to put into his mouth regarding the Bofors affair. And Wolodarski’s condescension to a Head of State is both embarrassing and contemptible.

The interview seems to have caused some upset in India and there is now a threat in the air to cancel/postpone the first ever State visit of an Indian Head of State to Sweden. The main stream media in Sweden – in spite of their quite pathetic and slavish following of political correctness – are usually quite competent but their ethical standards are not of the highest. Wolodarski’s interview was particularly cringe-worthy.

The Indian Ambassador writes to Wolodarski and accuses him of being unprofessional, unethical, condescending, misleading, patronising and flippant. Maybe Wolodarski did not lie, but if the Ambassador is correct, he was certainly shading the truth when he told the Ambassador that his readers were not interested in Bofors which then became his lead-in to his sensationalised story.

But my real quarrel with Wolodarski is that he was thoroughly unprofessional.

Indian Embassy letter

Of course the fault also lies with the Ambassador or whoever else organised the interview. They should have known better than to trust or rely on any journalist – especially since Swedish journalists have no concept of anything being “off the record”.

President of India has difficulty distinguishing between Swiss and Swedish

May 24, 2015

Pranab Mukherjee, the President of India is visiting Sweden next week, the first ever State visit by an Indian Head of State. There have been two Prime Ministerial visits; Nehru in 1957 and Rajiv Gandhi in 1988. In preparation he was interviewed “in depth” by the Editor-in-Chief of Dagens Nyheter, Peter Wolodarski. The English version of the interview is here.

But there was very little depth to the interview – either in the questions or in Mukerjee’s parrotting of the “official line”. The interviewer was not incompetent precisely, but none of his questions were particularly insightful and some of his questions were considerably less than intelligent.

Imagine asking a serving Head of State what he thinks about another serving Head of State, “You’ve met President Putin several times. How would you describe him?” Would he have thought to ask the Swedish King what he though of Prince Charles, I wonder. Or the profundity on display in his question “Is the Chinese one-party system more effective (than Indian democracy)?” On Bofors, the interviewer tries to get Mukherjee to claim that it was all a “media scandal” but does not quite succeed. The interviewer is of course keen to display his own political correctness for his readers with What is the most important thing that can be done to strengthen the position of women in India?” The interviewer’s questions regarding why there is a higher rate of female foetuses being aborted in India (and I have written before about the 2,000 abortions of female foetuses every day), seem to suggest that he is asking how the rate of abortion of male foetuses can be increased, as if a higher total rate of abortion is probably a good thing. (Of course Sweden today has abortion on demand and abortion rates today are at the same level as infant mortality rates of 300 years ago). The interviewer dwells on the Nirbhaya, Delhi rape case and tries to get the President to admit to some institutional or ingrained social failing rather than that it was just an isolated and aberrant case. Mukerjee asserts that extreme poverty can be eliminated with 10 years of growth at 8-9%, which the interviewer takes leave to doubt.

Photograph: Lars Lindqvist via Dagens Nyheter

The interviewer’s questions actually reflect “political correctness” (the Swedish version) and his own preconceptions much more than eliciting anything insightful. Of course the readers of Dagens Nyheter will probably be very pleased to get the incredible revelation that Sweden has a population of 9 million to India’s 1.2 billion. I think he only insults the intelligence of his readers while displaying his own shortcomings in this dreadful interview.

Mukerjee’s answers reveal nothing new. He is old Congress. He was nondescript as a Defense Minister. He was a disastrous Finance Minister. He is President because of the Peter Principle and because the possibilities of his doing anything disastrous in that post are low. The only real substance comes in his final statement. “One thing I must correct”, he says. “Two, three times during the interview, I have used the word Swiss. I, of course, meant Swedish”.

Oh Well! And was it Switzerland or Sweden which won the Eurovision song contest last night?

The freedom of hypocrisy

April 29, 2015

There is a fundamental human right which needs to be included in the UN Human Rights Convention.

And that is the inalienable human right to be freely hypocritical.

Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons – many in very poor taste – were an “expression of freedom of speech”. In fact very few of Hebdo’s cartoons are actually clever or funny though nearly all are smutty. (And it is their lack of any real intellectual content which makes me think that the PEN award to Charlie Hebdo may be a tribute to the 12 who were killed but it is certainly not for any journalistic excellence).

I must admit that I see no great insult to women generally in exhorting women who are potential customers for weight loss products to be “Beach Body Ready”. Or any insult to mis-shapen men like me in exhortations to get “magnificent abs” so that we can wear – and show off – our Calvin Klein underwear!

But how is it that the very same people who so strenuously defended Charlie Hebdo’s “rights” to publish material seen as insulting by others, now want this – to me rather inoffensive – advertisement to be banned? And banned on the grounds that it is insulting to women and sexist. I don’t much care for the colour of her bikini, and I think that anybody who believes weight loss advertisements is more than a little gullible, but I think the right of Protein World to earn their bread by advertising their products is absolute.

An insult may be meant or not, but it is only perceived in the mind of the receiver. And even when an insult is meant, but it is not perceived to be an insult, then it is no insult.

A Protein World advert displayed in an underground station in London. More than 44,000 people have signed a petition to have the adverts removed.

A Protein World advert displayed at a London Underground station. More than 44,000 people have signed a petition to have the posters removed. Photograph: Catherine Wylie/PA

It is no different in principle to this

or this one

sharpmagazine.com

I suspect that just as with the lunatics who attacked Charlie Hebdo, the fault lies in the minds of those who are irrationally insulted.


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