Violent riots, stone throwing, cars burning and looted stores is the picture coming out of Sweden after the events in Rinkeby Monday. But is the picture true?
When author Katerina Janouch and editorial writer Anders Lindberg from Sweden's largest newspaper Aftonposten met on SVT Opinion, the atmosphere quickly became heated in the studio.
- You live in a filter bubble Anders. I'm guessing you are middle class, having a nice home, it's quiet, no car is burning, said Janouch, as she went on the attack against Lindberg and mainstream media.
It took just a few seconds until the debaters Anders Lindberg from Aftonbladet and writer Katerina Janouch verbally clashed in studio. It was the image of Sweden abroad that was debated in studio, not least in light of the violent riot in Rinkeby earlier in the week, where cars were set on fire, shops looted, police were attacked with stones and had to open fire.
But that the image of Sweden gives the impression of problems, is actually a right-wing myth that has taken hold in the media, according to Lindberg, when he had to answer to why the image of Sweden nowadays is anything but positive.
- It shows that the right-wing populist propaganda and right-wing populist myths today are stapled in all reporting. It does not become more true coming from Donald Trump or Vladimir Putin. Russian propaganda states the same. The picture of Sweden they try to put, has a political cause, he explained.
- The picture is not true, no terrorist act occurred, he continued.
But Katerina Janouch disagreed with Lindberg. She emphasized several times that no one had claimed that any acts of terrorism happened, which Lindberg insinuated with his answer.
- It is interesting to hear Anders stand here and lie on television, and say that this is just misinformation. It's a true picture of what it looks like in Sweden today. Even if it was excessive, the big picture is true. Sweden is a country with big problems. It is seen by me and many other people who do not recognize themselves in the picture that Anders and the media he represents express.
But the attack from Janouch did not stop there. She believes that one can not pretend anymore that there are no problems, when children get to see photos from the riots in Rinkeby.
- Then distrust against you grows. One thinks that you do not live in reality at all, where we actually live. Where our children go to school. In my daughter's school, she sees all these stories from Rinkeby on Snapchat about the riots and it's horrible. It's what these children relate to it. Then they read in the paper where you say that it is just fabrications and fake news. What is it wrong with you?
- You live in a filter bubble Anders. I'm guessing you are middle class, having a nice home, it's quiet, no car is burning. Have your car burned Anders? Nah, your Christmas tree is not burned. How do you look yourself in the eyes?
But Lindberg stood firm, as expected, claiming that it was all about lies and misinformation. And he went on to point out that the (negative) reporting from Sweden is due to right-wing populism. Lindberg also suggested that Trump's misinformation is associated with Swedish hate sites, which in turn are associated with Russian misinformation.
- Russia has invented BRÅ's (statistics ed.) figures? replied Janouch, and was quickly interrupted by the TV host Belinda Olsson, who interrupted her all the time, while she let her mainstream colleague speak freely while she nodded.
Several times Janouch attacked Lindberg and claimed that he lied on television, while Lindberg stated that the image of Sweden is based on right-wing propaganda. Then SVT host Belinda Olsson took command and actually began debating against Katerina Janouch herself.
So there you have it; when cars burn in Sweden, thugs riot or murder, when police are attacked, journalists beaten up, girls raped and assaulted, when police itself state huge problems, well then it's all fiction by right-wingers, Trump and Russia, if we are to believe the deceiving untruthful Aftonbladet and Swedish mainstream media.
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