Dagens Næringsliv 2014 08 02 p 38, 39

Bjørn Gabrielsen


Ibsen has described every phenomenon; also today’s debates in newspapers and Twitter. I n the 5th scene of “Peer Gynt”; the protagonist describes a performance he has watched in San Francisco; in which the Devil impersonates a pig. Beneath his coat, there is a genuine pig, “Old Nick pinched; the pig set the tune”. However, the audience is not impressed, among the experts in the audience.

“The noises were both praised and censured ;

Some found the tone of them too thin,

Others declared the dying shriek

Was far too studied ; but they all were of the same mind on one point :

That the performance was, qua grunt, exceedingly exaggerated”.

Separating fake from genuine is not such an easy undertaking, even when “judged by professionals”.

It is an even more difficult undertaking when sources are so manifold, and so contaminated, as today. In social media, a video can be found, displaying “a small Israeli girl being encouraged by adults (her parents) to hit a “young defense-less Palestinian boy”. In reality, this recording has been made in Lebanon; the victim most likely being a Syrian refugee. All parties in this video speak Arab.                                                           Or a link to a screen dump, of a fake Instagram by an Israeli soldier, boasting over having killed 13 children.

The Islamic leader Basim Ghozlan told watchers on a Dagsnytt 18 newscast on July 25th that threats of terrorism directed at Norway could never have come from Muslims; but perhaps from Israeli infiltrators. The sources for this were young people with whom he had spoken. This lack of criticism of sources, do not only apply to the revolted hoi polloi or spokespersons known to be acquainted to conspiracy theories.

Only days after being subjected to crass criticism over bias in her journalistic efforts; Sidsel Wold has shared an article on Israeli bloodlust on her Facebook pages (“We must kill Palestinian mothers”), having the semiofficial Iranian website PressTV for its source. PressTV has writers stating Breivik was controlled by Mossad; and Israel is being in control of the weather in the Middle East. Is this a source Wold commonly uses?

Within NRK; she is not alone on relying on rather odd websites.  In the issue of “The Devil we knows” by Odd Karsten Tveit at the NRKs webpages on March 15th of last year, this experienced journalist has made direct copies of two articles having been published at the (The articles are named ‘Another Israeli West bank land Grab Scheme’ and ‘Preparing for Chessboard for the Clash of Civilization’). This website has made a specialty out of revealing a number of spectacular conspiracies, like the Svalbard seed vault being a Rockefeller/Monsanto plot to prepare for a global food crisis. They have also promoted the theory of school shootings actually being a gun grab plot, orchestrated by Obama. Tveit did not state his sources; it was easy to deduce they had been from English language sources due to curious Anglicism like “colonial design” and “imperial superpower”. The reader is one Google search away from finding its inspiration.

And very lately, Gro Holm has made a mess out of herself in her correspondent’s letter: “Strong Israel dominance in American media” on July 26th.    She has also used a poisoned well. This has already received attention; as in Dagbladet’s article “NRK correspondent linked to extreme rightists material”; both she and NRK making repentances. Anyone can make a mistake. This gaffe however reveals methods any journalist will recognize. Either one has prejudices, adorning them with statistics, or one shapes one’s opinions from a limited number of sources.  It is hard to say what is worst.

A quick search on “Jews+overrepresented+media”; Holm’s theme, reveals nearly all displaying an interest being extremists, (Nazi website and former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke are among the first hits on this).                                                                                                                                    The reason for “Jewish power in media” not being spoken loudly of in the USA, except for Mel Gibson, when drunk, is evident in a multicultural society.

There are interesting sociological causes over Jews being proportionally more represented in professions like MDs and journalist than their share of the population should indicate, does not hold the meaning those within these professions mainly are acting like Jews. Stating these are “overrepresented” in media indicates both the mechanisms making Jews apply to those professions and consequences thereof being suspicious. The fact Holm makes a list of journalists critical to Israel does not improve on her cause; the “Jewishness” of these journalists being presented as their main feature.

It is not German ancestry which makes descendants of Germans overrepresented among brewers of beer; it is the transfer of knowledge.

There is no obscure Chinese spice within the bodies of chefs at Chinese restaurants making them chefs; it is access to credit among Chinese in exile making it an attractive option to open a small business; like a restaurant.

Everyone has several identities; the ability to look critically upon one’s sources should be among the strongest with journalists. The access to sources sets ever higher demands to journalists and web debaters; perhaps one will improve when it comes to navigating in this torrent.

The Austrian journalist Theodore Herzl wrote in 1896 that “all people are like small children, having the ability to be educated. However, costs may sometimes be so large other options are more realistic”. He used this as evidence of Zionism being less of a pipe dream than pious hopes over Europe being able to protect its Jewry.

As a consumer of media it is difficult to ponder upon the alternatives to better use of source; rather than going off-line, stating like Peer Gynt did:“You see, that’s what the Devil got, because he’d made the sad mistake of reckoning without his public”.