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Sometimes it's a little bit of everything.
DUCKBURG (Rixstep) — A storm's been brewing in the nordic Kingdom of Sweden™. (Yes, another.) And it's an important meteorological event for the people who live there, with ramifications for those beyond the duckpond as well. Herewith a brief summary of what's going on.
- New Year's Eve Cologne Germany. It gradually emerged that a great number of girls in Cologne Germany were assaulted near the central train station on New Year's Eve by gangs of what appeared to be migrant youth who'd assembled in the area. This particular type of assault is an advanced (and particularly cruel) form of bullying. A target is selected, then a first ring of assailants forms around the target, then a second ring, then a third ring, all in an effort to contain the target and stop others from seeing what's going on. Once the target is trapped, the assailants begin - with groping, perhaps ripping off clothes, perhaps even going so far as rape. This is what happened to Lara Logan in Egypt several years ago. (Lara barely escaped with her life.)
- It further emerged that the authorities in Germany had been doing their best to cover this up. Angela Merkel put a lot of political capital into her stance on the refugee crisis, and no one wanted anything to go wrong.
- Gradually the Cologne story made it to Sweden's duckpond. An at times obscure journalist for Dagens Nyheter (the 'dn' in 'dngate') wrote about it on 9 January. But he also mentioned something else in passing - that the same type of attacks had occurred the past summer in Stockholm. This was something almost no one had known.
- Independent journo Chang Frick noticed the slip. In his own words:
It's like this. We have limited resources. We're not quite as big as DN. I work from a closet in my flat. I've squeezed a desk and a computer in there.
And I have a freelancer who helps out quite a bit. He works from home.
I'd already read the DN piece in question. And I reacted to not having seen anything about the park incidents before that, and here it was only mentioned in passing.
Simultaneously I got an mail message drop into the inbox. And it didn't take me more than a second or two to add 1 to 1 and arrive at 2. I rang up the psychologist, I met with him, and we went through all the materials. Then I spoke a long time with the police constable. This was all legit.
Then I started to write. And we published at about twenty to midnight on a Saturday evening.
The rest is history.
- Chang's site, Nyheter Idag, a four-man operation run out of a broom closet in a Stockholm suburb, went to town. The story involves systematic harassments in Stockholm in August last year, a concerted coverup by top bosses in the police, and worst of all: a coverup by Sweden's leading broadsheet, the same DN.se used by the journo above.
- The above story caused a sensation. Not only had the top brass in the police tried to cover things up, but when an individual constable and a social worker contacted DN.se reporter Hanne Kjöller to have her run the story back in August 2015, things went well until Hanne heard that the crimes were carried out by migrants. Suddenly her tone changed and she didn't have a lot to say.
- The leadership at DN.se immediately began damage control. Part of the considerable Bonnier global empire, they began calling in favours and writing out new IOUs to 'spin' the story to make it look like it was all the fault of the police, whilst denying they themselves ever had a story to publish. Hanne Kjöller went underground. Even Zara Larsson was induced to publicly point a finger at the police (without saying why she herself had remained silent). The global media were quick to pick up on the story - of course with the sole angle that the police were in the wrong, no mention of how DN.se had the story but refused to run it.
- At this point, Bonnier thought they had it all wrapped up. Withholding a story like that could hurt them deeply. Most people at those summer concerts were girls in their early teens - we're talking 14 years and younger. And we're talking huge assault waves. Would they still want to visit the park if they knew what awaited them? Would their parents think it was OK? Two actual rapes were reported, along with dozens of molestations, one on a grown woman and one on a teenage girl. Yet the Bonnier media wrote nothing. Hanne Kjöller had her two sources - a constable and a social worker who'd seen all - and yet her bosses, Peter Wolodarski and Caspar Opitz, told her to drop it. 'That's just xenophobic fabrications', Opitz told Kjöller, and ordered her to drop the story. So what a blooper on their part. Thus the Bonnier spin.
- Simultaneously, Bonnier got help from their colleagues and competitors in the industry, who also were indirectly culpable. Hack piece after hack piece came out, trying to convince people that even Swedes and smurfs engage in the same type of systematic attacks on defenceless women. Some waning political figures warned Swedes to not visit websites with this type of information, and one even went to far as to claim it was all a conspiracy orchestrated by Vladimir Putin!
- But what Bonnier did not know (but only feared) was that Chang Frick hadn't quite laid all his cards on the table. He let Bonnier go bananas for a few days, saw how things played out, then hinted again and again that there was more to the story. And on 12 January he let the bomb drop. Part of the Bonnier evasion (lie) had been that they couldn't run with the story as they had only one source. What they didn't know - but of course feared - was that both of the 'sources' that had been turned down by them had now contacted Chang Frick - complete with voicemail and email. Hanne and Bonnier had indeed been in contact with both sources. Caspar Opitz, second in command, was caught in several lies.
Thereof '#dngate'. The duckpond's been going crazy ever since.
Dagens Nyheter: Women's Right to Party Certainly Cannot Be Sacrificed (Google)
Nyheter Idag: Dagens Nyheter Not Telling Truth About Sexual Assault Coverup (EN)
Nyheter Idag: Dagens Nyheter Refused to Write About Sex Crimes in Stockholm (EN)