Time after Time

The news magazine's great days are far behind it -- but of course we knew that.

siIt is a widely acknowledged fact that what goes by the name of reporting nowadays, in the mainstream media, is often shamelessly slanted – and that the slant is almost invariably leftward. But it is also true that some reporters are a good deal more shameless – to the point of being incontrovertibly mendacious – than others. Thanks to the proliferation of alternate news sources on the Internet, the MSM's power to bamboozle the general public with outright lies has eroded year by year. Yet, God bless 'em, they keep trying.

Case in point: an article in Time Magazine, datelined Oslo, posted on August 19, and written by one Charlotte McDonald-Gibson (hereafter CMG). Entitled “Norway’s Far Right May Come to Power Despite Memory of Anders Breivik’s Killing Spree,” it provides a classic example of what it means to twist the facts beyond recognition in the name of ideology.

The headline alone does a splendid job of telegraphing – to anyone who actually knows something about subject at hand – the article's breathtaking bias. The reference is to the forthcoming Norwegian parliamentary elections on September 9, which, barring a major upset, are expected to lead to the formation of a government by a coalition of non-socialist parties. The dread prospect to which CMG refers, in short, is that Norway, currently run by socialists, may soon – horrors! – be run by non-socialists. This new coalition would probably include the Progress Party. It's this party, which at present is the second largest in parliament, that CMG dishonestly categorizes as “far right” and links to Anders Behring Breivik, the maniac who murdered 77 people two years ago.

CMG opens her piece by introducing us to Pableen Kaur, a 20-year-old
Labor Party candidate for parliament. Kaur, we're told, was attending the Workers' Youth League camp on the island of Utøya when Breivik carried out his shooting spree. When we meet Kaur, she's at an Oslo shopping mall handing out red roses (which became the Labor Party symbol after it was realized that the hammer, borrowed from the Soviet Communist Party, carried too much negative baggage). CMG tells us of Kaur's “unshakable faith in Norway’s democracy.” She also informs us of Kaur's democratic

tolerance toward those sharing the views of Anders Behring Breivik, the white supremacist who left her cowering under the bodies of her friends as he calmly shot dead 69 people at a Labor Party youth camp on Utoya Island two years ago. He claimed to be on a crusade against multiculturalism and immigration, intent on wiping out the future generation of a party he blamed for the “Islamic invasion” of Norway.

CMG characterizes Kaur's “tolerance” for “those sharing the views of...Breivik” as “hard...to understand.” For the Progress Party, she maintains, is “an anti-immigration party that once counted Breivik as a member.” CMG proceeds to connect the party to “far-right extremists whose voices fell silent” after Breivik's atrocities but who are now “back on blogs peddling their hate.” She cites “[a]ntiracism campaigners” who “say society failed to mount any real challenge to their views after Utoya, preferring to blame a lone fanatic rather than examining some of the more mainstream prejudices that shaped his worldview.” And she quotes Shoaib Mohammad Sultan of the Norwegian Centre Against Racism as saying that these awful bigots, presumably including the leaders of the Progress Party, “have sort of got away with it.”

Okay, let's unpack all of this. The Progress Party has nothing to do with “white supremacist” views: it's only far right if your idea of the center is the far left. Its leader, Siv Jensen, is a classical liberal who sincerely idolizes Reagan and Thatcher, whose praises she's been singing throughout her political career. The Progress Party doesn't oppose immigration per se; it opposes (as do most Norwegians) the catastrophic immigration policy of the current Norwegian government, which has saddled Norway with a sizable minority of Muslims who don't work, won't integrate, take everything they can get, and have nothing but contempt for the people who are giving it to them. To say that the Progress Party “shares the views of...Breivik” is a shabby guilt-by-association ploy: the “views” in question are, essentially, classical liberal ideas that go back to John Stuart Mill and Thomas Jefferson (both of whom were cited in Breivik's “manifesto”) and opinions on Muslim immigration policy that, as noted above, most Norwegians also share. Yes, Breivik was a Progress Party member – just as Fort Hood terrorist Nidal Hasan is a registered Democrat. As for Shoaib Sultan, that upstanding anti-racist authority, this is the same gentleman who, as I wrote here in March, “refused to publicly criticize the execution of gays in Iran” and “declined to comment on Islamic scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi’s praise for the Holocaust as a 'gift from Allah.'”

But to CMG, it would seem, hatred by Muslims is invisible. In her view, plainly, Norway isn't endangered by the genocidal sympathies of people like Sultan; it's endangered by native Norwegians who know very well what people like Sultan represent and who don't want sharia to shape the future of their country. This attitude, CMG would have us believe, amounts to far-right, white-supremacist bigotry.

CMG goes on to draw a stark contrast: Labor Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg is a man of “dignity and sensitivity”; the Progress Party is a gang of cynical opportunists that “tweaked some of its rhetoric” after the Breivik killings, rebranding itself “as a mainstream movement in the mold of U.S. Republicans or the British Conservative Party.” When Progress Party candidate Kristian Norheim, apparently in CMG's company, walked “past photos of Thatcher and Reagan” in the party's offices and identified them as the party's heroes, he was, in CMG's characterization, “at pains to portray the Progress Party as a 'folkish' movement guided by Ayn Rand’s philosophy of the power of the individual over the state.” The unambiguous thrust here is that the Progress Party's image as an individualist, classical liberal party is a lie, and that these people are really a gang of fascists. But it's CMG who's the liar here – either that, or she's been duped by socialists eager to get their propaganda into the news pages of Time Magazine. In any event, listen up, CMG: Siv Jensen and her party haven't changed a whit from what they were before Breivik came along. Read this interview – in English – from 2007, in which Jensen expressed admiration for America and for Thatcher, support for Israel, and hatred for Communism.. Asked to define her party's principles, Jensen said: “We are a classical liberal party, and are very much in favor of market mechanisms.”

CMG to the contrary, what happened after Breivik's murder spree was not that the Progress Party altered its public ideological profile. What happened was this: Norway's mainstream media, which are fully owned and operated by the Norwegian left, saw an opportunity to demonize the Progress Party, associate it with Breivik, and even blame it for Breivik's actions, in an effort to crush it once and for all. At the same time, they sought to construct a creepy personality cult around Stoltenberg, hero of the hour, and to depict the Workers' Youth League (which, in the days before the Breivik massacre, had spent much of its time at Utøya savaging Israel and celebrating Palestinian terrorists) as a choir of angels. The Norwegian media's merciless attacks on the Progress Party caused a serious drop in its numbers. What CMG is doing in her article is taking that Stalinist-style campaign international. For this, she deserves the deepest contempt – while Jensen, Norheim, and other Progress Party leaders merit admiration for keeping their cool, and carrying on responsibly, in the face of the most monstrous kind of vilification.

Who is Charlotte McDonald-Gibson? Well, for one thing, she doesn't live in Norway: she's British, based in Brussels. There's no reason to believe that she reads or speaks Norwegian, or that she knows the first thing about Norwegian politics. One assumes that she has contacts, here and elsewhere, whom she counts on to provide her with the proper socialist spin – which she then sets about purveying in a tone of absolute authority, and without the slightest intention of providing a fair, balanced picture of reality. An article she wrote in April about the then-forthcoming Icelandic election followed much the same formula as this latest one on Norway. Citing polls which suggested (correctly, as it turned out) that a center-right coalition would wrest control of Iceland's parliament from the ruling center-left coalition, CMG might have provided an objective overview of the issues, but instead chose to highlight quotes from a “political analyst” who dismissed center-right voters as mindless, and from a folk singer who said: “I don't believe that people are so stupid as to vote for these parties.” There were no similar quotes from the center-right about socialist voters.

Time Magazine was never the most serious of publications. It was often criticized for its excessive attention to famous personalities, and like any magazine it had an editorial slant. But in its heyday, nothing like CMG's propaganda would ever have made it into print. Surely Luce, a solid anti-Communist and believer in freedom, would have been appalled to see the Time imprimatur on a text that celebrates socialists and smears a party of liberty. It's a good thing that we have alternative news sources, and that Time, a shadow of its former self, will soon likely be joining its old rival Newsweek on the ash-heap of history.

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