Saturday, December 02, 2006

It IS That Bad in Swedish Government Television

Imagine if the government television channel in some country dedicated 4 hours to celebrate uncritically former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. There would of course be massive condemnation of this and people would certainly consider any claims of neutrality laughable. Such a uncritical celebration of Pinochet would probably never happen as most libertarians and conservatives deplore Pinochet's murder and torture of communist dissidents.

Yet here in Sweden, the government television channel (who has the nerve to -in true Orwellian fashion- characterize itself as "free television") have a 4 hour special theme night to celebrate ( they themselves use the Swedish word "fira", which means celebrate) Fidel Castro and his long rule as dictator of Cuba.

First they are going to have a re-run of an uncritical interview with Castro, more than an hour long, produced by Swedish government television 30 years ago. Then they will have a panel discussion about him from 3 well-known admirers of Castro. Then they will have a Oliver Stone "documentary" where Castro will again be able to present his views. Then they will finish with an interview of Castro's former mistress.

A pure communist propaganda night, in other words. One shouldn't perhaps be too suprised that a government television channel is attracted to Castro's socialist vision. One should however be outraged that the new Swedish centre-right government doesn't immediately end the financing of the government television channel through the special tax called "TV license".

Note however, that I am not trying to establish some kind of moral equivalence between Pinochet and Castro. After all, Castro have killed a lot more people, Castro have destroyed Cuba's economy while Pinochet saved Chile's economy and transformed it into Latin America's most successful and unlike Castro, Pinochet voluntarily relinquished power.


Anonymous LeoB said...

Stefan, I think I have to correct you. Maybe your readers believe you and that would be too bad.

There is nothing on the page from the Swedish television saying that they are celebrating Castro or Cuba. Nothing at all!

The Swedish television has nowhere said that they are doing so. Instead it is a lot of people on the right wing that says so. But that is quite another thing!

9:12 PM  
Anonymous Per-Olof Samuelsson said...

A life-long study of the Swedish language tells me that the word "fira" actually means "celebrate".

Or didn't they use this word? Then one would simply have to accuse them of hypocricy (for which the Swedish equivalent, by the way, is "hyckleri").

7:08 PM  
Blogger stefankarlsson said...

Per-Olof Samuelsso:. I DID write that "fira" means celebrate.

Leob: while, it is true that they didn't formally say "we in SVT celebrates him", they did say that Cuba celebrates him, followed by a description of him as a heroic survivor, followed by a listing of only pro-Castro programs. That is certainly in effect equivalent to saying that they celebrated him.

10:38 PM  
Anonymous Per-Olof Samuelsson said...

Yes, of course. It was "leob" who seems to have missed it.

10:49 PM  
Anonymous LeoB said...

I can understand your feelings about this but I myself do not see those programs as a celebration. But the only thing I commented on was that you said that the Swedish television said that they were celebrating Castro. Since you corrected this I have not other point to make about this.

I might disagree with you about who is the worst dictator, but I think there is no reason at all arguing about that. It tend to be ridicoulus since it is without meaning. There is no choice between them. It is in my opinion much better to be open about what one really want to say. You may perhaps say that you want a liberal economy and tell the reason for this. I might say that I do not like a fullblown liberal economy and give my reasons for that.

12:39 AM  
Blogger LeoB said...

One more comment. You write "that is certainly in effect equivalent". I would be more convinced that you are open to discussion if you wrote "that is in my opinion in effect ...". But that is up to you of course.

12:58 AM  
Blogger stefankarlsson said...

Leob, had I not been open for discussion on it, I wouldn't have published your comments. But I am too objectivist to agree to your re-formulation. Writing like SVT did really is in effect equivalent to saying they celebrated it.

8:11 AM  
Anonymous LeoB said...

Yes, you are right of course that you publish my comments shows that you try to be open to discussion. But perhaps it also can be called "freedom to speach"? This is not bad at all though discussion could mean more. For me the main part is to try to understand the other person(s) argument(s). Sometimes I wish I instead just listened. Perhaps it would be better. My understanding is of course always biased and especially if I try to understand too early.

BTW I am objective too ;-)

While I to a certain amount agree that the words from SVT in effect could mean what you say it is still a bit problematic to me if you just think it is objective. Questions like that are very difficult and involves a lot of psychology.

That means to me at least that I have to rethink the subject a lot of times to get some understanding of it. It is not like logic (where I tend to stop long before I hit the more uncertain parts of it).

4:03 PM  

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