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In his reporting on the Macedonian trolls Måns Mosesson of Dagens Nyheter has a very intriguing phone interview with an American Facebook user named Michael. He´s one of many who spread Ivan Stankovic’s mash up of the church desecration.[1] According to Mosesson’s account Michael is an ex-military living on subsistence in Florida.

“Michael in Florida loves to share interesting articles with his Facebook friends. He found the article about the church in Kristianstad particularly good because it showed how ungrateful refugees are”, Mosesson writes and quotes the conversation: “The Church extended a Christian hand to these Muslims and they took advantage of it, they rely on Christian charity to keep them going”, says Michael. “I would love to have someone show me that kind of kindness.”

That everyone in Kristianstad denies it was Muslims who desecrated the church does not bother Michael:

“Don’t you think maybe that the people in the Church are saying this just to save face?” Michael says and continues “If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck – then it’s a duck.” He then claims, without any additional knowledge that “In this case, more than likely it was in fact the Muslims who were desecrating the church. And I think that the Church people are a bit embarrassed about it and they are trying to blame someone else. To take the heat of the Muslims.”

“And it’s not just Sweden. I mean, it’s scary worldwide. I stand behind Donald Trump for anything he is going to do in this country to rid us of them. As far as the Muslims go… we just need to get rid of them.”

# Enters Donald Trump

En bild som visar skärmbildBeskrivning genererad med mycket hög exakthet

Trump has, according to Washington Post,[2] (as of March 17:th 2019 after 787 days in office) has made 9,179 false or misleading claims.

[3] En bild som visar text, kartaBeskrivning genererad med mycket hög exakthet

A master of subterfuge[4] and downright senseless claims, Trump got eternal fame in Sweden when he in February 2017 during a speech in Florida[5] about keeping America safe mentioned terrorist attacks in Nice, Paris and Brussels – and in the same sentence pointed out an unspecified event in Sweden that Friday evening.

“You look at what happened last night in Sweden”, he said, but later clarified on Twitter that he was not referring to a specific event that Friday but to a Fox News story broadcasted that day.[6]

En bild som visar textBeskrivning genererad med hög exakthet The reaction in Sweden was incredulity.

The former prime minister Carl Bildt said to the newspaper Aftonbladet “What has he been smoking?” and added: “If you listen to what Donald Trump said before and during the campaign, this is the end of the Western world as we know it.[7]

The problem is of course that a lot of people are listening. Trump has at the time of writing[8] close to 60 million followers on Twitter, and traditional media for obvious reasons must report what POTUS tweets. Even if he´s dead wrong.

The Fox report in turn was fact-checked by among others the Swedish daily Aftonbladet.

“Refugees are behind the rise of crime, but authorities are not disclosing these facts.” – “there are no statistics to support this statement” Aftonbladet concluded.

The debate on how and if it’s worthwhile to examine crime statistics based solely on origin have raged in Sweden for years.

“160 000 refugees arrived in Sweden 2016.”

Of the 10 million Syrians fleeing the war 30 000 applied for refugee status in Sweden in 2016. But the main influx was during 2015 when 163 000 applied for asylum.

False or twisted claims are now spread daily by the leader of one of the remaining superpowers. According to Washington Post “the president averaged nearly 5,9 false or misleading claims a day in his first year in office. He hit nearly 16,5 a day in his second year. So far in 2019, he’s averaging nearly 22 claims a day.”

And he´s not alone.

# A psychotic Alex Jones

Alex Jones, who runs the website Infowars, is another example of someone monetizing and politicizing the kind of people who “don´t wanna know”. The New York Times in September 2017 suggested the bulk of Mr. Jones’s money comes from selling supplement products, allegedly netting more than $20 million in revenue per year. Some of it is weight loss pills. Jones is in other words mainly charlatan, possibly not even in it for political gain.

His main argument for what he’s doing is that he’s merely “asking questions others are too afraid to ask”. And he’ s given a lot of attention. Among others the popular podcaster Joe Rogan, with four million subscribers on YouTube and among the top ten most-downloaded podcasts on iTunes, lent Jones his microphone several times, even after Jones’s own show was banned from YouTube.[9]


Alex Jones is being sued by victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook attack for repeatedly peddling the idea that the shooting was staged and was a politicized “false flag” operation in the aim to reduce the number of firearms in America. [10]

But in a deposition[11][12] given during the spring of 2019 in connection to the numerous lawsuits he came clean about the basis of some of his allegations. And he´s a very different man in the deposition compared to the personae he acts on air. He suggests that his words on the massacre were said in a psychotic state: “almost had like a form of psychosis back in the past where I basically thought everything was staged, even though I’m now learning a lot of times things aren’t staged.” Jones said.

So, we are talking about a self-diagnosed person with mental issues distributing his thoughts to the “Don’t wanna knows”. And being cited and shared high and low.

History could teach Spotifys CEO: s Daniel Ek, Twitters Jack Dorsey and Facebooks Mark Zuckerberg some things about the difficult operation of being a content editor.

They are now excluding Jones´s material[13] [14] but only some of it. And in most cases, the companies have given little reason for their censorship. Because that’s course where they are, on the difficult slippery slope of censoring’ Like Soviet librarians they desperately need to erase unwanted parts of history. Which can be difficult. Trotsky had to be extracted out of pictures in the Soviet Encyclopedia of the annual Red Square parade after he was exiled.

East German Stasi used their manpower to take writing samples from all typewriters sold in the DDR to track unwanted writing. But that also had the effect that every owner of a typewriter knew they had a sample.

Self-censoring is much more effective than censoring, which the regime of Xi in China has realized. The great firewall of china is there, no doubt about it, but it can never catch everything. So, Xi: s regime states to the IT industry: “By all means, do run an Internet Service Provider, but remember that you are responsible if any user posts something against the state”.

Handling content is a complicated and delicate business whichever side you are on. Something the aspiring content industry of Social media companies are slowly realizing.

Thus far they apply journalism’s competence and experience in a half-hearted way. That might have to change if they want to survive the trust-loss experienced with their audiences and the wrath of government regulation.

//Updated 20190426//

  1. “ A mash-up (sometimes spelled as one word, mashup) is a Web page or application that integrates complementary elements from two or more sources” https://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/mash-up

  2. Clippings\President Trump has made 9,014 false or misleading claims over 773 days – The Washington Post accessed 20190401pdf.pdf

  3. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/03/04/president-trump-has-made-false-or-misleading-claims-over-days/?utm_term=.6428e2930e39

  4. deceit used in order to achieve one’s goal.

  5. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/19/world/europe/last-night-in-sweden-trumps-remark-baffles-a-nation.html?login=email&auth=login-email

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/18/us/politics/donald-trump-rally-melbourne-florida.html?module=inline Trump Returns to Campaign Trail After a Month in Office – The New York Times accessed 20190408

  6. https://www.aftonbladet.se/nyheter/a/Vn17J/in-english-this-happened-in-sweden-friday-night-mr-president

  7. https://www.aftonbladet.se/nyheter/a/E8wOa/in-english-carl-bildt-reacts-to-trumps-attack-what-has-he-been-smo

  8. 2019-04-05

  9. Clippings\Opinion _ Why Courtrooms Are Kryptonite for Alex Jones – The New York Times accessed 20190331.pdf

  10. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7siWJ86g40&t=8s

  11. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/31/opinion/alex-jones-sandy-hook.

  12. https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2018/11/05/alex-jones-banned-facebook-his-videos-are-still-there-so-are-his-followers/?utm_term=.2dbc19ad3295 accessed 2019-04-02

  13. https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2018/11/05/alex-jones-banned-facebook-his-videos-are-still-there-so-are-his-followers/?utm_term=.2dbc19ad3295 accessed 20190403 // Clippings\Alex Jones banned from Facebook_ His videos are still there — and so are his followers – The Washington Post. accessed 20190403pdf.pdf