The Social Impact of the Web
Yahoo is cleared in Shi Tao case, but ignorance is no excuse

Complaints about blogging foreign minister won't go away

That Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt has a blog will be old news to many of you. As will the fact that this blog has been the focus of many harsh and uninformed attacks in mainstream media recently (how dare a politician short-cut the media and publish his opinions without a filter, with no mediation?). But the fact that this story goes on, and on, and on, just beggars belief...

A few weeks back, when Swedish tabloid Expressen started attacking Bildt for his blog, saying that the blog allowed Bildt to conduct one-way communication, not answer questions on what he wrote and generally served to confuse Bildt's professional role with Bildt the private person, I must admit I thought the story was too surreal to gain credence with the rest of Swedish press.

Unfortunately that was not the case. Former newspaper editor Bertil Torekull even compared Bildt to Hugo Chavez: that's what politicians with a dictatorial bent do isn't it – employ one-way-street channels of communication, in Chavez' case hold monologues on state-owned TV, in Bildt's case write a blog. When the story surfaced I also thought it was a rather predictable attack from a newspaper who made a lot of noise of how they had the scoop that brought down former trade minister Maria Borelius before blogger Magnus Ljungkvist who won international acclaim for ousting her – Expressen just failed to publish the story before the blogger, but hey, minor detail, to the tabloid anyway.

However, the number of journalists who have joined the choir of complaint over Bildt's blogging is worrying, to say the least. And today Hans Kullin reports (in Swedish) on a frighteningly uninformed story from the Swedish edition of Computerworld, of all publications, which makes me think there's a bit of a blog backlash going on in Sweden at the moment, or maybe all bogeymen have felt empowered to come out of whatever dark corners they've been hiding in by Expressen's campaign against Bildt.

As Cathy, over at The Good Things in Life, writes though, Bildt has been blogging for many years, it's his recently established Swedish blog that seems to fly in the face of some old media hacks. And believe me, I have a lot of sympathy for old media hacks, but if I didn't know better this story would really make me willing to consider that there is indeed a big conspiracy of big media vs. bloggers going on, as The Day of the Longtail suggests.

The story also reminds me of what Norwegians like to call 'the Swedish solution' – when your PC is acting up, not behaving well, just turn it off and on again and all problems will be solved. Maybe that's what they're hoping these 'old' Swedish dinosaurs, just stop people using such undemocratic tools as blogs, and all will be back to normal, no media ... eh... evolution, same procedure as last year, please...


The comments to this entry are closed.