The Conversation

"Good Hate" Goes Unnoticed in Sweden, Just as it Does Here

A Swedish TV special recently examined threats directed at high profile women, including journalists, actors, authors, etc. The special made the argument that the problem was so severe it led to self-censorship by those who decided voicing their opinion just wasn't worth the hassle and the threats.

An article written by the editor of a left-wing Swedish paper backs this up with plenty of ugly detail. After moving out of her home because of a number of death threats after she wrote about right wing websites, she receives a text from an unknown number in the middle of the night, "Seriously sweetheart, when was the last time you got yourself off?" That's tame compared to the texts she receives later.

But the editor of a center-right magazine notes that all of the examples mentioned in the TV special are liberals:

There's no doubt that internet hatred and threats against people who actively take part in public discourse are a growing problem. But when Sveriges Television's (SVT) investigative news programme Uppdrag granskning examined the topic last week, the perspective was almost entirely restricted to women who were attacked for their leftist views.

Internet hatred, I can tell you, also affects women who are not on the left. We have that in common, but there is a striking difference: Hatred directed at us from the left often finds its way into the established media.

The author calls the barrage of ugly attacks right-leaning men and women receive from the left "good hate." I don't know if that's a precise translation of something that was more subtle in the original, but it strikes me as an accurate description of what I've seen over the years. Another columnist quoted in the article says "The hatred from the left is the worst. They think they are morally superior, that they can spout off anything they want."

That's a problem most of us on the right are familiar with. Andrew Breitbart received so much "good hate" on Twitter that he began RT'ing it to expose it. Michelle Malkin has done the same for years. The stuff she gets is as bad as anything the left-wing Swedish editor can muster. The treatment of Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann is equally shocking, in Palin's case it even extends to threats directed at her children. And yet, you'll never see a TV special on PBS discussing this constant stream of liberal hate. It goes largely unnoticed here, just as it apparently does in Sweden. Why? Because it's "good hate." Because it comes from a moral high ground that the people who make up the media generally agree with.

Good hate sums up the underlying value judgment about who is on the receiving end of the bile. It also explains the divergent treatment crimes with possible political motivations receive in the media. Only the right incites violence and therefore only the right needs to tone down its rhetoric. That's the narrative. And that's why every mass murderer is presumed to be a conservative or perhaps motivated by a conservative.

It's why a violent felon who watched Glenn Beck's TV show becomes a strike against Beck and a reason to cancel his show, while a violent cop who loved MSNBC, Piers Morgan and President Obama is just a lone nut. It's why Sarah Palin's campaign map can be blamed for inspiring a mass murder (even when it didn't), but when a gunman admits he took his targets from a liberal website the media doesn't even get a quote from the publisher because...who cares? Sarah Palin received death threats after she was connected to Loughner by the media. Did they apologize? Of course not.

Some of the abuse heaped on women in the media is the unpleasant side of fame for everyone in the limelight. As Megan Fox recently said (yes, I thought this was insightful) "whatever your worst experience in high school, when you were being bullied by those ten kids in high school, fame is that, but on a global scale." But when it comes to politics the media has a bad habit of only noticing the abuse that flies in one direction. That suggests they aren't all that serious about dealing with the problem. In fact, their tolerance of "good hate" makes them part of the problem.


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