11 Feb 2008

The real losers

When I returned from vacation this week, I found Sweden in a state of hysteria. No, ABBA wasn’t reuniting. No, Victoria hadn’t announced a date for her wedding. Rather it was Super Tuesday, and the whole of Sweden had gone mad: Reinfeld was rooting for Obama, Maude liked McCain, and the guy at the hot dog stand was sorry to see Fred Thompson out the race (he had been a big fan of “Law and Order”).

As an American, I am fully aware of how sensational US-media coverage of politics can be, but Sweden? This is the place that invented calm and methodical, a place where lagom rules, and where NO ONE gets hysterical.

The issue I have with this kind of frenzied news coverage is that somewhere along the way the facts got lost. Swedes are not presented with analysis of either issues or how each candidate would, if elected president, impact life in Sweden. The coverage was more about super-delegates, battlefield states and Mike Huckabee’s running shoes.

In his column in Dagens Nyheter, Göran Greider says that the Swedish media’s coverage of the US primaries is more suited for the European Song Contest than for a political contest. Personally, as an American-Swedish citizen and as a communication professional, I think the real losers after Super Tuesday weren’t Romney and Edwards but the Swedish public.

(Image: Getty Images)



Anonymous said...

From Åsa Lindeborg's editorial in Aftonbladet:
Kanske kan man tolka Clintons och Obamas spektakulära positioner som ett uttryck för vår tids avpolitisering; det spelar inte så stor roll vem som presiderar – kjoltyg eller neger – det är ändå marknaden som regerar.


Anonymous said...

Interesting that us Europeans have always comfortably criticised the media circus of US elections only to be drawn into it ourselves. Becasue this time, the Swedish media weren't commenting on the media circus but rather contributing to it. That's a big shift.
So, how many years have we got before the Swedish parliamentary elections become a media personality battle rather than a political one where policies and issues take the central stage. It's already started to happen. I'm thinking, three more general elections and the Swedes will have well and truly succumbed to superficiality over substance.