27 January 2016

Onar Aam:

The hidden news from Cologne


This article was originally published on 23 January 2016 on the writer's blog (Onar Åms Lillablogg) as Den skjulte nyheten i Køln.

It is published here with the author's generous consent.
Translation: Marianne Haslev Skånland


Some weeks have passed since the sexual terror attacks in Cologne and a lot has been written about it. Many have focused on the way it exposes a horrid lack of culture among many so-called 'refugees' coming to Europe. Others have focused on the hushing up by the media and the police. Still others have focused on the way feminists, who usually eagerly dish out accusations of patriarchal violence culture when white men are concerned, now excuse and explain away something that appears to be a true culture of violence.

There is one thing, though, which nobody has written about. It is a piece of news that has escaped everybody, and this news is maybe more important than anything else written about the event. The news is that this case became a large news item after all, in spite of the shameful attempts of the media and the police to put a lid on it.

How did it come to be? How could something which was originally boycotted by all the media and by the police, still become a major news story? The answer is: social media. People had their mobiles with them and shared their stories and video shots of the vicious behaviour of these near-prosimians. Shocked and indignant that the media did not write about the case, people continued sharing it around and it went viral.

When hundreds of thousands had shared the news, decentralised via social media, it was no longer possible for the media to keep the case down. They had to address it and report it, or they would have lost even the tiny bit of face they had left.

The fact is, then, that the Cologne attack shows us that the mainstream media of today has been dethroned. The hegemony of the traditional media is over. The media no longer holds a monopoly on news reporting. The elite no longer holds a monopoly on the truth. They cannot dictate the agenda.

This fact is mirrored by another fact: all traditional media today struggle with their income. The Norwegian newspaper VG recently had to cut back on jobs. They do not tackle the competition from the internet.

Gutenberg 2.0

The internet has been described as a kind of Gutenberg 2.0. For those who do not know their history, Gutenberg was a fellow who invented printing with moveable metal types in the West. Before, books were something extremely expensive. The written word was well guarded by the elite, in this case the Catholic church.

Martin Luther was the pioneer to utilise the new technology seriously to challenge and do away with the power of the Catholic church over religious truths. As a consequence several decades of religious war followed in Europe, different versions of Christianity warring with each other, after which war-weary Europeans concluded that maybe freedom of expression and of religion was not such a dumb idea.

The internet holds the same role as the art of printing had. The technology makes the spreading of news and information so cheap that everyman can do it. The social media play the same role as did Luther's protestantism: a platform challenging the established elite.

A local example

The power lying in the social media can be illustrated by a Norwegian example, viz the political party Liberalistene (The Capitalist Party). This is a party that is only a little over a year old, but which has from the first gone all out to be best in social media. The effect of this is that the party is now growing with .5 per cent every day. Around this time the party will pass 1000 members, half as many as the established party Rødt (Red).

Should the party keep growing at the same rate (5 new members per day), they will have around 4,000 members at the parliamentary election in 2017. This has happened with practically zero coverage in traditional media.

If the Capitalist Party continues its success and enters parliament as a new party in a few years, they will in that case be the second new, Norwegian party to break through the political sound barrier in a short time. Both parties will in that case have succeeded in the same way: through professional concentration on social media.

The Capitalist Party on Facebook can be found