The Slatest

Today in Conservative Media: Sweden

Supporters hold Swedish flags during a Medal Ceremony at the Sochi medals plaza during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 12, 2014.  

Photo by LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images

A daily roundup of the biggest stories in right-wing media.  

At a rally on Saturday, Donald Trump seemed to suggest that Sweden had suffered a terrorist attack the night before, which it had not. Conservative media continues to cover the fallout from those remarks, with many outlets defending and explaining Trump’s comment and, in some cases, suggesting that he was right.

Sean Hannity’s website ran a post titled, “No, Trump Never Said There Was a Terrorist Attack in Sweden.” It noted that he had only advised his audience to “look at what’s happening last night in Sweden,” and cited one of the president’s own tweets, which clarified that he’d been referring to a story broadcast on Fox News the night before his rally.

That broadcast—built around footage from a documentary by Ami Horowitz about refugee violence in Sweden—led HeatStreet to conclude, “Looks Like Donald Trump Was Right About Sweden After All,” though the post itself admits Trump “appears to have been referring to an actual, accurate news report, albeit one that wasn’t technically live or breaking.” Though police officers interviewed in Horowitz’s documentary have objected to its assertions about refugee violence, claiming that their comments were taken out of context and misrepresented, Breitbart ran an article titled, “Ten Reasons Sweden’s ‘Multicultural Utopia’ Is Massively Failing.” Reason no. 5—that “most serious crime is committed by migrants”—is backed up only with a quote from a police officer’s Facebook rant.

Many publications found subsequent support for Trump’s assertion in a Monday night “riot” in an immigrant neighborhood of Rinkeby, a suburb of Stockholm. From

The violence in Rinkeby began around 8 p.m., when officers arrested a suspect at an underground station on drug charges, The Local reported. A group soon gathered, hurling rocks and other objects at officers and prompting one cop to fire his gun “in a situation that demanded he use his firearm,” police spokesman Lars Bystrom said.

“But nobody has been found injured at the scene and we have checked the hospitals and there hasn’t been anyone with what could be gunshot wounds,” Bystrom added.

Breitbart featured the disturbance on the top of its home page for much of Tuesday morning, as did other sites, including the Daily Caller.

Posts about Sweden from conservative Facebook pages were shared widely:

In other news:

Over the holiday weekend, Breitbart technology editor Milo Yiannopoulos came under fire after video of him seeming to endorse sex between adults and minors emerged. The Conservative Political Action Conference subsequently stripped him of his role as keynote speaker. Later, Simon & Schuster, which had given Yiannopoulous a $250,000 advance for his forthcoming book, announced that it would no longer be publishing the title. Though it largely declined to comment on these organization’s choices, the Daily Caller observed, “The group that accused Milo Yiannopoulos of defending pedophilia is funded by an anti-Trump, pro-[Evan] McMullin PAC.”

HeatStreet—which has variously described Breitbart as “a Donald Trump fan website” and compared Yiannopoulos to a member of the Sex Pistols—went a little farther than some of its conservative siblings. It called Yiannopoulos’ statements “something else,” and invited its readers to watch the video in full—implicitly challenging Yiannopoulos’ own claim that he was the victim of “selectively edited videos.”

The National Review went farther, taking the opportunity to aggressively condemn Yiannopoulos. In “Free Speech Has a Milo Problem,” David French, after referring to Yiannopoulos as “flamboyantly gay,” wrote, “His very existence and prominence feed the deception that modern political correctness is the firewall against the worst forms of bigotry,” and argued that we should instead uphold individuals such as Washington state florist Barronelle Stutzman, who was sued for refusing to provide flowers for a gay wedding, as First Amendment heroes. Similarly, the publication’s editors chastised CPAC for inviting Yiannopoulos in the first place, writing, “It has become fashionable in conservative circles to cheer every apparently right-leaning gadfly. But ‘trolling’ is not conservatism, and there is no virtue merely in upsetting campus Democrats.”

On Tuesday afternoon, Yiannopoulous resigned from Breitbart. The site, which had been quiet on this story, published a post soon after, quoting an official statement that explained the company had accepted his resignation.