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Web hate, social and mainstream media: 'Why Anders Behring Breivik is (not) a hero'
Stockholms universitet, Historiska institutionen.
2013 (English)In: From Theory to Practice: How to Assess, Measure and Apply Impartiality in News and Current Affairs / [ed] Leon Barkho, Bristol: Intellect Ltd., 2013, 113-130 p.Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The article examines the relations between mainstream news media and alternative grassroots discourse, focusing on the mass murders in Oslo in July 2011 and the controversial Swedish chat room Flashback. Flashback is known as a place where one can rapidly find detailed (more or less correct) information about recent events and the people involved in them. It is also an open forum where all kinds of topics are being discussed, not seldom including expressions of values and ideas that are considered offensive and/or “politically incorrect”. The Oslo events were in Sweden followed by a media debate about hate speech in the commentaries on news media web sites and in social media, in which it has been argued that the latter provides fertile grounds for hate speech and consequently also hateful actions.

The study shows that several of the texts in mainstream press were heavily biased and extremely negative towards social media, especially Flashback. References were frequently being made to one of the most controversial threads, ‘Varför Anders Behring Breivik är en hjälte’/’Why Anders Behring Breivik is a hero’, although the actual contents of it were either neglected or heavily distorted. This resulted in a discourse in which almost all the characteristics of moral media panics identified by Cohen (1972) are present. The article concludes with a discussion on possible explanations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bristol: Intellect Ltd., 2013. 113-130 p.
Keyword [en]
Web hate, social media, newspapers, bias, knowledge community, moral panic
National Category
Research subject
Media and Communication Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-46349ISBN: 9781841507262 (print)OAI: diva2:998772
Available from: 2013-11-14 Created: 2016-09-30 Last updated: 2016-09-30Bibliographically approved

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