With the wedding of Crown Princess Victoria and Daniel Westling approaching (on Thursday there were 100 days left) and expected to be the biggest media event in Sweden for years, it seems the country’s media is about to go crazy.
Most major media outlets have attempted to strengthen their teams by recruiting all sorts of authors, historian (real and self-appointed ones), former courtiers, fashion bloggers and party girls. One may wonder if it is the desire to “beat” their rivals and be first with the news that has recently led some journalist to take journalistic standards very lightly and rush out stories which soon have had to be retracted.
On Thursday Åsa Bönnelyche of Svensk Damtidning, who is perhaps best known for her scoop in breaking the news of Princess Madeleine’s and Jonas Bergström’s engagement the day before it was to be announced, wrote in her blog that Queen Silvia is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
On Friday she deleted that blogpost and apologised for publishing “unconfirmed information”. She did however not actually say that her story was wrong, but only “unconfirmed”.
It seems very hypocritical that Jenny Alexandersson of Aftonbladet in her blog makes a big deal out of this and expresses her deep indignation that Svensk Damtidning (where she worked until last year) claims that the Queen is “terminally ill [sic]”. It is only a few weeks since Alexandersson herself made a very similar gaffe when she claimed that Daniel Westling had been taken acutely ill and rushed to hospital, when he had in fact only been to a routine check-up following his kidney transplant. This she does of course not mention now.
Alexandersson back then also wrote of the joy and satisfaction she felt when seeing her (false) story on the front pages all over town. Unlike Bönnelyche she did not even have the decency to apologise, but blamed the Royal Court instead.
Now she assures us that Svensk Damtidning’s story is “rejected!” by her colleague at Aftonbladet, the notoriously unreliable journalist Herman Lindqvist, who is apparently now not only an “author and historian [sic]”, but also a doctor.
The Royal Court’s only comment has been that Queen Silvia is doing fine.
For the Swedish media it appears to be time to take a deep breath and calm down before they end up like German weeklies.