The Politics of Personal Destruction, Danish Style

The following story concerns a particularly virulent case of the Screaming Nazi Heeber-Jeebers, an outbreak that infected the whole of the Danish political class back in 2003. It forced Henrik Gade Jensen, an assistant to a government minister, to resign his position after completely bogus charges of “Nazi” connections had been leveled at him in the media.

Now, ten years later, he has been totally vindicated in a Danish television documentary. It may have come too late for him to salvage his career — nobody who is branded a “Nazi” ever really recovers fully, no matter how spurious the allegations — but he has at least seen his name cleared in public.

We “right-wing extremists” are all too familiar with these media smear tactics. All it takes is one whisper of the “N-word” in a major organ of the left-wing press, and the career of the accused is essentially over. Any provision of evidence for the accusation is totally optional — dedicated leftists generally find the facts to be an impediment when they go Nazi-hunting.

Our Danish correspondent TB undertook the enormous task of translating the documentary, and has written an introduction that places the incident in its full context.

Henrik Gade Jensen: How to destroy a decent man in a modern multicultural society

by TB

It’s been only six weeks since the ‘postman’ tried to kill Lars Hedegaard on his doorstep. Apparently that’s no reason for the media to stop their witch hunt, and a few days ago they succeeded in assassinating Lars Hedegaard’s character. Hedegaard was lured into a TV studio under false pretences by this invitation from the journalist Martin Krasjnik:

“I don’t believe we have met each other, but I have followed you painstakingly since the Muhammed crisis. I am a great admirer of your persistence and your courage to speak your mind! It gives me unbelievable pleasure that you survived the cowardly, dreadful attack on your life and I am constantly amazed by the widespread failure to support you clearly and explicitly. It would be absolutely terrific and interesting to have you on the program for a long interview.” [Source: Front Page Magazine]

Once in the studio, Lars was viciously attacked, bombarded with accusations of all kinds, and had his book about Islam (The House of War: Islam’s Colonization of the West) compared to the The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Lars was verbally assassinated during that half hour. No mercy. The interviewer Krasjnik even used lies and the ‘guilt by association’ trick to make all his false allegations fit his murderous set-up. It was utterly disgusting. But not a surprise.

During that half hour the journalist also tried to single out Lars as an ‘isolated loonie’ by using comments from other important Islam-critics taken out of contest. One of the critics used by Krasjnik to back up his smear campaign was Bruce Bawer. Bawer addresses Krasjnik’s lies perfectly in the above-linked article, exposing his tactics.

In any case, this tactic is not new. And in hindsight one could argue that Lars should have known better than to fall for Krasjnik’s Gollum-like smarmy small talk as quoted in the invitation above. Several people before him has been ‘assassinated’ in this manner by the left-wing extremists and the media collaborators. He should have seen that one coming (easy for me to say isn’t it?). But, as I indicated before, these tactics are not new. And I think that it is now very important that people understand this, and stop exposing themselves.

The enemies of freedom will use ‘whatever it takes’. No matter the cost. What is important to them is not the case, whether they are right or wrong. What is important to them is to destroy the people with whom they do not agree. If my mother had ever tried to warn me against this kind of behavior, I would have told her to take a break — people simply do not do things like this. They cannot possibly be that evil. But they can. They are.

The video below is not about Lars Hedegaard, but has a lot of similarities to Hedegaard’s case. It takes about forty minutes to watch. It is about one of the finest debaters we have in Denmark, the philosopher Henrik Gade Jensen. Gade served as a press advisor to the former Minister of Ecclesiastical Affairs in Denmark.

Gade lasted one year during the Anders Fogh Rasmussen government before his career was ruined. As is now the case with Lars Hedegaard, Gade was completely destroyed — in public — by false accusations and ‘guilt by association’ tricks designed by left-wing extremists. It has been ten years since it happened, and Gade still suffers from it.

At that time Henrik Gade Jensen was also a very engaged writer in almost every newspaper in the country. He has always been a genius with words. He knows how to use them in a proper and sober manner.

The problem for him was and continues to be that he is on the ‘wrong’ side of the fence. He had the ‘wrong’ opinions. By criticizing immigration policy as well as the EU, Gade Jensen was heading for disaster, and finally hit the iceberg in November of 2003, earning himself a Gulag experience.

What is rare in the video about Gade Jensen is not the appalling treatment of the man. That part is/was expectable, and is fairly common these days. Look how Fjordman was treated. Or Tommy Robinson or Geert Wilders or…. the list never ends. What is rare, however, is that the video itself was ever produced (at least in Denmark). And by a state-run and tax-funded half-communist TV station like DR, yet.

The video shows how this man of integrity is destroyed by false ‘Nazi’ allegations from a left wing extremist backed up by the mainstream media. And not only do we get a picture of the way these extremists work, they are actually confronted by the journalist and forced to admit their mistakes and lack of ability.

The video provides some kind of satisfaction for Gade Jensen, and I hope that dissidents outside Denmark in similar situations are encouraged by watching it.

Many thanks to TB for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

Video transcript:

00:11   …say against people. Now you are a Nazi, Henrik!
00:15   I thought it was a joke.
00:19   There was a clear element of ‘GOT HIM’. ‘There you see!’
00:23   Of course he had to resign. “HENRIK GADE JENSEN HAD TO RESIGN TODAY
00:29   If you do not have the time to do the research then why do you bring up the story?
00:35   Well, we should not have!”. You can destroy a man’s life completely
00:39   by bringing such groundless accusations!”
00:43   Try to imagine that you suddenly see yourself on the front page of a newspaper!
00:47   Try to imagine being accused of something that you did not do!
00:51   Try to imagine reality outdoes your worst nightmare!
00:55   In these programs we take a close look at Danes who feel that they
00:59   have been exposed to the media’s mistakes or undocumented accusations.
01:03   We do our research with one of Denmark’s most experienced
01:07   media experts to find out what went wrong, and then we confront
01:10   the responsible editors.
01:23   Well, this is the church in Frederiksholms Kanal which I left
01:27   head over heels some nine years ago.
01:31   I jumped over the fence
01:35   since I had given my keys,
01:39   my cell phone and ID card to the secretary in the evening.
01:43   53-year-old Henrik Gade Jensen is back in front of the building
01:48   where one of the biggest dramas in his life unfolded nine years ago.
01:52   It was almost surreal to flee
01:56   from your own workplace.
02:00   Behind the two-meter-high fence
02:02   Henrik Gade Jensen, had succeeded as an employee,
02:04   as spin doctor for Minister of Ecclesiastical Affairs Tove Fergo, for precisely one year.
02:08   I had maybe hoped, that it could have lasted a little longer but,
02:12   sometimes things do not work out the way you hope.
02:16   Right until the day when an article in the newspaper Information brought the end of his career.
02:20   According to the daily newspaper Information
02:24   Henrik Gade Jensen holds ultra right-wing opinions.
02:28   And Tuesday November 25, 2003 became
02:32   disastrous for Henrik Gade Jensen.
02:36   But to really understand the drama,
02:38   actually unfolding through a few hours,
02:40   we will have to take a trip back in time
02:42   to meet a very young Henrik Gade Jensen, who has just
02:44   begun his dream studies.
02:48   I began studying philosophy the Copenhagen University after high school.
02:53   It’s a really fascinating area,
02:55   where you only deal with what is true and what is false.
02:57   Raised in a family of priests and teachers,
03:01   it is only natural for the young Henrik Gade to live in the tradition-bound
03:05   hall of residence ‘Regensen’ at the center of Copenhagen.
03:09   We were students at Regensen at the same time and he was very active in
03:13   the ‘Regensial’ life and became ‘klokker’, which means
03:17   chairman of the ‘Regensial’ counsel. Actually in a period of time when they celebrated a jubilee and
03:21   Queen Margrethe was visiting.
03:23   “Therefore honored guests, do not be afraid
03:25   when a group of ‘regensians’ rises and starts howling!”.
03:30   He was very interested in traditions and took them quite seriously.
03:34   I have always been curious
03:38   to find out ‘why?’?
03:40   Why is it like this? Why do you do like that?
03:42   There has to be some common sense in it…?
03:46   In the beginning of the ‘90s Gade becomes known as one of the sharpest right-wing debaters.
03:50   Besides a part-time job as a press assistant at Fremskridtspartiet [Progress Party],
03:54   later, for the Danish People’s Party, he starts criticizing the EU
03:58   and Danish immigration politics. When they implemented the immigration laws in 1983,
04:02   Well, there were no upper limits. It was everybody who should be given access
04:06   if they could just fill in the blanks.
04:08   I had the notion that official civil Denmark
04:10   had completely lost all parades.
04:12   Denmark had opened all doors.
04:15   Well he was one of the most influent debaters in those years.
04:19   I really do not know how many op-eds he writes.
04:22   In Politiken, Berlingske Tidende, Jyllands-Posten, Kristeligt Dagblad.
04:26   Everybody wants him.
04:30   He has got edge. Solid argumentation.
04:38   ‘The celebrations will see no end. It is like
04:42   being at one of Denmark’s world cup soccer matches’.
04:46   During 2001 Danish politics is turned upside down.
04:50   With Anders Fogh as prime minister, the right wing has the absolute majority
04:54   for the first time in many years.
05:03   Following the election, the combative philosopher and debater enters
05:07   the circles of power. Minister of Ecclesiastical Affairs Tove Fergo is hiring
05:11   Gade as here special consultant; also called ‘spin doctor’.
05:15   Well, partly he was an excellent writer, and
05:19   then he had thorough knowledge about the church
05:23   and Christianity. That was useful.
05:25   Well, it seemed like he had it, like
05:27   a fish in the water. He was very engaged. You know he was engaged
05:31   in ‘The Matter of Fact’. Probably not a
05:35   typical spin doctor as we usually know them.
05:37   Henrik Gade Jensen’s first
05:39   year in the Ministry becomes turbulent since Tove Fergo is massively criticized.
05:43   Among other things for lack of transparency in the ministry’s economic affairs. At the same time
05:47   she engages in a serious dispute with the country’s bishops. Gade helps
05:51   the minister through all this, but on November 24, 2003,
05:55   Gade receives a telephone call which will initiate a fatal 24 hours.
06:03   Yes. It is Henrik…
06:07   And then a journalist from Information called me and started asking questions.
06:11   I do not remember details. What I do remember though is that
06:15   the starting point was something like that I was probably a terrible person
06:17   since I had been writing negatively about immigration.
06:19   The journalist from Information
06:23   asks Gade about some quotes from his several-years-old immigration-critical
06:27   op-eds and whether he thinks that such extreme right-wing
06:31   opinions are compatible with being a spin doctor for the Minister of Ecclesiastical Affairs .
06:35   And I answered the question…
06:39   I have to answer as an employee in a ministry. It is your duty
06:43   to answer questions from the public.
06:47   But it was not my impression that they would
06:51   exult it up the way they later did.
06:55   The attack against Gade is written at a time where.
06:59   the political debate is overheated.
07:03   Well, the creation of the VKO majority in 2001
07:07   is a huge shock. Not the least
07:11   among the intellectual elite in society, including
07:15   the newspaper journalists and the editors. Those days
07:19   they use really nasty verbal methods
07:23   in the debate to demonize their opponent.
07:27   At that time some critical articles against Gade Jensen had already surfaced
07:31   in the Danish press.
07:34   What were the new things that Information added to the story?
07:36   Well first of all the ‘N’-word
07:40   was mentioned; the ‘NAZI’-word. You can accuse people of many things
07:44   on this planet and get away with all right in many
07:48   situations. But you know; THAT word. The minute you write NAZI
07:52   it gets serious. According to any kind of judgment…
07:56   a relatively new government and then being able to throw
08:00   that stamp on it. Got to admit that it is a fantastic story.
08:02   Yes. Because the article that Information is writing
08:05   does a lot more than just quote old op-eds.
08:08   The paper postulates that Gade Jensen has connections to
08:12   Nazi groups. But all this Gade knows nothing about
08:16   when he boards the train early in the morning in
08:20   his home village Viby Sjaelland.
08:22   When I get on board the train there are several
08:28   messages on my phone from TV2.
08:32   Apparently they would like me in the studio and I am a little surprised about that,
08:36   since I know very well that Information has done something, but
08:40   that I – little me – should be so important that I had to be in
08:44   the news… I did not have the imagination to see that coming.
08:48   At this moment Henrik Gade has not read the article in Information
08:52   and he decides not to call TV2 to get an overview of the situation
08:56   before arriving at work in the ministry. On TV2 the news stream has begun
09:00   several hours ago.
09:04   There was one story in particular that morning which was especially interesting.
09:08   It was the top story from Information. Why is that such a big thing?
09:12   At that time spin doctors were
09:16   a very sensitive political matter. It was a rather
09:20   new phenomenon and there was a lot of debate about what they should be allowed to do
09:24   and how much power they had.
09:26   What does TV2 do to check whether there is any substance
09:29   in the accusations against Gade in Information?
09:33   Well this was a story running in the
09:36   Morning, so it is difficult to get comments
09:40   and find relevant information.
09:42   Despite the fact that TV2 cannot get a confirmation
09:44   of the top story in Information, they choose to run it
09:48   already at the 7 o’clock news and again at 8 o’clock the same morning.
09:51   SPEAKER: ‘Where he is being criticized about his connections to
09:53   Nazi groups and for his aversions against Muslims.’
09:57   A little later Gade arrives at his office at the ministry.
10:01   Then the secretary tells me,
10:05   ‘Well Henrik! Now you have been labeled as the worst kind of scum in the news.
10:09   Now you are a Nazi Henrik!’
10:13   I thought it was some kind of joke!
10:17   But it was not. Gade walked right in to the minister Tove Fergo
10:21   to find out how to handle the situation.
10:25   Since I was hired to be help and not as an obstruction for the minister, I was ready
10:29   to withdraw immediately.
10:31   To say, it as it were, I was really tired of the smear campaign
10:34   that I had been exposed to since I entered my office,
10:37   and I saw this as a smear campaign against me
10:41   and the right wing government more than as a campaign against Gade.
10:45   So I told him not to bother,
10:49   that I have full confidence in him.
10:53   I remember he called me and he was totally knocked out,
10:57   and I said to him, ‘straighten your back my friend!’.
11:01   Hold on! You have done nothing wrong. When the truth comes out someday,
11:05   then it’s all over.
11:07   After the morning meeting with the minister, Gade calls
11:09   TV2, which by that time had tried to call him several times
11:13   Then I ask the journalist: ‘Is it correct that you have used the word NAZI
11:17   about me in some connection?’. And she answers ‘Yes!.
11:21   Yes it is!’. And when I get that answer from her
11:25   Then… any thought about participating in an
11:29   interview as well as commenting is gone, from my point of view.
11:33   But exactly that kind of strategy could be taken as if
11:35   there were something to come after?
11:38   I would have been slaughtered if I had entered the studio to try.
11:45   It is like: ‘Now you have one minute to comment:
11:47   Is it correct that you are a pedophile?’
11:49   You will always be distrustful toward the news host
11:51   who have the whole media system supporting her. You will get crushed!
11:57   In the Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs Gade finally gets a chance
12:01   to see the article from Information. Under the headline
12:05   ‘Tove Fergo’s Spin Doctor is a Right-Wing Extremist’, the paper writes that Gade
12:09   has connections to Nazi groups and that he have reacted positively towards
12:13   the views of a German SS officers. According to the article,
12:17   Gade is a ‘borderline’ Nazi.
12:19   ‘Well to me it was like waking up in a surreal world… it was
12:26   you could not recognize yourself. I mean – if that person is as
12:30   Information writes, then he should not be working in a ministry. It is obvious.
12:34   I see that series of articles as a political campaign from Information.
12:38   They choose to position themselves against the ruling government.
12:42   We are talking about a so-called smear campaign here. A journalistic campaign
12:46   or a character assassination. That is, when the media decide to describe
12:50   a case or a person in an extremely unilateral way.
13:02   The word NAZISM, which Information has now stuck on the back of Gade Jensen,
13:06   is inextricably linked with the regime of Adolf Hitler,
13:10   the mass extermination of the Jews and WW2 which took the lives of more than
13:14   50 million human beings.
13:16   Words are strong. This is the label that outdoes everything else.
13:22   If there is ONE person who detests any kind of
13:26   ideology – whether communist or Nazi or
13:30   whatever, then it is Henrik. The only thing he is seeking is the
13:34   Truth, and he could never be subjugated under any ideology.
13:38   He would strip it and destroy it. Therefore all this was
13:42   simply taken out of thin air.
13:44   ‘To be labeled a Nazi is still the most serious accusation
13:47   one can be exposed to in European public affairs.’
13:50   What do you think when you read the article?
13:52   Well I think: This is a good story.
13:54   I mean, it is clear cut
13:58   Fine story.
14:00   What do you do as the chief editor at Information
14:02   to ensure that there is solid documentation for the accusations you bring?
14:04   Well, I do not do anything in particular. It is the responsibility of the editor.
14:10   But of course I expect the story to be watertight when doing it,
14:14   as we did in this particular case.
14:17   But how can a well known debater, who has written in almost
14:20   every newspaper in the country, including Information
14:23   over the last 10-15 years, suddenly become connected with Nazism?
14:26   Well, the tip for the story comes from a sociologist working in Copenhagen University .
14:30   My motive was to gain
14:34   some of knowledge about The Danish People’s Party and bring their
14:38   influence in the political sphere out into the light. I had this knowledge
14:42   which I thought was relevant for society to know about. And I am not
14:46   trying to hide that I do not like the influence that the Danish People’s Party had.
14:50   René Karpantschof is THE only source of Information’s
14:54   accusations about Gade having Nazi connections.
14:58   And his sole foundation for his postulate is that Gade during the ‘90s is supposed to have
15:02   collaborated with Dansk Forum, a right wing immigrant-critical organization.
15:06   I said something like,
15:10   ‘I somehow remember that I saw Gade’s name
15:14   as a debater at a meeting held by Dansk Forum.’
15:18   And Dansk Forum was out on the far right wing side of the political spectrum
15:22   in Denmark. So far out that even Nazis were present.
15:26   Karpantschof has a past among the BZ (anarchist) movement in Nørrebro and on the
15:30   extreme left in Denmark. But Information does not even indicate this in the articles.
15:34   And there is a huge problem with his assertion about Gade’s
15:39   connection with Dansk Forum: It is not true.
15:43   No, it is not true that he gave a speech at a meeting arranged by Dansk Forum.
15:47   These things simply happen,
15:51   because I had through my research about
15:55   the right wing movement run into
15:59   a lot of names, groups, developments and fractions and.
16:03   Events, and of course I cannot remember everything precisely.
16:07   I do not know these people. I have never been a member of Dansk Forum.
16:09   I have never participated in any meetings
16:11   or anything else with this organization. I really do not understand
16:13   these allegations against me.
16:15   Henrik Gade’s only connection with Dansk Forum is that he defended them
16:19   in an op-ed when a few years before some of their members were thrown out of
16:23   the Danish People’s party, partly because of accusations about
16:27   being Nazis.
16:31   And then I took a closer look at their web site. I thought they were
16:35   national conservative, but I could not find any support for the accusations.
16:37   So I wrote an op-ed about it.
16:39   Can you understand the critic from Information, when you
16:43   publicly defend these young people who have been excluded from
16:47   the Danish People’s Party partly because of Nazi allegations?
16:51   No, I do not. Actually, I think it is intellectual integrity on my part, and it
16:55   shows up later that they were cleared of all charges in court.
16:59   Gade refers to a case where the Copenhagen Court stated that the Nazi allegations
17:03   against Dansk Forum were unjustified. Groundless, that is.
17:06   In those days I was optimistic. I believed in the truth. When someone
17:09   was wrongfully pursued I wanted to
17:12   defend them. Today I know that in doing so you are risking your own life.
17:15   When the only connection to the word NAZI comes from a
17:19   biased source – a man whose loyalties can be found on the extreme left –
17:23   and it is not followed up with documentation, then it is a very vague foundation
17:27   on which to build such an extreme accusation.
17:29   We would have liked to ask the journalist behind
17:31   the article and the chief editor David Trads about
17:35   the credibility of their main source. And about the documentation
17:39   for the accusations against Gade Jensen. But neither the journalist nor the chief editor
17:43   wished to participate in this program.
17:47   What does David Trads tell about his documentation for the accusations?
17:51   Well, I remember that we were discussing that there were several sources and
17:55   a lot of different people commenting on the article, and I think
18:00   that this was what had my attention at that time,
18:04   and also that this was the kind of story that could create
18:08   the kind of publicity which all papers depend on.
18:12   Besides Karpantschof, Information actually also uses another source to
18:16   indirectly link Gade with Nazism. According to the expert
18:20   on Holocaust denial, Mikkel Andersson, the government spin doctor belongs.
18:24   to the ultra-nationalist conservative movement in Denmark. A movement which.
18:28   Over the last 6-7 years has gone from borderline Nazism towards
18:32   the more ‘house-trained’ political center.
18:36   But when Andersson reads the article he is puzzled over
18:40   that quotation. When Information interviewed him, he said the opposite.
18:44   When I talked to the journalist I made it very clear that neither
18:48   Dansk Forum nor Gade Jensen had any Nazi sympathies.
18:52   Come on. It is obvious when reading his articles that he really does not like Nazism.
18:56   The 23-year old history student
19:00   and IT worker is also puzzled over the title which the journalist from
19:04   Information has labeled him with.
19:06   Well I was a debater. I knew a lot about the right wing, but I was not in any way
19:08   what you would describe as an expert.
19:12   The fact that a blogger is being described as an expert in Holocaust denial
19:16   is a deliberate attempt to help substantiate the assertion that Gade has
19:20   Nazi connections without accusing the man directly.
19:24   It is just another example of the manipulation in the article.
19:28   What do you think about the article when reading it today?
19:32   I think it is a ‘thin cup of tea’. When you look at what we wrote at that time
19:36   and then hold it up against what we had to build it on – quotations, references –
19:40   then I am not impressed.
19:42   What would you call this kind of journalism?
19:45   Well, it is journalism stretched beyond any kind of
19:48   justification. I guess that is the way to put it.
19:52   It has only been a few hours since Information was published and the paper connected
19:56   – without any documentation – Gade Jensen to Nazism.
20:00   In the Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs Gade is slowly realizing
20:04   the gravity of the situation and he feels very lonely.
20:17   When you experience these kinds of things, it is like suddenly finding yourself
20:21   in the ring against Mike Tyson. You get a knock-out.
20:25   You do not know what is up and what is down; what is good and what is bad.
20:29   You do not know whether you have any friends. Is there anything to hold on to?
20:30   Do you have to be careful here or there?… It is like starting all over in another world.
20:37   We talked a lot during that time. He was in shock. Seriously, he could not
20:41   be reached with rationality or common sense.
20:45   SPEAKER: ‘Henrik Gade Jensen, the press assistant for the minister.”
20:49   TV2 has now repeated the Nazi accusations from Information
20:53   for the third time in the morning news at 9 o’clock and the story
20:56   is now on everybody’s lips.
21:05   That allegation from Information, and now also TV2, comes from
21:09   the very immigrant-critical paper ‘Danskeren’, for which Gade had written some
21:13   articles back in the ‘90s.
21:17   Well, it is complete rubbish. I reviewed a book written by a German
21:21   Who, as a 17-year-old, had been on that side. Almost any German who
21:25   lived that generation was on the ‘wrong’ side in one way or another.
21:29   Almost everybody. And it was not relevant for the book.
21:33   Among other things the officer writes about Turks in Germany,
21:37   problems with integration, etc.
21:39   Did you ever think about the people you wrote to or with?
21:45   No. Never. I have also send lots of articles to Information where my work
21:49   could be found among the works of communists and Maoists and all kinds of things.
21:53   When you read the review you can of course interpret it as if he is praising the man
21:57   in his role as an SS officer and thereby again indirectly
22:01   as a supporter of Nazism. But neither the content of the book nor Gade Jensen’s review
22:05   considers the past of this man. Thereby it is also unfair to
22:09   to try to link Gade Jensen with the officer’s Nazi past only because
22:13   he wrote a review of a book that this man wrote.
22:15   Do TV2 not investigate such grave accusations themselves?
22:22   At that time we tried the best we could to search the web and other places.
22:26   But it was difficult and we were limited in the time
22:30   we had to check the allegations thoroughly.
22:34   But if you do not have the time to do the research, then why do you bring it?
22:38   Well, we should not have done it.
22:42   After a correspondence with Gade later in the morning TV2 decides to change
22:46   the formulations about his alleged Nazi connections before the
22:50   morning news at 10 o’clock. But by that time the news had
22:54   already spread to several other media.
22:58   And then this female journalist asks: But ARE you a Nazi?’
23:02   And I was actually very offended that she would even ask that question the way she did.
23:06   When I talk to him, I ask him the question directly to
23:10   confront him with the accusations.
23:14   Of course it is very unpleasant for him, but after all it is
23:18   also a journalistic task to try to test these allegations
23:22   circulating in public at that time.
23:24   Every time I talked to a journalist I told them: ‘Try to look through the newspaper
23:30   article-index INFORMEDIA. If you do that, more than 200 articles
23:34   and op-eds, which I have written will pop up. Do you see
23:38   any connection between THAT and the things Information writes?’
23:42   But no journalists ever did. That annoyed me. It was very disappointing.
23:46   Despite broad media interest, Tove Fergo still believes
23:50   that she can weather the storm. But it does not stop,
23:54   on the contrary. At 11 o’clock the same day Prime minister Anders Fogh
23:58   Rasmussen is having his weekly press meeting. At that time
24:02   the Prime Minister is still not publicly involved. But that is about to change.
24:10   As I remember it, the Prime Minister is asked
24:14   a whole range of questions about the case. And I
24:18   try to find out how the PM feels about the
24:22   allegations that there is an employee in the government
24:26   with Nazi connections.
24:28   FOGH: ‘I have no comment, since I do not know the content of this case.’
24:34   When I hear that the PM had been asked questions about the case at his press meeting,
24:38   I realize that the case is gaining far more
24:42   momentum than I had expected or feared. Think about it:
24:46   what if this got out of Denmark! All the damage it could do to the country.
24:50   Well! Henrik…
24:55   He came in, and then he said that he was very
24:59   sorry about the whole thing and that he had damaged Anders Fogh’s government
25:03   and that he thinks that the best he can do is to resign
25:07   as my press secretary.
25:11   And in the meantime I had of course also been giving it a second thought.
25:15   About how it would look, and I could imagine a scenario
25:19   where I had to answer questions Wednesday after Wednesday
25:23   in the parliament – standing there just to defend and defend and defend
25:27   the views of my press secretary on the podium in Folketinget [the parliament].
25:31   And when I become a burden I cannot continue,
25:35   I would become an obstruction for the minster. I really felt that I was the guilty one.
25:37   It was me who was ‘wrong’.
25:43   A government is a collective so I did not think that I was in a position where
25:47   I could allow myself to say ‘Well I stick to Gade Jensen – no matter the cost’,
25:51   because I was not the only one to pay the price.
26:07   How will you describe the sensation at Information when Gade Jensen
26:10   is forced out of office?
26:12   Well I think there was a clear element of ‘GOT HIM!’ You know; ‘THERE YOU SEE!’
26:15   Of course he had to go! That’s what happens when
26:19   you play with fire!
26:23   It is getting dark in the Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs.
26:27   It is less than 24 hours since the article was published.
26:31   in Information. The news about Gade’s immediate
26:35   resignation have now reached every media outlet in the country, yet there are still
26:39   no journalists attempting to confirm the allegations about the Nazi connection;
26:43   they just repeat the accusations from Information.
26:47   I think the Gade case is a prime example of
26:51   the consequences journalistic errors can have,
26:56   and when such a chain reaction of
27:00   journalistic mistakes happens, it has
27:02   a huge impact for a single individual.
27:08   Henrik Gade spends the rest of the evening
27:12   packing up his office.
27:16   I stayed in the Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs
27:20   until 10-11 in the evening.
27:24   I had given my
27:28   cell phone to the secretary, and also my
27:32   ID card which gave access to the ministry, so when I left,
27:36   I had to crawl over the fence.
27:40   I wonder what would have happened if a police patrol had passed by… I guess
27:44   they would have been a little puzzled.
28:00   First of all I thought that I would never be able to get a job in Denmark again.
28:04   Should we immigrate? You know,
28:08   it was all over! That was the feeling I left with.
28:12   I was done with Denmark. Denmark was done with me.
28:16   While Gade is heading to his home in Viby, the late evening news on TV2 is aired:
28:28   TV2 do not use the NAZI-word themselves.
28:32   bur it turns up in the story anyway.
28:36   A person who has been so strongly identified with a certain political notion
28:40   which among others – what should we call it? – relates
28:44   closely to neo-Nazi groups; that is not
28:48   compatible – I think – with the Christian commandment.
28:52   What do you think on this day – as one of the editors at TV2, about the fact
28:56   that you bring the ‘Nazi’ word back
29:00   into the late evening news?
29:04   Well, I think that we should have been more careful.
29:08   I was not involved in the decisions at all
29:12   during the day. But I assume that there must have been an ongoing debate throughout the day
29:16   and that all parts involved in the article from Information was heard.
29:20   But don’t you think that TV2 should have done their own research, when after 12 hours
29:24   you include the Nazi word again?
29:28   Yes! Clearly. We should have!
29:32   Hi, kids!
29:36   When Henrik Gade reaches his house he realize that the events of the day could be felt
29:40   in his home. The kids were still up.
29:44   Apparently they could feel that something was not right cause they were all over me
29:47   when I got home. They had never behaved like that before. It was very touching.
29:52   We had close contact during the following days, and I suddenly experienced
29:56   the former brave philosopher and,
30:00   clear thinking, sharp and well-spoken guy
30:04   with a hint in his eyes
30:08   of a broken man – maybe a man
30:13   who no longer believed in himself.
30:17   But only a few days after
30:21   he left his job, the case takes an unexpected course in the media.
30:25   Several op-eds and editorials in support of Gade are published
30:29   in the papers. Also by people disagreeing with him.
30:33   I did not agree with Gade’s views. I am not a conservative,
30:37   and I do not share his views even though he is very good with words, but I think
30:41   he was exposed to an extremely ruthless and unfair treatment.
30:45   That was what made me support him.
30:47   Gade now decides to fight back.
30:49   First in several op-eds, but at the same time he decides to take
30:53   the case to court to obtain satisfaction.
30:55   It was my clear judgment that I had to do that.
30:57   To become clean.
30:59   Gade hires a lawyer who threatens every person who
31:01   participated in the process against him if they do not withdraw their allegations
31:05   and suddenly – a few weeks after
31:09   the article – a sensational op-ed is published.
31:13   The main source of the article – René Karpantschov – who connected Gade
31:17   to certain Nazi groups solely via Dansk Forum, now admits publicly
31:21   that he has no documentation for his accusations.
31:25   It turned out that I was wrong. And that is really annoying for me.
31:27   Is that good enough?
31:29   No, it is not!
31:31   If I should learn something from all this then it is that when you
31:35   say something about someone then you’d better be right.
31:39   When the main source withdraws through the op-ed in Information,
31:43   why doesn’t this gives you enough reason to say: ‘Sorry, we wrote something
31:47   which was not true’?
31:51   Well you can say that in hindsight; at that point we should
31:55   have started working on an apology.
31:59   A cold-blooded lawyer would probably have concluded: WOW, what a f*** up’.
32:03   I think so. But it was not like that.
32:07   At that point, why don’t you decide to apologize towards
32:11   Henrik Gade Jensen?
32:13   We probably should have done so, but for TV2 it was a matter of principles
32:19   that we had the right to quote what was happening in
32:23   the public debate.
32:27   TV2 and Information did not give an inch.
32:30   In the good old days The Lord had the privilege of being unable to make mistakes.
32:33   Today it is the journalists. They NEVER make mistakes.
32:36   And they have nothing to apologize for. I learnt that
32:39   very clearly.
32:41   Henrik Gade quickly realizes, that there is
32:43   a long fight ahead of him against the two media outlets. At the same time it is clear
32:47   that the story has serious consequences not only for him,
32:51   but for his whole family.
32:53   I was paranoid two months after.
32:55   I hardly dared to go out with the garbage since someone might
32:59   steal it attempting to dig up something incriminating.
33:01   When in Copenhagen, I imagined that people were looking at me. It was that bad.
33:07   To drag yourself through this.
33:11   To fear that your kids would have
33:15   to be confronted in school. My family has paid a high price.
33:19   His wife has been sick for a long time,
33:23   and it has had severe consequences for them
33:27   to be exposed publicly in this way.
33:31   But Gade continues his fight against.
33:35   Information and TV2. And there is light at the end of the tunnel. Not only
33:39   has the main source withdrawn his accusations, but
33:43   in the following months after the articles an apology from the author and former
33:47   editor at Information Georg Metz, who in an op-ed had labeled Gade a
33:52   ‘Nazi-sympathizer’, surfaces. Also Bishop Keld Holm apologizes.
33:56   My explanation is that
34:00   I got carried away by the
34:04   extremely harsh debate we had about
34:08   immigrants and refugees at that time. Of course you have to
34:12   be ready to apologize when you have stated something which is not fair.
34:16   In the meantime the lawyers working for Information have started
34:20   going through the papers, the documentation for the Nazi accusations to prepare
34:24   the newspaper’s defense. When do you realize that
34:28   you do not have a good case at Information?
34:32   Well, it is sort of a step-by-step process. Sources who withdraw and so on.
34:36   And that acknowledgement comes through our discussions with our
34:40   lawyer, and the building blocks and
34:44   quotes which we were left with in our arsenal.
34:48   It would not be enough for this case to hold up in court.
34:52   Even though the documentation is gone,
34:56   it takes several months before at last – in August
35:00   2004, exactly 9 months after that fateful day in November –
35:04   an apology is aired in one of the media outlets: TV2 STICKS TO ITS RIGHTS
35:29   It is good that the word ‘regret’ is included because I think there is a reason to
35:33   regret the case. The incident had huge implications for Henrik Gade Jensen.
35:37   And we have reasons to regret that we ever brought it.
35:41   The final satisfaction for Henrik Gade Jensen
35:45   comes two days afterwards when Information – now with Henrik Bo Nielsen as
35:49   chief editor – regrets: ‘THE AUTHOR DID NOT HAVE THE INTENTION
36:09   It is the first time a retraction has been brought on the front page of a Danish newspaper,
36:13   and in the same size as the original story.
36:17   I am very happy about that. What I regret today is that the choice of words were
36:21   too vague. Too ambiguous.
36:23   You were the chief editor
36:25   at the time were Information bring the disclaimer. Why don’t you write
36:29   in clear Danish: ‘Sorry, Henrik Gade Jensen:
36:33   we have not got any documentation for what we have wrote about you’?
36:35   Because unfortunately I was more busy –
36:37   and I think the media are in general – trying to say sorry
36:41   for the newspaper, as smoothly as possible
36:45   in any way. Well I tried to say
36:49   sorry in a way which – in reality – avoided
36:53   the paper saying sorry, and of course that is not OK.
37:01   It is now more than eight years since Henrik Gade was officially
37:05   cleared of all Nazi allegations. It still took him more than
37:09   two years to find a job as an analyst in the conservative
37:13   think tank CEPOS. And the Nazi accusation
37:17   has stuck to him ever since.
37:19   You can never win a case like this,
37:21   especially not in these Google times. It will stick to you. Many years later,
37:25   if I Googled my name it all came up again.
37:29   So, you never win anything.
37:31   He keeps on working but it is a wound
37:37   which is not healed. And it probably will not before
37:42   he is completely cleansed. That it is being stated that
37:46   this was a dirty character assassination.
37:50   What have you learned from this case on TV2?
37:54   What we learned was that you cannot refer such a case, with such serious
37:58   slanderous content without first presenting
38:02   the part it is all about.
38:04   What would you say to Henrik Gade Jensen today?
38:06   If I met him I would say: ‘I am sorry!’.
38:10   ‘I do not think it was a good case for Information’. And then I think
38:14   that I would look at him and say ‘and at that time when I
38:18   was writing the disclaimer which you and your lawyer
38:22   accepted (I have to hold on to that), when I look at it today
38:26   I must say that it was not a way to say sorry, so I am sorry for that as well’.
38:30   As part of the agreement, Information paid 60,000 kr. [$10,000] to Gade Jensen.
38:34   TV2 paid a secret amount. Henrik Gade Jensen now serves as a priest in Lolland.

7 thoughts on “The Politics of Personal Destruction, Danish Style

  1. Pingback: Leftist media destroys a truly decent human being for holding an opinion of the non-leftist kind. | Vlad Tepes

  2. Krasnik’s interview with Lars Hedegaard can be found here. There is an English subtitle option available.

    [BTW, Baron or Dymphna – please delete, if you can, my previous comment with the bad link!]

  3. I had been about to post some “light reading” when the Baron told me this post was up. I didn’t know the subject matter but I knew very well that the translator/transcriber had labored over it a long time (now I see why!).

    Also, I was aware that the Baron had been focusing -literally – too long on some editing. Now that I see what it was, I understand why he forced his eyes…

    Stunning. I noticed the body language of one of the offenders, agreeing with the interviewer while his head tremor or tic signalled a clear “no”…

    In trying to find parallels in the American press…it’s not the same here. We don’t respect thinkers enough to give them that kind of air play.

    But what we do to our politicians – and what they do to one another – has made American politics a blood sport. The charges of “Nazi” would be equivalent to the incessant “raaaacist” slurs they throw around in the MSM. But would someone be fired or forced to resign? I don’t know…

    The case that comes to mind is Michele Bachmann, and those very high up in the Republican Party would like to destroy her, based on the harassment she’s faced, particularly since being the only female among the five members of Congress who had the courage to question the security problems inherent in the clearance given to Hillary Clinton’s top aide, a woman with obvious family ties to Muslim Brotherhood members.

    The letters the Congressmen sent to the pertinent departments questioning whether the woman could have passed a security clearance were well within their job descriptions. John McCain made it his personal mission to defame all five, but Bachmann has been his special target. And now there is an ethics investigation of her campaign finances. When, if, that is cleared they will be on her for something else. The woman painted a target on her back by having the hubris to question the hiring of this aide. And McCain, vindictive and famously rageful, is firing relentlessly at her.

    But she is a fully participating member of a blood sport and while she fights back, it is qualitatively different for her. She knows what it costs to be a conservative in politics.

    Mr. Jensen didn’t know. He never assented to the terms of the fight; it is obvious that what they did destroyed the center of who he is, or who he thought he was, and most importantly, of what he thought his country was.

    This is another case where the sharks of jornolism have left an innocent man bleeding in the water. He is like a double-amputee, at least spiritually. They have severed his connection to his own center and they have cut the lines between himself and his country. He is a man adrift.

    Sadly, I don’t think he can heal.

  4. Pingback: Nu er Dilsa Demirbag-Sten fuldstændigt integreret « Snaphanen

  5. Pingback: Terrorism, Mass Murder, and Media Bias | Gates of Vienna

  6. Pingback: Breivik’s Coming Out As a Nazi — Winds Of Jihad By SheikYerMami

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