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The Gray Lady's Baby Steps

It's getting so you can't even rely on the New York Times anymore. To print wholesale lies about Europe, I mean.

A few weeks ago, I noted that the Times, which has long led the way in all but ignoring the catastrophic consequences of the ongoing Islamization of Europe, had actually published a reasonably honest December 10 report about a Molotov cocktail attack on a synagogue in Gothenburg, Sweden. While avoiding the words Muslim and Islam, the Times had made it clear that the perpetrators weren't, say, Amish immigrants from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The Times had even followed up with an op-ed on the broader issue – anti-Semitism in Sweden – by a Swedish writer who did use the word Muslim.

Given the Times's post-9/11 record on these matters, this one-two punch came as a shocker. This is, after all, the paper that won a Pulitzer in 2007 for a three-part whitewash by reporter Andrea Barnett of a pro-jihad Brooklyn imam. It's the paper whose Book Review section has systematically ignored honest books about Islamic ideology while promoting Islam apologists like Karen Armstrong and Ian Buruma. It's the paper that repeatedly gave rock-star treatment to Tariq Ramadan, the oily Islamofascist leader who's currently jailed in France on rape charges.

On March 3, the Times did it again. In a prominent, 2000-word article, Ellen Barry and Christina Anderson addressed the topic of Swedish gang violence with (for the Times) astonishing frankness. The framing story was about Daniel Cuevas Zuniga, a universally beloved 63-year-old Chilean who, as a “left-leaning” opponent of the Pinochet regime, immigrated to Sweden in 1985, had a job “caring for adults with severe disabilities and Alzheimer's disease,” and, feeling increasingly unsafe in his neighborhood, planned to move with his wife to Thailand this coming April. In February, however, he was killed by a hand grenade – a weapon that, while all but unheard-of elsewhere in Western Europe these days, has become big in Sweden.

To any veteran Times watcher, it was clear why the reporters chose to focus their article on Zuniga, of all victims of immigrant crime in Sweden: as a “left-leaning” immigrant himself, and one who worked in the caring professions, he was far safer to offer up as a figure of sympathy than some ethnic Swede. Also typical of the Times was the reporters' effort to blame Sweden's problems, as much as possible, on the flow into the country of weapons left over from the Bosnian War. The article also contained the predictable assurances that, for all its problems, Sweden's crime rate really isn't so bad, at least not compared to some places in the U.S. Oh, and the reporters made sure to refer to the Sweden Democrats, who call for reduced immigration, as a “far right-wing party.”

But that's all par for the course. What was surprising here, as on December 10, was the candid and revealing material that Times editors allowed into print. For example, Barry and Anderson acknowledged that Sweden’s gang violence is spreading more and more from immigrant enclaves to tonier neighborhoods and that there have been “armed confrontations in emergency rooms” and “threats and weapons” in schools.

They even quoted a friend of Zuniga's, Hugo Garrido, who had harsh words for Swedish authorities. “Crime is increasing and increasing, and they aren’t doing anything about it,” he said. “It’s denial. Swedes are very good people and they want to change the world. They want the rest of the world to be like Sweden. And the reality is that it’s completely different.” Perhaps most striking of all, Barry and Anderson cited a man's admission that “when I think of the future...I am afraid for Europe.” (As with Zuniga, to be sure, the man's demographic profile made it easier to quote him: he's a Lebanese immigrant who runs a kebab shop.)

Well, they're getting there. The question is, why is the Times now finally letting a bit of light in through the blinds about Islam in Europe? Do they recognize that the situation has gotten so bad that they just can't bury their heads in the sand any longer – at least not full-time? Have they noticed that, here and there, Europe's own mainstream media are opening up somewhat on the subject? Have they picked up on the fact that in Sweden, where public expressions of concern about Islam and immigration were until recently considered socially unacceptable, “law and order” (which, not long ago, many Swedes would have dismissed as a coded term used by deplorable American racists) is now the #1 campaign issue, and Islamic immigration the #1 topic on Swedish Facebook pages and Twitter feeds?

Have the Times folks realized that the rhetoric and policy proposals of the once marginalized and demonized Sweden Democrats have now gone mainstream? (As Svenska Dagbladet columnist Göran Eriksson points out, Swedish politicians who three years ago would have called it immoral to put a price tag on immigration now demand a reckoning of the costs.) Or have the men and women at 620 Eighth Avenue just cynically decided to run a piece like this every now and then so that they can have something to point to and say, “Look – we do cover this stuff”? (The same approach, in other words, that they took to the Holocaust.)

No, not all of the blinders are off yet – far from it – either in Sweden, in Europe generally, or at the august offices of the New York Times. Swedish cops are still being fired for speaking too bluntly. Ordinary Swedes still have to worry about losing their jobs if they say the wrong thing. People still need to turn to online “alternative” news sources to read Islam-related stories that the legacy media bury. However significant the shift in attitudes and outspokenness, Swedish culture is still dominated largely by dingbats like the members of the Feminist Initiative Party, whose new leader, Gita Nabavi, declared in her maiden speech last month that she supported “completely open borders” – meaning that absolutely anyone should be allowed into the country and absolutely nobody ever forced to leave it. Asked later if she meant no deportation even of criminals and murderers, Nabavi said yes: “Just because they are not born here does not mean they are not our responsibility.”

It's that mentality that Sweden has yet to entirely overcome. The New York Times, too.