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The Media's Character Assassination of Lars Hedegaard
by Bruce Bawer
It's starting to look like the Book of Job. For years, he's been demonized in his nation's media for criticizing Islam. In 2011 and 2012, he was put on trial – not one, twice, but three times – for violating a Danish law that makes it a crime to insult or denigrate a religion. Last month, a guy came to his door dressed as a mailman and tried to kill him; his survival seems nothing short of a miracle.
You might think that in the wake of this assassination attempt, Lars Hedegaard would get some respect – or at least solidarity – from the Danish media. But you could only think that if you were unaware of the aftermath of the murders of Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh, whose bodies weren't even cold when Dutch journalists set about smearing them even more enthusiastically than they had before, essentially blaming them for their own deaths. Many of Lars's fellow Danes, to be sure, did rally round him after his close call. But in large part, the Danish media's reaction was depressingly predictable. As I noted just last week, a couple of morally challenged employees of the newspaper Ekstra Bladet actually tried to follow a moving van to Lars's new home, apparently so they could print the address; fortunately, the police foiled their effort.
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