by Knud Bjeld Eriksen
What was it, that our prime minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, was dragged into by the "nosy" press? Just two weeks before the election in February (2005) there was a front page story in the Søndagsavisen (The Sunday Newspaper) (22.-23. January) about how the prime minister refused to answer the journalist, Morten Henriksen’s question, whether the prime minister was in favour of artificial insemination of lesbians! The story was brought with at giant portrait of the prime minister, where he was clearly supposed to appear upset, angry or frightened, and the story was about how it was unacceptable, that he flatly refused to answer the question, even though the journalist energetically tried again and again, referring to the fact that Fogh was supposed to have had an opinion on this matter back in 1997.
But why was the prime minister so reluctant? Was it not a good and important question? Was it not just as important a question as how the prime minister is planning to prevent that tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands of Danes become unemployed in the globalisation, where they will have to compete with countries at slave salaries? Or why Denmark is to be defended in Irak because of a lie about mass destruction weapons and al Queda? Or why the prime minister has not implemented a massive repatriation of foreigners, now that all lies concerning their over-criminality, consumption of welfare and lack of wish for integration have become evident? Or why he has not started to give notice to terminate some of the international conventions, which are so destructive for Denmark? Or how ill and weakened Danes can have a bit of his attention and appropriations?
A sober Dane should be able to tell the difference in importance between these subjects.
But precisely that type of person does not seem to be strongly represented in the press, TV, radio, or other parts of the communication industry, or for that matter: film, theatre, music, art – or the "experts", the media pull out repeatedly, when they need someone to quote. People of the media and the "cultural elite" seem to have a number of favourite subjects, which we all have to hear about day and night, whereas other types of information seem banned, whether it be about war, criminality or the continued existence of an entire nation.
One of the favourite subjects of the medias is sex. Not the ordinary kind for common folks. And not only privately. No, we have to hears about faggots and lesbians. They should have more rights. And they are interesting. They are to be used on TV. Seen. Shown off. They are a suppressed minority. And minorities are interesting per definition. Close-ups of anal sex is common in some TV programs. Anal sex we have to learn about and get used to. Vulgar American TV and Danish imitations fill the TV screen night and day. Sex is often laid in. As when a "Robinson-babe" is studied in close up of her breasts. Just an example among many. Really funny and popular programs, like "Far from Las Vegas" are focused on homo-sex, toilet-sex and porno both in contents and casting with a famous faggot, Klaus Bondam, who seems to be posing as himself and a famous porno star, Katja Kean, who just sort of had to be there because she knows how to be naughty.
Maybe it is only cosy and natural, that we see some faggots and lesbians and read a few more articles about their special problems and far too few right? Is it not beneficial, perhaps, and educating, that we get used to them on TV, just like the increasing number of coloured TV-hosts?
And is it not only natural that our prime minister should help this exiting cause a little more just before an election?
Probably the journalist thought so. Well, then let us join him and look a bit more closely at the matter. Because the press has been oddly reluctant about the natural follow-up. And it can actually be very important, far beyond the matter of satisfying a few faggots. The story caught my interest, because I remembered something that I read about one year ago.
Could there be more to this matter? Something, the journalist knew and did not say? Something the Danes ought to know about the man, they have chosen as their prime minister, and whom they are asked to choose again? Was it not only a favourite subject for the journalist, but also for the prime minister?
If the prime minister has a special concern for homosexuals and lesbians, he should of course have made this clear. He has not done that. So it can be ruled out, can it not? He did accept with a big smile, though, to be chosen as "Salmon of the year" in 2004 – a price for homosexuals, that he was given, because in January last year he "privately" was of the opinion, that homosexuals should be allowed to get married in churches.
But what awoke my curiosity was, that it was said in an interview with the prime minister almost exactly one year ago. That was also in the Søndagsavisen (The Sunday Newspaper) (10.-11. January 2004) and the name of the journalist was also then Morten Henriksen. The prime minister's statement then was: "I can hardly believe, that God has a more strained relationship with faggots and lesbians than with others" and "as a member of the state church, my viewpoint is, that it would be the right thing...." (homo-weddings in a church). What the question was, is not stated in the article.
That the prime minister had that opinion was not particularly strange. But the remark seemed completely misplaced in an interview, where it was not clear at all, how this subject had come up. The statement of the prime minister then became the main subject in an article with this headline: "Yes to homos and lesbians in the church", and it started like this: "The prime minister is in favour of homo’s and lesbian’s rights to be married in the church" and further: "Accompanied by the sound of the organists organ playing the wedding march, homos and lesbians should be able to leave the church as lawfully wedded husbands and wives. At least that is the opinion of prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, V." The interview was supposed to be about "what can make him happy and angry" and the journalist told us, that "he has poured coffee and accepted to remove himself a little from the usual "Fogh facade. That Fogh, who has been the leader of state for the Danes through more than two years....".
What could make him angry, were lies: "I can get really angry when someone tries to make it by lying against better knowledge..."
"Afraid?" Prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen repeats the last word in the question. Gasps a little and looks up at the ceiling. Focuses the eyes at an indefinable spot on the beautiful stucco ceiling in his enormous corner-office in the state ministry. Starts to answer a little uncertainly, before he speeds up. "I suppose I can get scared like everybody else, but it is not something I think about in my daily life...."
That was the beginning of the article in the paper. The prime minister looks radiantly happy on two photos, one on the front page and one inside the paper. Very different from the photo, three times as large, one year later, when journalist Morten Henriksen visited him again and wanted to talk about faggots again.
One would think, that the journalist, who put him in this situation did not exactly make his life any easier. His name was Henriksen, his editors name was R. Bunch and his chief editor Gitte Schwartz. When I investigated, what Anders Fogh Rasmussen was supposed to have said in 1997, I found an article from the Ekstra Bladet 22. June 1997, where the name of the journalist was Pedro. That must have been journalist Henriksens source and the strange thing was, that both of his "faggot-questions" for Fogh, with one years intervals had already been asked in exactly the same words by Pedro in the article from ’97. And they had already both been answered by Fogh. At that time the occasion was, that the journalist wanted it clarified, what kind of society Fogh wanted, when he was talking about "the minimal state". So there was no real reason to ask again, unless Henriksen had hoped for more. But why would he think that Fogh would be more talkative as prime minister and even after it had become known, that he had departed from the previous ideal of a completely liberalistic society, where everyone could do as they pleased and now favoured a more "social democratic" one? In any event, Foghs answer was the same and so it was not in itself unexpected or any sensation.
Nevertheless Morten Henriksens article was followed up at once by the rest of the press. F.ex. already on 11. January 2004 – same Sunday – by the Ekstra Bladet with the headline "Fogh: Yes to homo-wedding in church". The journalists Jan Kjærgaard, Gisle Thorsen and Sverre Quist asked several homosexuals who were almost all thrilled, but said, that Fogh must now take the consequence of his opinion and carry it out into real life.
The same day the Ekstra Bladet went through Foghs "whole lies and half truths" and said, that "one can’t help thinking of George Orwell and his new speak". It also stated: "Our prime minister, the chairman of "Venstre" ("Left", Liberal Party) has a flexible relationship to the truth. Clearest and most seriously demonstrated in connection with the reason for Denmark's participation in the Irak-war. It was shot down by journalists from Information and Ekstra Bladet, which brought them the Cavling-price (journalistic award) of the year." The editorial also mentions the New Years speech of the prime minister: "In the more gross end of the rows of whole lies and half truths we find the grotesque story of how the New Year speech of the prime minister came into existence...." and it concludes: "Lies will always be revealed sooner or later. The truth, however, is durable."
Morten Henriksen from the Søndagsavisen was received for a new interview one year after having caused this upset. That can make one wonder a little. And that he immediately took up the matter of the homosexuals again can make one wonder even more. But now Fogh became angry, scared or whatever.
Now Fogh had probably realized that the situation was different than in ’97. Could a prime minister have an opinion on such an important matter "privately" without its having consequences for his politics? Without "exposing himself to pressure"? Many opinion-leaders – brought forward by the press – thought, that he should follow up on his opinion with practical politics.
The question was eagerly discussed by the press and it very predictably lead to a major internal dispute among the priests and bishops of the Danish State Church. Soon one of the old hobbyhorses of the "elite" was taken up again by the press and various "experts": that state and church should be separated. Good for the minorities. Good for Politiken, which did not pass up an opportunity to reach towards one of its favourite goals.. Soon the social democrat Mogens Lykketoft showed up to surpass Fogh in benevolence towards the wedding wishes of the homos. He probably expected that to incur goodwill from the press. Anyone can figure out, that the opposite viewpoint would have given him bad press.
To-day some think, that the issue of homosexual weddings is close to splitting the church apart.
Was that what the prime minister wanted? Probably not. Neither as prime minister nor as a member of the State Church. But what a prime minister says, does and is, will obviously be of paramount importance. He could not have a private opinion, as he did back then, without it being important to Denmark and the Danes. And the media always know how to utilize the doings and actings of a prime minister. And people in and behind the scene get an opportunity to further possible hidden agendas.
However, a much worse situation arises, if a person in a high place has secrets, that make it possible to blackmail him directly or indirectly, to obey media, which can threaten him with being exposed. Such a situation would exist if the prime minister –just as an experimental thought - were a homosexual or a bisexual himself.
It is very probable that the Danes would punish him by not electing him again. Because they are not yet sufficiently accustomed to having a homo in the prime ministers seat, but also because the prime minister in that case would have "lied" about a subject, that is of common interest and which had now become important politics. According to Ekstra Bladet, February 1, 2005, an opinion poll had shown, that Danish women preferred Fogh to Lykketoft, his main opponent, because he was more "sexy", measured on 20 points. "The women have voted" it said. But how would all of these women vote, if it came out that the prime minister was a faggot?
Favouring faggots and lesbians on such a background would be a swindle just like when an earlier minister of health favoured homosexuality. Rather a prime minister should own up to being homosexual from the beginning, like the social democrat MP, Torben Lund, did. This prime minister has not done so at all, so one must conclude that this situation is quite out of the question.
But strange circumstances around this story would have deserved the attention and investigation of an aware press. Especially when the matter: "Homosexual’s weddings" had been given so much time and attention, and had such consequences for the church.
And it is not like the press is disinterested in that sort of thing generally, neither here nor abroad. The media storm, which put the then president Clinton under such pressure in the matter of Monica Lewinsky can serve as an example of what the press can do to a head of state, if it so desires. It was a demonstration of power.
Did no-one amongst the numerous members of the Danish press notice, that the prime ministers statement concerning homosexual’s weddings was made in an interview a couple of days after a story in Se og Hør (8.-14. January 2004) with the headline: "Disclosure - Foghs secret friend"? It was the secret friend of the prime minister through ten years, a Polish doctor by the name of Marek Stawowy, who suddenly came forward. How was it possible, that the press had not known about him for ten years? During the last five years he had even lived in Denmark, helped to settle here by Fogh. Among other things the story goes: "to-day Marek, who is a doctor and unmarried, is without comparison the friend, whom Fogh sees the most of and talks to the most. And the two friends often go on vacation together – sometimes also without the company of Foghs family." He has been helped to a job as a doctor in Aarhus by Fogh, and "when Anders Fogh Rasmussen have meetings in the capital of Jutland, Marek is always plotted into the calendar...."
The article had the headline "Anders is my friend" and it starts like this: "Rumours have been rampant concerning the Polish doctor-friend, but Fogh has never wanted to tell us about him. For the first time the doctor himself comes forward and tells about the very close friendship" and the article continued:" Anders Fogh Rasmussen has an especially good friend, whom he has kept out of the light of public attention for the ten years, they have known each other. A friend, the prime minister has never bothered to mention, but has deliberately left out, when talking of his closest friends...."
The journalist behind the story was Birgit Eskholm, and her editor, interestingly enough, the Henrik Qvortrup, who had previously been Fogh Rasmussen’s press-advisor. In an article from Ritzau, January 31., 2002, Qvortrup, at the occasion of publishing a book about Fogh says, that he expects that there will be "one or two pieces of news" but that "it is limited, how close I can get. So I will not refer private conversations." – Birthe Rønn Hornbech (V) says in this article "that it confirms her dislike of spin doctors in general – and of Henrik Qvortrup, in particular: "I always thought, that Henrik Qvortrup was hired to write about the innermost circle of ‘Venstre’. I never trusted that man", she says.
The good Polish doctor-friend had not been mentioned until this article, not in biographies of Anders Fogh Rasmussen either. Now he was brought out in the most recent one, by one Ms. Kragh. And he was pulled forward this winter by the prime minister as an example to be followed by all of us, of how to help, personally, an immigrant.
I thought that the information in the Se og Hør-article sounded strange, when I read it, but I thought it very strange, when a couple of days later, I read about the recommendation of the prime minister on weddings for homosexuals without any other apparant relevance. Could there be a connection? Had journalist Henriksen seen/heard journalist Eskholms story and though it a suitable occasion to air the old ’97-story? Was it a coincidence, and did I see connections, where there was none? After several run-through’s I had to conclude, that unbiased but attentive reading lead to the result, that it was a strange story and a strange coincidence.
Is it not the hallmark of a vigilant press to investigate such at strange coincidence? I for one think so. Not because I don’t want Anders Fogh Rasmussen to have some privacy, but he has chosen to become prime minister, and that makes every sound he utters count enormously. He must know and accept that. The press knows that and as the watchdog of democracy it must take that seriously.
Ekstra Bladet and Information (as the only Danish media) revealed the whole and half lies in the prime ministers reasons for leading Denmark into a war in a distant land. The prime minister had to leave a previous minister-job (Minister for taxes) back in 1990, because of irregular bookkeeping. The now prime minister’s private life has been highly unusual, for 21 years he was a week-end-husband and -father (for his wife and three children, who had to live alone back home in Northern Jutland, whilst he spent the week in Copenhagen and other places). Asked by a journalist when the family finally moved in together in Nærum in the summer 1999, Mrs. Anne-Mette explained as follows: The Journalist: Is it not a little bit in reverse, that you bring the family together now, when the children are grown up – why did you not move closer to Copenhagen long ago so that you could be together during the week, the way you are doing it now?" Anne-Mette Fogh: Well, it was not exactly his political region … you might say. It has been stable in the sense, that I took care of things at home. If I had had to leave home every day, that would not have been good." (Ekstra Bladet 26.9.1999) Not exactly a clear and informative answer, I think.
There are several reasons to investigate this faggot-support more closely. (Yet another piece of information in Ekstra Bladet 28.11.2002 about how "Lomborg contacted Fogh. In parliament Fogh refuses to take credit for the fact, that his friend, Lomborg, got DK 20. mill. extra – but he admits it to the Ekstra Bladet." This friend is a faggot). But the most important reason to investigate is, that a prime minister must not have secrets that make it possible to influence, pressure or even blackmail him to serve other interests than those of his people. If that situation exists, then democracy has a very serious problem. In that case politics, both domestic and foreign, can be thwarted and made to serve special interests. For that reason alone, such a possibility, no matter how unthinkable and unpleasant it may seem – should be pursued by responsible media.
Knud Bjeld Eriksen, 2005-02-28
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