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Holmgang should walk the plank

TV 2's Holmgang with Oddvar Stenstrøm is a danger to enlightened democracy in Norway, writes editor Dag Herbjørnsrud.


Last Wednesday I attended TV 2's live broadcast program Holmgang. It was no merry affair.

On the contrary, it has made me understand what danger this program is in the long run for the Norwegian public debate. Paradoxically, today's Holmgang concept poses a threat to precisely the "Norwegian values" that this program so implicitly likes to defend.

Criticism of Homgang has also appeared in the past, among other things for the use of the junk "polls" at the end of each broadcast. But that does not prevent Finn Jarle Sæle, for example, in Dagen from frequently boasting that "we repeatedly win the votes on the screen by 90 per cent against 10 per cent" – be it homosexuality or gender quotas.

Most recently in May, Sven Egil Omdal wrote that "the debate program" Holmgang "has long since turned into a parody of itself".

Parodies are comical. But few of "Holmgang"'s over 400.000 viewers experience that they witness a comedy. Rather, it is the tragedy of reality that unfolds before the open television screen.

As . . .

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Dag Herbjørnsrud
Former editor of MODERN TIMES. Now head of the Center for Global and Comparative History of Ideas.

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