What is the deal with the (food)brand "Quisling Media"

I was looking up some data in the USDA nutrition database and was surprised to see “Quisling Media” in the “Food Group or Manufacturer”-column for various products. Googling I could only turn up other products and lists, and attacks on mainstream media from the political fringes.

Anyone have better skills/luck, or now why there is a group with such an unfortunate name?

Not just food apparently, here are a bunch of other goods by the same alleged company. Now, maybe there actually exists a company somewhere that makes cotton candy, Disney princess waffle makers and shotgun safes, but I’d probably be more inclined to bet on a barcode registration heckup of some sort.

That website gives a registered address for the company: Quisling Media · 1114 North Clark Street #15 · Los Angeles, CA 90069

When you put this into Google Streetview, you end up in a back alley behind a residential building in L.A. My guess is that the company exists as a one-man part-time company that imports all sorts of stuff and distributes it under its own name in the U.S., owned by a person with an odd sense of humour. Or it’s a copyright trap in databases.

Quisling is still a Norwegian-origin surname, remember. It could be a company owned by a guy named Chuck Quisling III, or some such.

Well Vidkun Quisling was a real person, and given the amount of migration from Scandinavia to the US, the obvious explanation is that someone with the same surname founded a company in the US, either before or after their namesake became infamous and literally synonymous with treason.

There used to be a Quisling Clinic in Wisconsin. It’s a Swedish surname that is not as well known as, say, Hitler or Mussolini. Here’s the founder’s obituary.

Apparently, it’s a fairly common surname in that region.

As already mentioned in this thread, and in the source you reference it is a Norwegian surname.

I didn’t know it was still in so much use in Wisconsin, in Norway it’s gone, whether by natural attrition or personal choice.

As a Norwegian that was part of my confusion. It was a fairly rare surname here in the first place and pretty much gone now, and even if someone had chosen not to change their name I cannot imagine them choosing to use it unless they were trying to cater to neo-nazis.

But as evidenced by other examples here I see that the Wisconsin Quislings have chosen to tough it out …

Here’s a site with global distribution maps for surnames, and the results for “Quisling”.

Almost all the instances are in the United States, with none shown from Norway:

United States - 96 instances
Costa Rica - 1 instance
Mexico - 1 instance
Philippines - 1 instance

It’s interesting seeing how some surnames have grown or reduced in frequency in the United States compared with the country of origin. Here’s a random selection of U.S. presidents with English-origin surnames, and a comparison of surname rank in that area (so Johnson = 2 = 2nd most common U.S. surname)

Washington // U.S. 155; England 2,729
Adams // U.S. 34; England 68
Harrison // U.S. 121; England 34
Fillmore // U.S. 7,194; England 36,602
Lincoln // U.S. 2,037; England 1,726
Johnson // U.S. 2; England 7
Garfield // U.S. 6,585; England 5,556
Coolidge // U.S. 10,332; England 390,708
Nixon // U.S. 871; England 451
Clinton // U.S. 2,101; England 2,542

  • Harrison, Lincoln, Garfield and Nixon are more frequently found in England per head of population than the U.S.
  • Adams, Johnson and Clinton are more frequently found in the U.S. per head of population than England.
  • Washington and Fillmore are significantly more frequently found in the U.S. per head of population than England.
  • Coolidge is almost extinct in England, with only two instances recorded, compared with 3,929 for the U.S.

According to this page, there was a John Coolidge who landed in Massachusetts in 1630. So that’s maybe sixteen generations ago. If, hypothetically, John Coolidge had two male sons (who would pass down the surname), and they all had two sons, and each subsequent generation had two sons would that end up with 65,000 or so hypothetical people with that surname after sixteen generations? I’m not so good at math.

Washington is very common in the United States primarily because it was a popular choice for newly-freed black slaves; only about five percent of Americans named Washington as of the 2000 census identified themselves as white, while 90% identified as black/African-American..

Other early-President names see the same effect, though some of them (like Johnson) were common enough already that it doesn’t make much difference overall.

Walken After Midnight, the catch is that you can’t assume two sons in every generation who are all passing on the name. The simplest assumption is just that all names will, on average, stay at the same percentage of the population (though there will be some random variation, which can be significant for very low-percentage names). So there are probably more Coolidges now than in John’s or Calvin’s time, just because there are more people overall.

For what it’s worth, I know that “Quisling” has come to be synonymous with “traitor”, and that that originates from some real person named that who had a particularly egregious betrayal, but I couldn’t even have told you what century he lived in, or who he betrayed to, or any of the other details.

I don’t blame you, but I’m going to include a synopsis here anyway, for the edumacation of anyone reading this far:

Vidkun Abraham Lauritz Jonssøn Quisling /ˈkwɪzlɪŋ/; Norwegian: [ˈvɪdkʉn ˈkvɪslɪŋ]; 18 July 1887 – 24 October 1945

Founder of the pretty much failed nationalist party Nasjonal Samling (National Union) in 1933. Tried to take control of the government when the actual government fled from the nazi invasion on April 9th 1940, but the Nazi’s opted to keep control of the nation until 1942 when they wound down the direct military control and made him Minister-President of a puppet government.

Ran a copycat Nazi regime complete with faux-Hitler Youth, persecution of Norwegian Jews and participation in their deportation to concentration camps.

Was executed by firing squad.

You’ve answered a question I hadn’t even asked yet!

I spent a decade in Madison, WI, and I used to walk by a building called “Quisling Terrace” all the time:

It used to be a medical office building. A good friend (who happens to be Jewish) visited the building regularly, as her childhood dentist’s office was inside.

I was a little shocked by both the building name and the fact that her mother took her to a building with that name. My friend was unaware of the connotations/baggage of the Quisling name until I told her. I was surprised again when a developer turned the building into apartments without changing the name. It would have been nice to see it renamed Jøssing Terrace. “Jøssing” is a Norwegian word for anti-Nazi.

I always wondered what connection there was between the building and the disgraced collaborator, and now I know: the doctor for whom the building was named was the collaborator’s first cousin!

I found it interesting (and gratifying) that the linked obit took pains to denounce Vidkun Quisling, the doctor’s Nazi-collaborator cousin.

I had absolutely no idea what “Quisling” meant or why it might be considered unfortunate before I opened this thread … and still only vaguely understand now, that something something Nazi something.

Long story short: A pro-fascist politician of that name was leader of the collaborationist (i.e., collaborating with the Germans) Norwegian government during WWII, when Norway was occupied by the Nazis. Hence the meaning of the term to denote a traitor or someone otherwise collaborating with enemies. Analogous to the meaning the word “Vichy” has in France.


It’s a reference to Vidkun Quisling who was notorious for attempting a coup (with Nazi support) and then collaborating with the Nazi administration of Norway.