Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Facts and Alternative Facts . . .

Everybody is talking about Sweden.  Not everybody has the facts straight, however.

A few days ago, President Trump was talking about the problems with terrorism in the world and mentioned Sweden as an example.   Which made everyone ask, "what's wrong with Sweden?"  Some wondered if it was a reference to a terror attack - prompting former Swedish Prime Minister himself to wonder what Trump "had been smoking."

Enter Fox News.

Apparently, Trump watched an interview with on Tucker Carlson with Ami Horowitz - whose latest film Stockholm Syndrome claims that Sweden has seen a dramatic increase in violent crimes and specifically rape during the same period that refugees from Muslim countries were being admitted.

Reminder: This man has access to world leaders and experts 24/7 in which he could fact check Fox News.  

Speaking of the facts:

* Sweden has historically been very open to refugees (100,000 Bosnians moved there in the 90's).
* Between '14 and '15, rates of Syrians, Iraqis and Afghanistanis doubled to 160,000.
* Sweden limited immigration in 2016 to absorb the high numbers from previous years (down to 30,000).

Comparing immigration and the accusation of high rates of rape, we find something interesting:

* In 2014 there were almost 7,000 rapes reported in Sweden.
* In 2015 the rate dipped to about 6,000 (while immigration doubled).
* In 2016 the rate ticked up to 6,500.

You can find more here.

The numbers don't match the claims.

In fact, Horowitz is in hot water for journalistic integrity as those who were interviewed are claiming the edit job made it appear that they were answering questions they weren't asked.

I don't think we can argue with Horowitz's broader argument that the West will have to deal with the eccentricities of Sharia Law in Refugee Muslim communities. That is a fact.  Just listening to the clerics shut down his interviews and rough him up is enough to make a person ask, "what right do they have to silence a voice?"

But on this specific issue we have the responsibility to not pass on falsehood.

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