FACT CHECK: POTUS’ ‘Sweden Incident’ sparks CBN Trump apologists to cite fake statistics from Islamophobic blog

Donald Trump’s most recent public gaff at a rally in Melbourne, Florida has generated a chain reaction among his “friendly reporters.”[1] Among those anti-“MSM” publications viewed as a favorite of the president’s is the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), demonstrated by Trump choosing a CBN Chief Political Correspondent David Brody as one of only two—both conservative leaning news outlets—to be called on during the February 15th Netanyahu press conference.[2]

Trump’s Sweden comments were meant to grant justification for his anti-refugee, anti-immigrant positions. Instead, his blunder drew negative attention to the ban’s dubious legal foundation, and the deeply engrained xenophobic prejudices underlying the Trump administration’s anti-Muslim policies. The president stated,

“When you look at what’s happening in Germany, when you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden — Sweden! Who would believe this? Sweden! They took in large numbers, they’re having problems like they never thought possible.”[3]

These comments drew immediate criticism from former Swedish Foreign Minister, Carl Bildt, who wrote on Twitter, “Sweden? Terror attack? What has he been smoking? Questions abound.”[4] The Swedish Embassy in Washington later contacted the White House asking for clarification on Trump’s remarks, and one Swedish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Catarina Axelsson told the Associated Press that she was unaware of an “terror-linked major incidents.”[5] The reaction from the Swedish government prompted Trump to state on Twitter that his comment “was in reference to a story that was broadcast on @FoxNews concerning immigrants & Sweden.”[6]

Today, CBN’s Dale Hurd and Gary Lane discussed the president’s controversial Sweden comments on air, staunchly defending Trump’s statements. Hurd argues that Sweden, which likes “to think of itself as a Humanitarian superpower,” has “brought in all of these refugees, and it’s a mess” and that crime has “become a regular occurrence in Sweden.”[7] Lane followed with a report from a blog that goes by the name “Muslim Statistics,”[8] which claims, “est 77% of rapes [in Sweden] committed by 2% Muslim male population.”[9],[10]

This blog is explicitly and unapologetically anti-Muslim. It reposts statistics from reputable sources such as the Pew Research Center, with misleading headlines beside gory photos of beheadings meant to manufacture fear of Muslims as violent jihadist rapists, which are utterly inimical to Western ideals.[11] However the blog also includes “reports” based on skewed data and all out fabrications. This Sweden report is one example. Below I will highlight the faults in this report, and comment on the reckless reporting of CBN, which not only cited this malicious lie on television, but reproduced it on an online article[12] as the only counterexample to a Washington Post article that reported a decline in the average crime rate in Sweden in recent years, including for lethal violence and sexual assaults.[13]


 

Claim: An estimated 77% of rapes in Sweden are committed by 2% of the Muslim male population

Source: https://muslimstatistics.wordpress.com/2015/03/19/sweden-77-6-percent-of-all-rapes-in-the-country-committed-by-muslim-males-making-up-2-percent-of-population/

Accuracy rating: Phony anti-Muslim science

Analysis: The Muslim Statistics report, published in March 2015, is not based on any actual available figures on the nationality or religion of perpetrators of rape in Sweden. The writer fails to cite a source for the graph included in the article, which, although completely in Swedish, the author claims that the graph states that 77.6% of the rapes in Sweden are committed by foreign-born people and 22.4% are committed by Swedish citizens.[14]

valdtakt_2011_stor_nyb

Importantly, these statistics, whether accurate or not, represent the years 1997-2001, a crucial flaw that the author recognizes and attempts to patch up. They state, “The ‘foreign born’ rape figures at 77.6% can quite securely be estimated to be a Muslim majority one today as the figures are behind by five years.”[15] First, the statistics are not five years old; they are over fifteen years old, a fact later acknowledged by this confused writer, “Staggering rape and assault rape statistics from Sweden from 1985-89 and 1997-2001.”[16]

Furthermore, estimating that the majority of foreign-born rapists are Muslim based only on a desire to validate one’s own Islamophobic beliefs is not scientific. Even if there was some evidence for that claim, the author still maintains that the majority are Muslim, not that all are Muslim, which they later dismiss completely by claiming that 2% of the entire Swedish population, which the author arbitrarily estimates are all Muslim men, are responsible for all rapes committed by foreign-born individuals. The math in this case isn’t just a little skewed, it’s completely beyond the realm of reason.

The author ends with a revealing rant on the Swedish government’s conspiracy to conceal these truths, stating,

“Let us hope that a complete un-biased, transperant [sic] and accurate government study will one day reveal the real figures. The reason government figures are held with limited access is because the summary would be shocking and outrageous. The actual figure could be higher. The percentages presented in the article below does not include Muslims with Swedish citizenship contained within rapes in the figures categorized under ‘Swedish nationals’.”

CBN’s use of this hateful “report” is absolutely disgraceful. I demand a complete retraction and public rejection of this disgusting blog. Their carelessness is appalling. Any respectable reporter would have stopped at the first sight of “Muslim Statistics.” I can only conclude that whoever found this report and decided it was a reputable source is either completely incompetent or consciously perpetuating a campaign of disinformation aimed against Muslims.


UPDATE FEBRUARY 21, 2017: After rushing to publish this post yesterday, I spent the remainder of my Presidents’ Day off from work attempting to contact someone at CBN about removing any mention of this “report” and officially disavowing these ludicrous claims. I have sent emails and left comments begging CBN, Gary Lane, or Dale Hurd to take responsibility for this mistake. I even tried to appeal to their Christian journalistic ethics. Alas, as of 9:00 PM EST, “What’s the truth about Sweden” is being promoted on the main page of CBN News’ website, with a “Must See” icon denoting it as a prime example of CBN’s honest reporting in an age of the “enemedia.” There is no change to the article or video.

screen-shot-2017-02-21-at-6-22-32-pm
www1.cbn.com/cbnnews homepage, retrieved Tuesday, February 21, 2017

UPDATE FEBRUARY 22, 2017: CBN anchor Gary Lane finally replied to my many Facebook and Twitter comments. He rejected what I had to say because I choose to remain anonymous and then cited Ann Coulter as the source of the “Muslim Statistics” report. See screenshot below.

screen-shot-2017-02-22-at-8-22-33-pm

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/16/us/politics/donald-trump-press-conference-transcript.html

[2] http://www.redstate.com/jaycaruso/2017/02/16/mainstream-media-journalists-whine-trump-not-picking-press-conference/

[3] http://www.thehill.com/policy/international/320300-sweden-asks-us-to-clarify-trumps-comments-on-sweden-incident

[4] http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-sweden-idUSKBN15Y0QH

[5] http://www.thehill.com/policy/international/320300-sweden-asks-us-to-clarify-trumps-comments-on-sweden-incident

[6] https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/833435244451753984

[7] http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2017/february/trump-clarifies-remarks-on-sweden

[8] muslimstatistics.wordpress.com

[9] http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2017/february/trump-clarifies-remarks-on-sweden

[10] https://muslimstatistics.wordpress.com/2015/03/19/sweden-77-6-percent-of-all-rapes-in-the-country-committed-by-muslim-males-making-up-2-percent-of-population/

[11] https://muslimstatistics.wordpress.com/2015/03/19/pew-poll-analysis-a-billion-muslims-want-sharia-law-2/

[12] http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2017/february/trump-clarifies-remarks-on-sweden

[13] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/02/20/trump-asked-people-to-look-at-whats-happening-in-sweden-heres-whats-happening-there/?utm_term=.97fbf5ff9253&wpisrc=nl_most-draw6&wpmm=1

[14] https://themuslimissue.wordpress.com/2012/08/20/the-living-hell-for-swedish-women-5-muslims-commit-nearly-77-6-of-all-rape-crimes/

[15] https://muslimstatistics.wordpress.com/2015/03/19/sweden-77-6-percent-of-all-rapes-in-the-country-committed-by-muslim-males-making-up-2-percent-of-population/

[16] https://muslimstatistics.wordpress.com/2015/03/19/sweden-77-6-percent-of-all-rapes-in-the-country-committed-by-muslim-males-making-up-2-percent-of-population/
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3 thoughts on “FACT CHECK: POTUS’ ‘Sweden Incident’ sparks CBN Trump apologists to cite fake statistics from Islamophobic blog

  1. Interesting post. The biggest reason that the table of statistics is fake, is that the authority summoning the statistics (BRÅ) never take background into account. It’s not relevant. Same when it comes to these “rape tables” I’ve seen the last days on internet. Sweden count sexual violations as one. Therefore you get a large number. Actions in these crimes are not sorted out. As a swede this is so surreal. 🙂 Sweden like facts.
    https://astoamerica.wordpress.com/

    Like

    1. Thank you for your insight! It is much appreciated! I would have loved to have spent some more time delving into the Swedish statistics supposedly at the foundation of this falsehood, but I couldn’t even get that far. So happy to hear from a Swede on this.

      Like

      1. I appreciate the interest in facts. The facts seem to be in the crosshair at the moment, but one have to remind those who forgets how important it is. I must check your blog out! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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