Donald Trump’s most recent public gaff at a rally in Melbourne, Florida has generated a chain reaction among his “friendly reporters.” 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.
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.”
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.” 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.” 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.”
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.” Lane followed with a report from a blog that goes by the name “Muslim Statistics,” which claims, “est 77% of rapes [in Sweden] committed by 2% Muslim male population.”,
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. 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 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.