What really happened in Sweden last night…

More or Less,  [ Radio 4 and the BBC World Service]  routinely  challenges  the  interpretation and conclusions drawn from the data circulating in the news.  It is a programme which succeeds in making statistics interesting, even amusing.   This week’s edition was a particular gem.  It explores  Donald  Trump’s perplexing reference to “what had happened in Sweden last night” and convincingly suggests that it arose from a Fox News documentary which he had had been watching, where the presenter asserts that “rape has sky rocketed in Sweden over the last 5 years.”  The presenter then associates this assertion with an influx of Islamic migrants over the same period.  As it happens, the source of the Fox News programme was an article written by none other than  this weeks More or Less presenter,  Ruth Alexander.    Ms Alexander makes it clear that  the data  as reported by Fox News had been stood on its  head – but there’s more;  this nine minute programme is a beautiful deconstruction of Trump’s message showing it to be based on a criminally flawed presentation of the facts  The finely balanced conclusion of  Ruth Alexander and the More or Less team, as regards what may or may not  be  considered fake news, is unexpected and an example of an ethical standard which sadly, is hard to discern in the man who has so publicly announced that he will “drain the swamp.”

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