Saturday, October 27, 2007

Dagens Nyheter vs. The Facts

Dagens Nyheter's journalists are setting new lows in journalistic quality. While other media outlets such as may offer faulty analysis, at least the numbers they present are correct.

But for Dagens Nyheter facts seems irrelevant. First, as Johan Norberg points out, Ulrica Kärnborg slander Milton Friedman on a number of issues, by for example blaming him for the mess in Iraq, even though he opposed the Iraq war.

Then there is this article about the Irish economy. While the article seems to be written by news agency TT, Dagens Nyheter of course endorses the text by publishing it.

The worst part about the article is not the analysis, which is somewhat misleading but not completely incorrect, but the big factual errors. For example, the article claims that construction is 15% of Ireland's GDP. Wrong, it is only 8.5% of GDP.

The article also claims that government spending rose from SEK 150 billion in 1997 to SEK 510 billion now (it is unclear whether that is supposed to mean 2006 or 2007), which in euros would be an increase from €16 billion to €55 billion. In reality, government spending was €24 billion in 1997 and €56 billion in 2006. And even this is misleading, since this represented a decline in the government spending to GDP ratio from 35% to 32%.

And then the article claims that government employment increased from just from 69,000 in 2002 to 310,000 now. Not true, as in reality government employment were 336,000 already in 2002, and have only increased by 25,000 to 361,000 since then. And again, even this alleged increase is misleading as this represents a decline in the proportion of total employment in the government sector from 19% to 17.5%.

That most journalists aren't hired on the basis of competence seems increasingly clear.....


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