"The Local" lies about immigrant benefits

Publicerad 28 augusti 2013 kl 10.58

Media."Swedes and immigrants rely on benefits equally" according to the English-language newssite The Local. All the while, official statistics show that persons born abroad receive nine times more benefits than native Swedes.

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Tino Sanandaji, a Chicago based economist, was the first to notice how leading Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter tried to fool its readers on the issue of immigrant welfare benefits. The origin of the scam can be traced to TT, the Swedish news agency owned by the same media conglomerate as DN. According to Sanandaji, the Bonnier-owned outlets grosssly misinterpret terms in order to mislead readers. The articles refer to a report from the University of Örebro, where the term "welfare-dependent" is defined in a new way, contrary to the normal definition. The study, which in itself appears to be honestly written, is concerned with the questions whether welfare payments are addictive and whether such addiction differs between natives and foreigners. ”Earlier studies often noted that individuals with previous experience of welfare had an increased risk of future participation, perhaps because the experience (in itself) alters the cost or stigma related to receiving assistance, shifting the individual preference structures and increasing the likelihood of remaining on welfare for a longer period.”

According to Tino Sanandaji, the study confirms the well-known fact that immigrants receive considerably more welfare benefits than Swedes. The purpose of the study, however, is to prove its mildly interesting theory that immigrants and Swedes who have already started receiving welfare payments have about the same likeliness of then making "the dole" a habit.

A false message, mutated for the worse
According to statistics from Socialstyrelsen (the directorate for social matters) and SCB (the central bureau for statistics), foreigners, making up 15 percent of the Swedish population, rake in more than 60% of the economic support provided by the taxpayer. This equals an over-representation of 8,6. The false claims of the Bonnier story, the absurdity of which must ring alarm bells in any newsdesk, was bad enough: “Immigrants not more welfare-dependent" ... "There is nothing to say that immigrants become more dependent on welfare than native Swedes." Although carefully worded, (note the word "become"), the Bonnier version is devious, if not false. In The Local´s re-write, the falsity mutated onwards to "Swedes and immigrants rely on benefits equally".

Both DN, TT and The Local are famous for manipulating news on the immigration issue - The Local trying to excel in a somewhat clumsy manner. As can be seen from the above facsimile, headlines of the site give the impression that native Swedes are draining their own state for financial support, editors betting that foreign readers are unaware of where the money actually goes.

Since Fria Tiders initial article on this matter, only TT has taken down their article.


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