Power is not influence – DN gets it wrong, again

I wasn’t going to comment on the Swedish study about antisemitism that was published in Dagens Nyheter on 14 March, but when DN for the second time publishes an incorrect phrase I think it’s worth speaking up. The study (pdf, 3MB) has been the subject of much debate since it was published and it made conclusions like “one out of four Swedes don’t want a jewish Swedish Prime Minister”. About 3,000 Swedes were asked a series of negative statements against jews in order to see how antisemitism is spread in Sweden. But I noticed that there was a slight difference between one of these questions in the survey and how that question was reported in the press. It may seem insignificant, but trust is in the details.

In the survey, respondents were asked whether they agreed or not with the following statement.

“Jews have too much influence in the world today”
“Judarna har för mycket inflytande i världen idag”

In the first article in DN, this question had now been changed to:

“Jews have too much power in the world today”
“Judarna har för stor makt i världen i dag”

But “power” is not the same as “influence”.

The same incorrect phrase was used this morning by Mats Bergstrand in DN. I would argue that the second statement sounds “worse” than the first, and in my view it is a careless (and hopefully not deliberate) use of information. Not reporting correctly opens a survey up for critisism, and like in this case, doesn’t help the important fight against antisemitism.

Footnote: the question can be found on page 125 in the report.