Major Swedish media fell for oil price myth

Breaking news. Only on Media Culpa.

Many Swedish media today fell for the oil price myth. Aftonbladet reported during the day that “today the highest oil price ever was noted on the Nymex exchange in New York”. The article headline is “Oil price reached new record level today” and states that “this afternoon the highest oil price was noted in the 21 year history of Nymex exchange” and quotes the oil price from a telegram from TT, the Swedish wire service, that says the oil price was on 42 dollar per barrel for a while.

Dagens Nyheter
and Svenska Dagbladet ran the same story tonight based on a telegram from TT, claiming that the oil price “reached its highest level ever”.

News agency Direkt reported in a telegram at 21:17 tonight that “oil once again noted a record price on Nymex New York exchange” and that the oil price was at 42:32 dollar per barrel.

Having read the article on Spinsanity earlier today, I figured I’d have to check if this was adjusted for inflation. I quote Spinsanity:

But examined fairly, it’s simply not true. This myth is based on a misunderstanding of one of the most basic of economic concepts: inflation. As the general price level of products rise, a dollar today is worth less than it was in the past. The only fair way to compare the price of a good over time is to use the inflation-adjusted price.

It took me two minutes to find this chart that clearly states that the oil price was far higher 1981, if adjusted to inflation.

Chart from Full size chart here.

Update: The articles in Dagens Nyheter and Svenska Dagbladet were updated last night, and the phrase “the highest price ever” was removed from the first paragraph. The article now only states that the price is the highest in the 21 years since Nymex exchange started, which technically is true, but oil was traded before 1983, and to a higher price as this chart shows.

In the printed version of Svenska Dagbladet today there is an article with the headline “Many factors behind new record price for oil”. On the web there is a new article with the headline “Record expensive oil pressed the Asian stock markets”. Free commuter daily Metro has this as its top story today with the headline “Record high oil price”.