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  Sweden's election is being misreported abroad – and this is a problem
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ContributorIndyGeorgia 
Last EditedIndyGeorgia  Sep 07, 2018 09:42pm
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CategoryPerspective
AuthorJames Savage
News DateFriday, September 7, 2018 03:35:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionOn Sunday I will cover my fourth Swedish election night for The Local. The contrast with the first one in 2006 could not be greater.

Then, the Social Democrats were set to be swept away by a newly-unified centre right after a 12-year unbroken spell in power. Their 70-year status as the star around which the rest of Swedish politics orbited was at an end.

A significant election, but the rest of the world mostly looked on and shrugged. In London, a few Guardian columnists mourned, but not much more than that.

What a difference a decade makes. The rise of the Sweden Democrats – and the obvious parallels to Trump, Le Pen and Brexit – means the attention focused on Sweden is out of all proportion to the country's size. Yet the decline of the foreign correspondent means that few media companies employ journalists who know anything about Sweden, let alone live here or speak the language.

Imagine a journalist covering a US election who arrived in Washington a week before, had paid no attention to US politics for the preceding four years and didn't speak English. You now have a picture of many of the foreign journalists covering Sweden.

Combine this with the pressure to chase clicks and the result is dire: simplistic, sensationalist journalism that is frequently just plain wrong.
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