Comment: One of the most interesting matters that media culture Professor Mikko Lehtonen states in the Tampere University publication, Aikalainen, is that the rise of the Perussuomalaiset (PS) was helped by the traditional parties that didn’t look down on some aspects of their campaign message.
“If for example the Social Democrats would not have started to clearly go in that direction but would have stated that we have certain constitutional values and a certain welfare state tradition, it could have challenged this (PS) phenomenon,” said Lehtonen. “I think the old political elite could take a look at itself in the mirror.”
Lehtonen is correct in stating that by not challenging strongly enough the rise of the PS, the traditional parties fuelled it with their lack of counterarguments and silence. This can be seen as well in the Finnish media that appeared in many cases like its US counterpart before the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Only a few publications, like The New York Review of Books, questioned the US-led invasion.
Even though Lehtonen doesn’t state what aspect of the PS message appealed to the traditional parties, we could make a case that one of these was their anti-immigration and anti-Islam stance. Did the PS awaken their xenophobia and ignorance of immigration and refugee issues?
Another point that Lehtonen makes is about the core PS voter, who is a 20-35 year old man with little education.
“Rarely are the PS supporters spoken of in a positive fashion by the media,” Lehtonen says. “They are always something else and always a problem. In this respect they remind us a lot of how immigrants are spoken of (in public).”
Do you agree?
Mediakulttuurin professori löytää persujen suosiosta vasemmiston heikkoutta ja identiteettipolitiikan nousua. Perussuomalaisten nousun syynä on vasemmiston heikkous ja kyvyttömyys miettiä identiteettipolitiikan kannalta esimerkiksi maahanmuuttoa. Näin arvioi Tampereen yliopiston mediakulttuurin professori Mikko Lehtonen kevään eduskuntavaalitulosta.