The Finnish media and their PS darling

by , under Enrique

Did anyone watch Thursday’s Pressiklubi show with Li Andersson of the Left Wing Alliance, Perussuomalaiset (PS) chairman Timo Soini and Helsingin Sanomat politics and business editor, Marko Junkkari? Apart from Soini’s usual political blah-blah (sound colorful but don’t say anything), Junkkari’s comment about how the Finnish media saw the PS as their darling before the 2011 election was quite revealing. 

Kuva 104


View Pressiklubi talk show here.

It’s already known as Junkkari admitted that the media was a major factor that helped the PS rise from being a minor party in Finnish politics to one of the biggest today.

Migrant Tales has asked on a number of occasions how come a populist anti-EU, anti-immigration and especially anti-Islam party could literally sweep the media off its feet?

The only answer I can find to that question is that too much of the Finnish media, which should know better, was dazzled by the PS because too many identified with its insular, racist and ethnocentric message.

Just like all of the major newspapers in the U.S. except for one – New York Review of Books – jumped eagerly on President George W. Bush’s invade-Iraq bandwagon, how much did the Finnish media question the rise of the PS and their anti-EU, anti-immigration and anti-Islam message?

Some editors like Helsingin Sanomat’s Saska Saarikoski went beyond the call of duty by giving PS MP Jussi Halla-aho greater coverage and recognition.  They incorrectly believed that the issue was freedom of expression.

A recent human interest story about Halla-aho and his wife Hilla in Me Naiset is a good example of how some journalists and the Finnish media still don’t get it.

Writes Jos Schuurmans:  “Yet the article doesn’t go into details concerning his political actions or agenda. The closest writer Essi Myllyoja and photographer Milka Alanen come to touching upon his controversial track record is this:

(…) Jussi is a man who evokes emotions – even fears. His radical opinions and provocative blog articles have taken him even to court. But when Kerttu jumps onto Jussi’s lap and drowns her father in kisses, what springs to mind is that there is surely also a softer side to the man. (…)”

One odd argument I have heard on a number of occasions, and which was asked to Soini on Pressiklubi as well, is if it’s a good matter that right-wing extremist politicians like Halla-aho and the likes have found a home in the PS.

In other words, mainstream parties like the PS have become a sort of camp for troubled and dangerous politicians. It’s a good matter that they are members of the PS because we’d be in trouble if they were out on their own.

Naturally, Soini did not answer the question.

As with many television debates about visible minorities, immigrants and immigration, there are only white people who are taking part in the debate, even though Andersson did an excellent job at cutting Soini’s usual baloney into thin slices.