The national media and far-right populism: Maintaining the myth of Finnish innocence with the pillars of exceptionalism

by , under Enrique Tessieri

A good example of how the media maintains the myth of Finnish innocence and its exceptionalism is how it plays down the impact of the Perussuomalaiset* (PS) party on the country’s far-right journey.

Helsingin Sanomat’s Marko Junkkari appears a lot on TV talk shows to give his opinion of current events. He recently appeared on Yle with media researcher Anu Koivunen. In their analysis of former PS leader Timo Soini, neither of them said anything about how the former PS leader was instrumental in giving the far right a platform to expand its political agenda.

Yle talk-show host Heikki Valkaman talking to Anu Koivunen and Marko Junkkari. Source: Yle.

Moreover, neither Koivunen or Junkkari explained the impact that the PS has had on Finland, especially on Muslims, people of color and minorities in general.

It appears that the best analysis that Junkkari could offer about the PS was when the party was under Soini’s leadership.

“I have explained a hundred times to foreign correspondents that the Perussuomalaiset under Timo Soini is a different populist party than those in France and Sweden,” said Junkkari.

True, but why didn’t you give us your opinion on how the PS has shifted further to the right under Halla-aho and what was Soini’s role in the latter?

The only explanation I can find is how too many Finnish journalists and the media mirror Finnish innocence and exceptionalism.

Is the PS today a far-right party? History researcher Oula Silvenoinen has some academic views about this.

Not all far-right parties are the same but they are bonded ideologically by their Islamophobia and anti-immigration rhetoric as well as their anti-EU stances.