The PS playbook of how to spread racism, disinformation and fake news

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Perussuomalaiset (PS)* first vice president and MP, Riikka Purra, is at it again. During the postal strike, she misled people by stating that 98% of early morning mail carriers were migrants.

Early morning mail carriers are a small part of the postal company’s services. According to Posti, 80% of postal workers in Finland and 70% in Helsinki and Greater Helsinki are Finns.

The latest disinformation trail that Purra and her boss, Jussi Halla-aho, want to lead us is a perfect example of how the PS turns factual news into disinformation.

In the latest disinformation campaign, Purra backs what Halla-aho claims that the vast majority of asylum seekers, especially those who are minors, are boys. Purra purposely confuses us with more percentage figures, which state that 92.6% of refugees in the Greek refugee camp (Lesvos?) are boys and 91.3% over 14 years old.

One may ask what do these figures have to do with those asylum seekers who came to Finland in 2015.

Purra’s tweet: “Not the same percentages as those cited by the UNCHR now. Those that came alone to the refugee camp in Greece (Lesvos?) are 92.6% boys and over 91.3% are over 14 years old.”
Halla-aho’s tweet:”About 95% of asylum seekers who came five years ago [in 2015] were men and 95% were over 14 years old, according to Eurostat.” Source: Twitter.

As everyone knows, one of the myths upheld by Islamophobic parties like the PS is to give the impression that the vast majority of asylum seekers are men.

In an interview with Yle on Saturday, President Sauli Niinistö seemed to confirm the myth about male asylum seekers by stating that “girls weren’t present among the asylum seekers [who came here in 2015] a few years ago.”

President Niinistö’s statement is a good example of how politicians may speak out against racism with one hand but validate it with another.

So how does the disinformation playbook work in the case of what President Niinistö claimed and how it was rebuked by the researcher and human rights activist Erna Bodström?

She tweets: “Hei @Halla_aho! I didn’t mislead anyone since I spoke of all asylum seekers – those who came by themselves or with their family – who came here in 2015. Sorry that the tweet wasn’t clear. Source: Twitter.
“Over half of those 0-13-year-olds who arrived in 2015 were minors. Girls in that group were almost 20%. Don’t spread information. Source:” Source: Twitter.

The main steps of the PS disinformation playbook:

Take the words of a credible politician like President Sauli Niinistö and turn it around to reinforce your disinformation and fake news. In this case, Niinistö claimed wrongly that there were hardly any women asylum seekers who came to Finland in 2015.

If a credible researcher like Erna Bödström challenges misinformation, just spread more misinformation with dodgy statistics. Halla-aho talks about 2,535 asylum cases when, in fact, we should be talking about over 30,000 asylum seekers arriving in Finland in 2015.

Grumble and cry a river about how unfair researchers are and how the media is the enemy of the people. Send out a lynch mob to attack the person who questions your baloney.