What’s wrong with this story? Let’s begin with the headline, which claims that membership of Suomen Sisu, a far right white Finnish supremacist association, has “soared.” What do they mean by “soared” anyway? The story claims that the association got 390 new members after Perussuomalaiset (PS)* MP Olli Immonen, who is chairman of Suomen Sisu, made his declaration of war in Facebook against “the nightmare of multiculturalism.” In my book 390 isn’t much unless you compare it with 100 members. Is that the case? Even so, 390 is a small amount that looks bigger and more sensational thanks to the term “soared.” Another problem with the story is the MTV3 reporter, who interviews Teemu Lahtinen, a former chairman and vice chairman of the association well known for his links with far right and neo-Nazi groups like Kansallinen Vastarintaliike, is that nowhere in the story does the journalist bother to question these facts critically never mind get in touch with other sources that could give some context concerning Suomen Sisu, Lehtinen and Immonen. This story is in my opinion an unfortunate example because it offers Suomen Sisu the opportunity to showcase itself as something “normal” when in fact its agenda is racist, far right and white Finnish supremacist. Lazy and uncritical journalism at its worst.
Some good advice to journalists: When interviewing people like Lahtinen and far right associations like Suomen Sisu, it’s important to be critical. Critical means asking uncomfortable questions and publishing them. It also means using other sources to balance the story. If you rubber stamp what the person says then you become a mouthpiece of these politicians and groups. You help spread their message of hate.
* The Finnish name for the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The names adopted by the PS, like True Finns or Finns Party, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and xenophobia. We therefore prefer to use the Finnish name of the party on our postings.