The main Finnish newspaper seems to have picked up some bad habits from Facebook and Citizen Kayne, a fictional film character who represented the American newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. Citizen Kayne was caught out like Facebook in influencing democratic elections the wrong way. They played on peoples’ foibles with stories that will either scare them away from the “monsters” or push them to like the “trusted ones”…
Modern national newspapers have generally been regarded to be trustworthy companions up until the likes of Rupert Murdoch and Mr. Bannon came along and started using their media companies to publish stories that produced financial gains for them by throwing their support behind various political parties and their leaders.
Now we appear to be seeing signs of the same type of behaviour in Finland with the biggest national newspaper called Helsingin Sanomat (Helsinki News).
They published an editorial under the strange headline “Porvarihallitus voisi haluta jatkaa vaalien jälkeenkin, jos vaalitulos sen sallisi” which translated means, “The right-wing government could want to continue after the election, if the election result so allows.” The editorial then explained a labyrinth of complex “what if” political alternatives about a possible future election results that bear little, if any, relevance to the headline. This headline appears to send a message to subscribers that the present coalition is better than all the other alternatives…
Why does this newspaper run such a headline that seems to promote the present coalition for the next government? One explanation for this could be that the government is currently facing the possibility of a second mutiny from within its midst, and the newspaper sees this as a bad thing rather than a natural political event when MPs in Parliament are not satisfied with important proposals that are brought to the vote.
The first mutiny was caused by the True Finns voting out their party leader, who were then kicked out of the coalition government, only to be replaced by the ex-party leader and his group of mutineers, who now call themselves the Future Blues. This group of 19 MP’s, who have received less than a mere 2% in the polls, enabled the government to continue in office and muddle through with their 2 big reforms, the healthcare reform and the creation of the Counties.
These 2 reforms are now facing strong opposition from members within the government’s own ranks, from within the Conservative Party, led by 2 ex-bankers and a businessman. The strongest protests are being spoken out by a Conservative party strongman, the Mayor of Helsinki, who claims that both reforms are badly planned and will cause financial damage to the country and harm the interests of the Metropolitan area that represents a very large percent of Finland’s population,
Why the main national newspaper appears to support the present government is something of a worrying quandary. Finland is a small place and nobody really knows what goes on behind the scenes. This does not increase trust in the activities of politicians and their ardent supporters.
It was just one year ago, when a number of journalists resigned from the public broadcaster YLE because they felt that the senior directors were allowing political interference by the PM to limit their freedom to report on matters politic.