The industry of horror
2019-07-01 14:56:13 -

By Panu Höglund

For at least 10 years, Finnish media have been aiding and abetting the extreme right wing to succeed in elections. You could say that populists and hate-mongers don’t need to do any canvassing anymore. It wasn’t like this always, and it is worth asking when and why this began.


One of the best answers was given by Johanna Vuorelma, PhD and media researcher, in the weekly magazine of the Finnish Greens on 24 June this year. She characterised the media as “the industry of horror”. The media are not helping neo-fascists consciously, rather the other way round: they are quite genuinely afraid of the coming victory of the extremists and the murderous dictatorship that victory would result in.


Are the media trying to prevent this victory in advance? Obviously not. Rather, the thought fascinates them in a perverse way, something like a pornographic fantasy, and under the influence of this fascination they give the right-wing extremists more coverage than to any other political grouping.


So, other political parties are not taken as seriously, and their policies are not written about, because they are just fiddling while Rome is burning.


Of course, much of society is afraid of the victory of the extremist right, and the media are exploiting that fear. On the other hand, it is obvious that the other part of society is afraid of immigrants, and the media are stoking their stories with exaggerated stories about criminal foreigners. According to the logic of business, everything is monetised. Instead of professional journalism and reporting, we have an industry of fear-mongering.


Back in the day, we used to think that it was the duty and responsibility of the media to provide information about the world we live in and comment sensibly upon what was happening around us. But those were the days. Neither newspapers nor other media are interested in fulfilling this duty, and if there still is somebody left somewhere who tries to take the old rules and principles of good journalism seriously, they’ll soon be fired.


Panu Höglund is a Finn who writes in Irish. His newest publication is the anti-racist thriller Tine sa Chácóin.

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