Bigmouthed billboards: Nordic newspaper behemoth mocks Trump and Putin with Helsinki summit ads

Helsingin Sanomat's billboard during Trump Putin summit: Welcome to the land of free press

We want to extend a high-five to the ad people at Finland’s, and the entire Nordic region’s biggest daily newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat, or ‘Hesari’.

Just in time for the Trump-Putin summit in Finland’s capital Helsinki, the paper rented some top-shelf outdoor ad space along central roads leading from the airport to hotels and the summit venue. Walt Disney’s news and many others picked up on the story. The ads for Hesari go along with a fairly pompous open letter released prior to the summit.

Helsingin Sanomat's billboard during Trump Putin summit: Trump Furious Over Leaks

The ads are self-congratulatory in a gratifyingly non-Finnish way, and do speak clearly of what the media class in Finland thinks about the American and Russian Presidents.

Donald Trump is of course best known as a reality TV host, robber baron and sexual predator, according to sworn testimony. His Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, is an authoritarian ex-KGB psycho who lives in symbiosis with a band of oligarchs who are busy strip mining the former Soviet superpower of all resources except its military while acting as an aggressor towards neighboring sovereign states.

Helsingin Sanomat's billboard during Trump Putin summit: Media-critiquing Trump

Meanwhile, Finnish President Sauli Niinistö is an experienced politician. In the 90s, his political brand perfectly matched the kind of serious looking center-right Finance Minister the Finnish common person closeted masochist likes to have cut their social safety net.

However, in this instance, Niinistö’s tendency for bitchy resting face perpetually worried-seeming brow came to great use while teaching the global press about Finland’s “kinda-sorta, not really, thank goodness” brand of neutrality. Likewise, Niinistö displayed peak performance while, symbolically speaking, riding shotgun in a Russian mafia-style Mercedes-Bentz with the former leader of the free world pooping his diapers in the back seat. This insanity requires some serious deadpan.


Let’s analyze

Book cover: "Thwarting Enemies At Home And Abroad"

Book recommendation: Thwarting Enemies At Home and Abroad, a classic textbook for spies. Here’s the layman’s dilemma. Training for the honorable extension of diplomacy that is intelligence work relies on carefully cultivating anti-social traits in susceptible individuals who also fit into a heavy bureaucracy. That is, refining liars and manipulators who can handle paperwork. The question is of course why anyone should trust one single goddamned word of any individual associated with the trade.

As dust starts to settle following the actual event of the Helsinki 2018 summit, US centrist media continues to shake their fists in indignation at their country’s adaptation of the classic opera “What If Berlusconi But With On-Setting Dementia and Global Nuclear Superpower”.

Similar sentiments appear common among the maybe five CNN-favored “great statesmen” of Trump’s own party who generally tow the line on every ghastly Republican policy. The big shocker for these ghouls is Trump’s preference for Putin’s “professional opinion” as a former intelligence operative over America’s finest own spooks.

In any case, all these people, in their isolated elite bubbles of two party politics and media, are occasionally right about obvious minutia. Like how it’s increasingly clear that Trump is a grotesque, foppish bully who befriends tyrants and strongmen everywhere, while cackling nonsense and playing to his base when he’s supposed to talk serious politics with US allies.


Who actually votes for these people?

What about the “forgotten people” who don’t agree with this narrative and side with wannabe strongmen?

Whether they live in the UK, Poland or Oklahoma, they’ll go straight back to announcing how the Lügenpresse distorts everything. The current situation solves the equation posed by Harper Magazine’s proposed “macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of one’s acquaintances”, from their August 1941 issue: “to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi”. Well we know who: at least half of the subset of the American public whose vote isn’t actively supressed.

Then, they’ll turn to cable news to indulge in barely concealed genocidal fantasies to ease their nervous racist nightmares about how their pale, melanin robbed bodies will fare poorly in future wars about natural resources.

What does all of this mean for Trump? Has he blown it by so obviously being a gurgling fool in the face of a traditional US foe? Or is Trump’s audience outside the Republican party bigwigs so sold on the cult of their own manchild-Mussolini he can resume summer by casually dehumanizing every non-white US resident? We lean towards the latter option, but you’re welcome to share your insight in the comments section below.


There you have it, our sweeping take on the Helsinki 2018 summit. For more of this brand of seasoned and balanced political analysis, please feel free to check out our ongoing coverage of Brexit, and our podcast about all things Finland.


Thomas NyberghThomas Nybergh is a Digital Producer and writer for Ink Tank Media. Passionate about user-centred design and culture, Thomas also thinks of politics as an arena to offend everyone. You can follow him on Twitter.


9 replies

  1. Finnish propaganda is so good that whole world have been brainwashed to think finland has the best free press?

  2. Great! Americans hardly have any real balls at the moment. This needs to be said, and shared. Kiitos!

  3. Free press in Finland? When pretty much every mainstream media news are copied straight from CNN. Being embarrassed is understatement.

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