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By EUGENIO BUCCI*

Quality journalism, dedicated to factual truth, prevented larger portions of the people from being swallowed up by fanaticism

After the trauma of January 8th, thanks began to be given to institutions and personalities who helped to remove the coup adventures from the national horizon. No surprise. It was expected that this would be the case. What's more, it was necessary. In addition to being due, these expressed signs of gratitude strengthen democratic culture and fulfill the precious function of clarifying the value of freedoms and fundamental rights.

In this healthy wave, tributes to the Federal Supreme Court and its authorities are the most frequent. The Federal Supreme Court and the Electoral Court were decisive in protecting the credibility of electronic voting machines, credibility without which the elections would have turned into vinegar. Within the scope of the constitutional court, investigations into the disinformation industry contributed to dismantling massive hoaxes that threatened to bury public opinion. Brazilian democracy is indebted to the courage and correction of magistrates and, for all reasons, it is good that this is proclaimed loudly.

Are there excesses in some of the ongoing legal proceedings? Perhaps yes. At the turn of 2022 to 2023, we experienced turmoil of excess and extremism in terms of facts, which undermined institutional normality. Given this, public order reactions to fascist-inspired attacks did not even have space to conduct themselves without incurring any form of, so to speak, judgmental exasperation. Time, history and justice itself will tell us, soon, where the blind hand was too heavy. The democratic rule of law, which was maintained, has the regular tools to correct the procedural course of whatever it may be. In the broad spectrum, however, the toga got it right.

On another front, political parties and national leaders also deserve praise because, putting aside their immediate interests, they worked to create an expanded front, without which the former president would have achieved re-election. Today, most analysts admit that, if the reappointment were to take place, the scrapping of the administrative machinery and the deepening of authoritarian conduct, fueled by the cult of weapons and violence, would advance even further, putting at risk the maintenance of the foundations of the Republic. Therefore, let us recognize the merit of those who made it possible to unite the acronyms against the deterioration of politics.

There is, however, one institution that did not receive the applause it deserved. That institution is the press. Professional newsrooms, by dedicating themselves to the mission of reporting objectively, in a non-partisan and critical manner, carried out the irreplaceable work of keeping alive, in the texture of the so-called public sphere, the vital links between the decision-making process of citizenship and a minimum ballast of reason . Quality journalism, dedicated to factual truth, prevented larger portions of the people from being swallowed up by fanaticism.

Attention here: whoever did this work was not the justice system, it was not the political groups and their leaders, but the press. Only her. No one else. The difference, in relation to the other actors, all of them essential, is that the journalists did not reap civic laurels for their commitment – ​​not in the proportion that would be appropriate.

If the unlikely reader needs examples, let's look at them. Let’s think about the pitfalls of covering the Covid-19 pandemic. Reporters exposed themselves in the streets to report what was happening. They were in hospitals, photographed and listened to the victims. They showed everything, bravely. During this period, the National Journal carried out a true “war operation”, if you’ll pardon the somewhat warmongering metaphor. On a heroic journey, he looked for the numbers, framed the faces of those who suffered, reported the most responsible and grounded guidelines. Between one thing and another, he showed the lined up graves being filled in by absurd backhoes.

When, in June 2020, the Presidency of the Republic interrupted the provision of consolidated pandemic data, with the clear purpose of preventing them from being aired in prime time, the journalistic companies formed the consortium, replacing commercial competition with disinterested cooperation. Again, the National Journal stood out. Suspicions of corruption by the former president and his family were also reported accurately and firmly. Do you remember. Everyone remembers.

Throughout those horrible days, Globo distanced itself from other television networks, which preferred to avoid direct confrontations with the palace agenda. The former president even openly intimidated her, as when, in February 2021, he held up, in his own arms, a poster with the words “Globo Lixo” (a clumsy reissue of the Lying press Nazi). O National Journal He sailed against the current and did what he had to do. In his own way, he protected Brazil against the fascist rage.

Now, almost no one recognizes it. Why? Is it because the same news program was aggressive in covering other government officials? Do past mistakes, if they existed, cancel out a recent success? A little maturity, please.

* Eugene Bucci He is a professor at the School of Communications and Arts at USP. Author, among other books, of Uncertainty, an essay: how we think about the idea that disorients us (and orients the digital world) (authentic).
https://amzn.to/45IETI5


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