Which democracy?

Image: Elyeser Szturm
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By Luís Felipe Miguel*

From the beginning of 2014 to the end of 2018, the newspaper Folha de S. Paul disputed, with all the rest of the great Brazilian press, the title of “Official Gazette of Lava Jato”.

He extolled Sergio Moro and Deltan Dallagnol as Brazil's saviors, happily embarked on any denunciation that affected Lula, held a meeting with police and prosecutors to criminalize the PT and the left. She was even the forerunner of what is now known as the “Gebran doctrine of property”, with the infamous “scoops” reporting on pedal boats and the “tin yacht”.

When his campaign for the victory of that holy man, Aetius, did not succeed, the Sheet immediately joined the idea of ​​a coup.

Faced with Bolsonaro today, Folha says: it is necessary to contain him. Facing Dilma, she said: it is necessary to overthrow her.

Just compare the news from one time to another. who read the Sheet in the last years of Dilma saw a country on the way to chaos. Devalued currency, rising prices, unemployment, meager economic growth – and a government involved in corruption scandals.

Today we have a devalued currency, high prices, unemployment and poor economic growth, but the Sheet it does not portray the economy as teetering on the brink. On the contrary, he never tires of praising Guedes' economic policy. Corruption scandals are reported, but intermittently. And the involvement of the highest level of power with common criminality is practically hidden from the news.

When the 2016 coup succeeded, the Sheet saluted the Temer government. Faithful to his style, with occasional criticism, but strongly supporting the freezing of social spending, the delivery of national assets, the reduction of labor rights. He never neglected to deny the coup d'état and expressed sympathy for attempts at censorship by those who tried to debate the illegitimate nature of Dilma's overthrow.

A Sheet endorsed Lula's trumped-up conviction and unconstitutional imprisonment. His adherence to the rules of democracy proved so lax that he was willing to participate in electoral fraud – the illegal removal of the favored candidate – to guarantee a sham legitimacy for the coup he had supported.

In the 2018 elections, he insisted on the ridiculous thesis of the “two extremes”, equating the friend of militiamen and enthusiast of torturers Jair Bolsonaro with a politician with impeccable democratic credentials (and also very palatable to liberal groups), Fernando Haddad. He keeps hitting that same key, in fact, as shown by the regrettable article by Hartung, Lisboa e Pessôa, with a cover story in the December 01st edition, whose title, in the digital edition, is “Brazil lives between extreme right-wing risks and relapse lulista” – and whose summary is that the country “needs to resume dialogue to avoid radicalism”.

With Bolsonaro in power, the Sheet actively worked to curb discussion of Paulo Guedes' destructive policies.

The “democracy” that the newspaper defends is compatible with the prohibition of the participation of the working class in the public debate and the restriction of its organizations.

It's the same Sheet, let us not forget, that until today it has not been able to make even one mea culpa hypocritical of its support, including material support, for the 1964 coup and the military dictatorship. she will do mea culpa of its active participation in the destruction of the order defined by the 1988 Constitution? Certainly not.

Bolsonaro's attacks on Sheet are undoubtedly reprehensible demonstrations of authoritarianism. But the solidarity that the newspaper deserves, even with all its many vices, due to the principle of freedom of expression that we would like to see also extended to historically silenced groups, is held back by revulsion at its shameless attempt to promote itself as a martyr of democracy Brazilian.

As I already wrote the other day: if it is to give money in favor of the plurality of information, let it be for alternative portals, for the Current Brazil Network, for the Brazil of Fact, to the TVT. As for the Sheet, which is supported by those to whom it wants to give voice: the “enlightened” bourgeoisie of São Paulo, the “civilized” right, the “cool” conservatives. Who, by the way, have more than enough material conditions to maintain their press office, if they wish.

*Luis Felipe Miguel is professor of political science at UnB.

Originally posted on https://www.facebook.com/luisfelipemiguel.unb

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