stf in the press

Image: Lara Mantoanelli


The Lava Jato cheerleaders continue to transfer Moro's suspicion to Lula, incriminating him exactly with the proven evidence annulled

After the decision in favor of Lula, there was unprecedented erosion in the support that the STF enjoyed among the circles responsible for the popularity of Lava Jato. The phenomenon could be verified, through the manifestations of columnists and specialized sources of the corporative media, in the regular spaces of the vehicles and in the profiles of virtual networks.

The mainstream press fell in love with the STF in the trial of the so-called “mensalão”, Penal Action 470. Joaquim Barbosa, then presiding over the court, launched the ethical model of journalism that would soon embrace the Anti-Corruption Crusade: indignant, messianic, adept at a selective pragmatism with a virulent punitive bent.

This profile spread in the apotheosis of Lava Jato, marking the very enunciative identity of its supporters. The “exemptionism”, the initial germ of fascist truculence, mirrored the news coverage of the scandals, in particular their global demonization of the political sphere as a cover for the crusaders' obvious partisan bias.

From the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff to the conspiracy that prevented Lula from defeating Bolsonaro, the STF served as an institutional guarantor of the anti-PT media discourse. In exchange, laudatory profiles, mild interviews and complimentary comments gave positive notoriety to those responsible for normalizing Lava Jato's decisions.

While Lula's appeals were rejected, the vehicles neutralized the denunciations of their defenders, treating the absurdities as “controversial”, giving false equivalences to delirium and common sense. Although they sometimes regretted Sérgio Moro's abuses, they never complained about the STF's continued omission in this regard.

Once guarantors of Lula's criminalization, ministers are no longer able to attest to his innocence. Praised as rigid and impartial when they ignored the former president's rights, they became biased in rescuing them. They could belittle the Bolsonaro risk, but they must be responsible for preventing damage to Lava Jato.

Two vices resemble the late criticism of the press and the fascist attacks against the STF. First, the denialism. The Lava Jato crowd continues to transfer the suspicion of Moro to Lula, incriminating him exactly with the proven evidence annulled. He tries to disqualify the court by pretending that its decisions are simply adversarial “narratives”.

More serious is to act as if the judgment did not reveal something about the historical process we are experiencing, starting with the roles of the STF itself and the press in the origin of the current humanitarian tragedy. It's acting as if it were possible to erase Moro's illegalities with his incompetence. As if the maneuver, although viable, change the facts.

Second, the lie. Articles published in newspapers Folha de São Paulo e State of Sao Paulo, for example, accused minister Cármen Lúcia of committing a crime of responsibility by changing her vote. The fallacy has been debunked only after circulating on the internet, with the endorsement of renowned legal professionals.

The new debates in the legal news overcame the perception of these episodes, but did not fail to reveal the difference in the treatment given to ministers with antagonistic positions on Lava Jato. Moreover, no vote aligned with Bolsonaro provoked as much aggression as those that restored Lula's political rights.

Maybe they were fleeting raptures. But it sounds strange to question the legitimacy of the STF to impose brakes on Bolsonarism in the lower courts when it receives an informal mandate to curb Bolsonaro himself. At least that was the habit at the time when the court supposedly asserted the resistance of democratic institutions in the country.

*Guilherme Scalzilli holds a PhD in Audiovisual Media and Processes from Unicamp.

Originally published on Press Observatory.

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