a disturbing portrait

August Kopisch (1799 - 1853), The Pontine Marshes at Sunset, 1848.


Instead of doing journalism, the mainstream press opted to dispute the political direction of the future, the hegemony of the next day, the command of the transition process

May 29, 2021 was glorious for the anti-fascist resistance in Brazil. The scale of demonstrations in the streets, despite the risks caused by the pandemic, represents a milestone of historic magnitude. On the other hand, the following day, the mainstream press offered us, once again, the disturbing portrait of its own exposed viscera. The covers of Globe and Estadão highlight the “reheating of the GDP” and the “reinvention of tourist cities”, respectively. A Sheet was more dignified: “Thousands take to the streets against Bolsonaro across the country”, alongside a reasonable photo, although the report on page A-12 is disappointing, a political simile of the laughably provincial article about the game the day before, the tie between São Paulo and Fluminense.

How to interpret editorial choices? What do they tell us about the position of the elites and their calculations? What does eloquent silence confess? The comparison with 1984 is trivial but pertinent. Rede Globo was slow to admit the existence of the biggest mass movement until then. Why? Still defending the dictatorship? No, at that moment it was not a question of embracing the unburied corpse of the old regime, but of disputing the political direction of the future, the hegemony of the next day, the command of the transition process.

What makes the coverage of the May 29, 2021 and 2016 demonstrations so different? How many times have we watched, perplexed, live GloboNews reports on anti-Dilma protests in small towns in the interior, in which embarrassed reporters, faced with images of empty squares, made an effort to convince viewers of the historical relevance of the events they witnessed. Was it journalistic objectivity or engagement in the campaign against Dilma? The absolutely uncritical endorsement of Lava-Jato, giving way to the leaks that came from the accusers, dripping dripping at strategically "opportune" moments, contributed to Lula's exclusion from the dispute, the demonization of the policy and the emergence of the most vile and vile presidency of our history.

The medicine turned into poison, because they went very thirsty to the coup pot, celebrated the Faustian pact with the wildest appetites in the name of the “Bridge to the Future”, made austerity, deregulation, meritocracy and minimalization of the State the supreme creed of their common veneration, were willing to confuse the fight against corruption with the cynical version of a supposed holy war of society against the State.

No reader, no minimally reasonable reader, will escape the political bias of editorial operations, which structure hierarchies of relevance, impacting the public agenda. The most toxic fake news is not fake news, which can be unmasked, but intellectual dishonesty that surreptitiously injects opinion into information. This ideological infection takes place mainly through editorial selectivity, in the way of presenting and hierarchizing information. Issuing opinions is legitimate, infiltrating them in a clever way, naturalizing them, is the illegitimate exercise of an immense power that is thus corrupted.

What is the purpose of the hoax shamelessly printed in today's headlines? Embrace the postponed corpse of Brazilian fascism? No, these bodies have been critical of the government. It is, in my opinion, as in 1984, keeping the obvious differences, to dispute the political direction of the future, the command of the process of transition to post-Bolsonaro. With or without Lula, how far will the restructuring of the State go, at all levels? What are the relative positions of the main economic actors? What will be the insertion of Brazil in the geopolitical map? What position will it have in the international division of labor and production? How far will the black, feminist, housing, land movements take us? There will be or not – and at what price”; with what consequences? – confronting what I have called the “anti-democratic enclave” of public security and criminal justice?

While the people take to the streets, the elites withdraw, planning their moves, and begin, everything indicates, to examine the Queremista hypothesis: Post-Bolsonaro with Bolsonaro. Make no mistake, my friends, my friends: the moralistic ardor of these ancient patriots is as fickle as their lofty values ​​are elastic.

Luiz Eduardo Soares he was national secretary of public security (2003). Author, among other books, of Demilitarize – Public security and human rights (Boitempo).

Originally published on the portal Brazil 247.


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