The weekly newsmagazine Isto É is on the attack again. And in
order to justify the self-conveyed attribute of "independent," the
magazine staged an assault against the government. Pure hot air.
The first strikes, in
an experimental form, were directed toward the National Library Foundation,
whose head office is inside the vulnerable Ministry of Cultural Affairs.
Now, the weekly has increased
its fire-power, aiming at a portentous target: the president of the Central
Bank and one of his aides, director Luiz Augusto Candiota. Behind the two
men, economic policy mentor: Antônio Palocci, Brazil's Finance Minister.
In both cases, the same
accusation (evasion of foreign currency and tax); same source, identical beneficiary,
middleman, and interest. The target is not the government, but a sector of
the administration. Particularly, the segment less closely tied to the Workers
Party, the more "liberal".
It's not fitting for this
publication to meddle in this new round of palatial intrigues. The task belongs
to political commentators and certain factions of our native investigative
However, it is imperative
to debate the role of some media outfits amid this swordfight between the
two contending groups vying for supremacy behind the scenes.
If the press is a matter
of national interest, as it was echoed by high profile figures prior to Pro-Media,
the moves by certain elements of the press cannot go without the necessary
Within this framework,
one must identify the presence of businessman Mario Garnero (Brasilinvest
Group), who currently maintains close relations with Cabinet members, as a
magnet in the battle inside government quarters.
Today, this corporate
man moves with enormous ease and no discretion through the decision making
process of the weekly magazine and other media outlets of the red pressthat
is, the press that is technically bankrupt, in the red.
Duel of Bullies
In this analysis, we must
examine very closely and with more attention the allegations reported by the
daily Folha de S. Paulo, in their column Deals & Pending Matters
(Negócios & Pendências), concerning the involvement
of the firm Kroll Associates in the Brasil Telecom spying case, and
ascertain who the targets are: Cassio Casseb, Banco do Brasil president (under
Finance Minister Palocci) and Communications Minister Luiz Gushiken (who runs
on an exclusive lane).
Folha's md (modus
operandi) is quite different from Isto É' sthe big daily
operates at another level. Here, Folha needs to show that its old claws
and former fire power have not been affected by the giant cut in personnel,
some 40 journalists.
Just as crucial is to
follow the moves by the newspaper Jornal do Brasil (JB) in covering
one more scandal involving banker Daniel Dantas. Owner of Bank Opportunity
and allegedly the man responsible for the spying operation, he is a fierce
enemy of Nelson Tanure, chief commander of JB, and with whom businessman
Mario Garnero is associated as well.
What it means is that
the press continues to take advantage and to pick up the pieces of what remains
once the dirt of the battles between big and opposing interests settles.
That is how it has been
in all scandals surfaced since 1988, manufactured by "movie-like journalism".
In the western flick featuring bullies and their opponents, the press didn't
quite perform the villain roleit played a mere ignoble string-puppet.
One positive fact must
be pointed out in favor of the news organization: It has brought an end to
the pool of scandals, hullabaloo by hire, premature repercussion, and the
suite of what has not yet taken place. Before, everyone would jump in with
the same appetite, certain to be flooded with new videos and phone taps at
the next release.
Until recently, the most
spectacular accusations were released on its entirety, simultaneously, to
the most important media outletseven competitorsand made available
on the Internet with enough lead time (usually, on Wednesdays).
This time, the investigative
release distributed by Isto É generated some buzz only on news
websites, always more receptive naturally. On the so-called major press, the
"breaking news" had already been disqualified prior to the issue's
arrival at the subscribers' home.
In any case, the press
continues to play an undignified role. Above all, because it deals with information
in a non-critical fashion. The press is only concerned with the content of
the "accusation", in complete disregard to something just as important:
the leakage. Amidst the haste to report the allegation, the way in which the
gun was loaded and the shot fired is left aside.
This article was
originally published in Observatório da Imprensa www.observatoriodaimprensa.com.br.
Alberto Dines, the author, is a journalist, founder and researcher at LABJORLaboratório
de Estudos Avançados em Jornalismo (Laboratory for Advanced Studies
in Journalism) at UNICAMP (University of Campinas) and editor of the Observatório
da Imprensa. He also writes a column on cultural issues for the Rio
daily Jornal do Brasil. You can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
the Portuguese by Eduardo Assumpção de Queiroz. He is a freelance
translator, with a degree in Business and almost 20 years of experience
working in the fields of economics, communications, social and political
sciences, and sports. He lives in Boca Raton, FL. His email: email@example.com.