It is not easy to cover candidate Jair Bolsonaro. In addition to the president’s pen, which has historically made a difference, its production of factoids is high. In a week’s worth of newspaper, to keep only the lens of the Front Page of Sheet, three neutral or positive photos (in jet ski, with Alexandre de Moraes and, his high point, with Elon Musk); in the headlines, some victories (STF decision against governors, privatization of Eletrobras and the partnership with the billionaire, even if the agreement is a trick) and a calculated faniquito (the action against Moraes).
A Sheet tried to do its part, with a headline about the millionaire pre-candidate mining by the president’s party and an important poll about the risk of a coup. It is eloquent, however, that a large part of civil society was silent in the survey.
Bolsonaro is full of problems to solve in the final stretch of his government, which is a disaster, but he has a remarkable ability to divert attention. He evades the government by lamenting the price of fuel, transfers the responsibility for inflation abroad and blatantly lies when talking about the Amazon. From time to time he repeats polemics, such as the racist phrase about blacks and arrobas, just to tire the audience. He gets, as well as a lot of media space.
There is no recipe for dealing with manipulators. On the contrary, they are the ones who seem to follow the same path in much of the planet. 19 weeks to go until the first shift.
You have to have a stomach for certain things in journalism. In March 2019, a night shift on the Front Page was extended in the 45th minute of the second half with an alert coming from New Zealand: a gunman kills more than 50 people in two mosques in Christchurch.
As if the barbarism was not enough, the episode brought an important aggravating factor, the subject not only filmed but also broadcast the massacre. It wasn’t agency information or hearsay or Twitter stuff. The images reached the newsroom almost at the same time as the news.
Understanding what was happening required the morbid exercise of watching the film, an unspeakable 17 minutes of horror and absolute contempt for human life. The objective was not to see what could be published, but to have the journalistic certainty that it was impossible to put anything on the air. The decision was easy.
Much was discussed at the time about the role of the media in spreading nonsense. Social networks have created programs to prevent the spread of violent and racist content.
Last weekend, an 18-year-old in the US, evoking Christchurch among others, killed ten people in a supermarket. In a timely report, The New York Times found more than 50 extracts from the 2019 video circulating on the internet despite the effort made to delete it.
Also on the shooter’s list of inspirations was a racist theory, naturalized by Republican politicians and by Tucker Carlson, the conservative (supremacist) anchor of Fox News. Intolerance is rife and perennial on the internet.
Perhaps our electoral sewage will not reach that much this year, but it is undeniable that the racial issue will play an important role in discussions and in networks, which are increasingly inflamed. Bear in mind the noise surrounding the inclusion and equity committee created in this newspaper.
We dispense with theories. Here violence and racism occur in practice, day after day.
The repression of cracolândia remains firm in São Paulo. The change of address terrifies downtown residents and fills the news with stunning images of human degradation. The polar cold in São Paulo makes the problem worse. The insufficient but fundamental support network for homeless people, more than 30,000 in the city, loses references for assistance, as the police touch drug dealers and dependents, but take away the rest that are out in the open, not because of addiction.
As exposed in the last column, it is the role of the newspaper to identify the agents of the news and bring them to the public debate. Notable omission of Sheet in the case of cracolândia, it is Governor Rodrigo Garcia, who is called Rodrigo only in this newspaper and in the PSDB’s political propaganda. In two dozen reports on the police action, Garcia’s name practically does not appear. It is as if the Secretary of Public Security, the Civil Police and the PM were not the responsibility of the state. Garcia, by the way, is not only governor, but also candidate, with the old flag of order. “A bandit who raises a weapon for the police will be shot,” he said shortly after taking office. It is obvious to quote him and call him to the discussion.
A Sheet for a long time, he was beaten for allegedly dissociating the negative news from the toucans who occupied the Bandeirantes, a blemish that has subsided in recent years, notably during the Doria administration. The newspaper does not need to rehabilitate it.
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