Folha attacks readers by normalizing Bolsonarism – 01/04/2023 – José Henrique Mariante – Ombudsman

Tuesday (28), “13-year-old student stabs teacher to death in SP”. Wednesday (29), “Covid kills 700,000 and victims more vulnerable groups”. It’s not every week that two headlines in a row Sheet use the same verb. If only the problem was the lack of creativity on the First Page.

The country is so violent that it is difficult to distinguish the various waves of the problem. The memory suggested that attacks on schools were becoming frequent, but it is scary to know that since August last year they have occurred monthly. The explosion of cases, experts say, is due to the isolation of the pandemic and the prolonged closure of schools, but also to co-option in social networks, online games, extremism, misogyny and toxic masculinity. More than 700 thousand died as a result of the virus, others will be reaped by related strains. It’s not just the verb that brings the news together.

On the same day as the Vila Sônia tragedy, a 28-year-old woman invaded her former school in Nashville, USA, and shot three 9-year-old children and three teachers. She carried an AR15-style assault rifle, similar to the HK that Jair Bolsonaro lamented having to return along with the Arabian jewels. HK is the German brand that left the Brazilian market in 2019 after pressure from shareholders; the company’s product, they realized, was being used against its own people by an irresponsible government. HK is the rifle used by an ex-PM to assassinate Marielle Franco. The 13-year-old used a knife in São Paulo, but tried to buy a gun online. As Elio Gaspari would say, he gets a CAC card if he doesn’t understand what the Disarmament Statute is for.

It will always be difficult to dissociate Bolsonarism from its performance in the pandemic, the delay in vaccination, the neglect of education, environmental damage, gun violence, to mention just a few well-documented points of its legacy. Political polarization certainly worsens perception. Hence the revolt of many readers of the Sheet with the editorial “Bolsonaro back”, published on Thursday night (30) on the website and changed the following morning along with the publication of an Erramos.

In the text, which works hypotheses about the role of the former president from now on, the last paragraph brings the following assumption: “Bolsonarism could even, if it abandoned violence and authoritarianism, lead a healthy opposition to the PT. unfortunately, the most likely outcome”.

The period would already be polemical enough, but by chance an Erramos magnified it: “Due to an editorial error, a previous version of this editorial was published, with a different conclusion from the one approved for the printed edition”. The “different conclusion”, which social networks saved and bombed back to the ombudsman, is that “bolsonarism can give vigor to Brazilian politics”. That is, the editor’s initial intention, even more controversial, had been restrained, nurturing the idea that the Sheet he is an anti-PT or, apparently, a Bolsonarist.

There is a considerable difference between the two pechas, just go back to the beginning of the week or this column. Or August 2022, when the Sheet loudly denounced Bolsonarism’s attacks on democracy, and the spiral of fury in schools silently began. “If you gave up violence and authoritarianism” would still not be an option, readers now scream.

strong images

The country imports American conservatism, but not the itch to dismiss violent images in the media. On Monday (27), a good part of the national press, including Sheet, aired what happened at the school in Vila Sônia. In mid-afternoon, the newspaper took down the video without explanation. On TV Globo, the exposure was shortened as the day went on. In the end, in Jornal Nacional, the action ended up frozen moments before the attack on the teacher. The narrator explained that the violence prohibited showing the continuation.

In both vehicles, the opportunity to explain to the public that the scenes and even the news surrounding them could stimulate new events was wasted, as shown by studies.

The case in Nashville, however, produced an important inflection. If the initial writing was maintained, without images of the attack or of the victims, the following day was marked by the release of six edited minutes of capturing the body cameras of agents who invaded the school and killed the shooter. It’s not a new strategy or transparency, just a reaction to a debate that stemmed from a previous massacre, when accusations of leniency surfaced. The police, there and here, think only of themselves when they provide images.

The New York Times described the scenes in text but did not publish them. The Washington Post ran them. Absurdly reminiscent of a game, only with a real lost life.

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