Civita Dei | Notes on The Brazilian Education Lobby

Brasil Escola – an educational publication of Brazil’s Record media group — observes, correctly, a major source of difficulty in trying to cover, in any comprehensive way, the actions of corporate, private and third-sector lobbies, and combinations thereof.

The trouble is that the lobbying industry here is just about as unregulated as Liberty Valence. I translate:

The term “lobby” is frequently heard in the political milieu. Sadly, however, most people hold an incorrect view of the term’s meaning.

First of all, we should understand that lobbying is nothing more than the bringing of political pressure by groups seeking to influence official policy for their own ends, whether openly or in secret.

Lobbying is a very natural activity, something we all do. Examples include a son trying to get his father to increase his allowance, or a union debating improved working conditions.  In the U.S., lobbying is openly recognized  and even regulated by law. Lobbying is acknowledged as an important part of the political process.

Some experts believe that lobbying should not sneak in  through the back door, which only supports accusations of improprieties.  According to Maria Coeli Simões Pires, secretary of regional development and urban policy for the government of Minas Gerais, there are no angels in the political world, and no demons as well, merely interests, chief of which are economic interests. Viewed this way, lobbying must unlink itself from illegalities, since defending special interests is not only not illegal but rather a fundamental right.

First of all, in the case of «edutainment» policy, what groups seek to influence federal, state and local education policy in Brazil, and what are their respective agenda and tactics? The answer involves sophisticated governance structures set up to facilitate private- and third-sector collaboration with municipal, state, and federal bodies and private enterprise.

«Program, get your program, you can’t tell the players without a program!”

Selecting key-man nodes in publicly available social networks and traversing their relationships — above, aa chain leading to international philanthropy by Sylvan Laureate — is a legitimate method, but also very labor-intensive.

I propose using automated «beat-building» techniques to obrain an overview of the sector.

First, relevant and useful Web sites are selected and crawled, breadth-firt — using NaviCrawler or WIRE, in my case — and a link ecology analysis is performed, using Pajek, Gephi and yEd.

Then, using yEd, basic social network characteristics can be diagrammed and pondered visually.

Continue reading

The Art of the Artless Insinuation: Suppose Globo Blackmailed The Prosecutor …

GLOBO LIES: I have fact-checked a number of cases in which this claim proved absolutely true.

Marco Aurélio Mello — not to be confused with the Supreme Court Justice appointed by his cousin, President Collor de Mello — is a journalist trained at the São Bernado do Campo campus of the Methodist University of São Paulo, with a master’s degree in journalism from La Crosse University.

He currently works at Jornal da Record, a TV newscast of the Rede Record, archrival of the Rede Globo, and writes the blog DoLaDoDeLá (From the far side, the other side).

Record has been picking up a lot of dissident journalists fired from Globo for what Globo vehemently denies was a case of ideological incompatibility.

The rivalry between Globo, with its Opus Dei ties, and Record, which is owned by a very wealthy and powerful Protestant evangelical congregation, reminds one of the One Hunded Year Wars of Religion.

Mello, for example, was fired for refusing to sign an internal petition attesting to the journalistic integrity of Globo’s 2006 election coverage. A meeting was called with Globo Journalism Central director Ali Kamel:

O editor de economia do Jornal Nacional em SP, Marco Aurélio Mello, estava presente. Ele havia sido um dos jornalistas a se recusar a assinar o abaixo-assinado preparado por Kamel com o objetivo de negar que a Globo havia tentado influenciar o resultado das eleições.

Mello, São Paulo economics editor for the [[Globo Evening News With Mr. and Mrs. Boner]] … had been one of the journalists refusing to sign the Kamel petition, which denied that Globo had attempted to influence the outcome of the elections.

O jornalista, assim como outros que estiveram presentes à reunião, entendeu a atitude de Kamel como uma proposta de trégua. O diretor da Globo chegou a colocar seu endereço eletrônico à disposição da equipe e incentivou que escrevessem sempre que tivessem alguma reclamação.

Mello and others at the meeting believed tht Kamel was proposing a truce. Kamel even provided his e-mail to the team and urged them to write him with any complaints.

Then he fired them all. Mello had been the editor for Globo business anchor Franklin Martins, who was also fired — and ended up as the presidential press secretary, who in Brazil also has control of government advertising budgets.

Reportedly the government has since drastically reduced its TV advertising.

On Globo’s election coverage in 2006, see

I translate the transcript of a tape that captured journalists receiving a leak from a federal police agent. Some are overheard agreeing to proactively lie about their source because the agent is doing something illegal.

They also agree to Photoshop certain information out of an iconic photo of a mountain of money.

On the other hand, the federal minister of communications is still a former top Globo exec.

Maurelio produces an intriguing, teasing contrafactual insinuation about sleazy promiscuity among hypothetical politicized — Alberto Gonzalezified –prosecutors and the national press in São Paulo.

What he means to say is that José Blat of the MPE-SP — removed from the state organized crime task force during a criminal investigation of his extracurricular activities that was later dropped — is being blackmailed by Globo journalists.

Continue reading

Hacks x Flacks: Globo and the GIGO Fallacy Fallacy

The Fundamental Attribution Error is to explain one’s own behavior and opinions as rational reactions to external circumstances and to the available data, while attributing the behavior and opinions of others to their emotional state and psychological biases. – SkepticWiki

Comunique-se, a trade mag for the Brazilian journalism and PR rackets — under Brazil’s odd industrial classification scheme, the two are considered one and the same racket — reports.

A few years ago, the presiding magistrate of the Labor Tribunal of São Paulo — where my late father-in-law used to practice — was found guilty of involvement in a scheme to inflate the costs of putting up a fancy new building for the court, then skim money off the top.

The federal court hearing the case issued a press release at the time the judge and accomplices were arrested and charged.

The Globo nework’s version of the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite, the Jornal Nacional, got the story wrong.

In a follow-up, the JN — its Dan Rather is a guy whose name is pronounced “boner” — attributed its own error to the press release prepared by the federal court’s PR guy.

The flack sued Globo, and won, pointing out that all the other news organizations that received the release managed to Ctl-C, Ctl-V the facts accurately.

Technically, this is a case of the “fallacy fallacy” — fallaciously attributing fallacy or error to another.

Here, the fallacy falsely attributed is the GIGO — “garbage in, garbage out” — fallacy.

A news organization evoking the GIGO fallacy is problematic in the first place, however — as the judge in the libel case points out.

It would seem to imply that the reproduction of facts stated in press releases, with no independent corroboration, constitutes the practice of journalism.

Personally, I prefer to read the original press release on PR Newswire. After all, some very talented and high-paid English majors worked hard to write these things, and write them well. I have written some myself.

And unfortunately, sometimes journalists do garble them in translation — which is why they call us “hacks.” Talk slow and use short words. I majored in journalism.

Na ocasião, a Globo noticiou, no Jornal Nacional, que além do ex-juiz Nicolau do Santos Neto, condenado por desvio da verba destinada à construção da sede do Tribunal Regional do Trabalho em São Paulo, e de Monteiro de Barros e José Eduardo Corrêa Teixeira Ferraz, a mulher de Nicolau, Maria da Glória Beirão dos Santos, também estaria envolvida no esquema e que sua prisão teria sido decretada. Após perceber o erro e ser informada do equívoco, a emissora atribuiu a “barriga” ao então assessor de imprensa da Justiça Federal de São Paulo, no noticiário do dia seguinte.

At the time, the JN reported that in addition to the the ex-judge, later convicted along with two others of embezzling money destined for the construction of the court building, the judge’s wife was also involved in the scheme and that a warrant had been issued for her arrest. After perceiving the error and being informed of the mistake, Globo attributed the error to the public relations director of the São Paulo federal courts in a report aired the following day.

Continue reading


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 260 other followers