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Record TV Reporter: “I Was Framed Because of What I Know”

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Terra Brasil ran this infographic on the May 2006 wave of violence in São Paulo. Click to zoom.

Em carta, Cabrini alega ter sido vítima de ‘armação’: A Record TV reporter and anchor says he was “set up” because of what he knows.

The well-known TV journalist was arrested on Tuesday night, allegedly in possession of 15 bindles of cocaine. His Wikipedia bio has already picked up the story, but states that 10 bindles were found with him, not 15 — without citing a source. Good old Wikipedia.

Local news reports are, it is true, offering various versions of this central point (also without citing a named source): Globo reports 10 bindles of marching powder in the newshound’s Citroen, for example, while the Agência Estado reports 15.

When body counts and other numbers vary wildly in news reporting like this, it can be a sign that the São Paulo Rashomon Effect is in force. Time to pay attention.

SÃO PAULO – O jornalista Francisco Roberto Cabrini, de 47 anos, da TV Record, detido com cocaína na noite de terça-feira, na zona sul da capital, enviou uma carta à imprensa na qual alega estar sendo “vítima de uma armação, em virtude de estar investigando assuntos que incomodam a muitas pessoas”. Cabrini explica que essa investigação está relacionada ao Primeiro Comando da Capital (PCC), caso em que diz atuar há dois anos.

Journalist Francisco Roberto Cabrini of TV Record, arrested in possession of cocaine on Tuesday evening in the Southern Zone of São Paulo, issued a written statement in which he alleges he is “the victim of a set-up due to my investigation of matters that make a lot of people uncomfortable.” He explains that the investigation relates to the PCC criminal faction, a story he has been working on for two years now.

In May 2006, a wave of attacks on military police by the faction led to a week of reprisals by the PMs.

A number of cases involving possible executions of innocent persons by PMs during the week of reprisals remain unresolved. See

Investigations have been impeded by news that the system for recording police communications just happened to go out of commission at the time of the incidents, and remain out of commission for weeks afterwards. See

We, fortunately, were in Brooklyn at the time. A repeat performance is something that worries us a bit: A bus was burned not too far from here.

The assassination of a police commander who took disciplinary action against PMs allegedly involved in chacinas — death-squad executions — earlier this year is also a cause of some unease.

Civilized places to live don’t have death squads, we tend to feel. Maybe we’re just bleeding-heart liberals, though. See also

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“The Illusion of Rationality”: Brazil’s Exame Magazine

A imagem “International Editions
In Spanish and French, the book was published as
The Snares of Desire.

Mass hysteria and stupidity can make a real difference to a business’ bottom line. … –Rhymer Rigby. “Craze Management.” Management Today. London: Jun 1998. p. 58

Reason and the ability to use it are two separate skills. –Franz Grillparzer

…[I]t is a habit of mankind to entrust to careless hope what they long for, and to use sovereign reason to thrust aside what they do not desire. –Thucydides

The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane –Marcus Aurelius

Executives Learn that Counting on Irrational Buying Behavior Can Improve Business Performance (press release, March 10, 2008):

Diamond Management & Technology Consultants’ Exchange Event Features Best-Selling Author of “Predictably Irrational”

Is that really the lesson being promoted by this second-generation popular freakonomist from MIT?

I tend to think that executives not born yesterday already knew this. Rhymer Rigby’s 1998 article in Management Today on “craze management” put basically the same point with admirable succinctness, for example:

Fads can be incredibly lucrative: mass hysteria and stupidity can make a real difference to a business’ bottom line. For those who have not been paying attention, the current craze is the Teletubbies. In the near future, one can confidently look forward to the Beanie Babies which have already taken the US by storm. Explains Gerry Masters, secretary of the British Association of Toy Retailers, while a craze only happens with the right recipe and the right products, it often happens without retailers actually doing anything. The biggest promoters of a craze, he maintains, are the media. If you have a product that looks about to go crazy, you should tread carefully, warns Nigel James, head of account planning at advertisers BMP. BMP used to advertise Clarks desert boots. Sales went up 500% almost overnight. The trick was not to be seen to be mass market advertising. That way, James says, BMP did not frighten off the youthful hipsters who were spearheading the craze, but by carefully managing awareness they kept life in the cult.

And thus was born the Age of Edelman and the Rise of Stealth Marketing.

Of course, many of Vance Packard’s books from the 1950s and 1960s — The Hidden Persuaders, The Status Seekers, The Waste Makers, and the People Shapers (“on the use of psychological & biological testing and experimentation to manipulate human behavior”) — also warned us that post-war advertising, public relations and marketing, inspired by Edward Bernays’ close study of Nazi propaganda (conclusion: it worked really well), were carefully designed to prey on our irrational impulses.

Everything old is new again.

Ariely’s research fellowship was apparently endowed by Diamond Management and Technology — a fact properly disclosed in this press release, by the way:

Ariely, the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Behavioral Economics at MIT and a Diamond Fellow, presented the results of numerous experiments that show how people behave far less rationally than standard economic theory assumes. The implications are endless and we feel they will have a profound implication for every industry,” said John Sviokla, Managing Director of Innovation and Research at Diamond. [“]The feedback we’ve gotten at the Exchange and from other client conversations suggest that informed management teams will be applying the principles of behavioral economics in their products, services, and processes.”

What first attracted my attention to the book, however, was a review pubished in Brazil’s Exame magazine (Grupo Abril) under the headline “The Illusion of Rationality,” which I have translated and stuck up on Google Documents.

The review, I thought — and you know I am not a terribly big fan of Abril journalism — was predictably incoherent and badly written, if not outright cribbed from the publisher’s promotional material.

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What’s Cooking at Anatel? Time Will Tell

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ANATEL — the Brazilian FCC, roughly — will deliberate on a planned “transfer of control or corporate restructuring” by Telecom Italia in its meeting today.

Source: Relatório reservado nº3359 16/04/2008.

The breathless rumor is something that I should have been able to dig up myself — keeping track of the forward calendars of CADE (competition) and ANEEL (energy) and other regulators is a way of handicapping what might be next week’s, or next month’s, business story.

It’s just that ANATEL’s Web site is hard to navigate.

The information you are looking for is in the section called “interaction with society” rather than, say, “information and consultations,” which sounds like it would be the section where you would be able to consult the agency’s databases in search of information. Doesn’t it?

Na reunião de hoje do Conselho da Anatel, será analisado o processo nº 53500.004313/2008, aberto pela Telecom Italia International N.V em 26 de fevereiro deste ano. O assunto que consta do processo é “transferência do controle/reestruturação societária”. De que reestruturação os italianos estão falando? Não deve ser nada relacionado à BrT, uma vez que sua saída da operadora já foi sacramentada em dezembro do ano passado. O que mais chama atenção é que o tema será apreciado pelo Conselho da Anatel dois dias depois de a direção mundial da Telecom Italia negar os rumores de fusão com o Grupo Telefónica.

Today’s meeting of the Anatel board will analyze Matter No. 53500.004313/2008, filed by Telecom Italia International N.V. on February 20 of this year. The subject of the application is “transfer of control or corporate restructuring.” What restructuring are the Italians talking about? It shouldn’t have anything to do with Brazil Telecom, given that BrT’s exit from the operator was formalized in December 2007. What especially calls one’s attention is the fact that Anatel’s analysis of the matter comes just days after Telecom Italia’s global management denied rumors of a merger with the Telefônica Group.

The CEO of TIM, the Italian cellular group, was interviewed in DCI the other day.

He is gung ho about the 3G cell phone as a platform for the cellular revolution (even as Embratel begins installing universal WiMax). As what telecom-tech executive isn’t these days? But see

For that interview, see

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