Featured on the official site of the opposition candidate — which later denies responsibility and withdraws the link — and heavily promoted by a large network of blogs, a satirical video offers a glimpse of Brazil’s political future should the situation candidate be elected today.
The video is also reproduced by the official sites of Veja magazine and the O Globo daily.
At the outset of the campaign, a top Veja editor leaves the magazine to coordinate the campaign’s PR and propaganda. Before leaving, the magazine runs a cover story on the belief that the world will end in 2012, with a tie-in to the blockbuster movie on the same topic.
A partial transcript of the video from the blog of journalist Luis Nassif.
“In January 2011, Dilma becomes president of a divided Brazil. Her first order is for the federal revenue service to initiate an implacable persecution of allies and family members of the defeated candidate, José Serra … Serra and his family travel to the United States where they seek exile once again, 40 years after seeking asylum [from the military dictatorship]. Dilma declares war against São Paulo. Using her majority in Congress, she suceeds in vetoing federal funding for the state government.”
The film now jumps to 2011 and shows Dilma — once again availing herself of her congressional majority — passing legislation to decriminalize abortion and tax Brazilian churches. “From his home in São Bernardo, Lula gives an interview critical of his former minister’s government. He says he feels betrayed. Dilma counterattacks, calling a press conference to announce a federal police investigation of the former president on corruption charges.”
“2012 passes quickly,” the narrator says, adding that Dilma loses popularity, declares war on the press and is the object of worldwide condemnation. “In January 2013, Brazil suffers record capital flight. In Congress, the PMDB formally withdraws support for the President and the majority switch sides. In the U.S., José Serra prepares his return to Brazil.”
After conflicts break out all over Brazil, “dozens of students are injured and 13 are killed. São Paulo, under governor Geraldo Alckmin, fills Cathedral Square with a demonstration larger than those demanding direct elections in the 1980s. The national bar association files for impeachment of the president, which after further violence is approved by the Congress.”
In closing, the film shows someone holding the Brazilian flag up to the window of an airliner, over which the narrators say, “Serra is back and is welcomed by the former presidents Lula and Cardoso. The runway is invaded by a crazed mob.”
The only actual political violence in the news during the campaign season, as far I can tell from following news, have been two shootings targeting situation campaigns, the latest in the Amazonian state of Pará, where a campaign headquarters was shot up in the dark of night in recent days.
A supposed assault on the opposition candidate during a rally in a Rio de Janeiro slum is a clumsily mounted and widely ridiculed — above — fraud that is nevertheless endorsed by Globo’s national primetime newscast, the Jornal Nacional, using doctored footage of the incident to support the thesis that the candidate had been struck on the head by an object much more substantial than a wadded up flyer.
The video and the slogan “Dilma is a danger to Brazil” are widely disseminated.
The campaign bears an uncanny resemblance to the “Lopez Obrador is a danger to Mexico” campaign from the 2006 elections in Mexico, in which Dick Morris admitted that he and Rob “McCain is Insane” Allyn illegally advised the campaign of the victorious Partido Acción Nacional.
Before its rollout in the Mexican media, the slogan “Lopez Obrador is a danger to Mexico” is previewed by Allyn in an editorial that ran in the New York Post, for example.
In Mexico, the advertisements are later found to have been illegally funded as well as slanderous and are ordered pulled. A glitch in the monitoring of radio and TV spots, however, allows the ads to be aired for a period of several weeks on the national network of Televisa, which controls 75% of the market.
The agency hired to monitor the spots is Brazil’s IBOPE in partnership with Nielsen NetRatings. The latter is latter engaged to refute credible charges of tampering with the vote count inside the IFE, the federal elections commission. A director of ICANN is touring IFE on the day of the election and reports firsthand on an unexplained three-hour suspension of the count.
None of these resemblances are coincidental.
The campaign for “freedom of expression” mounted by a lobbying group representing Brazil’s major media cartels — principally Globo, Estado, Folha de S. Paulo, and Abril — is promoted by Cato, Atlas, Heritage and Endeavor — the latter vice-chaired by the CEO of Mexico’s Televisa.
Globo and Endeavor partner on television programming fomenting the entrepreneurial spirit that gives thin journalistic cover to VPRs produced in exchange for valuable consideration — i.e., to fake news.
The editor of National Geographic Brasil — Grupo Abril, a sister publication to Veja — is fired for Twittering a protest against Veja‘s journalistic malpractice, as is a senior columnist at the Estado de S. Paulo.
In Mexico,the first act of the new government was to introduce legislation granting Televisa automatic renewal of its broadcast concessions.
When a PAN senator, Santiago Creel, protested the legislation as the fruit of corrupt dealings, he was subjected to a massive borking by Televisa on spurious corruption allegations.
Brazil’s media cartels seek similar guarantees of their monopoly position in the face of legislative efforts to diversify spectrum ownership and foment competition.
The coordination between this lobbying campaign and the political campaign is not even very plausibly deniable.
Atlas, for example, hires Wirthlin Worldwide, a sister division to Nielsen NetRatings at Harris Interactive, to conduct international PR campaigns.
Harvard Law School also supports the Brazilian lobbying group, known as the Instituto Millenium. Harvard’s “public diplomacy” blogging project, Global Voices Online, for example, is funded by Reuters, which partners with IPSOS on public opinion polling projects.
The Brazilian campaign is founded on the sort of neurolinguistic programming currently in fashion among U.S. political consultants.
The leading book on the subject is a thinly disguised plagiarism of Drew Westen, co-authored by a senior partner in the IPSOS group, Clifford Young.
And so on.
A specific, readily recognizable template has been used to guide the work of political marketers in the Brazilian campaign. This template is readily traceable to many of the same actors observed in action in 2006 in Mexico.
Observed locally: bumper stickers associating the outgoing president with the opposition candidate.
Unsurprisingly, the uncannily popular outgoing federal president actually backs his own hand-picked successor.