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The Dirty Business of Democracy | Lula Praises «Dirty Bloggers»


“The blogs” — what some wag among us gringos has dubbed the Commentariate — are now officially a suprapartisan trend in Brazil.

Long professionalized by the political opposition and their guerrilla marketers, a core of mostly professionally written blogs and identifying itself as “progressive” is emerging in a more organized fashion, making use of up to date promotional schemes, and even has some of its most outstanding practicioners listed on the “clippings” page of the Ministry of Planning — an official “blog” of the government, in a way, although now even the Presidency has a blog in the fullest sense.

Brasília – Former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva criticized the conduct of the Brazilian press and thanked the “bloggers” for having, in his words, “revealed a farse that was being mounted” during the election campaign last year. Lula was referring to the episode in which  PSDB candidate José Serra was supposedly struck by an object during a campaign rally in Rio de Janeiro.

Serra was struck by an object — a rolled-up piece of A1 paper. The “farce” was a segment on the nightly Jornal Nacional, complete with “video expert,” suggesting he was struck multiple times by heavy objects hurled by what São Paulo governor Goldman called “fascist thugs.” See

During the II Encounter of Progressive Bloggers, in Brasília, the former president recounted his travels to 16 nations since leaving office and said the conduct of the media, especially in América Latina, “is almost a shame.” “I never worried about real criticisms, what worries me are the untruths, the bad faith, the defamation, like that stone, that paper meteor that struck the candidate’s head last year”, Lula said.

“That was when I said our adversary ought to have the courage to apologize to the Brazilian people,” Lula added. “This was the only moment when a candidate has ended a campaign less strong than when he began,” he said.

Lula said it was the “bloggers” who prevented this episode from harming the chances of candidate Dilma Rousseff. “You played an extraordinary role. You uncovered a fantastic thing: the people no longer need intermediaries”, he said, drawing applause from attendees.

Lula asked the blogueiros to behave seriously and make serious criticisms, without loosing their sense of reason, “because the right is not fooling around”. And he criticized José Serra once again: “When you were mocked as dirty bloggers (by Serra during the campaign), you were being mocked by the very people who most promote dirty politics. “.

With Communications Minister Paulo Bernardo by his side, Lula described a lesson he said he had learned personally during attempts by his government to get moving on projects in the area, such as the universalization of broadband.

“You can’t be afraid, you can’t be intimidated into disinviting these folks (the bloggers) to take part (in debates over communications policy). Whenever we have doubts or problems, it is much better to open the debate up and let people speak their minds so that the results will be a synthesis of what the Brazilian people think”, the ex-president said.

As I said, most of the progressive bloggers of note happen to have day jobs at the Rede Record — Paulo Henrique Amorim, for example, and Rodrigo Vianna — which makes praises of their inspired amateurism ring a little false. But the important thing is that situation, long out-blogged by factors of ten by the opposition, is beginning to blog in earnest. They have even reached out to the bloggging industrial complex at Harvard in a few instances, despite the ties of that turba with the NED..

Brazil is such an interesting place for blog watching because the news media does lie, cheat and scream fire in crowded theaters as much as Tea Partiers say the New York Times does.

.And I would bet that a kind word from Lula about the practice of source watching and spin observing will do more to motivate would be be samizdat artists than all the expensive SEO-SEM consulting done by the opposition in the last two elections combined. That Lula. Say what you will: people listen to the guy.