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Observatório da Imprensa | The Globo Confession, Chapter X

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Source: Observatório da Imprensa

By: Mauro Malin

A primary and fundamental difficulty with the self-absolution published by O Globo on September 1 has to do with a fallacy regarding to the movement that led to the Coup of 1964.

Globo writes that O Globo “agreed with the military intervention” of that year.

This is not true.

While other dailies had much more prestige and influence — The Jornal do Brasil, the Correio da Manhã and O Jornal, in Rio de Janeiro, and the Estado de S. Paulo, in Sampa –-, The daily published at Irineu Marinho Street was a booster of the  coup.

It did not agree with it, It promoted it.

Carlos Chagas, in the precious study Brazil without make-up: History as told by newspapers and journalists, 1808-1964, vol. II, pp. 1,052, says that in early 1964 Roberto Marinho began frequenting the home of Gen. Humberto de Alencar Castelo Branco, Chief of Staff of the Army, along with other conspirators including UDN legislators Bilac Pinto and Aliomar Baleeiro.

Castelo had a history of adherence to legalism. He was very reluctant to join the conspiracy, which had as one of its key civilian leaders publisher Júlio de Mesquita Filho of the Estado de S. Paulo. The document, authored by Mesquita and  containing directives for a dictatorial government, is relatively well known. Chagas cited the document at length during the meeting.

(An aside is needed here. Due to an irony of history, the Mesquita family, owners of the Estadão, a paper that in its heyday was much more important than O Globo, were at a terrible disadvantage when it came to business sense. In 1964, O Globo, with the advent and success of TV Globo, made Marinho much more powerful and influential than the Mesquitas — a situation that the descendents of both families have preserved down to the present day.)

Ass-Kissing

A speech by Castelo to the officers training academy in 1964, was highly praised by the Estadão, which took to frequent, enthusiastiic  praise for “his military leadership and his past career”  (Chagas). Castelo, a man generally adverse to the spotlight, was encouraged with this success  and adhered to the conspiracy.

The Estadão, however, not only narrated political events, but also practiced politics itself. The same can be said of all of the news media engaged in supporting the coup — which meant the vast majority of Brazilian news organizations. O Globo was not the only paper to support the coup. Or better, to promote the coup.

Today, news media still practice politics, as part of a vain attempt to install a partisan opposition that is inept and lacking in moral fiber.

Castelo was indirectly elected resident of Brazil, with the support of both the UDN and the PSD — except fror such PSD figures as Tancredo Neves, Juscelino Kubitschek and Ulysses Guimarães –Globo did not report the story: it reveled in it, as we see on the cover of 15 April. More than this: it purported to speak on behalf of the nation.

But let us return to the O Globo editorial of September  1. In the same paragraph, another narrative dodge: “a signficant portion of the population agreed with intervention [as we did], an express support expressed in marches and rallies organized in  Rio, São Paulo and other capital cities .”

It sounds like the  “everybody does it” of Lula in 2005. Does it mean that if a significant portion of the population hit the streets in order to enact a death penalty, the  paper can, morally speaking, adhere to the movement? No, it cannot.

But my point is another one. There are no mobilizations in the streets without some type of communication. Today this is the social networks. In the 1960s it was media referred to today as “traditional” of “conventional.” To give you an idea of how important the mobilization popular support for the coup, observe this image of the front page of the  Estado on March 20, 1964, which the Estado de S. Paulo dedicated to the March of the Family with God For Freedom, a huge demonstration held in São Paulo.

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The reasoning in the  Globo editorial is, once again, turned on its head.

The paper was not called upon by its mass readershipto “agree with” the military intervention. It participated actively in gathering support for the overthrow of the Goulart government. And it commemorated, with the right an exclamation point, the Rio de Janeiro version of the March of the Family with God For Freedom .

We will explore in later essays how Globo has constructed a narrative that is at war with  the truth.