Source: Luis Nassif
Partial translation (draft quality): C. Brayton
“Suite” is a term used [in Brazil] to designate a story that is echoed and recycled numerous times by news organizations with an eye to saturating coverage of a given topic.
Call it a local equivalent of a media blitz based on moral panic.
On Sunday, [for example] the daily Estado de S. Paulo led with a panic-inducing headline predicting the failure of the World Cup.
Without presenting any evidence, the story referred to a supposed accord between the Black Blocs and the PCC during the Cup.
A casual glance through the story, however, shows that its sources included mere boasting by a source identifying himself as a Black Bloc member, who reported supposed contacts with Black Blockers and the drug industry.
The source supposedly overheard a statement of intent by a PCC member (though not a leader of that group). The same was true of an interview with a military police corporal, who claimed to have blown the whistle on the strategy of PCC leadership.
Now, any reasonably well-informed analyst of the PCC drug cartel knows that the group acts to police even minor infractions in the periphery of the city in order not to draw the attention of police.
And so the Estadao began searching for appropriate news sources to keep the story alive. Its efforts have been in vain.
The journalist behind the apocalyptic item is Lourival Santana, found guilty of out and out fabrication in 2005. He left his post as editor-in-chief of the ESP and now works at Veja, I think.
The clever state public safety secretary for São Paulo, Fernando Grella, did not deign to comment — not even a press release — and did not comment verbally on the issue — assuming he was asked about it, that is.
That is to say, the most significant authorities on the PCC [the SSP and the Estadao itself] dared not to obtain and run an official statement above the fold on the cover. The issue is not a trivial one.
Without consulting with other sources, whom does the paper turn to next? To the ultimate topic of the headline: federal justice minister José Eduardo Cardozo. Cardozo gave a brilliant interview in which he explained legal principles and concepts of Justice worthy of the finest legal minds.
* An “association of efforts” between the Black Blocs and the PCC in order to create chaos during the Cup, this is “unthinkable.” It is not quite clear whether the phrase came from Cardozo or was invented by the reporter.
And so the story has its happy ending: The conspiracy of evil is terminated and the federal justice minister takes credit for what comes next.
But look here, if Cardozo considers the allegations valid, rather than press conferences he should be busy organizing security for the Cup — searching for intelligence, coordinating with the S. Paulo state public safety secretary, instead of giving interviews … measures might go so far as preventive detention for the alleged plotters of anarchy.
But if Cardozo finds the cases unfounded, his proper role would be to shift to a counterattack on the media front.
Instead, he prefers to validate a pervasive public sense pf insecurity and fails to release any information or outline steps that Justice is taking. …
On the following day, the ESP goes after sources to back their previous headline, and fails to find them.
Without a basis in solid sourcing, then, the Sunday headline appears to be dying on the vine.
Filed under: Brazil