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World Cup | Critics Play Musical Airports

Tam Airlines flight crashes into a fuel depot killing 186 passengers, Congonhas airport, Sao Paulo, Brazil - 18 Jul 2007

São Paulo, Brazil — Blog da Cidadania brings up a timely remembrance of moral panics past: a media blitzkrieg that suggested Brazilians were afraid to fly and so angry at ANAC [the federal government agency equivalent to our FAA] as to trigger tanks in the streets and a return to the rule of the generalíssimos.

I wrote casually about it at the time. For example

In the case of that trip, we had two hops to make: NY to Frisco on AA and Frisco to São Paulo, this time on TAM, with  an epic sprint through the Panama City airport with a cat in a sack on my back as a seventh inning stretch.

The quality of the two flights were roughly equivalent, unfortunately.

Roughly equally uncomfortable, and cavalier with the destination of your luggage. We sat there at Guarulhos chatting with a sort of scary-looking Air Force colonel who produced the most eloquent of jeremiads over the terrible waste of fielding a military and then not training it up and using it as a cascade of para-civilian R&D . I wound up sympathizing with the colonel. He was on his way for the birth of a grandchild. 

But I digress. Guimarães writes:

What  will the legacy of this World Cup be?

Let’s start with the airports. Below, a video from NBR, the official channel of the federal government, reports on construction of  new airports [and renovation of others].

Pay close attention to this video because it is followed, surprisingly, by another.

It is a fact of human nature that people are unable to see the palms of their hands at the end of their noses when they learn something they dislike, which they as nothing but government propaganda. In this case, however, there exists a method to settle this dispute: track whether the Dilma government delivered on its promises or not.

Who could have imagined that a sector of society that beat the drum hardest in reference to the so-called “Chaos in the Skies” scandal would wind up admitting that the government had satisfied or would satisfied the demands of the middle class and the media.

Yes, I am talking about Globo. It lacks a open to air broadcast vehicle, but it does field the SporTV channel on cable.

Awful. Will NET trade me it for a 24-7 feed of Turner Classic Movies?

The NBR report demonstrates that the Dilma government’s official premises turned out to be true. especially in the case of airports, but abstrains from detailing how much Brazil is profiting from the Cup.

That is why it is odd to see that the SporTV segment supporting this argument has received almost no visits to the social network of SportTV. As I am writing this, it has zero likes and zero forwards on Twitter.

Globo does not seem too eager to broadcast the video segment.

For this reason, I tried to film the video and save it in Globo’s You Tube channel. The results you will find below.

Screenshot from 2014-07-13 12:18:30

youtube-dl is an easy to use download script for You Tube video and a handful of other video sites.

Brazil and the 2014 Cup have, indeed, left a legacy.

Airports on a scale appropriate to a nation this size … [is] not the only complaint addressed, but among the most important. The irony of this is that this legacy, without which the Cup could not be hosted, was created to attend to the needs and  wants of the same social class that has sublimated its hatred of PT politicians and governments in the form of complaints about air travel and airports.

Edu goes on to detail the psychological warfare tactics used, based on textbook appeals to moral panic and apocalyptic discourse.

[Airports were] a war cry the opposition facing Lula would continue to pitilessly pressure Lula throughout his first term, which ended in 2010. When the Dilma government took over (2011), thanks to the peace treaty the incoming chief executive established — or thought she had established — with the media,  the latter stopped needling her constantly. This, too, because the public works on the airports and other aspects of hosting the Cup were beginning to take effect.

In the last two years, however, despite any major problems with our airports, the news media literally made up out of thin air a return to the Chaos in the Skies once the Cup began. The airports would not be ready, and worse, those determined to travel by air faced disorientation, lost baggage, and late or cancelled flights.

This is why airports have bars.

Then the Cup begins and nothing happens. Or better, something does happen: the airports are os aeroportos são extasiantes pela beleza arquitetônica e altamente eficientes em todas as suas novas funcionalidades. O serviço de atendimento aos passageiros melhora a olhos vistos. A classe média, que em 2006 / 2007 subia nos balcões de check-in dos aeroportos para agredir funcionários das companhias aéreas, agora desfruta de aeroportos de primeiro mundo.

Finally, it should be recalled that this is  part of a high-stakes game. The U.S. wants Brazil to buy its fighter and other aircraft, for example, but Brazil has placed obstacles in the way of this assault in the interest of forging its own swords out of its own sickle with its own hammer. Ex-president Lula used to call this “owning your own nose.”


The Brazilian news media being with it is, it is not surprising to rent a journo as cover for a scripted message.

The link above, for example, is to an interview in Veja magazine from several years ago in which the interviewee essentially turns the interview with a military grey eminence and retired general into a marketing presentation.

Q: Is the 787 an enormous innovation?

A: Without a doubt. It is what the 707 was in its day [launched in 1958, it was the first Boeing commercial jet and the first in its class to achieve commercial success.] The 787 offers airlines improved performance and fuel efficiency, less environmental damage and lower costs. It is a productivity tool.

Typical Veja interview. Imagine going up to Muhammad Ali and asking him, with a straight face, “Are you the greatest?”

My point is that bleeding Brazil of some of its hard-won international trust and confidence has a strategic rationale. There is some little man there in the Paraguayan embassy working the phones and reading the field reports …