Sunday is Sambodian Election Day, which makes today a heavy day for press coverage of the campaign, culminating in the presidential debate on TV Globo.
By the way, I tend to go to sleep at nine — the debate starts at 22:30 — and would appreciate it if the network would move the event into a prime time position.
What strikes me is the apparently l￼ackadaisical search for, as they say here, “the silver bullet” — we call it the “October surprise.”
The major dailies and portals spend most of their time handicapping the candidates like a bum with 15 weeks of AA chips in line at the OTB. Coverage consists disproportionately of polling numbers.
In the meantime, Veja magazine appears ready to launch one of its crusades for freedom of expression –“Fire!” in a crowded theater –perhaps hoping for a marketing bump from the pity effect … But what I cannot get my head around is the event or statement that will turn this into a real debate.
In the last installment of her TV campaign, airing today (October 24) President and candidate for reelection Dilma Rousseff announced that she would sue Veja magazine, the Abril Group newsweekly, over the publication of “false accusations” in the Veja issue datelined today.
This because in its last issue, prior to the silent period in the first round of the elections, it reported that former president Lula and Dilma knew of the corruption scheme inside Petrobras. According to Dilma, the magazine “presented not a shred of truth” and committed an “act of electoral terrorism.”
“I would like to close my campaign on a more positive note, but I cannot stand by as Veja commits this act of electoral terrorism. The voters all know about the systematic campaign that Veja mounted during the Lula administration and now against me, but now it has exceeded the limits (…) by insinuating that I had prior knowledge of wrongdoing at Petrobras. Veja publishes this barbaric lie without presenting a shred of evidence. This is absurd, and it is a crime. Veja will fail to prove its lack of criminal intent. It will not go unpunished,” Dilma said.
Dilma also remarked that Veja rescheduled its most recent edition “with the bad faith intention of interfering with the election results.” In a news report, Veja bases its report on a statement supposedly made by the black market currency operator Aberto Yousseff in an interrogation with the federal police and states’ attorey. Sought out by dailies like the Estado de S. Paulo and O Globo, however, the attorney for Yousseff denied ever saying such a thing.
“I never overheard anything to suggest that they (Lula as President and Dilma as cabinet minister) had any knowledge of the corruption scheme. I have not seen that deposition and do not know its contents,”said an associate of Yousseff in the cases, Antonio Figueiredo Basto.
Filed under: Brazil