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Poeta’s License | Revoked

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Diário do Centro do Mundo | by Paulo Nogueira.

I have taken the license of translating Portuguese ruim as “sucks” — it is a strong negative but less anatomically suggestive, but it fits the tone, I thought.

People on the social networks seem surprised by a comment from freshman Rede TV! interview host Mariana Godoy, ex-Globo, about what it was like to be aat news anchor at the dominant national broadcaster.

In an interview, Mariana said she was happy with her new weekly one-hour chat show at Rede TV! because, finally, she will be able to ask her own questions and not merely read what someone else had written for her.

Specifically, what Ali Kamel, Globo network journalism director, had written for her.

People think that Globo anchors are free to do as they see fit, above and beyond reading from the teleprompter.

Not true.

Mariana made a point of including [JN anchor] Bonner on a list of “Kamel’s parrots.”

In a discussion among journalists on Twitter, one twitterer questioned the news value of the remark. Answer: Zero. What else can you expect of a figure like Kamel?

Another participant, however, tweeted that this was the first time that someone with influence in the world of journalism had put it so bluntly.

First of all, Kamel is not a talented interviewer, judging from the quality of interviews conducted by TV Globo.

The series of interviews with presidential candidates last year was widely declared a flop.

Second, Kamel is an obsessive centralizer. An inspiring boss recruits or trains anchors capable of asking questions of anyone and everyone at any time.

If your employees are incapable of carrying on a simple dialogue, the fault for that is yours, not theirs.

Teach them to fish instead of giving them fish.

Furthermore, it really sucks to work at Globo. The broadcaster provides you with visibility, but fails to offer what really makes this work enjoyable: Independence.

There is little you can do if you are not a member of the ruling Marinho family or one of their close circles of friends.

What Mariana did not say … is that the questions prepared by Kamel are duly approved in advance by João Roberto Marinho, who heads the “content” division of Globo.

I am not talking about trivial questions, but the questions that really matter.

As an example, take the interviews with the presidential candidates on the Jornal Nacional.

What the anchors need to know is how to deal with the subject’s responses. It is reported that Patrícia Poeta’s interview with Marina Silva drew the disapproval of management and led to the anchorwoman’s departure.

When she replaced Fatima Bernardes [– wife to co-anchor Willian Bonner –] in 2011, Poeta had the firm support of sports and journalism director Ali Kamel. Some say the move to the JN was orchestrated by Amauri Soares, currently the network’s programming director and husband to Poeta, and that her work as a prime-time anchor did not reflect well on her as a journalist.

The most important aspect of this debate, however, is that what goes on at Globo is commonplace in media organizations: The owners call the shots.

At Veja, editor in chief Eurípides Alcântara merely does the will of the Civita clan.

In other times, Brazilian journalism had a certain balance to it. The owners, understandably, were right-wing, but the newsrooms, also understandably, had progressive tendencies.

At the Folha, Claudio Abramo pulled the paper in one direction and the owner, Octavio Frias, in another, and the result was often thought-provoking.

This even-handedness was lost in 2003, with the rise of Lula.

Media owners launched a desperate search for senior editors and executives whose views and interests matched their own, or better, who were completely submissive, like Eurípides at Veja or Kamel at Globo.

In turn, to make this task easier, these began to surround themselves with [yes-men].

Following this logic, Globo gave rise to journalists like Erick Bretas, director of digital media, a man with such an intense hatred of the ruling PT that in March he invited his Facebook followers to an antigovernment rally, promising to attend personally.

Another journalist whose career took off at Globo in this environment was Diego Escosteguy, who turned the group’s weekly Época magazine into a clone of Veja — as though one were not enough.

Each week, led by Escosteguy, Época, like Veja, is dedicated to propagating bombastic accusations against Lula and the PT that never pan out in the long run.

Época will go to any lengths. During the presidential campaign, it published a survey by a certain Instituto Paraná according to which Aécio would be president in the first round, so large was his advantage.

More recently, the same institute was used by the magazine to report that if elections were held today, Aécio would prevail. …

This, in a nutshell, is the Brazilian media. It may not be the worst in the world, but it does its damnedest to earn the title.

All Mariana Godoy did was reveal the climate behind the scenes in the newsrooms to outsiders. It sucks, just like the journalism it produces.

MG’s inaugural interview will be  the reclusive ex-brazilionnaire Eike Batista, tomorrow evening. I should watch that.