This Sunday, October 2, general elections will be held in Brazil. The current president of the country, Jair Bolsonaro, is seeking reelection for which he will have to defeat Lula da Silva, the leader of the Workers’ Party.
The latter was already a tenant of the Planalto Palace from 2003 to 2010.
The elections will be marked by an intense polarization in the South American country, a polarization in which, as we shall see, the media have played a decisive role, as they have attacked Bolsonaro with extreme harshness.
Not in vain, he represents a dike of contention -probably the last one- against globalism in the South American continent.
The media’s animosity towards Bolsonaro is not surprising.
A survey conducted by the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC) indicated that the vast majority of journalists in the South American giant are leftists.
The UFSC research, picked up by PanamPost, showed that 80% of journalists in Brazil call themselves leftist to a greater or lesser extent.
In comparison, only 2.5% of the journalists consulted classify themselves as center-right and 1.4% as right-wing.
TELEVISION IN BRAZIL: TV GLOBO’S DOMINANCE
Television still holds the most significant weight in guiding public opinion despite the rise of internet media and the influence of social networks.
In Brazil, this device has a clear dominator: TV Globo.
The mass televisions in Brazil are TV Globo, Record TV, SBT, RedeTV!, Rede Bandeirantes – known as Band – and TV Brasil, the only one that explicitly supports Bolsonaro.
The point is that the most belligerent with the Brazilian president is TV Globo, and that’s big words.
The television station is part of Grupo Globo, the second largest media conglomerate in the world.
Moreover, the TV network is the largest in the world, second only to ABC, and is watched in Brazil by more than 100 million people a day, almost half of the country’s population.
TV Globo has a larger audience than the other broadcasters combined.
Grupo Globo owns core networks in all media markets. In addition to television, it holds more than 30 Internet media, including the largest Brazilian news portal, Globo.com.
In radio, it has two of its networks among the top ten in the country: Globo AM/FM and CBN.
In print media, it owns significant newspapers such as O Globo, Extra, and Valor Econômico and magazines such as Época.
It also has one of the leading news agencies in the country, Agencia O Globo.
THE GLOBO GROUP
Founded by businessman Roberto Marinho in the 1960s, the Globo group consolidated its dominant position during the military dictatorship (1964-1985), a shadow that has accompanied the media group ever since.
The regime-sponsored Globo became a large media conglomerate, expanding steadily.
During its history, Grupo Globo has had a strong relationship with the political elites.
Starting with its legitimization of the military regime and, already in the reinstatement of democracy, with its support to the liberal Fernando Collor de Mello in 1989 and to Fernando Henrique Cardoso in 1998 of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB), raising both to the Presidency of Brazil.
At the beginning of Lula da Silva’s presidency, the Globo group adopted a more moderate position towards him and the Workers’ Party due to its pretension to please the government – institutional advertising, it is understood.
Despite Globo’s abusive hegemony, the Workers’ Party governments never took the initiative to combat the concentration of media ownership in Brazil.
During the Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff governments, Globo not only maintained its hegemony in the market but received significant profits every year between 2005 and 2016, including substantial government advertising.
However, it finally veered when corruption cases emerged and were a decisive agent in supporting the opposition movements to Rousseff, precipitating her downfall in 2016.
Roberto Marinho died in 2003, leaving his sons José Roberto, Roberto Irineu, and João Roberto at the helm of the communication giant, the country’s wealthiest family.
Accustomed to putting in and taking out presidents, Globo has close relations with major business corporations and elites in Brazil.
Therefore, it is not strange that they started their particular crusade against Jair Bolsonaro when he began to poke his head out to run in the 2018 elections, being an “extreme right” candidate – that is, sovereigntist and conservative – who threatened to break with the status quo and become a dike of contention against progressivism.
GLOBO’S PROGRESSIVE DRIFT
If the network had historically been linked to conservative political groups, it was liberalized after the return of democracy, turning into progressivism that is raising blisters in large population sectors, precisely those represented by Bolsonaro.
His cultural products, especially soap operas and miniseries, exemplify this.
Topics such as racism, sexism, and so-called LGBTphobia have begun to appear in the news and entertainment products.
During June, they dedicate a large deployment to promoting ‘LGBT pride’.
During the last few years, they have produced important soap operas and series with homosexual characters shoehorned in an apparent attempt at social engineering.
THE CONTINUOUS ATTACKS ON BOLSONARO
In 2018, Bolsonaro became the most influential politician in Brazil without resorting to conventional media.
Globo quickly accused the then-candidate of nepotism for choosing relatives for his cabinet in Congress.
Already as president, in September 2019, when the network was celebrating the 50th anniversary of its flagship, the Jornal Nacional – the most watched newscast by far in the country – Bolsonaro recalled Globo’s dictatorial roots.
The president pointed out that the press talked much about dictatorship concerning his mandate. “TV Globo was born in 1965; it was a dictatorial company then,” he said.
“Now Jornal Nacional has lent itself, as it no longer has any more tit, it is no longer sucking, there is no more official government propaganda. The sport now is to attack me. They will not succeed,” he sentenced.
A month later, Globo news crossed all limits by linking Bolsonaro to the crime against leftist councilwoman Marielle Franco, shot to death on March 14, 2018.
The Brazilian president exploded and, from Saudi Arabia, where he was on an official visit, published a video in which he charged against the media outlet calling them “unscrupulous scoundrels”.
Bolsonaro thus exploded against the media persecution he suffers from Globo “24 hours a day” by linking him to assassination was already going too far.
“Your goal is to destroy us; it’s like this all the time!” protested Bolsonaro addressing Globo.
“You, TV Globo, all the time you make my life hell, goodness! […]. Now, you want to link me to Marielle’s death? You shameless scoundrels, don’t cheat!” shouted Brazil’s president, visibly affected.
“You want to blow up Brazil. You were very good with the previous governments; you sucked billions from state-owned companies, this fanaticism is over, there is no more public money for you, the tit is over!”, Bolsonaro assured.
“That Globo is persecuting me is not something new; it is persecuting my family, it is persecuting those who are next to me, that is what is happening; Globo wants to destroy Jair Bolsonaro,” the Brazilian president continued.
“What is Globo’s intention to do this? We see the problems in South America, Argentina, Chile, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Peru. Could it be that Globo wants to create a narrative for me to resign? Or for the people to take to the streets to demand my removal?” he wondered.
“I commit to getting Brazil out of the hole, despite the dirty, filthy, filthy, scoundrel and immoral press, such as Globo de Radio and Television,” he sentenced.
He also let slip that, in 2022, when the broadcaster’s license expires, the renewal process must be “clean” to be approved.
“There will be no way for you,” he said.
That same day he posted a tweet calling them scoundrels next to the TV station’s logo modified to equate it with a crappy pipe.
In June 2021, the Brazilian president again showed hatred towards the channel and its progressive drift.
He responded to a reporter from the media outlet; he accused them of destroying the family and attacking religion.
“You are scoundrels! You practice rogue journalism, which does not help anything. You destroy the Brazilian family; you destroy the Brazilian religion!” Bolsonaro exclaimed.
In August 2022, the day after the Jornal Nacional interview with Lula, in the middle of the election campaign, Bolsonaro vented against Globo, letting slip that the hatred shown against him and his mandate from the media group could be related to the “closing of the faucet” of public money to Globo.
“No one should be surprised. I fully understand that Globo treats better those who are willing to pay more. They are the hope for better days for the station. Nothing more coherent than to take it easy. Strange it would be with me, who turned off the tap,” Bolsonaro wrote on his Twitter account, insinuating that the interviewers had been softer with Lula than with him.
Despite that, Bolsonaro continued, Globo’s freedom was “preserved.”
“Today, the broadcaster can continue to promote perversities such as abortion, drugs, gender ideology, the inversion of values, and the destruction of the family if it so wishes, but rivers of public money no longer sustain them,” the Brazilian president explained.
The guarantee that Globo and the rest of the press will always have with him, Bolsonaro assured, “is that I will never defend their control, as the other side pretends.”
“Maybe if we had given them what they wanted, the good news would not be accompanied by a ‘but,’ and there would be applause for my government.”
“But we chose to invest in Brazil and not in praise. That is why unemployment is falling, the economy is growing, violence is decreasing, but the cries continue”, concluded the Brazilian president.
GLOBO’S LICENSE IS UP IN THE AIR
The last public concession to TV Globo was made in 2008, during Lula’s government.
The law determines that every 15 years, the application must be renewed. Therefore, the channel’s license expires this October.
A few days ago, TV Globo submitted to the Ministry of Communications the application for renewal of the public television concession for the stations in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Recife, and Brasília.
Broadcasting in other locations is done through partnerships with local broadcasters and is not included in the current request.
Bolsonaro has stated on occasion that he will not persecute the media outlet – contrary to what they have done with him – but that he was going to look closely that everything was to approve the license.
These elections are crucial for the media group and, given the excellent treatment that, despite everything it received from Lula during his mandate, everything suggests that in Globo’s editorial offices, they are crossing their fingers for his return to the Planalto Palace.
With information from Gaceta