Brazilian Election Watch: “Brazilian Trump” Bolsonaro Takes Down Brazil’s Largest TV Network

Yesterday Brazilian presidential candidate Jaír Bolsonaro was interviewed on the Globo TV network. A little background: Globo is Brazil’s largest communications company, and has long been seen as a power-broker in Brazilian politics.

As was to be expected, the reporters questioned Bolsonaro about his past statements in support of Brazil’s sometimes-brutal military dictatorship. Bolsonaro turned the tables on them by reminding them of the enthusiastic support given to the military coup of 1964, by the Globo network – by citing from memory portions of a text by Roberto Marinho, the founder of the Globo Network.

Translation: I would like to eulogize, to salute the memory of Mr. Roberto Marinho, who, in his editorial on the cover of the O Globo newspaper on October 7, 1984, said “We participated in the revolution of 1964, we identified with the national preoccupation in preserving the democratic institutions, which were threatened by the ideological radicalization, social disturbances, strikes, and generalized corruption.” Was Mr. Roberto Marinho a democrat, or a dictator?

The production team was clearly taken by surprise by this response. At the end of the segment, journalist Miriam Leitão was called upon to read a hastily cobbled together official response from the network, which cited a 2013 repudiation of the network’s stance on the 1964 revolution. There is no need to understand Portuguese to see how awkward this moment was.

If you aren’t up on what’s going on here, you might miss exactly what happened. For months (years?) the media has been dogging Bolsonaro about things he said in the past. His reply has been, basically “hey, that was a long time ago and people change” – an answer seemingly unaccepted by journalists. Last night he forced the Globo network to say, in essence, “hey, that was a long time ago and people change”.

Brazilians took to Twitter with glee, and not a little mockery, often comparing Leitão’s performance at the end to a seance.

Translation bottom: Now I understand that request for a minute of silence before…it was to ask for an opinion from beyond.

Translation: Miriam Leitão and her Chico Xavier [a famous Brazilian medium] moment will be remembered for decades as one of the greatest gaffes in the history of Brazilian TV.

Translation: Thank you Globo and Miriam Leitão for this nail in the coffin written by an intern and without giving an opportunity for the candidate to respond! THIS SHOWS VERY WELL HOW DEMOCRATIC OUR MEDIA IS, IT LOVES TO HAVE THE LAST WORD TO TRY DESPERATELY TO MANIPULATE WITH SUBVERSION THE TV VIEWERS!

Translation top: They are trying to get one up on Bolsonaro. And screwing themselves over.

Translation bottom: And what about the response from Roberto Marinho (from beyond the grave) to Jair Bolsonaro, delivered with suttering by the ventriliquist Miriam Leitão?

Is Jair Bolsonaro the Brazilian Trump? It is unclear how their policies line up. But one thing is for sure: they both take a particular delight in trolling the media.

Note: The Best of Brazil Blog takes no official position on the outcome of the Brazilian elections.

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