Ok, so the intention of The Economist was most definitely not to help Bolsonaro. However, as we noted earlier on Twitter, it does just that.
How could this cover (and the accompanying article) be a boon to the Bolsonaro campaign? Let me count the ways.
1. The cover itself.
Take a look at the picture. It is in Brazilian green and yellow, and shows a very determined, very strong-looking Bolsonaro. If I were a part of Bolsonaro’s campaign team, I would be plastering that image all over social media right now.
2. The headline.
“Latin America’s latest menace” it reads. Well, the question is, “menace” to whom? There are many, many Brazilians who want their next president to be a menace. They want him to be a menace to the corrupt status-quo. They want him to menace to the crime lords that virtually run most of our cities. They want him to be a menace to foreign powers that take advantage of Brazil. Once again, if I were on Bolsonaro’s communications team, I would start including “menace” in all of my publications. This also brings us the the third point…
3. The fact that it’s The Economist.
Due to his pro-military stance, Bolsonaro is vulnerable to accusations of being “in the pocket” of international concerns. Now all he has to do is point to the cover of the Economist and say “Look, the gringos are against me”, and that is the end of that.
Brian Winter, who is a keen observer of Brazil and all things Brazilian, tweeted this:
And that trajectory cannot be a happy one for those who oppose Bolsonaro.
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