Globo’s Port Report Comes Up Short
Posted by Colin Brayton on November 21, 2006
Bonner, Globo’s “touch of grey” talking head and editor in charge, takes a Rathergate-like hit on incompetent reporting that makes Rathergate look like a failure to run spellcheck on a headline in the screen crawl.
São Paulo, Brazil – The television column at CartaCapital clarifies a case that had Neuza and I extremely puzzled last week.
We were watching the Jornal Nacional on the Rede Globo, as we do semi-(sac)religiously, and registered a palpite at a featured report on the dilapidated state of the port in the neighboring state of Paraná.
Having followed the election campaign as though it were the World Cup, we had naturally been struck by the heavy emphasis placed by the incumbent, Lula da Silva, on his government’s investments in infrastructure, and port infrastructure above all, in an effort to reduce the custo Brazil — the added cost to export industries of dilapidated roads and facilities.
But now we were seeing a report from Globo suggesting that this port in particular was in sad, sad shape, with trucks lined up at the public terminal for hours, sometimes missing their ships, and a customs process designed to control shipments of mixed transgenic and non-transgenic soy adding hours and hours of bureacratic delay.
Somebody must be gilding the lily or scalding the cat, we concluded.
Was it the campaign flacks or Globo?
It was, characteristically, Globo.
When the campaign flacks are more respectful of the facts than the news media – and they still do get up to their usual Spin Alley tricks here — you know you have arrived in the antipodes, where people walk on their hands and pedal bicycles with their arms.
To its slight credit — though the CC guy says it left a lot of BS unretracted — Globo ran a partial retraction of the story, through clenched teeth tersely — though not on any of the newscasts we caught that week, mind you.
First we heard of it was through the CC TV column, in fact.
They watch the dreck so you don’t have toooooooo ….
The worst of it: The line of stalled trucks that the reporter had filmed, waiting for hours in front of a terminal? It was actually filmed in front of the private terminal operated by Cargill.
Did the reporter not once look up and see the huge Cargill logo on the facility he was filming outside of?
Much less go inside and talk to the people operating the facility, to find out why the delay? Give the folks at Cargill a chance to tell the private-operator side of the story of this “mixed economy” operation? Might have added value to the report?
And which standard quality-assurance procedure might have turned up the “oops, my bad” in time to fix it before he filed it?
The public terminal, according to Globo’s own grudging correction, with amplification by CC, had eliminated such queues a year ago by requiring trucks to clear their loads beforehand — on the Internet! — so that, with a two-minute spot inspection for transgenics in the case of agro-exports – not the hours and hours reported by Globo — they could bop right in, have their container grabbed by the crane, and bop right out on their way back home to their capixaba garage, cafofo and nega chamada Teresa.
A Rede Globo de Televisão começou a se preocupar com o facciosismo de seu jornalismo político? Na sexta-feira 10 de novembro, William Bonemer Júnior, conhecido popularmente por William Bonner, apresentador do Jornal Nacional da Rede Globo de Televisão, leu uma nota de autocrítica do programa: “O Porto de Paranaguá, no Paraná, está entre os que investiram na modernização. Mas, nesta semana, o Jornal Nacional errou ao mencionar filas quilométricas de caminhões em Paranaguá. Estas filas praticamente sumiram desde a implantação do novo sistema de controle de embarque de cargas, em 2004.”
Has the Globo TV Network really started to worry about the factionalism of its political journalism? On Friday, 10 November, William Bonner, the national news anchor, read a self-critical note on the program: “The Port of Paranaguá, in Paraná, is one of those national ports investing in modernization. But this week, the JN erred in mentioning kilometers-long lines of trucks at the port. These lines practically disappeared since the implantation of a new embarcation control system in 2004.”
The CC coverage goes on to reveal the entire convoluted story of how a situation that was, by credibly objective standards, reversed in 2004 could be grossly misreported in this way — the attribution of the backlog was only the most glaring of a series of factual errors in the report — and to criticize Globo for the tepid lameness of its late, laconic correction.
The case reminds me quite a bit of Rathergate — although of course the Brazilian trucking industry is much less scandalous, in infotainment terms, than the strings pulled for George Walker “Fortunate Son” Bush while my own dad was struggling to keep up his student exemption. Unless you are a Brazilian trucker, of course, or depend on one to earn your living.
And here’s why.
[highfalutin extended analysis deferred to later date]
The more I look at how Globo does its job, the more this sort of thing seems to be the product of a dysfunctional culture rather a collection of isolated incidents.
Tactical Media Brasil, for example, produced a shocking and, in a creepy way, amusing video documentary about a Globo video documentary team that came to cover their 2005 exhibition.
I am subtitling. Has to be seen to be believed. Thresholds of physical violence are flirted with.
Hell, I probably would have approached the greasy, bullying bastard of a Globo reporter with fists clenched, saying “Qual é, mané?” And I am actually kind of a physical coward.
But this guy, yeesh. You just want to slap him. Naturally, you would not. But the key to controlling such impulses is not to deny that you have them. What. a freaking. arrogant, unprofessional. prick.
See also NMM-TV: That Word, Freedom, on Globo HR best practices.