A Globo Debacle Not Even the Soap Opera Scriptwriters Could Have Dreamed Up

[Globo TV reporter] Xavier is accused of selling information he obtained as a journalist to the gang of numbers racketeer de Miranda, head of the “one-armed bandit” mafia of Rio de Janeiro.

Inspector Tostes has also been linked by investigators to that gambling mafia — and more.

The Gazeta de Ribeirão is one of those local papers that, according to this year’s winner of the NMM-Tabajara anti-punditry prize, Brazil division, we ought to pay way more attention to.

Why? Because the combined circulation of all these minor papers just dwarfs that of the national newsweeklies and metropolitan dailies.

And those newspapers, or at least the ones not owned, or burned to the ground by thugs hired by, crooked local politicians, do seem to be converging up in terms of their standards & practices.

Which I suppose is why Scripps-Howard is so eager to fly these kinds of Twain-like cracker-barrel newspaper editors to D.C. to have this idiot convince them that the newspaper as we know it is dead.

Forgetting NMM Cross-Cultural Marketing Heuristic Presupposition No. 1 in the process:

I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore, Toto.

So here is the wire-copy omnibus rewrite-up from Ribeirão Preto (SP) — think Buffalo in relation to New York City, sort of — on that stunning story I was mentioning the other day: The TV Globo (Rio) reporter accused of using his status as a journalist to obtain confidential information, then selling that information to the gambling and numbers rackets in Rio de Janeiro.

The fellow’s name is José Messias Xavier.

Colorfully enough. Cordels will be composed and sung for decades about this jackass.

I might even try my hand at one.

Let’s see: What if we rhymed “Xavier” with “laissez faire” … ?

At the same time, new details are emerging on the general theme of “funky maneuvering by the Globo financial wizards,” which pops up in fragmentary form now and again if you pay attention to the right investigative journos.

One notes, of course, that the source of those accusations is, after all, a Garotinho — which might or might not give the story some interesting parallels with Gordillo’s threats, in Mexico, to out a crooked digital-divide bridge-building technology deal.

The most striking fact about this case, however, is o seguinte.

A specific account number gets mentioned.

And a bank: CSFB.

Whoa.

As usual, I translate, badly & in haste, but leave the original Portuguese in place so you can all judge what a complete idiot I am.

Later we can parse some Globo disaster-response PR on the subject.

A Rede Globo de televisão, uma das maiores emissoras de TV do mundo, foi destaque na imprensa nacional nos últimos dias em três casos que colocaram a direção da empresa em posição delicada e abalaram a credibilidade de seu departamento de jornalismo.

The Globo TV Network, one of the largest television networks in the world, made national headlines in recent days in three cases that put the company’s directors in a delicate position and undermined the credibility of its journalism department.

Actually, maybe “undermine” for abalar is too weak.

When Samson brought down the house, that was an act of abalar. Or am I thinking of derrubar?

My go-to local socio-linguistic consultant now says it is more like minar: erosion or undermining that puts the foundations (alicerces) at very serious risk of catastrophic failure.

Therefore, we might think of abalar as a necessary and sufficient condition of derrubar, preceding it as, as it were, cause to effect or means to end. –Ed.

Samson abalou the Temple as a means to derrubar it.

No primeiro dos casos, um jornalista foi preso no Rio de Janeiro acusado de ligação com o crime organizado. Depois, um jornalista de São Paulo, que acabara de ser demitido, divulgou uma carta apontando parcialidade na cobertura das eleições de 2006.

In the first case, a journalist was arrested in Rio de Janeiro and accused of ties to organized crime. Later, a journalist in São Paulo, who had just been dismissed, published a letter pointing to bias in Globo election coverage.

E, por fim, também no Rio de Janeiro, a governadora Rosinha Matheus (PMDB) acusou, em discurso na Assembléia Legislativa, a Globo de manter mais de US$ 100 milhões em uma conta secreta das Bahamas.

And finally, Governor Rosinha Matheus (PMDB) of Rio accused Globo, in a speech to the state legislature, of maintaining more than $US100 million in a secret bank account in the Bahamas.

O episódio com Rosinha Matheus ocorreu na quinta-feira passada (21/12/2006) quando a governadora acusou a emissora de manter uma conta em um paraíso fiscal nas Bahamas com mais de US$ 100 milhões.

The incident with Rosinha took place last Thursday (Dec. 21) when the governor accused the broadcaster of maintaining an account in a financial paradise in the Bahamas with a balance of more than $100 million.

A governadora fez a acusação durante o seu discurso de prestação de contas na Alerj (Assembléia Legislativa do Rio de Janeiro), onde também criticou a cobertura jornalística da empresa envolvendo ela e o marido, o ex-governador Anthony Garotinho (PMDB).

The remarks came in a state of the state address to the carioca legislature, in which she also criticized Globo’s journalistic coverage of her and her husband, ex-governor Anthony Garotinho (PMDB).

That is correct: first the husband, then the wife, have led the state government. Think Juan and Evita. Think Bill and Hillary.

Rosinha disse que a Globo mantém a conta número 91493, no Banco Crédite Suisse, e que a empresa não repassa ao Estado o ICMS cobrado dos assinantes de TV a cabo da organização. A dívida com o Estado estaria na faixa dos R$ 52 milhões.

Rosinha said that Globo maintains Account No. 91493 at Credit Suisse (First Boston), and that the company does not pass the taxes on cable subscribers it collects to the State. The amount owed the state is allegedly some R$52 million.

For another public-private partnership allegedly withholding public pau from the public treasury, see Proceso (Mexico) magazine’s reporting on Hildebrando.

Segundo ela, o grupo também teria promovido o “maior assalto aos cofres públicos do Brasil” quando obteve empréstimos de valores altos junto ao antigo Banerj (Banco do Estado do Rio de Janeiro) por taxa de juros de 24% em um mesmo dia em que as taxas teriam sido fixadas em 40%. Na mesma época, um integrante da família Marinho teria aplicado recursos no CDB do Citybank a juros ainda maiores do que os de mercado.

According to her, the media group also committed “an egregious assault on the public treasury in Brazil” when it obtained extensive loans from the [pre-privatized, I think –Ed.] Banerj [State Bank of Rio de Janeiro], with an interest rate of 24%, on the same day that interest rates were fixed at 40%.

Na mesma semana, duas demissões de repórteres também tiveram grande repercussão. No dia 19 de dezembro, o ex-repórter especial da emissora Rodrigo Vianna, que estava havia 11 anos na casa, enviou uma carta a amigos criticando a postura da empresa na cobertura das eleições. O conteúdo logo se espalhou entre jornalistas e posteriormente se tornou de conhecimento geral pela internet.

In the same week, two firings of Globo reporters got extensive coverage.

On Sept. 19, former Globo special reporter Rodrigo Vianna, who had worked 11 years for Globo, sent a letter to friend criticizing the network’s coverage of the elections. The contents of the letter spread among other journalists and was later widely accessed on the Internet.

See also That Word, Freedom, on the war between Globo Minas, Globo Sampa and Globo Rio.

Na carta, Rodrigo faz uma espécie de desabafo. Afirma que a emissora fez cobertura parcial do processo eleitoral de forma a prejudicar o presidente reeleito Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT). A empresa teria se empenhado em cobrir escândalos envolvendo o governo, mas teria se omitido quando os mesmos escândalos envolviam outros partidos, especialmente o PSDB, o principal rival do partido do presidente.

Rodrigo’s letter is a sort of soul-cleansing rant. He states that the network covered the elections in a biased manner in order to harm the candidacy of president-reelect Lula (PT). The company allegedly took great pains to cover scandals involving the Lula while failing to report on scandals involving other parties, and most especially the PSDB, the incumbent president’s principal rival.

As anyone with a television could plainly see for themselves.

Segundo a carta, o fato teria sido fundamental para levar o pleito para segundo turno.

According to the letter, this fact played a fundamental role in taking the elections to a second round.

No dia anterior, um outro jornalista demitido já havia chamado a atenção da imprensa. José Messias Xavier foi desligado pela empresa assim que teve seu nome citado em denúncia enviada à Justiça pelo Ministério Público Federal. Xavier é acusado de vender informações que obtinha junto à polícia como repórter para a quadrilha do bicheiro Fernando Iggnácio de Miranda, chefe da máfia dos caça-níqueis do Rio de Janeiro.

On the previous day, another journalist fired from Globo was in the news. Xavier was dismissed after having his name mentioned in an indictment sent up by the Federal Public Ministry. Xavier is accused of selling information he obtained as a journalist to the gang of numbers racketeer de Miranda, head of the “one-armed bandit” mafia of Rio de Janeiro.

A denúncia se baseou em conversas gravadas por meio de interceptações telefônicas. Todos os meses, o repórter receberia R$ 1.000 da quadrilha para repassar as informações privilegiadas que tinha acesso.

The accusation was based on conversations recorded through wiretaps. Every month, the reporter allegedly received some $R1,000 from the gang for passing along confidential information to which he had access.

Even organized crime seems to be getting in on the trend: Private concerns hiring old-school journalists for in-house due diligence and risk management research duties.

Outro lado

The other side.

I have noticed the FSP adopting this mannerism recently: explicitly labeling a part of the report as the “balance” section. Which naturally is always quite a bit shorter than the body.

Which of course ought to go without saying.

When people feel that they have to start boasting about the fact that they are doing their job with minimal competence, how badly do you figure they were fucking up before?

Procurada nesta quarta-feira, por telefone, a emissora, por meio de sua assessoria de comunicação, divulgou a seguinte nota para a Gazeta.

Sought for comment on Thursday, by telephone, the broadcaser sent the following note through its public relations office to the Gazeta.

“A Divisão Jurídica da TV Globo está estudando o assunto para ver se há alguma medida cabível a ser tomada”. Assina o texto Muniky Sena, da Central Globo de Comunicação

“TV Globo’s division of legal counsel is studying the matter to see if there is any appropriate action to be taken.” The note is signed by Muniky Sena of the Globo Communications Central.

No, no, no. This is not good crisis PR.

Good crisis PR would be to fire the managers responsible for articulating and enforcing th code of professional conduct.

Hold a press conference, display Ali Kemal’s head, metaphorically, on a platter, and indicate that positive references will not be provided to the man’s next employer.

Have security ostentatiously escort the man from the building.

Get photographed standing at the door and striking a ham-actor pose, finger pointed on high, communicating the idea of maximum indignation. “… and the horse you rode in on!”

I really have to draw myself up an org chart, and interorganization network chart, too, of course, on this Globo mom & pop shop one of these days.

A empresa é responsável pelos telejornais de maior audiência em todo o País. Entre eles, o Jornal Nacional e os programas regionais de notícias.

Yada yada, filling out the lauda here.


If you like, me and the Enigmatic Mermaid could translate this into Portuguese for our Tupi friends, though Mr. dos Santos appears to have worked over the same ground with admirable thoroughness himself.

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