Veja Só: Editorial Integrity at Brazil’s Grupo Abril

“Straight-razor to the quick: the thread honed edge of the anticorruption operations has already [chopped off the head] of [the owner of Gautama] and [the minister of Mines and Energy] and now is nearing the neck of the President of the Senate.” Violent imagery straight from the media playbook of Mexico’s Gente Nueva. The article does not accuse the Senator of any relationship to Gautama, however. None. It accuses him of accepting money from another big construction firm, Mendes Junior. This magazine, which has a long history of publishing such gibbering nonsense, is a trusted source of Hearing Globo Voices Online‘s Brazil editor, by the way.

Observatório da Imprensa‘s Deonisio da Silva, adding to the chorus condemning Veja magazine’s recent — completely unsourced — hit piece on the President of the Brazilian Senate — not even Luiz Weis, a reliable logic-chopping Veja defender, can find a loophole in the domino theory of moral responsibility in this case — reminds us that Veja has a history of this sort of thing.

Among other things, you recall, Veja made an utterly spurious connection between the Senator’s alleged misdeeds — having a lobbyist friend pay expenses of his secret girlfriend and “natural” daughter — and the criminal investigation of a public works contractor in Bahia in so-called Operation Straight Razor.
See also

Alberto Dines surmises that the entire piece was sourced to the palimony attorney of the Senator’s girlfriend, who put in an appearance on Globo’s Jornal Nacional the evening after the piece appeared to defend the thesis of the Veja article.

“Noventa por cento dos políticos dão aos 10% restantes uma péssima reputação”, disse certa vez Henry Kissinger.

“Ninety percent of politicians give 10% of them a terrible reputation,” Henry Kissinger once said.

A Veja nada aprendeu com o caso do deputado Ibsen Pinheiro, denunciado como ladrão quando era presidente da Câmara dos Deputados. Muitos anos depois, ele foi inocentado, o jornalista confessou a trama criminosa, mas que mais houve? Nada!

Veja learned nothing from the case of federal deputy Ibsen Pinheiro, denounced as a thief when he presided over the lower house of Congress. Many years later, he was cleared, the journalist confessed the criminal plot, but what happened? Nothing?

This was, indeed, an astonishing incident, an account of which I will translate for you below.

In a nutshell: In a story accusing the congressman of corruption, Veja discovered at the last minute that a bank account it had reported contained R$1 million actually only contained R$1,000.

Since the entire premise of its cover story rested on there being a lot of money in that account, Veja editors decided to start phoning around to find someone to confirm that it contained R$1 million — even though they had evidence to the contrary.

It found that “source” and ran the figure of R$1 million, suppressing evidence that it actually contained only R$1,000.

It claims this was an “error.” Veja makes many such “errors” in the Judy Millerist tradition: “You are only as good as your sources.” This is not an isolated case. This is a signature episode.

We do not buy or read Veja magazine.

That case dates from 1993. For a more recent “behind the music” glimpse at Veja’s editorial workflow and quality-assurance procedures, see also Abril Dissident: Cooking Up Libel at Veja Magazine.


Pois desta vez há risco de ameaça semelhante. Todos são inocentes até prova em contrário e não há lei obrigando que inocentes provem sua inocência. Existe o contrário: é preciso provar a acusação.

There is a similar threat in this case. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty and the law does not oblige innocent persons to prove their innocence. On the contrary: the burden of proof in on the accuser.

Apesar de Veja ainda não ter comprovado as denúncias levantadas contra o presidente do Senado, que meio de comunicação social já não repercutiu a reportagem?

Despite the fact that Veja has still not substantiated its charges against the President of the Senate, what news outlet has not heavily covered its reporting?

Trata-se de questão delicada, pois a mídia tem precípua função social e deve tomar cuidado com a vida privada. Veja levou o presidente do Senado a esmiuçar pagamentos feitos à mulher com quem teve uma filha, fora do casamento, uma tradição brasileira: dois ex-presidentes, ainda vivos, também têm filhos fora do casamento. O senador não seguiu o célebre conselho: “Nunca se explique: seus amigos não precisam, e seus inimigos não vão acreditar”.

This is a delicate issue, because the media plays a crucial social role and ought to be careful with private lives. Veja forced the president of the Senate to account in excruciating detail for payments made to a women with whom he had a daughter outside of wedlock. This is a Brazilian tradition: two former presidents, still living, also had children out of wedlock. The Senator did not follow the celebrated advice: “Never explain yourself; your friends do not need you to and your enemies will never believe you.”

Esmiuçado em manchete

Itemized in the headlines

É evidente que a revista adota a moda dos “dois pesos, duas medidas”, pois se de alguns diz tudo e mais um pouco, de outros não conta nem o indispensável.

The double standard applied by Veja is obvious: While it tells you everything, and a little bit more, about some persons, about others it omits to give you even the indispensable facts.

Com exceção dos generais-presidentes do ciclo militar pós-64, o último civil que os antecedeu, João Goulart, também teve um filho fora do casamento, cuja partilha de bens com os filhos legítimos deu-se em rumoroso caso judicial em Porto Alegre. Getúlio Vargas viveu um grande amor fora do casamento, tendo confessado o caso em suas memórias. (Diário de Getúlio Vargas, Editora Siciliano & FGV).

Unlike the president-generals of the post-1964 military dictatorship, the last pre-1964 civilian President, Goulart, also had a child out of wedlock, whose legal fight with his legitimate offspring led to a noisy lawsuit in Porto Alegre. Getúlio Vargas had a grand love affair outside his marriage, and confessed the affair in his memoirs.

Lula had a love child, too. She was outed on election eve in the election Globo rigged to put Collor in office. Odd not to mention it. Perhaps it is not even necessary.

Quase toda a mídia foi discreta com os nomes envolvidos. A Folha de S.Paulo, porém, não apenas deu os nomes de pai, mãe e filha, como fez manchete sobre o reconhecimento da paternidade devida à menina, em sua edição de 12 de abril: “Senado: Renan assume paternidade de filha de jornalista”, assim esmiuçada: “O presidente do Senado, Renan Calheiros, reconheceu a paternidade de Maria Catharina Freitas Vasconcellos Calheiros, de 2 anos e 8 meses, filha da jornalista Mônica Veloso”.

Most of the media at the time were discrete about the Senator’s case. The Folha, however, not only published the names of the father, mother and daughter, but also headlined his recognition of paternity of the young daugher in its April 12 edition: “Senate: Renan admits paternity of journalist’s daughter,” with a callout giving the names and ages of the parties.

You cannot fault them for that. The man had an affair and a child. It’s a matter of public record.

Serviço indispensável

Indispensable service

Muito mais grave do que as denúncias contra o presidente do Senado – de resto, condenáveis as invasões na vida privada, disfarçadas de interesse público – é a constatação, não da mídia, mas dos tribunais de contas, de que 55% dos políticos tiveram sua eleição financiada por empreiteiras. É claro que elas fizeram um investimento do qual esperam retorno!

Much more serious than the charges against the president of the Senate — the rest is just contemptible invasions of his private life, disguised as information in the public interest — is the observation, which comes not from the media but from federal auditors, that 55% of politicians had their elections financed by public-works contracts. It is obvious that they made an investment and expect a return!

To be fair, the Folha and the Estado, in São Paulo, both made a very credible effort to dig out who paid who how much in terms of campaign finance.

The publication of this data by the elections commission is not a marvel of usable and efficient modern e-government, mind you.

Na verdade, faz décadas que a mídia brasileira não dá a mínima para a privacidade dos pobres, tomando cuidado apenas com os ricos ou com os poderosos, temendo ressarcimentos e compensações financeiras que podem ser obtidas por bons advogados, cujos serviços custam caro.

The fact is that for decades the Brazilian media has not given a damn for the privacy of poor people, but have taken pains to protect only the rich or the powerful, in fear over the damages and fines that good lawyers, whose fees are high, might win from them.

The Brazilian perp-walk is a barbaric ritual that makes the sacrifice of the blonde virgin in King Kong look like a Martha Stewart maternity fashion show for Mormons.

Esta questão, aliás, remete aos defensores públicos, mas quem está preocupado em instalar este tipo de serviço público, tão indispensável quanto os dos acusadores, já que para garantia do trato justo é preciso que o acusado possa se defender de graça, já que foi acusado de graça, isto é, por denunciante pago por impostos, como é o caso do Ministério Público?

This is an issue for the public defenders, but who cares about establishing this type of public service, which is just as indispensable as prosecution, since to guarantee equal treatment the accused must be able to defend himself free of charge, given that he was accused free of charge — that is, accused by a prosecutor paid for with taxes, such as the Public Advocate’s Office?

Função social

Social function

E quando o funcionário público, membro ou não do MF, calunia, o que podem fazer os caluniados? Pagar defensores às próprias expensas? Como? E assim, graves injustiças são praticadas impunemente, sem que haja a devida reparação, a não ser aquela feita pela História, mas são poucos os casos esclarecidos por biografias ou outros estudos. E, além do mais, ocorrem quando o caluniado já morreu…

And when a public official, prosecutor or not, slanders someone, what can the victim do? Pay defense attorneys out of his own pocket? How? And thus grave injustices are perpetrated with impunity, without due reparations, except for that offered by History — but very few cases are clarified by biographies or other studies. And furthermore, it happens that the victim of the slander is already dead.

O jornal espanhol El País, na edição de segunda-feira (4/6), repercutiu a oferta que Larry Flint [sic], editor da revista Hustler, fez em anúncio publicitário veiculado no Washington Post, oferecendo 1 milhão de dólares por quem teve um caso sexual com membro do Congresso ou político de alto nível.

The Spanish newspaper El País, in its June 4 edition, featured an offer made by Larry Flynt, editor of Hustler magazine, in an ad run in the Washington Post, offering $1 million to anyone having had a sexual affair with a member of Congress or high-ranking official.

I vaguely remember this: some faith-based patronage appointee liked to be spanked and bill it out as “massages” or something? How banal.

O Brasil, como a França, não é puritano, como são os EUA com a vida privada dos políticos. Mas se o Brasil copiar também este costume, a mídia desvirtuará de vez sua função social.

Brazil, like France, is not a puritan nation, as the USA is, when it comes to the private life of politicians. But if Brazil follows [the Flynt example], the media will undermine its own social function for good and all.

Weiller Diniz of IstoÉ — gleefully; Editora Três is a competitor of the Grupo Abril — details the nauseating confession of the Veja editor who transformed R$1,000 into R$1 million to avoid missing a deadline because Veja’s latest “scoop” was — as is often the case — a load of, ahem, uncorroborated nonsense.

The report is from August 18, 2004.

Onze anos depois de ser cassado, Ibsen Pinheiro descobre que mau jornalismo provocou seu martírio.

11 years after being impeached and removed from office, Ibsen Pinheiro discovers that bad journalism provoked his ordeal.

Sentindo-se vítima de denúncias contra os presidentes do Banco Central, Henrique Meirelles, e do Banco do Brasil, Cassio Casseb, além do tesoureiro do PT, Delúbio Soares, o governo resolveu atacar a liberdade de imprensa: propôs ao Congresso a criação de um Conselho Nacional de Jornalismo para fiscalizar e punir jornais e jornalistas. Mas uma revelação de um repórter em artigo enviado para o livro a ser lançado pelo ex-presidente da Câmara Ibsen Pinheiro (PMDB-RS) mostra que a descoberta da verdade independe de mecanismos repressivos. Em 1992, Fernando Collor teve seu impeachment aprovado pelo Congresso. Um ano depois foram cassados parlamentares por corrupção na célebre CPI do Orçamento. No centro dos dois casos estava Ibsen. Político em franca ascensão, ele comandou a sessão que abriu o caminho para o impeachment. Um ano depois, enfrentou um calvário que culminaria em sua cassação, escudada em uma acusação de envolvimento com a Máfia do Orçamento.

Feeling victimized by accusations against the president of the central bank, Henrique Meirelles, and the Banco do Brasil, Cassio Casseb, as well as the treasurer of the Workers’ Part, Delúbio Soares, the government decided to attack the freedom of the press: it is proposing to Congress the creation of a National Council of Journalism to monitor and punish newspapers and journalists. But a revelation from a reporter in an article contributed to a book soon to be launched by former speaker of the House Ibsen Pinheiro (PMDB-RS) shows that the discovery of the truth is independent of repressive mechanisms. In 1992, Fernando Collor was impeached by Congress. One year later, legislators were removed from office in the infamous parliamentary inquiry (CPI) of the Budget. At the center of both cases was Ibsen Pinheiro. A politician whose star was rising, he presided over the Collor impeachment vote. One year later, he faced his own Calvary, which ended up in his removal from office, based on an accusation of involvement in the Budget Mafia.

IstoÉ is not immune to running gabbling nonsense itself, obviously, but of the Big 3 — along with Veja and Globo’s Época — it is the most readable and most likely to run solid investigative journalism, I tend to find.

Still, the notion of the Editora Abril as an effective self-regulator makes me laugh so hard that my lapsang souchong (white, with sugar) shoots out of my nose.

Wake me when they hire a Brazilian Bill Keller, publish some credible integrity guidelines, like the Times did, and start showing me they follow them.

Their actions speak louder than their empty, pompous words, and what they bespeak is pretty freaking unspeakable.

The CNJ was not really an organ of government repression, by the way– it was proposed as an industry self-governance body — with representation by civil society, if I recall correctly — that would bust up the rigid control over the profession being clung to with scabrous ferocity by the scab journalists’ union, FENAJ. It was more like the U.K.’s Press Complaints office, I think you could say. In some ways. But let’s get to that in due time.

Passada uma década surge uma revelação que obriga a revisão da história. O jornalista Luís Costa Pinto (Lula), à época editor da revista Veja em Brasília, decidiu contar os bastidores da reportagem de capa de sua autoria, em novembro de 1993, onde afirmava que a CPI descobrira que Ibsen movimentou US$ 1 milhão em suas contas. O relato acusa Waldomiro Diniz, então assessor do atual ministro José Dirceu (PT-SP), de ter vazado uma “falsa prova”. Além de confessar um erro, Costa Pinto revela detalhes da história que foi decisiva para incinerar Ibsen. Junto com o mandato, o ex-presidente da Câmara perdeu dez quilos e tempo indagando os motivos de sua ruína política. ISTOÉ o procurou para falar de seu livro e teve acesso ao artigo de Costa Pinto.

A decade later, a revelation now obliges us to rewrite the history of this episode. Journalist Luis “Lula” Costa Pinto, Veja magazine’s Brasília editor at the time, decided to tell the “behind the music” story of a cover story he wrote, in November 1993, in which he reported that the CPI had discovered Ibsen moving R$1 million through his accounts. Costa Pinto’s confession accused Waldomiro Diniz, then aide to current [as of August 2004] Minister Zé Dirceu of having leaked “fake evidence.” Besides confessing his error, Costa Pinto reveals details of a story that was decisive in frying Ibsen. Along with his mandate, the speaker of the House lost ten kilos and a lot of time trying to discover the reasons for his political ruination. ISTOÉ sought him out to talk about his book and had access to Costa Pinto’s article.

It is typical of Veja to print lies and then blame a bad source who allegedly burned them with disinformation. It’s the old Nixonian theory of plausible deniability.

Veja keeps its eye on the old AP “libel manual” — in latter days, the “guide to media law” — rather than the front of the book, with the parts about how failure to check out serious factual allegations can make you unemployable and get you laughed out of the profession.

It did the same with the Dantas dossier on alleged offshore bank accounts owned by the president of Brazil and head of the federal police. It burned Dantas as the source and said it had been duped! duped! and was shocked! shocked! that its trust had been betrayed!

These people are just, well, incredible.

I call this Judy Millerism, by the way.

The ex-NY Times Brenda Starr of the Iraqi desert is fond of saying, “You are only as good as your sources.”

As opposed to, say, “You are only as good as your fact-checking.”

Here in gringoland, people like that wind up without jobs. In Brazil, they get promoted to the level of their alleged incompetence. Another case in point:

Em novembro de 2000, Ibsen almoçou com o jornalista na Churrascaria OK, em Curitiba, quando soube dos bastidores. “A CPI do Orçamento caminhava para um desfecho melancólico, pois só ia cassar deputados do chamado ‘baixo-clero’ (…). Foi nesse ambiente que se perpetrou um dos grandes erros jornalísticos contemporâneos”, contou Costa Pinto, no artigo que depois enviou a Ibsen. “Este depoimento é seu e pode ser usado da maneira que você quiser”, escreveu no e-mail. Trata-se de um raro mea-culpa em 2.804 palavras que dá pormenores e nomes. Costa Pinto conta que em novembro de 1993 foi procurado por uma figura que ficaria famosa dez anos depois: Waldomiro Diniz, assessor da CPI e já então braço direito dos parlamentares petistas José Dirceu e Aloizio Mercadante. “Pegamos o Ibsen”, disse Waldomiro. O depoimento de Costa Pinto, hoje consultor do presidente da Câmara, João Paulo Cunha (PT-SP), revela uma coragem incomum em desnudar um fato já sepultado na memória. Mostra também como Waldomiro vazava sigilos para incriminar investigados. A morte política de Ibsen tirou do caminho um forte candidato à Presidência. O PMDB se dividiu, mas na eleição de 1994 Lula acabou superado por Fernando Henrique Cardoso, após a edição do Plano Real.

In November 2000, Ibsen was lunching with Costa Pinto at the OK BBQ joint in Curitiba, and learned about the story behind the story. The CPI of the Budget was headed for a melancholy ending, in which only so-called “low clergy” legislator would be [borked]. … “It was in this setting that one of the gravest journalistic errors in modern history was perpetrated,” Costa Pinto wrote, in an article he later sent to Ibsen. “This statement is to be used in any way you see fit,” he wrote in the e-mail. The article is a rare mea culpa of 2,800 words that gives details and names names. Costa Pinto says that in November 1993 he was was sought out by a figure who would become famous ten years on: Waldomiro Diniz, an aide to the CPI and right-hand man of the PT legislators Mercadante and Dirceu. “Let’s get Ibsen,” said Waldomiro. The deposition of Costa Pinto, today a consultant to the president of the lower house [which lower house? state?] João Paulo Cunha (PT-SP), reveals an uncommon courage in revealing a long-forgotten fact.

If he is telling the truth. Calling what he describes an “error” does not really seem correct to me, for example.

It also shows how Waldomiro leaked informtion to incriminate investigation targets. The political demise of Ibsen took a strong potential Presidential candidate out of contention. The PMDB suffered a schihsm, but in the 1994 election Lula wound up losing to Cardoso, after the rollout of the Plano Real currency reform.

On how Cardoso’s advisors called up Veja and planted stories — “I already cleared it with your boss” — see Abril Dissident: Cooking Up Libel at Veja Magazine.

Versão mantida – O jornalista conta que a revista identificou o erro nas contas de Waldomiro: não seria US$ 1 milhão, mas apenas US$ 1 mil. Como a edição estava praticamente fechada – relembra Costa Pinto –, o editor-executivo, Paulo Moreira Leite mandou encontrar alguém que sustentasse a versão de US$ 1 milhão. Acharam o deputado Benito Gama (PFL-BA), membro da CPI e ex-presidente da CPI/Collor. Costa Pinto diz que contou a Benito sobre o erro. A reportagem manteve o valor de US$ 1 milhão com a frase de Benito: “É fundamental não errarmos nas contas de Ibsen. E não erramos.” Erraram sim, de propósito.

Version maintained — the journalist recounts that the magazine identified the error in the accounts of Waldomiro: It was not US$1 million, but only US$1,000. But as the edition was nearing deadline — as Costa Pinto recalls — the executive editor, Paulo Moreira Leite ordered that someone be found to corroborate the $1 million version. They found federal deputy Benito Gama (PFL-Bahia), a member of the CPI and ex-president of the Collor impeachment inquiry. Costa Pinto said he told Benito about the error. The report that ran maintained the value of $1 million with a quote from Benito: “It is fundamental not to be wrong about Ibsen’s account. And we wre not wrong.” They were wrong, and on purpose.

And Veja knew it.

In the last election, the president of the PFL and the PSDB-PFL candidate, Geraldo “I am not responsible” Alckmin, both stated publicly — more than once — that the government conspired with the PCC criminal faction to murder police in São Paulo in order to undermine Geraldo Alckmin’s candidacy for the presidency of Brazil.

I have the clips.

These people lie. Constantly.

A seguir, o artigo escrito pelo jornalista Luís Costa Pinto, que foi editor e chefe da sucursal de Veja no Recife e em Brasília, repórter dos jornais O Globo e da Folha de S.Paulo, editor da revista Época e editor-executivo do Correio Braziliense. Hoje, é consultor de comunicação e de marketing político:

Following is the article written by Luis Costa Pinto, former editor in chief of the Veja bureaus in Recife and the federal capital, reporter on the O Globo and Folha de S. Paulo newspaper, editor of Época magazine and executive editor of the Correio Braziliense.

A veritable Bataan Death March tour of the sleaziest hell-holes of banana-republican political journalism — although the Folha has redeeming qualities as a community newspaper, where national politics and the business interests of the Grupo Folha are not involved.

He is now a marketing communications and political marketing consultant.

Under anachronistic Brazilian labor and press laws still on the books — including the notorious Press Law of 1967 — no essential functional difference between political marketing and journalism is recognized. The man is basically doing the same job he did before. See also Hacks are Flacks! Banana-Republican Business Journalism Illustrated.

(…) Em 1992, quando o governo Collor perdeu as condições de sustentação política no Congresso e definhava à mercê da Comissão Parlamentar de Inquérito que lhe expunham as entranhas, o deputado Ibsen Pinheiro tornou-se um aliado seguro e secreto da corrente suprapartidária que pediria a cassação do presidente da República. “O que o povo quer, esta Casa termina querendo”, vaticinou o ex-presidente da Câmara dos Deputados ao receber, na primeira semana de setembro daquele ano, a formalização do pedido de impeachment presidencial no Salão Verde do Congresso.

… In 1992, when the Collor government lost its political support in the Congress and was at the mercy of a CPI that was showing it its own guts, federal deputy Ibsen Pinheiro became a trusted secret ally of a nonpartisan current that sought the impeachment and removal of Collor. “What the people want is what this House, in the end, will come to want,” he prophesied upon receiving, in the first week of September, the formal petition to impeach the President in the Congress’s Green Room.

A retórica começava a aprontar uma cilada para ele: o povo, representado em protestos nas ruas pela sociedade civil organizada, de fato queria o impeachment. O Parlamento, em sua maioria, ainda não. Existia certa margem de negociação capaz de evitar a perda de mandato de Collor, mas Ibsen foi peça-chave na articulação que estreitou o raio de ação dos estrategistas palacianos. Escreviam-se, naquela ação surda do presidente da Câmara, as primeiras linhas do epílogo de sua vida parlamentar em Brasília – a cassação, em 18 de maio de 1994, por alegada colaboração com a “Máfia dos Anões do Orçamento”.

The rhetoric started to create a trap for him, however: The people, represented by street protests organized by civil society groups, did indeed want impeachment. The Congress mostly still did not. There was a certain amount of wiggle room for negotiating Collor’s staying on in his job, but Ibsen was a key man in the movement that closed off those avenues for the palace strategists. In these silent maneuvers by the speaker of the House, the first lines of the epilogue to his his national political career were being written — his removal from office on May 18, 1994, because of alleged involvement in the “Mafia of the Budget Dwarves.”

An astonishing and Byzantine affair, that — on a par with the “Bionic Senators.”

Procurado por ISTOÉ, Paulo Moreira Leite, ex-editor executivo da Veja e atual diretor de redação do Diário de S. Paulo, enviou à redação o seguinte texto: “A versão de que decidi publicar um erro – de propósito – que iria prejudicar o Ibsen Pinheiro para não atrapalhar a circulação da Veja e evitar um prejuízo à Editora Abril é uma fantasia do Luís Costa Pinto (Lula). Ele conta uma história conveniente para quem quer enfeitar a biografia profissional, rica em detalhes secundários, mas absurda no essencial. Foi o Adam Sun quem descobriu, de madrugada, que havia um erro nos números do Benito Gama sobre o Ibsen. A revelação não me espantou, porque era evidente que, depois do impeachment de Fernando Collor, ele se tornara alvo do ódio do PFL, partido de Benito naquele momento.

Contacted by this magazine, Paulo Moreira Leite, former executive editor of Veja and currently publisher of the Diário de S. Paulo [a vile rag –Ed.] sent us the following note: “The story that I decided to publish an error — deliberately — that would harm Pinheiro so as not to miss a Veja deadline is pure fantasy on Costa Pinto’s part. He is telling a story that is quite convenient for someone who needs to fix up a resume that is rich in secondary details but absurd in the main. It was Adam Sun who discovered, in the early morning hours, the error in Benito Gama’s numbers on Ibsen. The revelation did not surprise me, because it was clear that, after the impeachment of Fernando Collor, he had become the target of hatred by the PFL, Benito’s party at the time.

Petitio principii alert: If you had a reason to doubt the source, why did you not check it out more rigorously before running it?

Note the immediate resort to the ad hominem attack. This is a key, though not determining, factor in the diagnosis of the famous “Latin American guilty plea” — filibustering while changing the subject.

Telefonei para o Lula Costa Pinto com a informação de que o Adam havia desmentido sua fonte e toda a matéria. Queria conferir, saber o que ele tinha a dizer. Lula ligou para o próprio Benito e retornou dizendo que o deputado mantinha a versão. O próprio Lula seguiu sustentando a versão do Benito, que era sua fonte, que jamais havia mentido para ele. Por isso aquele número foi publicado: prevaleceu a versão errada de um repórter em vez da estimativa correta de um checador. Ninguém nos proibia, naquele momento, de publicar duas versões, o que teria ao menos amenizado o erro. Isso teria sido feito se o Lula tivesse tido mais humildade profissional, admitindo que poderia estar sendo vítima de uma armadilha. Mas ele insistiu várias vezes que o Benito falava a verdade, que tinha acesso aos números da CPI e assim por diante. Ao longo de todos esses anos sempre tive orgulho de meu esforço para apurar a verdade neste caso tão marcante. Fui o primeiro a louvar o trabalho do Adam Sun e nunca deixei de citá-lo neste episódio específico. O Lula não tem do que se orgulhar nessa história e só posso lamentar, hoje, que prefira divulgar fantasias.”

I phoned Costa Pinto with the information that Adam had contradicted his source and the article as a whole. I wanted to check, to see what he had to say. Costa Pinto called up Benito and got back to me, saying that the federal legislator maintained his version of the story. Costa Pinto himself continues to maintain the version of Benito, who was his source, that he had never lied to him. For that reason, the story got published: The factually incorrect version of a reporter got published over the justified objections of a fact-checker. But he has insisted on various occasions that Benito was telling the truth, that he had access to the numbers from the CPI and so on. [“[Over the years I have always taken pride in my efforts to discover the truth in this important case. I was the first to praise Adam Sun and consistently cited him in this specific instance. Costa Pinto has nothing to be proud of in this whole story, and I can only lament that today he prefers to publish fantasies,” [said Moreira Leite?].

The quote closes, but never opens. Hire a copy editor today. Note the heavy use of ethos argumentation, or self-righteous insistence upon one’s own virtues and integrity. Another diagnostic indicator of the LAGP.

Luís Costa Pinto confirmou o conteúdo e a autoria do texto. “Escrevi rigorosamente o que se passou. Não foi por minha causa que ele perdeu o mandato. Mas continuo achando que ele foi vítima de injustiças, de um massacre da mídia.” Benito Gama confirmou a declaração publicada na Veja, mas negou que tenha participado de uma combinação. “É mentira. Eu não daria uma declaração para confirmar uma mentira. Além disso, Ibsen foi cassado por causa das operações com doleiros na fronteira com o Uruguai.” ISTOÉ contatou a produtora Silvia Rebelo, da Bandeirantes, onde Mario Sergio Conti trabalha como correspondente em Paris, e mandou um e-mail com perguntas às 22h40 da quinta-feira 12, mas, pela diferença de fuso horário – cinco horas a mais em Paris – até 4h de sexta-feira Conti não havia respondido. A direção da Veja preferiu não se manifestar.

Costa Pinto confirmed the content and his authorship of the article. “I wrote rigorously what happened. It was not my fault that he lost his mandate. But I continue to think that he was the victim of injustice, of a media massacre.” Benito Gama confirmed the statement published in Veja, but denied that he had participated in a set-up. “That’s a lie! I would not give a statement to corroborate a lie. Furthermore, Ibsen was [borked] because of transactions with black-market currency operators on the Uruguayan border.” This magazine contacted the producer Silvia Rebelo, from TV Band, where Mario Sergio Conti works as a correspondent in Paris, and she sent an e-mail with our questions at 10:40 p.m. on Friday, the 12th, but because of the time-zone difference — Paris is five hours later — by 4:00 p.m. this Friday Conti had not responded. Veja management preferred not to comment.

What was your source on the statement that the time difference was the reason for his non-response? Did he respond that he was not responding for that reason?

Or are you speculating? He who assumes …

“I am, technically speaking, not to blame”: Also a primary LAGP indicator. See also Prof. Alckmin: “I Am Not Responsible.”

As is heavy use of hypotheticals (the subjunctive mood) and arguments from plausibility — “I would not give a statement corroborating a lie,” which is an ethos argument as well.

But pefelistas do lie on occasion. Again — this is the nastiest piece of business I have ever seen in my life — the (current ex-)president of the party, Sen. Bornhausen, said last year that the government conspired with criminal gangs tied to the FARC to murder São Paulo police in order to undermine the Alckmin candidacy.

Now that is a gargantuan freaking bit of gibbering, ayahuasca-driven conspiracy theory if there ever was one. And he reiterated it the next day, when asked about the remark. Alckmin also repeated it.

Bornhausen was President Collor’s Karl Rove, by the way.

Compare these gringo cases:

Above: Bornhausen’s “we need to put an end to that breed” remark about the PT was widely noted, and just as widely criticized and satirized, but the Senator singled out columnist and political science professor Emir Sader for a criminal libel suit under a dictatorship-era law. And won. Sader, an employee of a federal university, was found to have a duty not to say bad things about elected officials of the State that trumped his academic freedom. Such as that they are fascists and racists. Source of the satire there: Sinttel (communications workers union, Rio de Janeiro)


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