Brazil: Grupo Abril in Anatel Hell? Waiting for the Other Shoe To Drop

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Omitted from broadcast commentary as posted to YouTube — is it really the version that aired? — but published in the
O Povo newspaper: “When Lula pointed to corruption under Cardoso …” Lula is a whore! (And so was Cardoso!) See TupiTube Too: The Censored Wit and Wisdom of Arnaldo Jabor and Other Nuggets from the Brazilian Netroots

“The folklore of corruption is good business — for the corrupt. –Elio Gaspari.

And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. –John 8:2-11

If you cannot mount persuasive arguments, then make sure that your opponent is not able to make her own argument. Shift the focus of the debate: change the subject, preferably to a subject in which you are in the right; dwell on how much you know, on how hard you have worked to get where you are, on how your work is unjustly devalued and despised. Or simply lead the debate into a blind alley from which it cannot escape. In that case, both parties lose, but this is a better outcome for the party who was going to lose in any event. Shocked! Shocked! The InfomediaTV Lecture On Sincerity & Authenticity

We are all prostitutes / Everyone has their price. –The Pop Group

VERMELHO (the Communist Party of Brazil daily) notes the next chapter in the epic confrontation between the “sex senator” and Veja magazine.

On the origins of which see

Will the Congress now probe Abril’s big cable TV deal with Telefónica?

The story so far: In response to Veja‘s (anonymously single-sourced) “exposé” on how the Senator financed his secret love life — cross-marketed, astonishingly, with a Playboy Brasil “bares all” photo spread of the sex Senator’s hotsy-totsy on the side and “baby mom” — allies of the Senator have proposed a congressional probe of a significant recent deal by Veja‘s parent corporation: The sale of a cable TV operation to Spain’s Telefónica. See

I find the case particularly fascinating, from a rhetorical point of view, because it seems to represent an epic confrontation between two “folklores”:

  1. The folklore of political corruption, and
  2. The folklore of the evil corporation

Both sides of the dispute argue that the other does not have the moral standing to cast the first stone, as it were. An argument also employed by Larry Rohter in his farewell interview with the Estado de S. Paulo daily, by the way. See

A CPI deve investigar ”as circunstâncias e as conseqüências decorrentes do processo de autorização, por parte da Anatel, referente à reestruturação societária e transferência de controle de outorgas envolvendo as empresas da TVA – controladas pelo Grupo Abril e a Telesp, controlada pela empresa espanhola Telefônica, no que diz respeito aos princípios da defesa da livre concorrência, dos direitos do consumidor e da soberania nacional”.

The CPI is due to investigate “the circumstances and consequences of the process whereby Anatel authorized the restructuring of shares and the transfer of control involving the companies of the TVA group — controlled by Abril — to Telesp, controlled by Telefónica, with respect to the principles of defending open competition, the rights of consumers, and national sovereignty.”

O diálogo cifrado entre o líder do PDT e o Presidente da Casa foi interpretado pelos assessores de Plenário como referente à instalação da CPI da Abril-Telefônica.

A cryptic exchange between the leader of the PDT political party and the [speaker] of the lower house was interpreted by congressional staffers as referring to the installation of the CPI of Abril-Telefónica.

A conversa, rápida, demonstra o cuidado com que a Presidência da Casa tem tratado o assunto. O próprio Chinaglia, que poucas vezes se manifestou sobre o assunto, inicialmente disse que não podia deixar de cumprir o regimento da Casa – o requerimento da CPI atende os critérios de ”fato determinado” e assinaturas mínimas exigidas.

The quick exchange was typical of the caution with which the house leadership has approached the matter. Chinaglia himself, who has said very little on the subject, initially said he could not fail to comply with house rules — the request for a commission of inquiry conform to the criteria of a “specific fact” and has the minimum number of signatures required.

After the vote in the Senate on his impeachment — he survived — Calheiros had this to say:

Os jornalistas indagaram sobre a CPI da Abril-Telefônica, que aguarda decisão do presidente da Câmara, deputado Arlindo Chinaglia (PT-SP), para ser instalada. “Fiz questão de que ela fosse instalada na Câmara”, disse, para não haver confusão. Mas defendeu que ela investigue a Editora Abril.

Journalists asked about the CPI of Abril-Telefónica, which awaits a decision by the president [speaker-equivalent, sort of, for you gringos] of the lower house, Chinaglia (PT-São Paulo) to be installed. “I made a point of having the inquiry installed in the lower house,” he said, to avoid confusion. But he defended a probe of Abril.

“Da mesma forma que eu tenho que responder pelos meus atos, a Editora Abril tem que responder pelos atos dela. Temos que investigar igualmente a todos. Não dá para investigar a uns e não a outros”, argumentou. A Editora Abril é acusada de violar o artigo 7 da Lei do Cabo de 1995, entregando o controle acionário da TVA a capitais estrangeiros, na transação de R$ 922 milhões que realizou com a Telefônica em outubro passado. Renan afirmou, porém, que continuará a atender norlamente os repórteres da revista Veja.

“Just as I must answer for my actions, Abril has to answer for its actions. We need to investigate everyone equally. It will not do to investigate some and not others,” he argued. Abril is accused of violating Article 7 of the Cable TV Law of 1995 by transferring control of TVA to foreign capital in a R$922 million deal it made with Telefónica last October. Renan said, however, that he will continue to answers questions normally from reporters from Veja magazine.

Which can tend to take the form of pedantic speechifying that merely has the grammatical form of a genuine question. A discursive praxis that I tend to like to think of as “the disingenous rhetorical question as a means to filibuster while changing the subject.”

See, for example,

This is bound to get interesting.

In many ways, the dispute represents a return to the issues that swirled around the Banestado scandal and the abortive CPI of Anatel. Which I am studying up on. And on which see

I do not necessarily endorse the views expressed in that piece, but it certainly offers up some interesting factoids for further reality-testing.

My free public-relations advice to the Abril Group, as you may recall, was that it needed, first and foremost, to combat the “folklore of the evil corporation,” which the sex senator is mining to the bone, by ceasing and desisting from the kind of rhetorical flourishes that typify the folkloric evil corporation.

It will be interesting to see whether these people are even capable of doing that.

Having read Diogo “The Martyr” Mainardi for a number of years now, I would not bet on it.

Inbred intellectual sloth tends to eat away the ability of monopolists of the gazillion-jigawatt megaphone to think on their feet, I tend to find.

They remind me of a vicious dog in our neighborhood who has lived for years in a yard that is too small for him, and never gets walked.
As a result, the poor beast exhibits that behavioral pathology in which he repeats the same stereotypical movements obsessively — in this case, spinning around and around and around and around and around to the right.

The poor creature can no longer adapt and overcome. The poor thing really ought to be put out of its misery. If I ever meet his owners, I am going to give them a piece of my mind.

Dogs need walking. Content kingdoms needs competition in the marketplace of ideas. Same principle.

So if I were Abril, I would be seriously considering the example of the Cisneros Gambit there in Venezuela. On which see

I mean that quite sincerely.

And I would simply no longer employ editors and journalists writing under pen names borrowed from early Christian martyrs, either.

I bet you anything there is a serious, credible senior editor in Brazil who could transform Veja into a sort of a reality-based conservative counterpoint to CartaCapital without losing much readership. I might even pay to read something like that.

But the first thing he or she would have to do would be to purge the tainted Moonies.

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