Nassif the Thief: “Editor-Shill Bodes Ill for Abril”

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“Past, present and future”: Veja this week returns to defending its treatment of the Brazilian Clearstream II-style dossier — or as the local reference has it, the “return of the Caymans dossier” — in 2006

Stooge/Shill/Stick: Audience member who is actually planted as part of the act and who acts in a cooperative manner. Magic School glossary of terms used by magicians and illusionists

Luis Nassif comments on on this week’s Veja magazine, in which Veja produces a slightly new justification for its alleged journalistic due diligence on the Dantas dossier, which federal police have now reportedly concluded was as phony as the type of “reality TV” practiced by Ratinho.

See

See also what I suspect is a preemptive effort at damage control on this story:

Nassif also claims that someone signing the name of Veja editor (publisher?) Euripides Alcântara left the following comment on a previous post criticizing Veja on this subject. Rough translation.

turco ladrao, cara de rato, roubou o proprio cunhado e tenta arrastar as pessoas honestas para sua vala de bestas. cuidado comigo, turco ladrao, mascate, cara de rato..tu nao me conheces cuidado…filho da puta, ladrtao de cunhado. influencia sobre mim ninguem tem… seu rato. cuidado. conheco sua fuca. vou jogar uma taca de vinho( do bom) na sua cara….rato,mascate, ladrao, filho da puta, ladrao de cunhado…!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!ladrao de cunhado !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You thieving Ay-rab, you rat-face, you stole from your own brother-in-law and try to drag honest persons down into the same pigsty you inhabit. Be careful with me, you thieving Ay-rab, traveling saleman, ratface. You don’t know me. Watch out. Son of a bitch. Stealing from your brother-in-law. No one has influence over me. You rat. Watch out. I know what your rat-snout looks like. I am going to throw a glass of (good) wine in your face. Rat, traveling salesman, thief, son of a bitch …

And so on.

Nassif, like Carlos Slim — his name is an alternate transliteration of salim, not an homage to the great bluesman Memphis Slim — is of Syrian-Lebanese extraction — of which there is a very substantial community of long date here in Brazil. (São Paulo, because of its ethnic mix, often strongly reminds me of a sort of huge Lusophone Brooklyn, except with capyvaras, quite a bit more random, jaw-dropping ultraviolence, and a complete lack of any urban planning whatsoever.)

There are some just astonishingly good Syrian restaurants here, esfihas are a popular snack, and the Habib’s chain represents the fast-food version of that significant cultural presence. Paulo Salim Maluf and the Rio bicheiro known as O Turcão represent the integration of the community into some of the less desirable local traditions, but the standard caveat applies: The Italian-American community may have produced a Capone, Lucchese or Gotti or two, but it also produced the likes of the immortal Joltin’ Joe Di Maggio.

Arabs here are historically associated with the traveling salesman [mascate] trade commonly engaged in by the first immigrants from that part of the world in the late 19th century. (I actually once translated a book on the subject — from Arabic, believe it or not.) Sort of the same role played by the Sears catalogue in bringing the trappings of civilization to the far-flung settlements of continental expansion.

The comment bears the name of the Veja editor, but Nassif does not establish that he actually wrote it, rather than, say, someone else signing his name to it. Turco is not quite as insulting as the ugly invective you hear in redneck circles, “sand nigger,” but it is pretty insulting and demeaning, I think, when pronounced in this tone of voice. I would never use it with someone of Arab descent unless I knew them well enough to engage in jocular verbal rough-housing with them. (I was fairly astonished myself at a business meeting recently when someone I had just met employed some fair crude gringo humor at my expense.)

When the Orkut community of the lefty monthly Caros Amigos was 0wned last year — the moderator had their password stolen, were locked out, and the new 0wner erased its accumulated content in favor of crude propaganda — the message left by the black-hat hackers was something like VEJA IS THE BEST MAGAZINE IN BRAZIL! IT’S LIKE MAGIC!

So there are other cases on the record of Net warriors who at least claim to act on behalf of Veja, and Veja has not taken any concrete steps that I have seen to disassociate itself from the use of its name in Brook Bros. Riot Squad, crude black-hat hacking and noise-machine tactics as a means of ratfink business competition. See

Symbolic violence, moral panic and Grand Theft Auto-style crude mayhem are Veja‘s principal, overarching rhetorical stocks in trade. The similarities in this respect with the “anti-Thaksinonomics” moral panic campaign of Sondhi and the Manager Group (not a “content ally” of the International Herald Tribune, despite their joint distribution deal) in Thailand are striking, I think. See

For some of the back story on the ongoing Nassif-Veja rhetorical cage-match, see also

The recently published Veja article Nassif is commenting on here has been translated (hastily) by me here:

I am going to translate, and then try to fact-check the claims being made here. Nassif says he will not present the evidence for the accusation he is making until after the New Year.

I regularly read the blogging Nassif, and would likely pay money to read a business publication edited by the guy. He tends to practice what he preaches, which is pretty much standard U. Mizzou “service journalism,” with all its standard vices and virtues (but mainly virtues, I tend to think.) I refuse to pay good money for anything published by the Editora Abril. If you want to get a useful read on reality-based conservative political opinion here, you are better off looking to publications less thoroughly dominated by gabbling Moonies. IMHO.

Nassif writes:

Repito o que escrevi durante a semana. O contato de Veja com Daniel Dantas era e é o diretor de redação Eurípedes Alcântara.

I repeat what I wrote during the week. Veja‘s contact with Daniel Dantas was, and continues to be, [publisher] Eurípedes Alcântara.

I think diretor da redação is equivalent to our “publisher,” but I am not yet completely straight on how Brazilian publications are (dis)organized.

Durante dois anos pelo menos há inúmeras evidências de que Veja foi instrumento ativo nas disputas empresariais e jurídicas do empresário. E continua nesse jogo, apesar de manobras de despiste, como essa matéria – só agora publicada, depois do fato ter ocorrido e do Blog ter chamado a atenção para as ligações entre Eurípedes e Dantas.

For at least two years, there have been numerous signs that Veja was an active instrument in Dantas’ business and legal disputes. It continues to play this game, despite maneuvers to throw us off the trail, such as this article — published only now, after the fact, and after my blog post calling attention to the ties between Alcântara and Dantas.

A estratégia do do diretor de redação consiste em atacar Dantas em questões acessórias, para melhor poder apoiá-lo em temas essenciais, como a repercussão que deu a esse caso da intérprete. Depois, cercar-se de guarda-costas que atuam como fogo de barreira, para desviar o foco dele. No caso do falso dossiê, foi obrigada a revelar a fonte, porque, depois de apurada a falsificação, não havia como fugir ao tema. Mas o fez da forma mais dúbia possível.

The editor’s strategy consists in attacking Dantas on side issues in order to better support him on essential ones, such as the repercussion it gave this case of the translator.

The case of the translator refers to an “exclusive interview” given by a purported Italian translator to Consultor Jurídico which tends to support the theory that Dantas was framed by Telecom Italia on the industrial espionage charges he faces in criminal court.

A weird, weird incident, that. Consultor Jurídico (a legal-affairs publication of the Estado group) seems to have been hijacked by gabbling Moonies. The interview subject could not be reached for follow-up questioning by any other reporters. I will try to translate some of that later.

He then surrounds himself with bodyguards who act as a smokescreen, taking the focus off of him. In the case of the phony dossier, he was obliged to reveal his source because, once the forgery was discovered, there was no other way out. But he revealed it in the most dubious way possible.

Justamente a perda do critério jornalístico foi que transformou Veja em território livre, manobrado por Eurípedes e Mário Sabino. É como a empresa que passa a usar caixa 2 e acaba perdendo o controle sobre os atos de seus executivos, por ter aberto mão dos instrumentos formais de controle.

The death of journalistic standards itself was what transformed Veja into a [temporary autonomous zone] manipulated by Alcântara and Mário Sabino. This is how a company that uses caixa 2 [off-the-books cash flow; the term often also characterizes political “slush funds” as well] wound up losing control over its own managers, after having given up on formal mechanisms of control.

The Editora Abril recently made a very big point recently of publishing a Code of Conduct, and compelling all its employees to sign a formal commitment to comply.

See

Nassif commented briefly on the development on December 9:

Uma dica: analisar a influência do publicitário Eduardo Fischer sobre a revista Veja. No mínimo, ajudará a eliminar murmúrios que correm em círculos empresariais.

A clue: Analyze the influence of Eduardo Fischer on Veja magazine. At the very least, it will help to put an end to murmurs making the rounds of business circles.

Back to the current post:

Quando se seguem critérios jornalísticos, basta alguma reportagem fugir do critério para acender a luz amarela. Com a perda do referencial, perdeu-se igualmente o controle e conferiu-se aos diretores o direito de matar – burlando inclusive os controles internos.

When journalistic standards are followed, an article that violates those standards generate a yellow caution light. With the loss of standards, control is also lost, and managers acquire a license to kill — thumbing their noses at internal controls.

É importante que a Abril perceba esse jogo, porque o que está em questão é a própria imagem da editora. É simples pegar o fio da meada. É só juntar as matérias sobre o tema publicadas nesse período.

It is vital for Abril to notice this little game, because what is at stake is its public reputation. It is a simple matter to pick up the thread of this whole mess. Just collect all the articles published during this time period.

Repito, tudo isso foi feito em contato direto de Dantas com Eurípedes. Mas como é período natalino, vamos deixar passar as Festas para aprofundar o tema.

I repeat: All this was done through direct contacts between Dantas and Alcântara. But since it is Christmas, let us wait until the holidays are over before getting deeper into that issue.

É questão de tempo para que apareçam as ligações do diretor de redação da Veja Eurípedes Alcântara e o publicitário Eduardo Fischer. E também com o banqueiro Daniel Dantas. A ficha de Roberto Civita só irá cair quando Eurípedes requerer a aposentadoria e seus novos planos ficarem claros.

It is only a question of time before the ties between Veja’s public and [PR mogul] Eduardo Fischer come to light. And also with Daniel Dantas. And Roberto Civita is only going to tumble to the fact when Alcântar takes retirement and his future plans become clear.

Fischer (not to be confused with the Olympic swimmer) is the owner of a PR and ad agency called Fischer América, which if I am not mistaken — I am just quickly googling the guy up — recently rolled out a campaign to promote Mexico’s Sol-brand beer here, and is responsible for signing Zeca Pagodinho to promote Schincariol beer (the sponsor of Globo’s current “buy my beer and I will show you my tits” prime-time soap opera.)

(The eternal malandro Zeca later jumped ship to AMBEV’s Brahma, I believe. Xiiii!)

Also the chairman of the board of the Grupo Total. I believe it was Fischer who was featured in a puzzling TV ad blitz here announcing his having been named adman of the year by some professional association. Wasn’t that him? Working on getting more background.

Até lá, Eurípedes julga que poderá intimidar com ataques encomendados a pistoleiros ou mesmo com ataques agressivos neste Blog.

Until then, Alcântara thinks he can intimidate me with aggressive attacks by hired gunmen, or even by aggressive attacks on this blog.

Para entender o seu perfil, sugiro lerem os comentários no post “O Código da Abril”. Seu comentário está assinado. Os demais ataques, em outros blogs, são terceirizados. Ambos só comprovam o desespero.

I suggest you read the comments to the post, “Abril’s Code of Conduct.” Alcântara’s name is signed to the comment. The other attacks, on other blogs, are outsourced. Both only serve as proof of his desperation.

PS – Não tenho informações seguras ainda sobre o papel de Mário Sabino nesse jogo.

PS: I do not have reliable information yet on the role played by Mário Sabino in this game.

Another senior editor at Veja. Alcântara might be better described as Veja‘s “publisher.” I am still a little fuzzy on how Brazilian newsrooms are (dis)organized.

I am missing some of the back story on this post. Let me go back and read Nassif’s post on the Abril Code of Conduct, and the substance of the charges he make against Alcântara, and any responses from the persons named.

At any rate, the ball is in Mr. Nassif’s court: He says he has the goods on Mr. Alcântara and Brazil’s ad man of the year. He is now honor-bound to deliver the scoop on this murky affair: Good information backed with solid evidence. Stay tuned.

(A big-dog Brazilian ad man of previous years and his associates currently face more than 700 accounts of political slush-fund engineering and embezzlement in a remarkable show trial in the Supreme Court.

What is it about Brazilian ad men, anyway? And what is the Brazilian ad industry doing to repair the reputational damage from such scandalous, or potentially scandalous, cases? Besides siccing the likes of Veja on the reputations of their critics?)


“It’s like magic:” Veja, the iPhone, and the Internet dirty wars.

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Gratuitious argumentum ad Nazium (creative synergies with Buddhist visions of Hell and strong overtones of symbolic violence and infantile punishment fantasies): Sondhi-powered anti-Thaksin rally, March 2006


The Editora Abril’s Ad Nazium Gambit, Retro-Soviet Variation. “The Authoritarian Temptation: The PT’s attempts to monitor and control the press, television and culture.” Translation: “Dilma could decide those zero-down spectrum concessions we got were the fruit of some kind of skeevy plundering of the commonwealth! Bork her with all you’ve got!

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