Brazil: “Veja is a Cancer Upon the Grupo Abril!”

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Illness as a metaphor for Veja magazine — with apologies to Susan Sontag, who, having died of the literal disease, actually knew what she was talking about.

“They think that Abril supports Cardoso’s plan of government. They have it wrong. It is not Abril who supports Cardoso. It is Cardoso who supports Abril’s plan of government.” –attributed to Roberto Civita, Grupo Abril

Contraponto is a Web log by Alisson Almeida of Natal, RN, Brazil, who identifies herself as a

Jornalista pela Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN) e colaborador da Rede Jovem de Comunicação.

She weighs in on the current controversy between Luis Nassif and Veja magazine over the alleged Daniel Dantas connection at the newsweekly. See

Or rather, she reproduces the histrionic rant of an anonymous commenter on the dispute, who applies an extended metaphor of pustulent contamination — developed with great, er, ham-fistedness — to the flagship newsweekly of the Civita empire.

On a similar use of metaphors of “taint” and “contamination” in contemporary journalism criticism, see also

The argument: Veja is a rogue element at the Grupo Abril, and not reflective of the general ethical standards of Abril journalism.

I tend to doubt this very much.

Here is one reason for doubting this: The anonymous source of Veja‘s “sex Senator” exposé appears to have been the palimony attorney for the woman at the center of the scandal.

The same attorney also reportedly negotiated her contract to appear nude in another Editora Abril publication, Playboy Brasil. And perjured himself to the Brazilian congress (although amazingly, the Brazilian congress apparently does not hear witnesses under oath.)

Tell me that did not really happen. I saw it with my own own eyes. Like a lot of Brazilians, I now know what is tattooed on Mônica Veloso’s ass.

That is to say: This lawyer apparently leveraged an anonymous corruption charge in one Abril magazine into a lucrative contract for his client to “reveal all” in another.

This suggests to me that the problem may lie somewhere well up the chain of command, over the heads of editorial management of single titles.

Here is another: The Grupo Abril has just recently, with great fanfare, set a limit on gifts to its employees, including journalists at all of its publications, of R$100.

Which is just a jawdroppingly low ethical bar to set for oneself. You would have to be the infinitely flexible Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four to go lower than the standard set for this ethical limbo dance.

Who do they think they are fooling with this Potemkin Village crusade against jabaculê (payola)?

Reuters, which has rather weak conflict-of-interest governance, I think, states in its code of conduct, for example:

The Reuters Code of Conduct reminds journalists that they must not accept any payment, gift, service or benefit (whether in cash or in kind) offered by a news source or contact.

Any.

As in none.

Not any. Zero.

If forced to accept by circumstances — your source is a Mongol chieftain who will declare a blood feud against you and your descendants unto the nth generation if you refuse his hospitality — the gift must be donated to charity.

See

The notion that limiting gifts to R$100 represents progress make you really wonder just how out of hand the whole jabaculê situation really is over there.

The Clan Civita really, really seems to be sweating it. The more nervous they get, the more they issue lengthy harangues in the apologia pro vita sua tradition like this one:

At any rate, to Alisson’s post: O câncer da Veja.

Comentário postado por Weden, no blog do Luis Nassif:

A comment posted by Weden on Nassif’s blog:

And who, exactly, is Weden? Just another anonymous Gnostic?

Weden: Mit Veda (Sanskrit, m., वेद, veda, wörtl.: „Wissen“) werden im Hinduismus die heiligen Schriften bezeichnet. Den Kern des Veda bilden die Texte der Shruti, das sind von Rishis (Weisen) „gehörte“ Texte, also Offenbarungen.

My point being that Abril quite visibly runs stealth-marketing noise-machine campaigns using armies of nasty little wingéd click-monkeys.

If I could know that Weden was not an Abril employee engaged in such a reputation-salvaging stealth-marketing endeavor, I might, find this argument a little more credible. But not much.

“Você lê uma Exame, uma revista Nova Escola, você percebe que não há problema ético nenhum nestas revistas.

“You read an Exame, or Nova Escola magazine, and you see there is no ethical problem at any of those magazines.”

I do not necessarily see that. Abril and Globo have a virtual duopoly on textbook publishing in Brazil, for example, and their education titles tend to be rife with cross-promotion of their own products.

As Ali Kamel himself describes, under the heading of “innovation synergies.” See

Portanto, não: a política da difamação e a prática de jornalismo marrom não são uma marca do grupo Abril.

So no: The policy of defamation and the practice of yellow journalism are not a trademark of the Grupo Abril.

Defamation and yellow journalism do not even begin to exhaust the list of Veja‘s sins against editorial integrity, the reality principle, the sin of self-dealing, cheerful pumping and dumping, and massive use of the gazillion-jigawatt megaphone to engage in the art of the gabbling ratfink, “happy talk” stealth-marketing, and reputation laundering (“fake news”).

Os Civitas mantém o padrão de bom jornalismo nos outros produtos do grupo Abril, e devem ser admirados por isso.

The Civitas maintain a standard of good journalism at other products of the Abril group, and ought to be admired for this.

This, you woud think, would be a good time for the Abril defender to cite some examples in support of that contention.

None are forthcoming.

Exame, I find, much like its major competitors, is a perpetual font of garden-variety Institutional Investor-style “business executive as celebrity” autohagiography by proxy.

You know the kind of thing I mean: Every business is an “empire,” and every executive is some sort of Viking or samurai or warrior-poet or John Galt of some sort, whose life is an heroic “saga,” and who appears lovingly photographed by Annie Liebowitz with fashions by Clodovil, as in a portrait commissioned by some medieval doge or petty Renaissance monarch, surrounded with allegories of his legendar fabulousness.

The admiring interviewer expends copious amounts of purple prose on the executive’s — he is a mogul, he is a doge or prince, he is a cacique, he is a quarterback or World Cup coach, he is a field general like the great Pelé — shelf of the complete works of Nietzsche — bound in leather made from the foreskins of endangered African elephants — or his private gallery of impressively pricy Impressionist masters.

It is just one more exaple of “the superhero comics of business journalism,” in other words.

Possibly not the worst one in existence, but what genuinely busy businessperson actually has time for such autoerotic nonsense? See also

Conversando com alguns jornalistas da revista, você também percebe que há diferenças de posição, há gente digna por ali, na Veja.

Talking to some journalists from the magazine, you also perceive there are differences of position, there are worthy people around, at Veja.

I often concede that we should give the underlings the benefit of the doubt — São Paulo is not a great place to find yourself blackballed in, and the unemployment rate for qualified journalists is something like 5 in 6 in Brazil.

But the fact remains, as I see it, that the better the Brazilian journalist, the more likely that Brazilian journalist is to be unemployed. See, for example,

O câncer, Nassif, o câncer está na Veja. Mas, mais especificamente, o câncer está na cabeça da Veja.

The cancer, Nassif, is at Veja. But more specifically, the cancer is at the head of Veja.

A revista tem uma história a zelar. O grupo Abril tem uma história a zelar.

The magazine has a history and a reputation to protect. Abril has a history and reputation to protect.

Yes, and they would do better at protecting it if Roberto Civita never opened his mouth in public again. Ever.

Leave it to the professionals. The man has a serious case of foot in mouth disease.

Quem não tem nada a zelar é o câncer na cabeça da Veja.

The one who has nothing to protect is the cancer at the head of Veja.

Porque o câncer só tem zelo com sua própria expressão maligna, seu verbo mortal, odioso pelo que circunda.

Because this cancer only looks after his own ...

The post nows gets extremely Gongoristic and vituperative.

O câncer só conhece adjetivos podres, advérbios doentes, artigos indefinidos e interjeições chulas. O câncer vive da sintaxe maligna, da articulação dos ruins.

More Gongorisms. A hint of Edgar Allan Poe or The Addams Family in the laudanum-drenched morbidness of the thing.

O câncer da Veja não tem classe, nem gramatical, nem civilizacional.

Likewise, extending the metaphor of cancer.

Ele sobrevive da morte dos órgãos, das células sãs. Pulsão de morte.

This person has obviously read their Baudelaire.

A propósito, o câncer não pulsa, ele paralisa. Não viceja, degenera.

Yada yada yada.

O câncer da Veja mata o corpo da Veja, aos poucos; mata porque é um avanço às avessas, um progresso negativo.

Ditto.

O câncer que acomete a Veja quer levá-la embora.

This is some really over-the-top ranting.

But look: Cancer generally kills you by metastasizing. That is, by spreading throughout your body. Convince me that the Veja cancer has not done so — or that Veja is really the origin of this evil rather than a product of a concerted marketing strategy driven from the executive suite.

Como todo câncer não tem consideração pelo corpo que habita, mas apenas pela própria possibilidade de crescer para fora, corroendo o que há por dentro.”

Illness as metaphor. Got it.

Prediction: A scapegoat is being prepared.

Whoever left this comment, they are very adept at the very sort of gran guignol prose style they tend to practice over there at Veja.

My guess: “Weder” is probably this guy again:

Em Tempo

Não convidem Nassif e Eurípedes Alcântara, diretor de redação da “Veja”, para a mesma mesa. Nassif, em seu blog no IG, acusa Eurípedes de manter ligações com o publicitário Eduardo Fischer e também com o banqueiro Daniel Dantas.

Summarizes the dispute you have already read about.

O diretor da “Veja” respondeu chamando Nassif de “turco ladrao, mascate, rato”, num ataque pra lá de agressivo no próprio blog do Nassif.

The attack is signed with Alcântara’s name. But Nassif does not claim it was actually authored by Alcântara.

Eurípedes Alcântara é o câncer da “Veja”?

Did Sue Ellen shoot J.R. Ewing?

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