Brazil: Signs of Intelligent Life on Planet Globo?

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“When I first thought of going into journalism — in my day, it was ‘social communications,’mind you — I had to stroll several kilometers with my father before I could convince him that ‘that thing’ was a real profession …. He was dead set against it. ‘You just want to go and be Jô Soares‘…” The personal-professional bio of Lobo of Globo, who sometimes does real credit to the logo.

Colin, can you not say anything nice about anything the Organizações Globo there in Brazil — which you have been known to describe as “antieducational on purpose,” “an electronic weaponized neurotoxin,” “a Lusophone Videodrome,” “an eternal font of magical thinking,” “a systematic scumbler of fact and fiction,” and worse?

Or are you just a knee-jerk player hater?

A fair question.

The Mrs. and I actually saw something just now on GloboNews — the network’s 24-hour cable news channel — that we thought was, well, just plain good. Nothing earthshaking, but well-paced, useful and infodense. Solidly decent. Good enough to want to watch it again.

It’s basically just a Globo version of the “three humans in chairs, talking” Shield & Brooks format, from our gringo PBS News Hour — with the great advantage that no one resembling David “The Eternal Sunshine of the Thoughtless Mind” Brooks appears on it.

It’s called Fatos e Versões [“facts and perspectives,” more or less].

Instead, you have the lugubrious Azedo of the Correio Braziliense, whom we know from TV Cultura — in the “crusty veteran” Mark Shields role — and an impressive, articulate young journalist from O Globo in Rio named — well, I forgot, and for some reason the program’s Web site does not contain that information — in the “Generation X whippersnapper” seat. He looks familiar.

He may have been one of those journalists involved in that flap at Globo Minas and some of the Minas metro dailies a year or so back in which the governor’s sister — and, Vicente Fox-like, press secretary — allegedly called up her good buddies, the big wheels at Globo Central and the dailies in question, and got a bunch of people fired and blackballed over stories she did not like. Allegedly.

It is hosted by Cristiana Lobo, who, while not immune to teasing — the “spokesmodel with a Vaseline smile presents this year’s stylish new Studebakers” act that Globo made her do to promote the launch of the G1 news portal last year was really, really embarrassing — is a highly intelligent person and a very capable moderator who keeps the conversation focused and zipping along.

The G1 news portal was last year’s sign of hope, we thought, that the responsible adults might manage to conquer some space inside the Silver Venus and start trasmitting intermittent signs of intelligent life.

That hope has faded. G1 seems to do less and less original reporting of its own and more and more mere “content aggregation.”

Reverting to our usual pessimism, then: If this modest little show continues to be as engaging and informative as it was today, it will likely attract the attention of Ali “The Most Dishonest News Executive in the Western Hemisphere” Kamel — who still has a job why? — and be crushed like a rare, delicate Himalayan blossom trying to flourish in a tiny crevice on some wind-blasted crag.

Signs of intelligent life tend not to be especially welcome there at Globo.

I hope I am wrong.


Rede Globo vs. Internet (Crash Tester): The Web site poll pictured above, from Globo.com, asked New World Lusophone Web site visitors, “Do you use the Internet?” 75.10% of Globo.com Web site visitors had the presence of mind and the malicious wit to answer “no.”

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