“The Face of Veja”

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The delusional is no longer marginal –Bill Moyers

Reinaldo Azevedo represents a kind of caricature, the most grotesque expression of Veja magazine’s editorial degradation.

A cara da Veja: Veteran business journalist Luis Nassif has been giving Veja magazine (Editora Abril, Brazil) a lot of grief lately.

I have been translating the series because I read Veja magazine regularly for a couple of years, then stopped, because I also found it to be a perpetual font of gibbering bullshit, even before I started studying up on the local journalism scene and trying to figure out who was who, doing what.

The Nassif Critique tends to confirm my own observations about the (absence of standards) and (mal)practices underlying the magazine’s shrill, sleazy, factually challenged, neo-Lacerdist claptrap.

In this installment, Nassif comments on Veja’s Rush Limbaugh clone, Reinaldo Azevedo, and his army of “dittoheads.” On whom see also

Slogan da nova campanha publicitária de Veja:

Slogan of Veja magazine’s new ad campaign:

“Veja, indispensável para o país que queremos ser”

“Veja, indispensable to the nation we want to be.”

A cara da Veja, para todos os leitores que freqüentam o portal da revista, é o Blog de Reinaldo Azevedo.

The face of Veja magazine, for all of the readers who visit its Web site, is the “blog” of Reinaldo Azevedo.

Assista à campanha institucional da revista. Repare nas imagens, mostrando os problemas nacionais, a miséria, as criancinhas, a violência. E confira, na prática, “qual o país” que Veja quer ser.

Watch the magazine’s recent ad campaign. Note the images showing us the problems of Brazil, the poverty, the little children, the violence. Then note, in actual practice, “the kind of country” Veja wants Brazil to be.

Uma revista é o que ela publica, não o que a publicidade imagina.

The magazine they publish is not the one the ad campaign promises you.

Azevedo foi um jornalista apagado até os 40 anos de idade. Depois, entrou para a revista “Primeira Leitura”, que cerrou as portas quando foi denunciado o esquema de patrocínios políticos que a mantinha.

Azevedo was a has-been journalist until he hit 40. Then he went to work for Primeira Leitura, which closed its doors after the scheme of political patronage it was engaged in was denounced.

Specifically, the so-called “Nossa Caixa scandal.”

The governing faction in São Paulo at the time — “the Pinhamonhangaba Mob” — allegedly funneled ad money through GONGO-style private foundations and public-sector companies to publications with an editorial line favorable to it. A brief recap (too lazy to research the source, I just googled this up randomly):

Segundo reportagem da Folha de S. Paulo, a cúpula do Palácio dos Bandeirantes, quando era ocupada pelos tucanos, pressionou o banco oficial paulista para patrocinar, entre outros, anúncios mensais na revista e no site “Primeira Leitura.

According to a report in the Folha de S. Paulo, senior officials in the governor’s palace, when it was occupied by Toucans, pressured the state-owned bank to run monthly ads in the magazine and on its Web site, among other publications.

Em recente entrevista à revista Imprensa, o jornalista Reinaldo Azevedo negou o favorecimento mas admitiu que a reportagem prejudicou a revista e o site, tirando-lhes anunciantes.

In a recent [June 2006] interview with Imprensa magazine, Azevedo denied the magazine was favored but admitted that the report harmed the magazine and Web site, losing them advertisers.

Nassif continues:

Foi, então, contratado por Mario Sabino para se tornar o blogueiro da Veja, incumbido dos ataques aos adversários e da bajulação aos aliados e à empresa. Pratica ambos com notável desenvoltura.

Azevedo was then hired by Mario Sabino to become Veja‘s designated blogger, in charge of attacking adversaries and praises allies and the Editora Abril to the skies. He engages in both with a notable degree of wild enthusiasm.

Dedica a Sabino temor reverencial. Quando não recebe ordens diretas da direção, procura se antecipar ao que considera ser a opinião da revista.

He treats Sabino with reverent fear and trembling. When not receiving his marching orders direct from editorial management, he tries to anticipate what he considers their wishes and the views of the magazine to be.

Às vezes erra e entra em pânico.

Sometimes he gets it wrong and enters into a panic.

Quando Barack Obama despontou nas pesquisas, escreveu comentário preconceituoso contra ele. No final de semana a edição da revista elogiava o candidato. Sua reação foi um e-mail temeroso a Sabino, perguntando das conseqüências do escorregão.

When Obama took off in the opinion pools, he published a bigoted commentary about him. The next edition of the magazine praised the candidate. His reaction was a fearful e-mail to Sabino, asking about the consequences of his slip up.

Acalmou-se quando recebeu o “nihil obstat”. Passou recibo no Blog, divulgando o e-mail súplice e a absolvição generosa.

He calmed down when he received the nihil obstat. He published the receipt on his blog, reproducing his supplicant e-mail and the generous absolution.

Tenta reproduzir o ideal “yuppie” do grupo, como apregoar que sempre foi bem sucedido (até os 40 anos era jornalista apagado; até dois anos atrás, jornalista desempregado), gostar de uísque escocês e separar parte de suas cinco horas de sono para “fazer amor”. Aprecia quando comentários supostamente assinados por leitores (grande parte dos comentários é de “anônimos”, que tanto podem ser leitores quanto o próprio blogueiro) realçam sua inteligência e charme.

He tries to represent the “yuppie” ideal of Abril by constantly preaching the notion that his a successful journalist (washed up at 40, and until two years ago, unemployed). He likes Scotch and sets aside part of his five hours of nightly sleep for “making love.”

Brazilians, sadly, do not have the first notion of what the vast universe of Scotch whiskey is, due to import controls or something. Johnny Walker, and more recently Ballantines (which is nice and buttery), and that is about it.

He is appreciative when comments supposedly submitted by readers (a good portion of his comments come from [“anonymice”] who might just as well be the author himself] praise him for his intelligence and charm.

Gosta de ser chamado de “meu Rei” e “tio Rei” pelos leitores. Esbanja preconceito contra negros, mulheres, abusa de um linguajar chulo, não tem limites para caluniar ou difamar críticos da revista.

He likes to be addressed as “my King” and “Uncle King” by readers. He seethes with prejudice against blacks and women, abuses vulgar slang, and knows no limits when it comes to slandering and defaming critics of the magazine.

They call Mainardi and Azevedo “the pit bulls of Veja.”

Seu blog participa do circuito de blogs que fazem eco às “denúncias” lançadas pelo lobby de Daniel Dantas.

His blog is part of the circle of blogs that [form an echo chamber] for the “charges” laid by the Dantas lobby.

É reconhecidamente pessoa desequilibrada, com pendores homofóbicos. Tem obsessão porinsinuações sexuais contra adversários e é especialmente agressivo com mulheres. Consegue saltar, sem nenhum filtro, da agressão mais escatológica contra os “inimigos” à bajulação mais rasteira às chefias.

He is well-known to be an unbalanced person, with homophobic tendencies. He is obsessed with sexual insinuations against adversaries and is especially aggressive with women. He is able to unleash, without editorial filters, the most scatological forms of aggression against the “enemies” and the most abject fawning upon the big bosses.

Whoa, no need to get personal! The man is not necessarily the mask. On the other hand, what the man publishes certainly does have those characteristics in spades.

Em qualquer publicação, independentemente do porte, seu desequilíbrio seria contido dentro de limites editoriais. Na Veja de Eurípedes-Sabino não só tem autorização para fazer o que quiser -até sugerir “boquetes” ao presidente – como é estimulado a isso.

In any publication, of whatever size, this lack of balance would be kept within editorial limits. At Veja magazine under Alcântara and Sabino, he is not only authorized to do whatever he wants — even to suggest “blow jobs” for the president of Brazil — but is encouraged to do so.

There was an undeniably funny moment during a speech by the president last year when, defending a public health campaign promoting condoms and sex education (which is, of course, a serious issue), and the “secular state” in general (also very serious), he is heard yelling that he wants to teach us all how to find the G-spot.

The president of Brazil is a happily married man, it appears — not that I give a damn about the guy’s personal life — so I would not necessarily question his personal knowledge of the subject.

After all, as Larry Rohter always delighted in pointing out, his tourism minister is a monied lefty sexologist.
But President Squid is also, let’s face, 60-ish, avuncular, talks funny, and is sort of Yosemite Sam stumpy. Not a matinee idol type. And he is going to show Brazil the G-spot. Heh heh.

So, yeah, that actually was funny for about 15 seconds. The likes of Veja dedicated saturation coverage to it as a substitute for covering the substance of the public debate at that moment. Ecce Veja.

Graças à falta de discernimento de Eurípedes e Sabino e à pouca importância que ambos – mais a Abril – dedicam ao trabalho de preservação da imagem da revista, Azevedo representa uma espécie de caricatura, a parte mais grotesca do processo de degradação editorial da revista. É um esgoto sem filtro. Todo o seu desequilíbrio é despejado diariamente no Blog e sua atuação festejada por Sabino.

Thanks to the lack of discernment by the two top editors and how little they, and Abril, care about trying to preserve the magazine’s public image, Azevedo represents a kind of caricature, the most grotesque expression of the magazine’s editorial degradation. He is an untreated sewer. All of his derangement is dumped daily into the blog and his work is celebrated by Sabino.

Hoje em dia, junto ao universo crescente dos freqüentadores da Internet, a imagem de Veja tornou-se irremediavelmente ligada à de Azevedo, o “tio Rei”. É o exemplo mais acabado do processo de deterioração moral e editorial que tomou conta da revista.

Nowadays, given the growing universe of Internet users, Veja’s image has become inextricably tied to Reinaldo “Uncle King” Azevedo.

Tio is an expression of servility used by slaves, peons and beggars. You often hear it being used with aggressive irony by the manos. If someone starts addressing you as tio on the street, it makes you a little nervous.

I am not going to translate the rest, because Nassif basically goes on to simply juxtapose the mouth-foaming gibberish regularly published by this man on Veja’s Web site with the public image of social responsibility projected by the campaign.

The technical term for this is anaphora.

You use it a lot in litanies.

Nassif simply repeats the Veja advertising slogan, then reproduces passages of Azevedan filth and fury, and then repeats the Veja advertising slogan.

Azevedo uses the litany format a lot himself, so there may be some literary tiração de sarro here, mocking Azevedo’s gibbering style.

At any rate, I will simply stipulate that Azevedo really is a bottomless sump of gibbering twaddle.

One of many reasons I am not going to bother giving Editora Abril any of my money until they start firing some of these circus freaks and get serious.

Among the cases of point I looked at to arrive at this conclusion on my own — and the decision not to pay any more attention to this claptrap — see, for example,

Veja spun a theory of sinister conspiracy between a Folha journalist and a Brazilian judge in the case of a civil libel conviction its columnist suffered, having been found to have uttered gabbling untruths without any foundation about supposed criminal and corrupt conduct by a target of Veja’s character assassins.

The fact of the matter was that a document had been bureaucratically misfiled and had to be re-signed by the judge on a later date, opening the way for (baseless) speculation that the journalist had been shown the decision before it had been officially rendered.

Veja‘s Marcio Aith was then delegated to repeat the theory on TV Cultura’s Roda Viva panel interview show.

(Veja likes to publish nonsense in print and then repeat it on TV. Globo often lends itself to this sort of synergy.)

I saw this episode. (This is a pretty good show, despite a set that was apparently bought secondhand from the producers of the 1960s Batman series.)

Aith was visibly unable to meet the the eye of the offended party, former Globo journalist and current Brazilian Tony Snow-equivalent Franklin Martins.

It was, as Boris Casoy is famous for saying, a vergonha. See for yourself:

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