On November 8th this year, former President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, was freed from prison after the Supreme Court issued a broad ruling that allows defendants to remain free while their appeals are pending. He was in the process of serving a 12 year sentence on corruption charges. This was a very provocative move, and many rejoiced, yet equally as many cried out in despair. The New York Times, an US-based news corporation and Deutsche Welle, a German state-owned public international broadcaster both published contrasting opinion articles regarding the impact of Lula’s release for the future of Brazil. These different accounts show how truly unpredictable the next few months will be for the country.
NYT article: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/08/world/americas/lula-brazil-supreme-court.html
DW article: https://www.dw.com/en/opinion-bye-bye-brazil-bye-bye-lula/a-51280010
The NYT takes a stance that Lula’s release acts as a beacon of hope for Brazil, finally a viable opponent to the oppressive rule of Bolsonaro. They reference his reformative programs which brought millions out of poverty, his moves for more access to education and promotion of racial equality. The moment when Lula walked out of jail was described as something one might see at a wedding – crying, much kissing of babies and laughter. They stated that :
‘Mr. da Silva’s freedom gives the opposition, which has been splintered and largely rudderless in the Bolsonaro era, a towering figure to lead the charge’
It is important to note that despite backing up their claims with quotes from notable figures in Brazilian politics and society, the ones referenced were only ones that were supportive of Lula and his promises. So can we say that a supposedly unbiased international news corporation have an agenda, and is using their influence to attain it?
On the other side of the spectrum, DW’s article condemns Lula and the actions he is expected to take. They pose the question
‘And can Lula — who many Brazilians greatly admire for implementing welfare programs that lifted more than 30 million people out of poverty between 2003 and 2011 — lead the country out of its current crisis?’
In bold, taking up a solid chunk of the page is the simple word ‘No’. They cite the historical precedent, not only of Lula, but also of Brazil in making a point that he symbolises the deep divides in Brazilian society. Unlike the NYT, there are no personal account, but instead the heavy use of statistics – numbers of Brazilian’s emigrating – ‘voting with their feet’, and an analysis of the permanent struggle for democracy since the impeachment of Rousseff in 2016.
So we can see that these two heavily influential sources of information have varying opinions and perspectives on the return of Lula into Brazilian society. They both make very convincing cases as to the points that they make, using various techniques to motivate their respective audiences. This naturally leads to the question – are international multimedia broadcasters correct in voicing their opinions and influencing others to these beliefs when they act as tellers of the ultimate truth?
November 25, 2019 — 12:00 am
Very interesting topic. What is also fascinating is to compare the Canadian media and government’s response to Lula being jailed, versus its response to being released, which has been non-existent. At the time of his arrest, most people in Canada and among political and establishment circles were celebrating, and vast campaigns of disinformation were taken on by elite circles to repress any veneer of support for Lula or anything good about the policies he enacted while in office. Nevertheless, the silence of the Canadian establishment has allowed us, myself included, to actually get correctly informed on the issue.
November 25, 2019 — 11:42 am
Great analysis! Super concise and informative.
It is always interesting to examine popular news sources and their biases, especially when it comes to topics such as these being discussed outside of the country they are happening in. International newspapers have the potential to report topics from more objective points of view but can also miss out on important cultural and social understandings.