In the 100 years of sheet, I extended for 40 years, completed in November 2020, a mistake that has unfolded in countless others. A call from Boris Casoy, then Editor in Chief, with an invitation to my collaboration in the newspaper, followed up on a suggestion by Flávio Rangel to Otavio Frias Filho, who was looking for a new occupant for the thin column on page 2.
It wasn’t going to last, so I started, not with the expected six texts a week, three fit. There was no talk about the column genre. My predecessor had come from decades as a political editorialist, with style and thematic of that lineage. They expected me, I suppose, to continue like this. I didn’t even try: in São Paulo with the name of Janio, a journalist from the abominable spa in Rio and unable to do what he didn’t know, it would certainly be the horror of experimental readers. I ran for a chronicle of political background, with improbable spices and a varied menu.
The opposite of what Otavio wanted, I came to know not long after. The invitation was a mistake. From Otavio I never heard a positive reference to an article of mine. Strictly speaking, I heard two compliments: one, for the article “Cuba back and forth”, when he told me he felt guilty for having retained me in the cool work of the column; another, in the article on Aegean Greece, where I was very moved. A compliment for every 20 years is at least an original average.
When Father Frias wanted to move me to his own, fixed space, six days a week, I was very reluctant to myself. I was overcome by another mistake. Year by year, the top corner and next to the fold on page 5 received and delivered an exclusive, generally relevant and somewhat daring subject. The end point of one column signaled the start of work for the next, or the following. A folly. That I foresaw, but did not relieve, as is more common, by the proud fascination of this profession unfit for the countries of false “developing”.
Father Cold is deserving of a recognition not yet made by journalism. Not even in sheet. The peculiar extension of information freedom, the basis of the identity that the newspaper came to form, was only made possible by a factor contrary to the traditional pressure of economic power to contain journalism within narrow limits. It has a name: it is the factor Octavio Frias de Oliveira.
The newspaper had already become the pole of public rejection of the dictatorship, with the campaign of Diretas Já induced by Otavio. In the civilian regime, he maintained his privileged position with journalism critical of the government’s problems of openness. And “this movement [do jornal] came accompanied by the exercise of investigative journalism ”, as O Globo said, about the centenary of sheet, the president of the National Association of Newspapers, Marcelo Rech. “THE sheet did not invent investigative journalism, but the denunciation of fraud in the North-South railroad bidding (…), in 1987, was a watershed. ”
There was an obsessive run on the revelations of investigative journalism. This was only possible because Frias triggered an extraordinary capacity to reduce resentment and obtain the conviction of those affected, in interests and prestige, by the revelations of sheet. The traumatic acts of journalism, it was common to follow the immediate operation of Frias, showered with natural sympathy and completed with the offer of space to the response of the affected – definitive argument of the absence of any purpose other than democratic journalism. THE sheet composed a unique identity.
The looks of mutual understanding between me and sheet defiled in the Fernando Henrique government. Since the electoral campaign, all the “media” served him, not only the Plano Real and its anti-inflationary effectiveness. Critical thinking and social and institutional responsibility have been suppressed. There was a lot of illegality and immorality, but the political and partisan commitment countered, more strongly, the necessary criticism and investigative journalism.
The Fernando Henrique government was such a nefarious period for the “media” – not considering the financial aspect, with great benefits – that this influence still prevails. It has shown itself in all electoral campaigns since those 1990s. It made the great spectacle of the protective dam against the judicial and political violence of Lava Jato by Sergio Moro and Deltan Dallagnol. It shows itself in complacency with the corruption of the Aetios of the PSDB. It is already bent for the presidential election of 2022.
From the chronicles of political background, the sheet took me to a column of hot and sharp information. Then, in isolation, I started to react to the deleterious fernandismo-peessedebismo. Finally, outsourced, to expose lost or relegated perceptions in the sinking of the country in a total and deadly crisis.
Forty years that I feel without annual divisions, uniform volume of time, nothing that I wished to relive. My 40 carry the satisfaction of three contributions to the 100 of sheet: immediately after the first texts, treating the military issue like any other, against the old taboo; take advantage of Gilmar Mendes’ imbalances and invade the Supreme’s untouchability, with one more taboo that fell; and reveal, with the North-South and many other frauds unveiled and canceled, the corruption that is the soul of “development” in Brazil.
The press is in crisis, worldwide. THE sheet he deserves to correct his way to overcome this pressure.
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