While browsing one of the largest (online) newspapers in Brazil this morning, I noticed one thing…it’s the same thing I always notice, there’s no reason for the (Brazilian) News. While I have no vendetta out for news as a way to introduce a subject to the people, I do have an issue with trash posing as news. One could use the “don’t shoot the messenger” line here but I’m not buying it. Owners have certain preferences which will always make it into their papers and when the populace is kept between left and right politics (aka the Hegelian Dialectic of problem-reaction-solution), it gives organizations such as newspapers the right to say “we’re just reporting what the people want”. Rarely does one take into account the fact that the populace is conditioned by the media and the gov’t, both of which are eternally in bed together…but that’s another story to which I’ll only be devoting the following paragraph.
One can go back all the way to 1808, when the first ever Brazilian newspaper called the ‘Correio Brazilienze‘ began to be circulated in London as well as within Brazil, albeit secretly. The Brazilian owner, Hipólito da Costa, was a well-to-do mason and Brazilian diplomat who once in London, created the ‘Correio’ as a means to disseminate liberal ideas on the emancipation of Brazil from the Portuguese court. Seeing as how the Portuguese royals didn’t take too kindly to such a thing, they funded the creation of a rival newspaper in London called O Investigador Portuguez em Inglaterra. Come 1812 and the Royal Family had had enough of the Correio so they made a secret deal with Hipólito to tone down his criticism of the monarchy in exchange for a the handsome payment of 1,000 silver sterlings (equal to about 500 subscriptions) per year. Meanwhile, his readers were none-the-wiser all the way up until the newspaper ceased circulation in 1822.
Returning to modern reporting, here’s what I found while tallying up the types of articles in the paper today in Brazil.
16 stories on death and violence
7 stories on trivia (entertainment, aka bread and circuses)
9 stories on politics, etc (the kind that are of interest only to select readers)
That’s right. There was nothing to give pause, to require thought or to inspire further pursuit in the news today. Sure, they say some days are ‘slow news days’ but I’m not buying that either because I see this day-in, day-out in Brazilian newspapers. I’m not saying the news in other countries is any better as globalization has made us all ‘beat our drum to the same tune’, but it’s sad nonetheless. And for those who are more visually stimulated, there’s always Brazilian TV news, but don’t waste your time, it’s just more of the same.
As with anything else in this world, if you want to be informed, do research, read from multiple sources and multiple viewpoints and find others to discuss those issue with. Proceed with caution though, as it’s important too to not fall into the trap of Plato’s Cave, where we look to our neighbor to confirm our understanding of reality, a ‘reality’ which the media and gov’t hand out on a daily basis.