Pots on The Edge of The Flat Earth

Folha's take on the protests was better in the week the country almost disintegrated

The week started well for Folha. The newspaper understood what happened on Saturday (29) and gave its due weight to the Saturday demonstrations against Jair Bolsonaro across the country. The paper's competition slept on this news as social media highlighted showed through the Sunday front pages. It is unknown how long, but the historical record is still a prerogative of the battered printed version.

The week also made Brazil feel a little closer to the edge of the flat Earth of Bolsonaro, borrowing here the expression used by physician Luana Araújo at the CPI. In reaction to what he saw on the streets over the weekend, the president agreed to host a football tournament in the middle of a pandemic. This move has been questioned around the planet. Bolsonar also celebrated an unexpected GDP on national television and even received from the military leadership the deed of what he calls his Army.

He still had time to insult journalist Daniela Lima, from CNN Brasil, when she gave her opinion on a maliciously edited video circulating on WhatsApp. Bolsonaro's history of attacks on the press is well known, and, in most cases, they are offenses against women journalists. Sexism is not exclusive to the president, as the CPI senators attest, but his aversion to those he sees as "quadrupeds," as he classified Folha's former colleague, is symptomatic.

Two of them, Milton Coelho da Graça and Ribamar Oliveira, died from Covid-19 in recent days. Milton did many things, but he was also responsible for the historical edition of O Globo, which, in 1981, thwarted the Army's secret service attempt to subvert the military's guilt for the attack in Riocentro. Ribamar, another professional with an extensive curriculum, coined the term "pedalada" in Valor Econômico, and his name appears in the first reports that led to the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff.

Professional "quadruped" journalism faces regimes and presidents, including bipeds who respect the Constitution and understand the role of the press in a democracy.


Even though the newspaper was celebrated for its coverage of the protests, Folha did not escape the critical wave directed at much of the "major media." The editorial "New in the streets," which aired on Saturday night (29), ended up being perceived by some readers as the newspaper's preview of 2022 elections. The text questions what "the left, to begin with by PT, it offers in addition to the adversative".

On the other hand, those who disdained the size of the demonstrations were soon run over by the responses of Bolsonaro and his main adversary so far, João Doria, shouting "vaccination now." On Wednesday (2), the governor made headlines on the main sites with the promise to immunize all adults in São Paulo by October. Bolsonaro, hours later and under the most acute pang of the mandate, found a number to call his own, 100 million doses delivered, and even said that all Brazilians "who so desire" will be vaccinated by the end of the year.

New protests have already been scheduled for June 19th. The requests for vaccination and impeachment will be added to those for repudiation of police violence and the submission of the Armed Forces, crystal clear after the non-punishment of active general Eduardo Pazuello.
The country goes downhill, the importance of journalism grows, Folha's task increases.


Naomi Osaka, 23, the world's number two tennis player, was fined $15,000 for not appearing in a post-game interview at Roland Garros. The athlete had warned, before the competition, that she would not speak to the press, as she had been feeling anxious and stressed by the questions. In addition to ignoring the appeal, journalists also stressed that if she insisted on the denial, her registration in future Grand Slams would be threatened.

Naomi then withdrew from the tournament, something unheard of at this level of the sport, writing on Twitter that, since 2018, she has been dealing with episodes of depression. The organizers soon realized the size of the nonsense, rushed to spread words of support, and sponsors, personalities, and athletes. Folha covered the drama but did not address the journalistic issue.

Is it the press's fault? The amount of silly questions at press conferences, not just in the sports world, doesn't really help. Still, the responsibility isn't just in the microphones — Naomi, in her post, even apologizes to journalists.

The tennis player may not need the press, let alone speaking directly to millions of fans through social media, but the sport does, and the public does too. After all, wouldn't it be necessary, for example, to listen to the national team's athletes about Copa América and CBF?

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon