Unmarked Offside

Calls for impeachment grows, but don't expect too much from this newspaper

Disastrous, prone to tantrums, ecocide, demagogic, inoperative, dysfunctional, pre-school, denial, indefensible.

Inefficiency, sabotage, populist temptations, bizarre convictions, ideological bias, ideological folly, bravado, negligence, nonsense, corporate interests, apology for brutality, riots, lack of composure, irresponsibility, contempt for precaution, turmoil, corporatism, authoritarian nostalgia, distortion.

Deranged, worst president, ideological opponent of the Constitution.
No, it's not a new version of the columns by Mariliz Pereira Jorge and Ruy Castro. These are the adjectives and the nouns used by the editorial articles of Folha in the description of Jair Bolsonaro, his attitudes, and his government. And this is only from articles published this June and until yesterday.

It is no small thing, in terms of content added on the site under the title "what Folha thinks," reflections of a newspaper from which sober, balanced, cultured, and responsible opinions are expected. Perhaps it is too little, however, for those who have already lost patience with the "worst president of the Republic since redemocratization."

This opinions comes from the main editorial from last week, "Not to forget," published last weekend, when the country reached the tragic mark of 500 thousand deaths by Covid-19.

Therefore, in the newspaper's opinion, Bolsonaro is worse than the impeached Dilma Rousseff, a conclusion that will serve both the president's extreme supporters and his most severe detractors.

For the first group, Folha, like the rest of the national media, is the president's opponent and wants to overthrow him. For the second team, the newspaper does not do enough to remove them from power for one reason or another. This reduction persists in both reasonings.

Reasons to remove the president abound. This is nothing new. His lack of education and unpreparedness are notable, but the latest events in Brasilia now underline, in addition to ideological outbursts and delays of all sorts, also signs of corruption.

It would not be frivolous to estimate that this is the average thought of Folha readers. According to a Datafolha survey in January of this year, 80% of subscribers support Congress opening an impeachment process. In the general population, they are 49%, according to the institute's last verification on the subject, in May.

Since then, the impact of half a million deaths, the investigation by the Senate, and the demonstrations organized by social movements and left-wing parties may have moved the needle of the barometer against Bolsonaro. If all this sounds a bit "cringe," as taught in recent days, there remains the blunt position of influencers on social networks. A request for unified impeachment will be filed Wednesday (30) in the Chamber.

Is it time, then, for Folha to start moving?

Recent history shows that it is better to wait seated. In 2016, on the occasion of its 95th anniversary, the newspaper published a compendium of what Folha thinks about current issues at the time. As we have progressed little, most are in vogue, including impeachment: "This extreme resource should only be used when there is not only a robust set of evidence to indicate that the incumbent has committed a crime of responsibility, but also a broad political consensus that he is unable to remain in office."

The final part of the entry, necessary by the circumstances of that year, ended up dated: "At least for now, these conditions are not properly fulfilled in the case of President Dilma Rousseff (PT)."

Six months later, she was removed from power, but Folha behaved according to her convictions. In an editorial, it asked for the resignation of the PT member and her vice president, Michel Temer. For the impeachment, according to the text, there were leftovers, but "full proof" was lacking. "Fiscal rides are a questionable reason in a still permissive budget culture."

Of course, the newspaper was criticized for not joining the majority chorus, not taking a real stand or suggesting a theoretical solution to a real problem.

Applied to the disastrous case of Bolsonaro, Folha's unwritten clause excludes the newspaper, at least for the moment, from a defense of his removal. Although it is possible to frame the president in a crime of responsibility, and the CPI and the Miranda brothers are there for that, there is a lack of "broad political consensus" to prosecute him. For now, the country seems far from that, as it lives in the Arthur Lira geological era.

As Pablo Ortellado wrote in O Globo, in the current state of affairs, pursuing impeachment sounds like a moral imperative. Maybe this is the only theoretical solution at the time.

José Henrique Mariante
An engineer and journalist, he has worked in various roles at Folha since 1991 — as a reporter, correspondent, editor and editorial secretary. He is the ombudsman since 2021.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon