Where were you on 7/9?

Journalism will take time to explain what happened in the last week

September 7 was the day when Dom Pedro 1º, on the placid banks of the Ipiranga, atop a white horse, raised his sword and cried "independence or death." Or, as we also know, the day he had diarrhea at the edge of the stream, not wearing a dress uniform and riding a mule. Or, as we learned last Tuesday, the day Jair Bolsonaro tried, it seems, to stage a coup. Or where he just felt if he had the wind in his favor. Or where it was inconsequential.

Even though history later shows that the president just got carried away by the heat of the moment, the gang that actually sweated and risked catching Covid-19 on the Esplanada and Paulista Avenue were sure what the purpose of the gathering was. The same thing that the markets understood as an obvious risk of instability, with a soaring dollar and a stampede of resources from the stock exchange. Markets are not patriotic.

Being a narrator of what will one day become history places a huge responsibility on journalists. Balance is needed to not embark on interested versions or underestimate facts that prove important during the investigation.
The main press outlets did the job possible last week, with mistakes and successes. Among these is the frontpage editorial "Bolsonaro is the loser," in the Tuesday edition when Folha outlined the repudiation that Brazilian society would manifest despite the scale achieved by the coup acts.

There are gaps, of course. There was a lot to explain, even skipping the part about whether or not it was an attempted coup. The curious thing about this discussion is that the left attests that it is ongoing, just as the right is still waiting for it. Adding the two positions, there is no doubt.

There are many questions about the demonstration. Who paid the bill to move so many people? CNN Brasil says Alexandre de Moraes investigates funding within the fake news inquiry. Whose are the carriers that sent trucks to Brasília? Folha and others try to identify those responsible. Did Luiz Fux even consider asking for a Guarantee of Law and Order on Monday night? BBC Brasil and Valor report that in this way the Supreme Court Justice removed the Federal District's security forces from inertia after the local PM gave in to protesters.

How much did the busy presidential and allied holiday, the helicopters, the security cost? This question, of course, is for a transparent government to answer.
What was the intention in calling the Council of the Republic? Found a fancy name like Rolls Royce? More importantly, at what time on Wednesday did the broth spill? Until the meeting with ministers, Bolsonaro remained resolute. According to Folha, it was at the time he realized that the arrival of allies in Congress was feasible. For Valor, it was at the time he received such information from Arthur Lira and after interlocutors were inundated with phone calls from heavyweights from GDP.

Why did Michel Temer join the soap opera? Why is he close to Moraes, his nominee for the Supreme Court, or why did he fail to agree with the supposed truck drivers in the part where the coup doesn't happen? "This strike will fall directly into your lap," said the former president, according to his report to Estadão.
What will we remember about this troubled week 20 years from now? The big scare or the initial part of the script drawn in "How Democracies Die," by far the most cited book by the national media in recent times?
Where were you 20 years ago on 9/11? He was working like a madman, with no idea what might happen the next day.

"When Covid-19 arrived and devastated the planet, it signed all the necessary checks and released billions of reais to minimize the suffering of the Brazilian people. It gave all ministers and portfolios freedom to act to carry out actions to fight the pandemic ."
"Even with part of the press trying to minimize its relevance, the demonstrations that filled the streets of the country on September 7 were impressive. Avenida Paulista, with 14 trucks scattered around, was packed. In Brasília, there have never been so many people occupying the Esplanada dos Ministries."
"When ministers undertake the task of determining what is fake news or 'unscientific,' without a paragraph in national law saying that society has ceded the right to the State to determine what is scientific, the Supreme Court loses respect and generates hatred."

The excerpts above did not come from some Bolsonaro supporter on Telegram, but from opinion columns published by Folha last week. Readers approached the ombudsman to complain.

José Henrique Mariante

Trained as an engineer and journalist, Mariante has been a reporter, correspondent, editor and editorial secretary at Folha, where he has worked since 1991. He is the ombudsman.