Doria's Dive

Folha reveals scoop on the withdrawal of candidacy to the Planalto that lasted hours

Certain words and expressions, even if translatable, work better in the original language. "Diving" is one of them. Not in the sense of diving, the direct meaning, but in football, the act of throwing oneself dramatically on the grass to claim a fault that did not exist. Brazilians are considered experts in the sport. Neymar is king.

The Portuguese language does not offer an exact match for the term. Someone will remember simulation, of a technical nature, or bandeau, this childish, almost tolerant of fraud. "Diving" in English also means diving, the sport where aesthetics duels with gravity to, for a few seconds, transform a falling body into art. Whoever jumps off the platform, however, does so alone, not being pushed by anyone. Here is the bitter British humor.

Who threw himself into the depths of the lawn, on Thursday (31), was the then governor of São Paulo, João Doria. On the day he was supposed to transfer the position to his vice governor, Rodrigo Garcia, and launch himself once and for all in the presidential race, Doria dawned resolute that his great political adventure ended there. As Folha anticipated, in the second big scoop in the newspaper in this presidential race (the first was the advent of the Lula-Alckmin double), Doria had warned Garcia on Wednesday that he would stay at Palácio dos Bandeirantes until the end of his term, that is, that he had given up the dream of the Plateau.

(PS: Sérgio Ruiz, editor-in-chief of Veja, gets in touch with the column to remind you that Doria's withdrawal threat was published on the magazine's website, on the Machiavelli blog, in the early hours of Thursday. Point made, thank you.)

According to the report, replicated immediately and with credit to Folha for the competition, Doria also was to announce his disaffiliation from the PSDB, accusing party chiefs of having betrayed him. Adding it all up, the implosion of the party's main platform in the country, of Garcia's candidacy and, most likely, of the party itself.

While the news alert flashed on the cell phone screens, the printed version of Folha became fiction before breakfast. On page A3, in Tendências / Debates, Doria's name was above the article "Thank you, São Paulo." "I comply with the legal precept, which determines the dissolution of the government of São Paulo, to start our journey towards the Presidency of the Republic," he wrote. In contrast, Bia Doria, in an interview on the website, spoke of relief. "I want my husband back home."

In a move that I considered reckless, the newspaper updated the article that, on page A10 of the print, presented the day the governor would become a candidate, with a summary of the achievements of his administration and campaign challenges. In internal criticism, I asked if the newsroom would change the text once again if Doria retreated from the retreat. Hours later, in an equivalent construction, Folha published in a headline that he had given up on giving up.

In his first act as a former governor, Doria described the turbulent journey as a strategy. "There was no withdrawal, there was planning so that we could have what we got, the explicit support of the PSDB." Those who followed the news realized that the result achieved was short-lived, like the Folha scoop.

Journalism is ungrateful. By competently fulfilling its role, the newspaper imposed Doria's name on the country's headlines during a good part of a Thursday of intense political movement, which also had Sergio Moro giving up his candidacy (new fashion, the former judge gave up having given up on Friday) and the President of the Republic renewing his threats to democracy. A pyrrhic victory for the ex-governor of São Paulo, mistranslated as a stumbling block by Folha's Primeira Page of the following day. He stumbles on his own, but not on purpose.

Doria dove in badly. Not even Neymar splashes so much water.


Folha has a newsletter that brings together the main articles of the week according to the reader's preferences. Selection is done by artificial intelligence. On Friday (1st), the first news item from the list sent to this ombudsman was "Doria warns that he will give up trying to become president and opens a crisis in the PSDB." Apparently it will take some time for the algorithm to understand which newspaper, in an election year, is an airport nut in the middle of the storm.


"There is no corruption in my government," declared Jair Bolsonaro more than once. When a minister of state in his government is removed on suspicion of corruption, Folha's Primeira Página shows that a "scandal overthrows Ribeiro do MEC." In the current era of headline journalism, a wasted opportunity.


Readers saw criticism of the PT in a note in the last column. I commented on the treatment given to the outcome of the Powerpoint soap opera and wrote that the mea culpa of the press would come along with that of the party, never. The intention was to say that the press demands from PT members something that it is not willing to do.

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.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon