The leaking of audio recordings of president Michel Temer (PMDB) and Joesley Batista, one of the owners of JBS company, were reported first hand by journalist Lauro Jardim in newspaper O Globo around 7 PM last Wednesday, May 17. The main accusation is of Temer's permission for giving hush money to an imprisoned Eduardo Cunha (PMDB-RJ). Moments later Globo TV breaking news spot announced the scandal and promised details on Jornal Nacional, it's 9 PM news show.
During Jornal Nacional, news anchors William Bonner and Renata Vasconcellos shared the headlines, expanding the denunciation bit by bit. Hours later, Jornal da Globo, Globo TV's late and last news show announced it would have a second edition that night to report on the breaking scandal.
The next day, just after Temer's pronouncement to nation affirming he would not renounce, the audio recordings of the conversations were made public by the Superior Federal Tribunal (STF), Brazil's highest court, through an order of justice Edson Fachin, responsible for Car Wash operation in that court. In the beginning and end of the recording, Batista's car stereo is tuned to CBN, Globo's main radio network.
"The same organization that supported the impeachment of president Dilma Rousseff is now orchestrating the fall of coup president Michel Temer", assesses the journalist, sociologist and Professor retired from the Arts and Communications School at the University of São Paulo (ECA-USP), Laurindo Lalo Leal Filho:
"The editorial line of Globo Organizations' newspaper, radio and television is the line of securing power. (…). It plays the role of a political party - it and other big media organizations in Brazil, such as Folha de São Paulo, Abril Editions and O Estado de São Paulo form a political party associated to sectors of the Legal System. We see a political party that combines the strengths of the media to those of the Legal System working together."
In the analysis of Leal, Globo's strategy is to overthrow Michel Temer and to support indirect elections, thus placing as the country's Presidente the current President-Justice Cármem Lúcia Antunes Rocha, as next in the succession line presented by the Constitution.
According to Datafolha's research, 61% of the population evaluates Temer's government as either bad or terrible, 28% consider it to be regular and 9% say it is either good or outstanding. In face of such low popularity and an economic crisis, Temer is losing influence. Lalo Leal Filho supports that analysis:
"An administration with such low popularity has a lot of trouble in passing important legislation through congress, even more with that have been rejected by the public in street demonstrations. The general strike that took place on April 28 showed it and had Globo to realize that the current government is in no condition to move such policies forward."
Journalist and founder of Opera Mundi website, Breno Altman also understands that Globo is working hard to overthrow Temer. However, in opposition to the "fourth power" cliche, he does not regard merely as a political party-like player. "Globo acts as the main party of the elites, but it also has commercial and journalistic interests in regard to the competition for clients. Such are its contradictions."
For him, the denunciation of the President is "political pact that greatly surprised all of the social, economic, media and political powers, every field in the political spectrum, from right to left."
History repeats itself as a farce
"An example is the story of former President Collor de Melo, in practice carried by Globo to the Office of the President. It was Globo who created the "Hunter of Maharajas" in Collor de Melo's home State of Alagoas. It also made him a national person and put him in power (…) After some time, as Collor de Melo showed himself not to be as lined up as expected to its interests, Globo supported the famous "painted faces" campaign and achieved to impeach him", recalls Professor Lalo Leal Filho about a not so old episode in Brazilian history.
To Breno Altman, there are three hypotheses as to what comes next. The first one puts mainstream media organizations at odds with each other regarding Temer's maintenance in power:
"The main outlet supporting that outcome is O Estado de São Paulo, although it acknowledges the seriousness of the claims. Nonetheless, there are parts of the private sector, media and armed forces that would rather see Temer preserved than investigated by the Superior Federal Tribunal. It would be better to endure his term to the end than to reopen the fight for the control of the State."
The second hypothesis is that of a group players, including Globo, getting rid of the coup President very fast. "They will force him to resign and readily find an appropriate indirect replacement, to be elected by Congress, so that the legislation reforms go on and the political project of the coup is further implemented."
The third hypothesis is that the campaign for "Direct Elections Now!" gains momentum and the way out to the democracy is through the popular field. "It is thus a divide among the dominant classes and media and an attempt by the popular sector at building up mobilization", concludes Altman.
According to Gilmar Mauro, member of the national coordination of the Landless Workers' Movement (MST), the best way forward is Direct Elections Now!:
"Globo has been long under economic strain, and losing ratings. Furthermore, it is also losing the political dispute in society. That is why they are disembarking the government and trying to build an alternative by indirect elections. We cannot accept that. We will defeat the coup not only by overthrowing Temer, but by politically defeating Globo and the attempt at indirect elections."
Edição: Camila Rodrigues da Silva | Translation: Olívia Janequine