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Brazil President Removes Mask in Front of Press, Calls Mainstream News Outlet ‘Scoundrel Journalism'

During a quick press conference in Brazil last June, President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil exchanged words with a journalist from Globo TV about his response to the Coronavirus pandemic. From a short excerpt of the released footage, President Bolsonaro exclaimed to the press- “Stop talking about this. You want to write that up put it out there now. I am without a mask in quarantine. Are you happy now? The Globo is sh*t press. You’re crap press. You’re scoundrels. You make for scoundrel journalism. You help with nothing! You destroy the Brazilian family! You destroy the Brazilian’s religion! You are no good! The Globo TV is no good! It is a very bad information organization. If you do not watch Globo, you have no information. If you do watch, you are misinformed. You should be ashamed for providing such pork service that is made on Globo TV. Thank you.”

Bolsonaro was condemned by the RSF (Reporters without Borders) for his continuous anti-press sentiments. As of August 2021, Brazil is ranked 111 out of 180 in the RSF’s Press Freedom Index, in comparison to the United States in 44th place and the Nordic countries as top 3. Before President Bolsonaro took office, he had declared war on Brazil’s “fake news media” and vowed to fight against dangerous misinformation. Of course, this resulted in massive backlash regarding press freedoms; meanwhile, smaller, independent media have opened the door for alternate coverage as Globo has continuously dominated Brazilian mainstream news. Globo later released a statement stating that they were committed to serious and responsible journalism.

As President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro has no power in ending lockdowns and mandates across the country but has repeatedly condemned them as unnecessary and tyrannical. He, himself, received a fine for refusing to wear a mask in public at a motorcycle rally. Governor of Sao Paulo and leading opponent, Joao Doria, have embraced the stringent measures and are eyeing the Presidency for 2022. Bolsonaristas, or Bolsonaro supporters, have continually taken to the streets to protest the lockdowns and vaccine mandates.

YouTube has frequently removed videos of President Bolsonaro’s publicly made comments during the pandemic under the guise of "misinformation" particularly in his optimism for hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin as effective in combatting the Coronavirus. Brazil has been at the height of the outbreak ever since it began, with the first-ever case announced by the Sao Paulo Health Department in February of 2020. Brazil was also the first country in South America to recommend masks the following month. However, they had not become mandated until Ecuador and Venezuela began to enforce wearing face-coverings in public soon after. President Jair Bolsonaro has publicly mocked the masks despite having tested positive for COVID-19 himself last year, as well as having just a third of Brazil’s population partially vaccinated. Compare this to Chile and Uruguay, who have over two-thirds of their total population vaccinated currently.

About the Author:

Bean Dashnea is currently a student of foreign language and political science. She has lived between the U.S. and Europe for nearly 14 years but considers Texas home. After Bean changed her party registration from Democrat to Republican circa 2018, she immediately recognized the public discourse shift. She knew she was caught in the war on culture and information. Bean currently works with local Republican chapters and primarily advocates for smaller government and geopolitical awareness.

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