Back in December 2016, the American patent attorney Vanessa Otero fanned the flames of the fake news debate. She posted a chart that broke down various news sources according to their reliability and political standpoint.
Now, we’re doing the same with the Brazilian media.
Like everywhere else on the planet, Brazil’s traditional media outlets have been challenged by both technology and the effects of fake news. Still, most established outlets haven’t undergone much change in the last decade or so.
In order to shed some light on the situation, we’ve compiled a graph featuring the country’s major news outlets, established or not, and noted where they fall on the political spectrum.
Keep in mind that we’ve focused primarily on major outlets. You won’t find any personal blogs here, but hopefully, we’ll be able to include them in a future edition of our media map.
UPDATE Mar.15: FYI, This chart is based on our perception. It should go without saying that a text published under the section “Opinion” brings, well, opinions. We aren’t pretending to have scientifically dissected Brazilian media. Furthermore, this is an evolving chart – as outlets change, so will their positions on the scales.
As the number of media outlets is huge, we decided to not include those who are part of a media group already on the chart and share much of their content with a parent company (like Folha’s UOL and Globo’s G1). We have also prioritized outlets that we believe contribute more to the debate, regardless of their position.
Brazilians beware: in English, liberal means “left-wing.”
Get to know Brazil’s media
This website started off as a blog run by two prominent conservative journalists. Now, it has a small team and churns out content. Of course, most of its articles consist of rants and opinions about what other outlets publish; that being said, they do occasionally publish inside scoops.
A plus55 partner institution, Aos Fatos is a young fact-checking agency that gained notoriety among media outlets during the 2016 municipal elections. It scrutinizes the speeches of elected officials, as well as the federal budget.
This mainstream channel has low ratings and a very low budget. It’s owned by a wealthy family and supports both landowners and big money. By the way, Band News is better than its parent company.
This is probably the textbook definition of fake news. Its founder is currently under investigation by Operation Car Wash for having received dirty money from the government. During the era of Dilma Rousseff, Brasil 247 received more than $500,000 in taxpayer money. It goes without saying that the outlet wasn’t exactly jumping at the chance to criticize the former president’s government.
BuzzFeedNews BR (included on Mar. 15)
You won’t believe how good the Brazilian version of the viral empire is. They started off producing clickbait, but recently started publishing hard-hitting story after story.
This began as a small website to discuss free stuff to do in São Paulo but has since become a multi-million-dollar operation. However, it received attention for all the wrong reasons during the coverage of the Chapecoense plane crash – they published a number of sensationalist articles about deaths in plane crashes.
Congresso em Foco
This niche news website offers insight into Brazil’s congressional system. It explains how the houses of Parliament work to the lay reader.
Utter garbage created by a former journalist, and pro Worker’s Party. It specializes in mudslinging political opponents. A few fellow journalists have sued Paulo Henrique Amorim, the site’s creator, for libel. And they won.
Diário do Centro do Mundo
Consists mostly of rants about how the left is great and the right is corrupt – from guys who used to work in conservative outlets, of all places.
El País Brasil
The Spanish newspaper has a Brazilian operation. It offers in-depth coverage of social and political subjects. Its columnists are pretty good at producing viral content.
Época (included on Mar. 15)
Globo’s attempt to snatch the weekly magazine market away from Veja – has had mixed results. While it never got the same buzz of its rival, they’re a good plan-B for those who can’t stand Veja.
Folha de S.Paulo
Folha remains one of Brazil’s most reliable sources of information. Still, they have a terrible habit of laying off 20 percent of their staff writers every other month. And yes, it reflects on the quality of their product – as well as on the size of the newspaper.
Estado de S.Paulo
They have the same problems as Folha, with an additional twist: São Paulo’s oldest active newspaper has become increasingly political – and has close ties to the federal government.
This is a classic mainstream media group. Usually, it avoids tackling controversial issues and has historically been a government-friendly outlet. And it’s been on the wrong side of history more than just a few times. They supported the 1964 military coup, and didn’t cover the 1984 movement that called for direct presidential elections for the first time in 25 years.
Huffington Post Brasil
Left-wing journalism, sometimes overshadowed by all the blogs. Oddly enough, the Brazilian branch of HuffPo used to be part of the conservative Abril Group, responsible for Veja (see below).
A news website dedicated exclusively to covering the Justice system in all its ramifications.
A few years ago, this radio station decided to become “the radio of the right wing.” The São Paulo-based company pulled the move to increase its ratings, since the state is quite conservative. It hosts inflammatory – but popular – hosts such as Reinaldo Azevedo and Marco Antonio Villa. To sum it up: Jovem Pan is a toned-down version of Info Wars.
Away from the breaking news world, Nexo tries to explain events in both Brazil and the world, relying heavily on graphics and visual resources. Think Vox before they apparently got rid of their fact-checkers. Definitely worth reading.
Unbelievable stories concerning human rights violations perpetrated by the Brazilian police and military authorities. Since they don’t have a pitch that would interest advertisers, they’ll be launching a crowdfunding campaign soon.
So far, the website is good (notice that we didn’t say good-looking). Their main product is a paid newsletter to private companies.
This station and its branches are owned by the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, Brazil’s third-largest evangelical church. This denomination has been linked to numerous scandals, including money laundering and corruption schemes. So, there’s that.
Since TV stations are public concessions, they’re required to include journalism in their daily programming. And that is perhaps the only reason why SBT has news. SBT’s owner, Silvio Santos, has never hesitated to change the time of his news without first warning viewers, only to privilege reruns of a popular Mexican sitcom from the 1970s. At one point, the evening news was presented by two attractive women in short skirts. Oh, and they frequently crossed their legs à la Sharon Stone – both at the same time.
TV Cultura (included on Mar.15)
This one got in mainly due to Roda Viva, its round-table debate program. That used to be really relevant, but it kind of lost its mojo as of late. Also, their interview with Brazilian President, Michel Temer, is cringeworthy. In case you missed it, here’s the last question journalists chose to ask Temer: “How did you fall in love with the first lady, Marcela Temer?” Touching, isn’t it?
Gotta love how one is the fanfic version of the other. One would do well to flip through both to get a decent sense of what a (post)truth narrative is. Sigh.
Of course, these outlets are all in Portuguese. But for news on Brazil in English, you’ve got plus55 (hint, hint).