Brazil’s new President-elect Jair Bolsonaro is a Trumpian

Analysis: As Brazil cracks down on fake news, Bolsonaro’s new move is straight out of Trump’s playbook

Brazil’s new President-elect Jair Bolsonaro has been praised for his anti-corruption platform that included an aggressive plan to “clean up” Brazil’s media, but his approach has been met by criticism that looks like the sort of authoritarian impulse that President Donald Trump has been accused of carrying.

President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, right, talks to reporters, where he is accompanied by members of his team, at the Miraflores presidential palace in Rio de Janeiro, Jan. 10, 2019. A Brazilian media report that Bolsonaro ordered to investigate media stories criticising his plans to impose new media regulatory changes.Credit Yuri Cortez/Reuters

In a speech he delivered last Thursday, Bolsonaro said the government wants to “reform” Brazil’s media landscape. But his plans for a crackdown on dissent run directly counter to the Trumpian approach to news regulation on the campaign trail: to root out, intimidate, and punish journalists — especially in the U.S. — to protect his agenda. The Brazilian government has been using the language of the free press in ways that are reminiscent of efforts by governments in the United States to control the media, as well as in other nations that have seen attacks on media freedom and dissent.

How Bolsonaro’s approach to the media differs from Trump’s

The parallels go back to the election of Donald Trump, the most prominent example of this authoritarian approach. While Trump faced criticism for his treatment of journalists during the campaign, his rhetoric to voters was to support the idea that the media is in part responsible for creating a liberal political bias. This approach has since formed the basis for the Trump campaign’s approach to regulation of the news media. In Brazil, the idea is that the media is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

In Brazil, Bolsonaro has made no apology for the rhetoric, claiming that the media is “the enemy” of democracy. But the approach does not run counter to the approach taken by Trump, who during his campaign used the language of the free press to encourage his supporters to make threats and call

Leave a Comment