StarMetro Halifax - - BIG OPINIONS - Heather Mal­lick

This was the head­line on a lengthy busi­ness piece on the CBC.CA web­site on Sun­day: “What a far-right Bol­sonaro pres­i­dency in Brazil means for Cana­dian busi­ness.”

The sub­head­line read, “Min­ers could ben­e­fit from re­laxed reg­u­la­tions, as en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists fear growth plans will de­stroy the Ama­zon.”

The CBC then sent out pro­mo­tional tweets like th­ese:

“Brazil's new pres­i­dent elect, Jair Bol­sonaro, is a right-winger who leans to­ward more open mar­kets. This could mean fresh op­por­tu­ni­ties for Cana­dian com­pa­nies look­ing to in­vest in the re­source-rich coun­try.” “Crit­ics have lam­basted the for­mer

para­trooper for his ho­mo­pho­bic, racist and misog­y­nist state­ments, but his government could open new in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

An ex­pe­ri­enced cor­re­spon­dent, Chris Ar­se­nault, wrote the piece. And here’s a jour­nal­is­tic prob­lem: Some read­ers don’t un­der­stand that good re­port­ing de­scribes the world as it is, rather than as

they wish it to be.

The com­plaints rolled in, mainly from peo­ple un­fa­mil­iar with busi­ness re­port­ing, who in­ac­cu­rately in­ferred Ar­se­nault’s “feel­ings” about the facts he re­ported, and per­son­al­ized his story on the fall­out of a dis­as­trous election.

Most news cov­er­age now fo­cuses on wrongs done by govern­ments, I’ve no­ticed, but rarely on cor­po­rate mis­deeds. It’s un­der­stand­able since govern­ments world­wide are fall­ing like domi­noes to vi­o­lent au­thor­i­tar­i­an­ism and fas­cism. Ig­nor­ing the more com­pli­cated and dan­ger­ous story of cor­po­rate pup­peteers may be a re­flec­tion of news­rooms shrink­ing as ads van­ish and read­ers prove re­luc­tant to sub­scribe and pay for jour­nal­ism.

Don­ald Trump, like the tyrant Bol­sonaro, is a scary clown, but he serves a use­ful pur­pose for gi­ant multi­na­tion­als lay­ing waste to our planet. Look at the clown! Don’t look at the dark fig­ures skulk­ing be­hind him.

This is why Naomi Klein, in her great book This Changes Ev­ery­thing: Cap­i­tal­ism vs. The Cli­mate, saw “cli­mate change as a bat­tle be­tween cap­i­tal­ism and the planet,” not just cap­i­tal­ism’s govern­ments and the planet.

Fol­low the money. Ar­se­nault did that, sum­ming up a toxic sit­u­a­tion: Hideous news for cli­mate pro­tec­tion is ac­tu­ally great for busi­nesses think­ing only in the short term.



Crit­i­cism of the CBC misses the point of a le­git­i­mate busi­ness ar­ti­cle on the im­pact of a new Jair Bol­sonaro-led government in Brazil, writes Heather Mal­lick.

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