BRAZILIAN CAPITALISM DOESN’T LOVE RAINFORESTS
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.
“DONALD TRUMP SERVES A USEFUL PURPOSE FOR MULTINATIONALS.”
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.