Bolsonaro lashes out at Brazilian press

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Monday told a journalist who questioned his frequent refusal to wear a mask to “shut up” and called Globo Group, the country’s largest media conglomerate, “shitty.” 

“Shut your mouth! You are creeps! You practice rogue journalism, which doesn’t help at all. You destroy the Brazilian family, destroy the Brazilian religion!” Bolsonaro lashed out at the reporter after a military ceremony in Guaratingueta, in the state of Sao Paulo. 

The journalist from TV Vanguarda, a station from the Globo network, had just reminded the far-right former army officer that he had been fined in several states for refusing to wear a mask in meetings with his supporters. 

When the reporter pointed out that Bolsonaro had arrived at the ceremony without a face covering, Bolsonaro snapped back: “I arrive as I want, when I want. I take care of my own life.” 

Immediately afterwards, he took off the black mask that he was wearing at the time, and declared: “Now you can put it on the Jornal Nacional (Globo’s popular nightly newscast): ‘I am not wearing a mask in Guaratingueta. Are you happy now?” 

Since coming to power in January 2019, Bolsonaro has repeatedly attacked journalists and the media. On Monday, he continued his harangue by declaring that “Globo is a shitty press. You are a crap press… if you watch Globo, you get misinformation. You should be ashamed of yourself for doing such a lousy job,” he said. 

The Globo Group was quick to react. “The president will not impede or inhibit the work of the press in Brazil by shouting or with intolerance,” it said in a statement. 

Bolsonaro also railed against CNN Brazil, accusing it of having “praised” demonstrations that last Sunday brought together tens of thousands of people to criticize the government’s policy against the coronavirus pandemic, which has already left more than 500,000 dead in the country. 

Bolsonaro has opposed any social distancing or isolation measures since the start of the pandemic, and has questioned the efficacy of vaccines and the usefulness of masks, while promoting drugs that have no proven efficacy in fighting the virus. 

“As long as I am president… we are going to fight so that citizens have weapons and are not obliged to wear masks,” he said last Thursday in his weekly live program.

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