Traditional media groups double down on leftist narrative as they see sharp decline

Brazil Uncovered - Allan dos Santos, a founder of Terça Livre, the largest conservative media outlet in Brazil.
Allan dos Santos, a founder of Terça Livre, the largest conservative media outlet in Brazil.

All over the world, the mainstream media is showing sign of crisis after repeated fake news, biased opinions and cancel culture towards anything that opposes to political correctness. This bias has largely contributed for the isolation of journalists and media giants in bubbles far away from real life, disconnected from the ordinary citizen. The rise of the internet and social media has just confirmed the massive demand for conservative views and serious debates about topics such as abortion, persecution to Christians, cultural Marxism, and other issues ignored by the ‘woke’ journalists lost in their Neverland. Bear in mind that 3 out of 4 Brazilians have access to the internet.

In Brazil, not only journalists are disconnected from real life, living in fancy neighborhoods, the functional illiteracy shown by the media is hilarious as can be seen on the daily news, reports, comments, and debates. If you speak Portuguese, check any Brazilian newspaper, magazine or website and count how many pages without typos and grammar mistakes you can find. Believe or not, the number of journalists who can’t write in their native language has become routine. It’s no surprise that conservative channels had a quick impact on Brazilian media through websites, YouTube, podcasts, Facebook, Twitter, and web radio. We also have our versions of PragerU and Dennis Prager, Steven Crowder, Dave Rubin, and Tucker Carlson.

Despite big tech censorship and the growing pressure from the cancel movements led by the establishment, plus an illegal investigation that has sent the federal police after some conservative content producers, some of these channels have shown to be anti-fragile, growing at impressive numbers while the establishment’s voice just decreases. It is important to mention that none of these new channels receive government money, unlike the Brazilian mainstream media that has deep ties to politicians and oligarchies. Let’s see some examples.

Brasil Paralelo, founded in 2016, produces films and series promoting a wide access to culture and knowledge to the Brazilian audience. The company grew from 10,000 subscribers in March 2020 to 180,000 in the same month of 2021. Subscriptions boosted with subscription plans starting at BRL 10,00 per month (about US$ 2). In five years, Brasil Paralelo has produced over 50 documentaries to the general public on topics related to philosophy, arts, history, political science, education, economy, and over 40 courses exclusive to its subscribers. They have just launched a smartphone app, and keep investing in technology for the new productions, as well as expanding international streaming with the English version of “The End of the Nations” and “La Derrocada Argentina” (Argentina's Fall) in Spanish. Their productions until 2020 reached 77,068,640 views.

Brazil Uncovered - The most powerful union in Brazil has workshops on how to fight the "big conservative media".
The most powerful union in Brazil has workshops on how to fight the "big conservative media".

Terça Livre, the biggest conservative portal in Latin America, started in 2014 with an unpretentious weekly program streamed on Tuesdays (terça-feira, in Portuguese). As it grew, the founding team led by Allan dos Santos and Italo Lorenzon streamed daily programs, and today it features bulletins twice a day from Monday to Friday, plus a monthly magazine, an online bookshop and dozens of courses at affordable prices for the Brazilian audience. No persecution, fake news, illegal investigations, death threats, Google bans, nor two visits from the federal police to its studio have stopped them. After being cancelled in 2021 by a payment service provider which cause the loss of information on 20,000 of their subscribers, Terça Livre has spectacularly recovered over 9,000 in two months and is aiming to reach more Brazilians by streaming on TV. They’ve even won a lawsuit against Google.

The online newspaper Brasil Sem Medo (Brazil Without Fear), the articles and podcasts produced by Senso Incomum led by Flavio Morgenstern, the website Estudos Nacionais are some other channels that have consolidated in the Brazilian conservative media. On mainstream TV, the channel RedeTV is betting on conservative audience by hiring journalist Luís Ernesto Lacombe – after being fired by TV Bandeirantes for mentioning Chinese policies while interviewing Flavio Morgenstern and Allan dos Santos – and Sikera Junior, targeting a more popular audience. Despite the censorship and cancel culture on YouTube, channels like PHVox, Paula Marisa, Bernardo Kuster, Fernando Melo, Professor Bellei and Alessandro Santana follow as the main conservative names.

Shock Wave Radio has been one of the web radios that has been breaking the leftist hegemony by streaming topics ignored by the mainstream AM and FM radios and reaching niches of people fed up with the superficial discussions and junk popular songs day and night. Despite confusing regulations and limited internet connection in many regions of Brazil, more web radios have been founded to cater to these niches who demand entertainment and regional music. This is the case of Rádio Bagual and Radio Metró.

Mainstream media in decay

Terça Livre has published a report from Poder 360 (an extreme left vehicle) showing that all the popular weekly magazines in Brazil had a tough year in 2020. Veja magazine, which in the past surpassed 1 million printed copies per week, ended 2020 with an average of 144,141 copies per issue. It lost over 285,000 printed and digital subscribers in 2020 alone. Época and Exame magazines also had dwindling subscriptions. Terça Livre is currently offering an annual subscription plan of R$ 390,00 (approximately USD 70,00) which includes daily news, masterclasses, several courses and an online magazine. Globo TV, which received R$10,2 billion from 2000 to 2016 in federal government advertisements, had a 78% plummet in net revenue in 2020. Its debt grew from R$3,47 billion to R$5,4 billion after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Social media has broken the spiral of silence and the monologues that had become the norm in the mainstream media and exposed the journalists to views outside their own bubble, many of whom are ignorant of the basic rules of the Portuguese language. It is clear the mainstream media in Brazil is in crisis and the local conservative media is trying to reach large audiences and niches by delivering content that expresses their values. The established media is deeply rooted, though, and has been doubling down on the leftist narratives and tactics, helped by the international media outlets and the political establishment (deep state). It is the battle of a generation.

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