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Why Good Reporting Isn’t Dead
Sometimes old journalists like myself feel for the Roman captives who called out to Emperor Claudius, 'Ave Imperator, morituri te salutamus — Hail, Emperor, we who are about to die salute you.' Sometimes, though, a great scoop comes along to give our profession a stay of execution. It has just happened in Brazil, where disclosures published by The Intercept Brasil have severely wounded the country's new political establishment. In case you missed it, reporting by Intercept journalists Andrew Fishman, Rafael Moro Martins, Leandro Demori, Glenn Greenwald and Amanda Audi has exposed Brazil's much-vaunted anti-corruption investigation, 'Operation Car Wash,' to accusations that it was, in large measure, a political tool used to rig last year's presidential elections. For Brazil, it is Watergate times 10. Internal documents and Telegram text messages acquired by The Intercept appear to demonstrate collusion among prosecutors to prevent former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva from running in the election against Jair Bolsonaro and then to damage the campaign of his successor as Workers' Party candidate, Fernando Haddad. This scoop came courtesy of a whistleblower who has put himself at risk in a country whose National Federation of Journalists recorded 135 acts of violence against journalists, including the murder of four, in 2018. The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has documented the murders of 42 Brazilian journalists since 1992 and reports that Brazil's Intercept staff 'have received threats on email and social media following their publication of politically sensitive stories this month.' It takes a brave soul to provide evidence of official criminality to journalists not only in Brazil but in most of the world. The risks are murder, torture and imprisonment for the leaker as well as the journalist…