On Lula's "Gay Kits," Marxist Plots And The Entire Brazilian Fake News Machine
Before Lula's re-election in Brazil, fake news spread widely online about "gay kits" in schools and Marxism in schools. Here's how Brazilians can use the moment to convince moderate voters of the dangers of disinformation.
NATAL, Brazil — It’s been two months since the leftist Luiz Lula da Silva returned as president of Brazil. Despite what fake news and reports online said: No Christian church was closed. No religious leader was arrested or suffered. No public school received “gay kits” and no nursery received bottles with dick-shaped spouts.
In these first weeks , the Lula government also has not instituted any Communist dictatorship in the country and no one was forced to read books by Marx and Lenin.
No one was forced to marry a person of the same sex, and no “gay dictatorship” was installed. Likewise, no woman was forced to have an abortion.
Brazil did not “become a Venezuela”, whatever that means. We didn't turn into Cuba either, for better or for worse.
Anyway, none of what I wrote above happened. I made this list in such a tone to emphasize the damage of fake news in WhatsApp groups, in the electorate, in the community, in interpersonal relationships, and in the country.
More than that, to show how urgent it is to fight fake news at the source. Because all of this above was passed on in WhatsApp groups as absolute truths that would happen if Lula were elected.
Squashing lies with reality
Lula was elected, took office and is governing. And then? How about each of us questioning one a supporter of Bolsonaro, Lula's right-wing predecessor, and asking them if the prophecies happened? Openly ask uncles and aunts who spent months sharing fake news if any of them have already materialized.
When I talk about fighting fake news at the source, I ask exactly for this: to replace the empty indignation in WhatsApp groups of progressive colleagues, the endless debates on Twitter, and epic posts on Facebook, and leave in the comfort zone of those who think like us and then, take advantage of the historic moment to confront fake news disseminators with reality.
I do not propose dialogue with fanatics, with members of the Bolsonarist sect who camped in barracks and believe that Jair Bolsonaro is the Messiah, but with swing voters and moderate right-wingers.
Getting the truth (or rather, the confrontation that such information was untrue) to those who need it. To the conservative uncle or to the nice aunt who believes in everything.
Jair Bolsonaro visiting the church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem in 2019
Money for artists
Recently I did this. In a little bar that I really like, one of the owners, from the right, asked if I was happy because Lula was going to give money to the artists (again fake news).
I replied that I was actually happy because Lula was closing the churches and arresting the pastors. He looked at me seriously and said, "This is not happening." I smiled and replied, "I know." He realized the trap I had prepared and how he had fallen into the fake news of the churches. By the look on his face, he began to wonder if that “money for artists” could also be a lie.
After all, let's ask those who attack Lula with fake news: How many churches has the president closed since he took office?