The three speeches had already concluded and the panel of moderators, made up of journalists Alfredo Dante and Miguel Nogueira, was preparing to ask the questions that came from the public. The president of the Broad Front, Fernando Pereira, and the two mayors of the political force, Yamandú Orsi and Carolina Cosse, had spoken out against the Urgent Consideration Law (LUC) at the Association of Marketing Managers (ADM) breakfast organized this Tuesday morning at the Radisson.
True to his discursive line, the former president of the PIT-CNT had also attacked the media coverage of the campaign, basing himself on the lack of dissemination of the reality of the soup kitchens. “Since 2002 pots have not been seen in Uruguay. That the journalists have decided not to pass images of popular pots does not mean that there are not 60,000 citizens here who are going to feed them.
After the presentations by Orsi and Cosse, Alfredo Dante, who hosts the morning edition of Underlined, picked up the glove. Before formulating a question that had come to Pereira, he said: “I warned this morning that Pereira does not watch Channel 10, and I know that VTV does not either, because the popular pots were and continue to be broadcast, and also the donations that are made for them”.
The journalist thus proceeded to pose a question regarding the occupations in the LUC. “The first thing is that I watch Channel 10,” the president of the Broad Front replied before answering. “I look at it and I know the coverage they did before and the coverage they do now. I know the police coverage they did a few years ago and the ones they do now. And it is clear to me that these are decisions of the management, not of the journalists. Not because I think so, but because the management told me,” she said.
“That decision may or may not be debatable, but the strange thing is that it was in Lacalle’s first year,” Pereira continued. “It’s my problem with the media, not with the journalists. I calculate that they don’t solve 100% of the news,” he said, and valued his “professionalism.” The former trade unionist took the opportunity to criticize the reaction of lobbyist Guido Manini Ríos towards the disclosure of a news item by the weekly Search, and stated: “I would never consider them assassins.”
Dante limited him for his part that they continued with the same coverage, and Pereira returned to the charge: “Yes, but tell me later how much percentage of what they did before.” The leader accused that the product ends up “arrowing the field” and cited the report of the Media Observatory of the Faculty of Information and Communication, which weeks ago compiled that the news of the private open television channels gave No almost twice as much minutes than to Yes in the second half of February.
After that back and forth, Pereira continued with his reply about the occupations. Once he finished speaking, it was journalist Miguel Nogueira’s turn to ask another question. But the journalist – host of VTV Noticias (which broadcast the event live) and Informativo Carve – took up the former trade unionist’s statements. “Out of respect for ADM and those present, we did not come to debate with you. I would debate and stay until 3 in the afternoon with Fernando Pereira without any problem,” he released.
“I gladly”, reacted the front runner. Nogueira continued: “Because in 2015, 2008, 2016, in 2009, leaders in the government today told us: ‘Stop, crazy, they have a news program with seven ministers and two of our senators.’ And yes. The government generally sets the agenda for a number of issues… but I did not come to debate with you,” he maintained.
“No, but if he says it, debate,” Pereira retorted.
“And I have to say it, because if not, you walk us over with your tone. I listened to you carefully …” Nogueira redoubled.
Pereira returned to the charge: “Me too, but if he says it, start debating.”
The journalist resumed the word: “On VTV, and I’m not going to fight with Channel 10 because I also work there indirectly because I leave at 7 (by Informativo Carve), we don’t broadcast police news. Neither in Lacalle’s first year, nor the first year of Vázquez, nor in the second, nor in the third. The police news does not go. That is, that way, it does not fit me, “he sentenced, and prepared to ask Orsi a question.
Pereira was not silent, and insisted that Nogueira was contradicting himself in that he did not want to debate. He quoted the FIC report again and challenged the moderators: “What do you have to answer? Maybe you have something. I because since I don’t think it’s you…”.
“Yes, I could tell you, and I’m telling those who are watching, I think the Yes people are wrong in not holding a conference. Because VTV – the management accepted it – if Lacalle Pou speaks for 50 minutes tomorrow, the conference would also to go whole if you spoke for 50 minutes. Today I cannot show it because you decided to speak today for seven minutes, “Nogueira returned in reference to the national chain of Yes.
The journalist also related the example that for a premiere of the channel, the producers of the web page struggled at all times to “try to match” the messages for and against the LUC “to avoid suspicions.” “We live desperate for balance,” he said. “Sometimes we make it, sometimes we don’t. What they can’t talk to me about is dishonesty“, he added.
The president of the FA instructed him to ask VTV “if the debates they wanted to hold (to oppose the two positions) were possible by Yes or No”, in line with a constant in this campaign that has been the opposition’s accusations due to the lack of responses from the ruling party to defend the norm in this type of format.
“Out of respect for ADM… also with Fernando Pereira we have a relationship of many years and if there is someone who has dialogue, it is Fernando Pereira”Nogueira recovered, but after a whisper from his colleague, he recalled that Pereira had not wanted to debate with the Minister of Labor and leader of the Independent Party, Pablo Mieres.
The FA leaders spoke before businessmen and leaders
While the former trade unionist answered, a voice emerged from the audience, in which businessmen, leaders and journalists watched the presentations from their tables. “Sorry, colleagues! What if we continue with the people’s questions?” exclaimed the communist leader Gabriel Mazzarovich. Pereira saw and listened, but did not interrupt the answer. But Nogueira did not let her pass once the front-runner gave up the floor.
“Okay, I’m telling the one who yelled over there…” he hinted as he turned toward the audience.
The communist stood up and raised his hand: “I, Gabriel Mazzarovich,” he challenged. The moderator told him from the stage that they had “no questions from people.” “Well, but ask something,” Mazzarovich defended.
“Gabriel, do you know what happens? That when they tell you that you are an accomplice to something, I have the right to defend myself,” the journalist reproached him. The communist leader did not back down: “I hope that when the No comes here they will also ask him…”.
“Well, come tomorrow too, there are croquettes,” Nogueira returned. The comment aroused laughter in the audience and even drew several applause. ADM will receive this Thursday the Minister of Labor, Manini Ríos, the colorado Julio María Sanguinetti and the white Pablo Iturralde.