There has been no shortage of international media outlets calling Jair Bolsonaro, the frontrunner in Brazil’s presidential race, a far-right candidate. From Britain’s The Economist to the French Libération, passing by The New York Times and, yes, even Fox News. Not only have they not hesitated to point out Mr. Bolsonaro’s extreme rhetoric, but these outlets have also raised red flags about the real risk that he represents for Brazilian democracy.
The only place where the media seems to have trouble seeing Mr. Bolsonaro’s true colors is Brazil. But the problem with how the Brazilian press has covered this election goes far beyond not calling him a ‘far-right’ politician. When outlets do use the label ‘extreme’, they do it by drawing a false equivalency between Mr. Bolsonaro and his left-wing counterpart, the Workers’ Party’s Fernando Haddad – as if they were two faces of the same coin.
However, while one candidate is clearly an ultra-radical, the other is a moderate representing a social-democratic ideology.