You guys remember when the Simpsons had Homer get kidnapped in Brazil, there was a great amount of national outrage. I've had arguments with my friend in Brazil who still hates the Simpsons for this (there was a real life conterpart to this parody though, it is a problem, mainly for rich Brazilians, in Brazil).
But portrayal in media REALLY does affect a world view on cultures, and not just for the "uneducated". I have two friends from the Middle East who often complain about this, for good reason I think. Just look at the Homeland example posted in this thread.
I suppose your friend wasn't trilled when the simpsons came back to Brazil and depicted the people as being totally cool with corruption and bribery on the FIFA.