The media

Borba100 at Borba100 at
Sat Oct 9 18:21:28 MDT 1999

Dear Nestor,

To the best of my recollection, the media coverage in Vietnam WAS a pack of
lies; the problem the big boys had was not with their intentions (which were
good) but with technology (which was TOO good) Thus newspaper reports were
laudably dishonest, but the powers that be underestimated the effect of
television.  It took them time to understand the danger of the camera's eye,
and more time to teach the eye to lie.

Regarding the point raised by Paul Flewers:

<< The episode that provoked the ITN writ was LM's declaration that ITN
 edited its footage of Trnopolje camp to give the impression it was a
 Nazi-style concentration camp. When all this came out in early 1997, I
 had more or less drifted away from LM and its parent (and now defunct)
 party. A party supporter called me up, asking if I'd seen the material
 in LM, and what I thought of it. I replied that ITN may well have edited
 the material in this way, but none of this could really advance our
 understanding of the Yugoslav wars. >> (this from Paul F.)

Living Marxim's exposure of ITN was VERY significant; by doing so, LM was,
for the first time, exposing the new role of television: the use of
television to create highly effective fictional accounts of news events in
order to cast the victims as the villains and thus to justify intervention.
As Nestor notes, Americans need to believe their interventions are moral:
humanitarian ideals, opposition to rape, prevention of genocide, etc.

The dismantling of Yugoslavia was sold by television.

This was the case with Penny Marshall's filming of the humanitarian refugee
center in Bosnia.  In case folks don't know the details, she and her crew
filmed from inside a storage area protected by barbed wire.  Through clever
editing, the final product made it appear that the people OUTSIDE the wire,
whom she was speaking to and/or filming, were INSIDE the barbed wire.  This
film, and specially edited stills, were used all over the globe as evidence
of Serbian death camps.  I guess EVERYONE prefers to have their interventions
look humanitarian, not just people in the US.

This was done with the infamous breadline massacre in Bosnia, where the
Islamist government in Sarajevo brought Bosnian Muslims to a location,
assembled televisions crews in place nearby, and then set off explosive
charges, injuring people exclusively in their lower limbs.  And of course
this has been done with the Albanian refugees; the biggest video extravaganza
in history.  Makes De Mille look like cheap change.

In Vietnam, the heart was in the right place but the brain was slow; the
television camera filmed some truth with amazing consequences.  In fairness
to the elite, they had no way of knowing how television images would effect
ordinary (decent) people.  Vietnam taught them the hard way.  Television news
was basically kept out of the slaughter of Iraq.  Now, with Yugoslavia, it
has been reborn, as fully scripted melodrama.  The dead bodies are real.



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