The media and the Yugoslav Collapse

Macdonald Stainsby mstainsby at
Sun Oct 10 11:32:42 MDT 1999

>From: Paul Flewers <paul.flewers at>
>Reply-To: marxism at
>To: marxism at
>Subject: Re: The media and the Yugoslav Collapse
>Date: Sun, 10 Oct 1999 11:54:05 -0700
>Borba100 at wrote: < 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. >
>To be sure, the media likes to put forward accounts in the most exciting
>way. And there is no doubt that the way that the media have related the
>Yugoslav collapse has been to reinforce the general anti-Serb
>atmosphere. But what I meant when I commented on the LM Trnopolje case
>in 1997 was -- how could this one exposure of (alleged) media chicanery
>help us better understand the Yugoslav disaster?

It was vital for the left in understanding what was going on precisely
because it gave us a clear signal about what the intentions of the West were
in the conflict. Even had there never have followed the recent Nato war it
was a direct admission that the whole war situation was indeed fanned by
much bigger forces than "petty nationalisms". Once the story of how this
manipulation was made accessible to the left it provided us with the
knowledge that, first, the situation was one where the West European powers
and the US were investing in the outcome, and moreover it showed whose side
the Imperialists were on. It made many people who otherwise would have
thought that all contenders in the Balkans were "equally bourgeois"
governments have to try and figure out what was different about the
Serb/Yugoslav government and why the West was so intent on its destruction.
Unfortunately some didn't make such a qualitative analysis in time to avoid
being swept up by the Serbophobic hysteria that accompanied the war drive.
Had every left person and party spent the neccessary time investigating the
obvious hints provided by LM, we might have made a much more significant



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