The media and the Yugoslav Collapse

Paul Flewers paul.flewers at
Sun Oct 10 12:54:05 MDT 1999

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?

There was a much bigger question than whether the guys in the camp were
filmed from within a farm machinery compound, as LM claimed, and that is
-- what were they doing there in the first place? Why were a large
number of Bosnian Muslims assembled in Trnopolje? I'm sure that comrade
Jared Israel has an answer for this, but I can't see the value of LM's
exposé on Trnopolje when there were -- as LM admitted on a couple of
occasions -- internment camps in Bosnia Hercegovina where conditions
were appalling.

I do not think that the camps set up by the various sides in the
Yugoslav wars can compare either quantitatively or qualitatively with
the Nazis' camps, and the way that sections of the media have made
direct comparisons (and used the term 'genocide' in respect of
Yugoslavia) effectively downplays the reality of Hitler's war against
Jews, Slavs and others he viewed as untermenschen. Nevertheless, I do
not want to downplay the awful things that occurred in Yugoslavia. To be
sure, expose
the distortions, fabrications, insinuations and biased reporting in the
press, but I do wonder about the agendas of some people.

< 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. >

We need some real, hard evidence before we can apportion blame here. So
many accusations, counter-accusations, tales of secret services
machinations and fabricated reports to discredit one side or another,
that I am not willing to endorse any of the explanations thus far given.
I don't discount that the Bosnian authorities, or some section of them,
might have staged a provocation. On the other hand, I think it perfectly
possible for the Serb forces around Sarajevo to have done it.

Paul F

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