June 17th 2010 02:38:29 PM
After I blogged about British Channel 4’s reference to an Albanian mass shooter as a “Serb Kosovan,” the person who sent me that tip (”Serbstvo”) recalled an even more blatant, more intentional case of mis-reporting — by CNN in 2008, when Radovan Karadzic was arrested. Doctoring footage to make the Serbs look bad — the very thing that got us onto our anti-Serb kick in the first place — is alive and well, and keeping Americans anti-Serb.
CNN actually spliced together a video montage — headlined “Serb ultranationalists rally — Clashes broke out during a protest by thousands of Serb ultranationalists against plans to extradite Radovan Karadzic.” As Serbstvo wrote me, “Because the protest was relatively peaceful, it did not suit the folks at CNN who required the Serbs to appear as savages, so they mixed it with footage from a totally unrelated anti-government riot in Budapest, showing cars in flames and crowds being blasted by water cannons. All this was done to create a more chaotic atmosphere,” since otherwise it wouldn’t merit any kind of anti-Serb news coverage. CNN pulled the video the next day, after one or two small blogs (including Svetlana Novko’s now defunct Byzantine Sacred Art blog) caught it.
To his credit, a blogger named Warner Todd Huston, at Media Research Center’s “Newsbusters” site also caught the hit job (it appears thanks to a tip from Byzantine blog), but — Dear God — look at his “correction”:
Apparently, CNN decided that they didn’t have enough video of rioting in their recent story on unrest in Belgrade, Serbia, so they decided to add in footage of rioting in Budapest to sexy up the story. I have to say, if the Kosovars intend to make the cut with CNN in the future, they’d better start rioting to the satisfaction of CNN’s video editors.
Kosovars? Are citizens of Serbia “Kosovars”? Is Belgrade, then, the capital of Kosovo? Are Serbia and Kosovo the same? Or else what would a Belgrade protest over the Karadzic arrest have to do with Kosovo? (We’re of course skipping the point about the fictionality of the ethnic identity “Kosovar.”)
Here’s the rest:
Either that, or CNN can start showing us all some truthful video with their stories. Whatever the case, CNN’s misstep doesn’t just make them look bad, it makes all Americans look bad.
On July 30, CNN aired a report in their international news titled “Serb Ultranationalists Rally” in which footage of riots in two different cities and two different countries were edited together to represent the unrest in Kosovo.
Again, it appears either that Kosovo is the same entity as Belgrade, or another name for Serbia. (Though I appreciate the accurate sentiment that “Kosovo is Serbia!”)
Serbian TV was a bit mystified by this embellishment, and rightfully so. RTS asserted that since CNN didn’t have violent enough footage for their riots story, they “resorted to their favorite Hollywood trick” of “montaging and pasting together the sequences from Budapest and Belgrade protests” to accompany the story…
Naturally, since the original airing and posting on the Internet, and since people began to ridicule CNN for the melding of video of riots in different countries, CNN has removed the video without comment. Making matters worse, many now see a conspiracy where they originally just saw incompetence. A screen shot of the original CNN page clearly shows a snapshot of the video compilation.
In fact, this is not mere “incompetence” by CNN; it’s a continuing trend that redefines the word “conspiracy.” A conspiracy that CNN was an early architect. The international, multi-layer, unrelenting anti-Serb campaign is something that I call a conspiracy without a command center, pursued voluntarily and unanimously by a number of vested interests and spheres.
For now though, the false CNN “montage” can still be seen on YouTube.com. And on that YouTube.com page one can find comments from one viewer saying that at the beginning of the video “you can see Hungarian flags and in the end you can see [a] subway station (Belgrade isn’t in Hungary and has no subway).” The same commenter also notes that all the rest of the video was from Belgrade. Other posters note several Hungarian and Serbian landmarks in the video paste job.
Of course, what this sort of thing does is make America look bad to the whole world. CNN is not seen as “the left-wing media” by outsiders (even though it is). It is seen as the AMERICAN media. This sort of foolishness makes all of us look stupid for not knowing that Belgrade isn’t Budapest, or for seeming to directly support one side or the other in the Serbian issue in our news reports, or all of the above.
And how does it make us look when the alternative media policing the mainstream media don’t know that Belgrade isn’t Kosovo? Which of course implies that the writer also doesn’t know that “Kosovars” are Albanian. Which means that he doesn’t know what the two sides in that conflict are.
Because it’s all about playing nanny-nanny-boo-boo with the LEFT-WING MEDIA rather than taking an interest in what’s actually at stake, in where American interests lie, in what we’re actually doing and whether we’re promoting justice or injustice with regard to what was — for heaven’s sake — OUR MOST RECENT WAR.
I will, however, say that it’s uncommonly fair of the writer, on Americans’ behalf, to not want to “directly support one side or the other in the Serbian issue.” But that means he hasn’t noticed that America DID take a side. In fact, it drove the entire conflict. And it was “our news reports” that took sides, almost earlier than the bipartisan slate of politicians who took the same side. And by their silence on it, conservatives let that happen. Which is also taking a side.
Today, on the rare occasion they deign to notice that the “Serbian issue” continues, members of the conservative media are even more blatant, now openly taking the same side as the MSM that brought us this conflict in the first place, and which the conservative media are supposed to be policing.
Do we really think that Americans wouldn’t know the difference between Belgrade, Kosovo, Serbia, Albanians, Serbs and Kosovars if the alternative/conservative media — already in position in 1999 — had done its job and called the mainstream media and politicians on their fraudulent war AT THE TIME? Rather than simply waiting to react to their criticism of our wars? What if conservative/alternative media had NOT moved on from the Kosovo war when cued by the MSM to do so? How much more would we know then? And how much more ammunition would we have had to counter the less legitimate criticisms of “Republican wars”? I’ve heard conservatives say, “It’s time we started setting the terms of the debate, and not just reacting to them.” So much for that.
Despite my annoyance, and the fact that Newsbusters should be very embarrassed, I do have to thank the apparently good-hearted Warren Todd Huston for actually paying attention to something Balkans-related, and for giving a minimal damn even when the liberal media’s victim is the “dreaded” Serb. As pathetic as it sounds, this is rare and praisworthy in itself.
Note that Warren also referred to a Serbian news program without a smirk or the requisite reference to “Serbian propaganda.” I’ll take him with his American inaccuracies any day over the more “knowledgeable” Americans vis a vis that region.