As expected, there have been several violent protests in Serbia against Kosovo’s independence, including the attack on the U.S. Embassy which I’m sure everybody has by now heard about. I think that it is important to keep in mind that, as bad as this violence is, it is being vastly overplayed by the media. The attack on the U.S. Embassy, for instance, involved about 100 people. On the other hand, there were 150,000 people involved in a largely peaceful demonstration which marched to St. Sava’s Cathedral in Belgrade, where they held a prayer service. The only reporting I’ve yet seen about this particular demonstration was that an Albanian news van was burned by a small group during the march. Keep in mind, as you watch the events in Serbia unfold, that the media chooses which images they want to show you, and often those images are chosen to convey a certain message.
I had experience with this when I was deployed to Iraq. I had never before realized the extent to which the media twists the truth, or even that it was possible to twist it to the extent which they did. The conservative news channels, such as Fox News, would show the same five second clip of an United States Army Colonel shaking an Iraqi Colonel’s hand over and over to prove to the public how great things were in Iraq. Then CNN and the more liberal news networks would show the same clip of a kidnapped American Soldier or the aftermath of a car bomb to show how horrible things were going. Those of us on the ground over there would watch both and not know whether to laugh or cry at their stupidity. Things are more complicated in reality than the news media will ever allow for in their reporting.
I have a feeling that something very similar is happening with the reporting from Serbia. Remember: To the news media, truth is malleable.
Also, just to air out another pet peeve: The American media needs a thorough lesson in how to report about Russia! No matter what Russia does, they always seem to be the bad guy. The analysis of Russia’s possible involvement in a renewed war in Serbia was pathetic: “the Kremlin is once again trying to assert its dominance over the Eastern Bloc.” Not a word was mentioned about Russia and Serbia sharing a common culture, religion and heritage, nor their long friendship.
Now that I’ve aired out my grievances against the news media, I promise to get off politics for a while! Now back to your regularly scheduled programming…