CNN/State Dept. on Kosovo


Jan Slakov

Dear RN list,

Well, I am back from a WILPF (Women's International League for Peace and
Freedom) training session in New York last week and hopeing to be able to
send along to you more of the excellent things RN subscribers and others
send my way.

While the message below does not speak directly to the very important
question of what action ought to be taken to bring an end to the killing in
the Balkans, it does give us some insight into how unreliable and slanted
most reports from the former Yugoslavia are.

all the best, Jan
Date: Mon, 22 Mar 1999 18:51:30 -0500
To: •••@••.•••
From: Snezana Vitorovich <•••@••.•••>
Subject: A letter to the editor..

  The Washington Times 
    Sunday, March 14, 1999
    Odd alliance at State, CNN?
    by Stella Jatras
    In my opinion, there is something unhealthy when the recently married
CNN's Christiane Amanpour and the State Department's James Rubin cover the
same  "breaking news" story.    
    Ms. Amanpour, who never ceased to present a one-sided CNN perspective
throughout the Bosnian war, is now doing the same with her one-sided
anti-Serb CNN perspective of the civil war now raging in Kosovo. At the same
time, Mr. Rubin is touting the anti-Serb position from the State Department,
which is in effect: If the Serbs do not sign on the dotted line, NATO will
bomb the Serbs.   If the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) does not sign on the
dotted line, NATO will still bomb the Serbs!    
    The American people should be asking themselves, "What gives? Is CNN
running the State Department, or vice versa?"  There is clearly a conflict
here.  Mr. Rubin should step down as spokesman for the State Department. How
can he have any credibility considering with whom he shares pillow talk?
How can there be any semblance of journalistic impartiality with such a
relationship between a "news" agency and the government? If there was any
doubt before, the identical slant of Ms. Amanpour's "reporting" and Mr.
Rubin's "official statements" out of
Rambouillet should make it perfectly clear.    
    Don't underestimate Ms. Amanpour's influence, not just on the news, but
on U.S. foreign policy.    
    You need only ask yourself if we would be involved in Bosnia if CNN,
driven by Ms. Amanpour, had not had Bosnia on the tube night after night.
"Where there's a war there's Amanpour," wrote Stephen Kinzer of The NY Times
Magazine, Oct 9, 1994.   She certainly has the drive and an instinct for the
big stories; Haiti, Rwanda, Bosnia and now Kosovo.  But what happens when
she gets there?  In her own words, from a New York Times article regarding
Peter Arnett's  involvement in the discredited CNN story about U.S. forces
allegedly using poison gas in Vietnam: "The bottom line is that a television
correspondent's most important contract with the public. Trust and
credibility are the commodities we trade in; without them we are
worthless." It's only fair to ask ourselves how well Ms. Amanpour has lived
up to her own  standard.     
    The Stephen Kinzer article gives part of the answer in a quote from a
longtime T.V. associate of Ms. Amanpour: "She just insisted on going there
[Rwanda], and the impact of her coverage forced the other networks to
follow. It was another example of her great news instincts."
    But this same insider has doubts about Amanpour's commitment to
objective journalism. 'I have winced at some of what she's done, at what
used to be called advocacy journalism,' he said.'She was sitting in Belgrade
when that marketplace massacre happened, and she went on the air to say that
the Serbs had probably done it.  There was no way she could have known that.
She was assuming an omniscience which no journalist has.  Christiane is a
journalist more in the
British than the American tradition, more willing to take sides on a story.
And I think she has a little of that traditional British contempt for
America.' "  The fact that a UN classified report concluded that Bosnian
Muslim forces had committed the Markale marketplace massacre seems of no
consequence to Ms. Amanpour.  Deutsch Presse-Agentur of June 6, 1996, wrote:
"For the first time, a senior U.N. official had admitted the existence of a
secret U.N. report that blames the Bosnian Moslems for the February 1994
massacre of Moslems at the
Sarajevo market."  Christiane Amanpour has yet to inform her viewers of this
fact, but  continues to allow them to believe the massacre was a Serbian
atrocity which United States and NATO used as an excuse to drop over 6,000
tons of bombs on the Bosnian Serbs.    
    During her interview on the Charlie Rose show of 25 November 1997, Ms.
Amanpour said,  "an ABC journalist was killed [in Bosnia]."  She omitted the
fact that U.N. and military experts believe that David Kaplan, the ABC
journalist, was killed by Muslims.  Another big CNN story early in the
Bosnian conflict was the killing, allegedly by Serb snipers of two "Muslim
babies"on a bus. Who could not have been horrified by the tragic sight of
the funeral service for those innocent Muslim babies?  Where were Ms.
Amanpour and CNN to set the record straight?  If it had not been for French
2 TV that covered the funeral, this writer would never have known that the
babies were Serbian (not Muslim) killed by a Muslim sniper, as was made
painfully clear by the presence of a Serbian Orthodox priest conducting the
funeral service. . . before it was interrupted by a grenade attack. However,
in the CNN coverage the priest had been cropped out, leaving the American
audience to believe that Serbs were not only the assassins,but were also
responsible for the grenade attack.    
    Mr. Kinzer goes on to say, "Advocate or not, Amanpour has developed a
style of her own.  She has a strong ego, and is satisfied only when she can
dominate a story, as she has in Bosnia." 
    I guess that includes a little stage management when appropriate.
According to another journalist who was with Ms. Amanpour during a visit to
Kosovo,  some of the journalists were taken on a orientation flight along
the border between Kosovo and Albania by helicopter and were advised to wear
flak jackets for the flight because of possible ground fire from Albanian
positions. When the flight returned, Ms. Amanpour, wearing a flak jacket,
taped her report for the CNN audience with scenes photographed from the
helicopter in the background...really
dramatic stuff.   The only problem is, she had not accompanied her camerman
on the flight.  The flak jacket and the taped film of the flight were all
for effect. And to think that Cokie Roberts was criticized for wearing a
coat and having a picture of the apitol Building in the  background when, in
fact, she was being filmed in a studio. 
        In a full-page Washington Times ad of July 29, 1998, a Vietnam
veterans group wrote, "Now that the Sarin gas fraud has been exposed -- what
about Bosnia coverage by Christiane Amanpour who fed the American people a
nightly diet of slanted reports and chilling images?  Her biased reporting
promoted the "We Must Do Something" approach that enabled President Clinton
to send American GIs to Bosnia without facing the hard questions from
American taxpayers and their     elected representatives:  What national
interests justified that decision?"  We hould be asking the same question
today: What national interests justify the decision to send GIs to Kosovo? 
    It appears the "We Must Do Something" mentality once again prevails due
to the biased anti-Serb reporting by the media.    
    The United States has always said that we would never negotiate with
terrorists, yet the Kosovo Liberation Army with its connections to Osama bin
Laden was invited to negotiate in Paris. 
    NATO's Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, US General Wesley Clark, as
has Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, met with key leaders of the rebel
Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in the Paris region.  The question should be,
"Why are we negotiating with known terrorists?"In his AP commentary, "Ethnic
Albanians Sensing Victory," George Jahn writes:  "Life or death, bombs or
peace. The outcome of the faraway talks on Kosovo seems irrelevant for many
here, where ethnic Albanians are convinced they are winning their
independence struggle and many Serbs sense defeat."    
    Take the "ouillet" out of Rambouillet, and what do you get?  RAMBO!
Whether as Rambo or her role model Xena, Warrior Princess, U.S. Secretary of
State, Madeleine Albright, in her macho cowboy hat, kowtows to KLA
terrorists and threatens the Serbian people ("Yugoslavia will 'Pay a Price,'
Albright Warns," The Washington Post, 8 March 1998).  All the while Ms.
Amanpour and  Mr. Rubin sing her praises in close harmony.     
    Christiane Amanpour, James Rubin and Madeleine Albright.  What a troika!
The Washington Times
March 21, 1999

Exposing reckless militarims at CNN

Stella Jatras is to be commended for her brilliant
letter of last week. It revealed the sordid bias of
CNN and that network's endless pitching for U.S.
military involvement in country where we have no
vital interest, are not wanted - and have no right
to interfere. Like it or not, the Serbian government
is the legitimate, sovereign authority and to drop
bombs upon the nation it represents is an act of war.

Have we become so arrogant and complacent that we can
countenance this kind of adventurism?

Floyd, Va.