www.nettime.org
Nettime mailing list archives

<nettime> (fwd) Washington Times: CNN, State Department Alliance
nettimme's_roving_reporter on Sat, 17 Apr 1999 03:32:33 +0200 (CEST)


[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> (fwd) Washington Times: CNN, State Department Alliance


 The Washington Times
             Sunday, March 14, 1999
             FORUM

             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 could 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!


---
#  distributed via nettime-l : no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a closed moderated mailinglist for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: majordomo {AT} desk.nl and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  URL: http://www.desk.nl/~nettime/  contact: nettime-owner {AT} desk.nl