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Was CNN involved in...
Post Reports Only on Albanians
Disinformation Trap
TV Screens Offer Us Illusions of War
Is it dangerous to tell the Truth
The Night Will Always Belong to US
Meltdown of the Support
Brainwashing the Western People
Media Agenda for War
The War on TV
Ruder Fin


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avgust 20, 2008

















Was CNN involved in a NATO effort to assassinate the Serbian information minister?

By Chris Marsden


On Friday, July 2 the Independent newspaper in Britain ran an article by its Belgrade war correspondent Robert Fisk entitled "Taken in by the NATO line". The article presents a devastating picture of the role of the press corps in the war against Yugoslavia.

Fisk shows how, with rare execptions, reporters abandoned any standpoint of objectivity and adopted uncritically the official rationale for the war. For the most part infected themselves with the anti-Serb hysteria of US, British and NATO officials, they sought to justify the bombing campaign by reporting NATO propaganda as fact and accepting without question the statements of NATO spokesman Jamie Shea, President Clinton and Prime Minister Blair.

He cites the example of a CNN reporter in Belgrade who "astounded one of his English colleagues after NATO had bombed a narrow road bridge in the Yugoslav village of Varvarin, killing dozens of civilians, many of whom fell to their death in the River Morava. ‘That'll teach them not to stand on bridges,' he roared."

Fisk notes, "This was not the kind of language he used on air, of course, where CNN's report on the bridge killings was accompanied by the remark that there had been civilian casualties "according to the Serb authorities"all this when CNN's own crew had been there and filmed the decapitated corpse of the local priest."

The Independent correspondent goes on to suggest that the collaboration of major media outlets with the NATO military campaign went beyond dishonest and unethical journalistic practices. At the end of the article he suggests that CNN and the network's Larry King Live show may have been complicit in an attempt to assassinate Serbian Information Minister Aleksander Vucic.

       Fisk writes: "Two days before NATO bombed the Serb Television headquarters  in Belgrade, CNN received a tip from its Atlanta headquarters that the building   was to be destroyed. They were told to remove their facilities from the premises  at once, which they did.

    "A day later, Serbian Information Minister Aleksander Vucic received a faxed invitation from the Larry King Live show in the US to appear on CNN. They wanted him on air at 2:30 in the morning of 23 April and asked him to arrive at Serb Television half an hour early for make-up. "Vucic was late—which was just as well for him since NATO missiles slammed into the building at six minutes past two. The first one exploded in the make-up room where the young Serb assistant was burned to death. CNN calls this all a coincidence, saying that the Larry King show, put out by the entertainment division, did not know of the news department's instruction to its men to leave the Belgrade building."

I have sought to obtain a response from the Larry King Live program in Washington and CNN headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia to the description of events provided by Fisk. The publicist for Larry King Live and the press spokesperson for CNN News have failed to return repeated calls.

Meanwhile, Fisk has come under attack from sections of the British media. On July 4 Henry Porter of the Observer, one of the newspapers most fervent in its support of NATO's war, published a reply to Fisk's piece, all but accusing the Independent reporter of being a stooge of Yugoslav President Milosevic. Porter asserts that Fisk "was undeniably aided by the Serb authorities" and filed reports on the war "refracted through the lens of Serbian interest."

Porter grants there was "almost universal concern among editors and reporters about the level of accuracy of NATO briefings" and admits there is good reason to conclude that "the alliance was bent on an almost racist crusade against the Serbs". This, however, does not prevent him from indulging in a bit of anti-Serb racism of his own, noting that Fisk was given the sobriquet "Fiscovic" by some of his colleagues.

Porter is outraged that Fisk appears to believe "NATO is motivated by congenital imperialist tendencies," but even more intolerable is Fisk's decision to bring a dispute within the media to the attention of the public.

The attack on Fisk indicates that his exposure of the deplorable performance of the press corp has hit a raw nerve, and, in particular, his revelations concerning CNN's role in the bombing of the Serb TV center have provoked considerable concern in high places.


No reply from CNN

By Barry Grey
8 July 1999

Strange things happened when this reporter telephoned the Larry King Live program in Washington and CNN headquarters in Atlanta in an effort to get their side of the story reported by Robert Fisk in the British newspaper, the Independent.

I asked to speak to Larry King's press spokesperson and was connected to Deirdre Kline, the publicist for the Larry King Live program. After identifying myself as a journalist with the WSWS, I drew Ms. Kline's attention to the Independent article, whereupon she declared, "Oh, I have to take another call. It will just be a minute and I'll call you right back."

Some twenty minutes later I telephoned CNN's office in Washington once again and asked for Deirdre Kline. "Deirdre Kline doesn't work here anymore," said the voice on the other end. "But I spoke to her not twenty minutes ago," I replied. There was a pause and a flustered question: "Who does she work for?" I explained that Ms. Kline is the publicist for the Larry King Live show.

Next I found myself speaking to a man, who apparently knew of Ms. Kline and was even able to put me through to her extension. I can't say I was shocked when I failed to get the live Ms. Kline and instead got her answering machine. I left the obligatory message, and have since left one or two more, without receiving a reply.

Next I called CNN headquarters in Atlanta. There I spoke with Megan Mahoney, a public relations official for CNN News. She knew of the Fisk article, and would be happy to respond to its suggestion that Larry King Live, in coordination with NATO military planners, sought to lure the Serbian information minister into the TV center in Belgrade at precisely the time it was to be bombed.

"If you don't mind, I would like to reread the article and get back to you shortly," said Ms. Mahoney. Her last words were to the effect that she might refer the matter to her boss.

No surprise, Ms. Mahoney never called, and subsequent telephone calls to her office have never gotten beyond her answering machine.