Simplifying the Kosovo Conflict through Media Correspondents

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In the summer of 1996, hints of violence began to arise from Europe. This time, however, it was not from Bosnia or Russia, but Yugoslavia. In Yugoslavia, President Slobodan Milosevic was leading an all-out attack on the ethnic Albanians of the country. Rumors of ethnic cleansing and genocide began to grow as the Serbians sought to drive all Albanians out of their country. By 1998, a full-scale war had erupted between the Albanians and the Serbians as both fought for autonomy of one tiny piece of land: Kosovo. When NATO finally intervened, press coverage began to intensify. NATO entered the war on the side of the Albanians, and as a result press coverage immediately shifted to support this cause. In order to make the conflict easier for the public to understand, the war was simplified into a battle for humanity and a fight between good and evil. Analogies were drawn between the Kosovar refugees and Hitler’s Jewish victims in World War II. Through these analogies, the press was not only able to solidify NATO’s position by creating a clear enemy, but also mitigate guilt still remaining from the Holocaust. Newspapers especially used images of World War II through pictures and headlines in order to invoke horror on the public. Through atrocity stories and exaggerations, the newspaper coverage was able to demonize the Serbians and, therefore, neglected to tell the public the history and depth of the war in Serbia. Media coverage made the Kosovo crisis seem much more one-sided than history illustrated. Almost all newspaper stories portrayed Serbia as the villain in this conflict. The press, for the most part, only covered atrocities that supported the plight of the Albanians and NATO. One story in the Boston Globe sta... ... middle of paper ... ..., p. A10. Pedelty, Mark. War Stories: the culture of foreign correspondents. Routledge, Chapman, and Hall: 1995. Pilger, John. (1999, Aug 24). Making the news Western war reporting is selective and the real stories of the Kosovan crisis remain largely untold. The Guardian; Manchester, p.22. Ratner, Ellen, and Doug Stephan. (1999, June). Many Profit From the Misery of War in Kosovo. News World Communications, Inc.: Insight on the News, p. 28. Reich, Walter. (2001, April 19). Commentary; Holocaust remembered: the news went nowhere. The Los Angeles Times, p. B11. Shapiro, Jonathon S. (1998, Oct 8). Genocide allowed, again; once more, we debate While a people is destroyed in Kosovo. Daily News; Los Angeles, p. N19. Simpson, John. (1998, March 15). Serbs do not deserve to be branded modern-day Nazis. The Sunday Telegraph; London, p. 27.

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