Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Media Cleansing: Dirty Reporting, Journalism and Tragedy in Yugoslavia

SerbBlog going to do the unusual here.

The following was not a news article, but rather was a speech given by William Dorich at the National Press Club in Washington, DC on March 17, 2006 introducing Peter Brock, author of the new book "Media Cleansing: Dirty Reporting, Journalism and Tragedy in Yugoslavia". SerbBlog is publishing the speech here because it has relevance to both Serb Americans and anyone interested in what really happened during the Yugoslav wars. It is worth noting that Greg R. Copley, Editor of Foreign Policy Magazine said that this book "should be the basis for both Congressional and independent media enquiries". If you are interested, this book can be purchased at

National Press Club Introduction

Good afternoon, my name is William Dorich, I am the publisher of GMBooks, established in Los Angeles in 1985. I am also the author of 5 books on Balkan history and religion including my 1992 book Kosovo.

When Peter Brock came to me to publish Media Cleansing: Dirty Reporting, I was thrilled but I was fully aware that this manuscript was submitted and rejected by every major publisher in the United States, revealing an ugly truth that dissenting views are not always welcome in the media or in the American publishing industry.

In the entire decade of the 1990s during the dismemberment wars of Yugoslavia not one single article was printed in the New York Times that was written by a Serbian journalist, author, scholar or political leader. The same can be said of numerous major newspapers across the nation including the Los Angeles Times in my city. Serbs were simply muzzled into silence. Thanks to Madeleine Albright and Richard Holbrook Serbs were also made Persona non grata here on The Hill and denied the right to appear before any House and Senate hearings on Bosnia including the Foreign Relations Committee.

The result, the word Serb has become synonymous with evil. I should know as I was the victim of two hate crimes and received numerous death threats for daring to defend, write and publish Serbian views.

Dr. Alex Dragnich, a Serb, is the recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Award for Outstanding Scholarship at Vanderbilt University where he taught for several decades. Dr. Dragnich is the author of ten books on Balkan history and politics and was a member of the diplomatic corp in Belgrade after the Holocaust. At the height of the Bosnian Civil War Dr. Dragnich submitted 42 OpEd articles to the New York Times... not one was reproduced yet lie after lie was published by the Times from instant Balkan “experts.” Few of whom had credentials on the Balkan region.

David Binder who graces our book with a profound foreword was a member of the Washington bureau of The New York Times from June 1973 to his retirement in 1996. He continued reporting until 2004, producing numerous articles on Central and Eastern European affairs with outstanding reports that afforded unique insights into foreign policy and the Yugoslav breakup. His assignments for The Times, included posts in Germany, Belgrade (as East European correspondent) and in Washington as diplomatic correspondent. He reported on the building and fall of the Berlin wall and the collapse of Communist systems in East Germany, Romania, Albania and Yugoslavia.

The admiration and respect for Mr. Binder’s reporting and reputation as a journalist of our times – almost five decades – is without equal during what is fast becoming an era in which most journalist seem to strive to be mediocre at their craft, too many are simply recklessly irresponsible.

Who can forget Binder’s opening line to the essay he wrote for The South Slav Journal in late 1995.

Quote: “A widely noted oxymoron for the last four years has been the phrase ‘United States Policy Towards Yugoslavia.’” End quote.

Mr. Binder graduated from Harvard University and was a Fulbright scholar at the University of Cologne. He has lectured and published articles mainly in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the former Yugoslavia, Albania, Macedonia, Romania, Hungary, Finland, Japan, Canada and throughout the United States.

He is the author of Berlin East and West (1962) and The Other German – The Life and Times of Willy Brandt (1976); and co-author of New York Times books on Project Apollo, the Fall of Communism and Scientists at Work.

He lives in suburban Maryland and he speaks fluent Serbo-Croatian. Can you imagine that when the war broke out in former Yugoslavia his editors sent John Burns to cover the story, a journalist who relied on Muslim translators?

Burns won half a Pulitzer for writing about the confession of an alleged Serbian rapist and killer. This Serb was found guilty by his own confession without a single victim of rape or a body of an alleged murder victim presented as evidence at his trial. It was later proven his confession was tortured out of him. John Burns claimed there was not a mark on his body.

However, John Burns and the NYT never published an article about Dr. Ljubica Toholj, gynecology professor at Belgrade University who did the physical exams of thousands of Serbian prisoners of war in which sexual torture techniques did irreparable damage to internal organs or electrical shock used on the male genitals of these prisoners which also leave no marks on the body.

Was the American public duped about Bosnia? We should be asking what kind of justice is this at The Hague that cases against Serbs are not over tuned when Muslim witnesses have admitted that they were coached by Bosnian authorities to lie on the witness stand? What kind of justice is Carla dela Ponte promoting by keeping Serbs imprisoned for killing numerous Bosnian Muslims who turned up alive and well in Sarajevo?

The U.S. blackout of court coverage of the Hague Tribunal conveniently hides what has turned out to be lynch mob style tactics of judicial abuse yet we are told that this tribunal is the lunch pin of future international court cases involving war and genocide.

Ambassador Bissett of Canada said it best in his attack of the media and I quote: “It is not the media responsibility to influence governments to make unwise policy decisions affecting the very course of history.” end quote. But that is exactly what the media did in Yugoslavia.

If Osama bin Laden and Muslim terrorism is this nation’s number one enemy, then the invasion of Bosnia by thousands of bin Laden trained terrorists was surely Serbia’s enemies and they had every right to defend themselves. Hundreds of those Muslim terrorists remain in Bosnia and Kosovo today.

Since the end of the war in 1999 and the arrival of KFOR troops in Kosovo over 150 ancient Serbian churches have been destroyed. For the most part the press has remained silent. The same press that demanded human rights and religious tolerance for Bosnian Muslims continue to deny the Serbs equal justice as Serbs have been made nearly extinct in Kosovo where they were a majority of the population in 1939 the year in which I was born.

The media tells us that Albanians are a majority of Kosovo but never publish the fact that 40% are illegal aliens who cross the border into Serbia as easily as Mexicans cross our borders each night in San Diego.

In the preface to his book “A Witness to Genocide” which is truly an oxymoron. Roy Gutman wrote, and I quote: “Having set such lofty standards, I immediately make an exception and wrote about the Omarska camp which I had not visited, based on secondhand witness accounts.” end quote.

Gutman wrote to my author refusing permission for Peter to quote from A Witness to Genocide, so we paraphrased his quotes. Meanwhile his publisher, Simon and Schuster said we could quote from their book then charged us $450.00 for the privilege.

Media Cleansing: Dirty Reporting documents how many journalists covering the Balkan Civil Wars also made exceptions to their lofty standards they, lied, fabricated, and distorted the truth. They repeated the propaganda of other journalists ad nasuam. Like Gutman they trampled on journalistic ethics, integrity and morality for their bylines.

The recent SkyNews release of Bosnian Muslim video footage of Serbs being rounded up, tortured and shot at point blank range has not gotten the attention of the media nor Carla Dela Ponte who dismisses all the crimes committed against Serbs guaranteeing that Muslim war criminals will all go free. Just like the 20,000 Nazi Hanjar troops did in Bosnia in WWII after they liquidated tens of thousands of Sebs, Jews and Gypsies. Have we not learned any lessons?

On March 15th, 1993 French journalist Jerome Bony, reporting from the Muslim stronghold of Tuzla said: and I quote: “When I was at 50 kilometers from Tuzla, I was told go to the Tuzla gymnasium, there you will find 4,000 raped women.” “At 20 kilometers, this figure dropped to 400. At 10 kilometers, only 40 were left. Once at the sight, I found only four women to testify.” End Quote.

And this is the sort of evidence that gave us headlines screaming 60,000 rape victims in Bosnia, an absurd claim that to this day has never been exposed as a fraud by the American media.

I attended a panel discussion at Long Beach State in California on April 15th that year in which Jacques Merlino, Deputy Chief Editor on Antenna 2 in Paris told his audience: And I quote:

“All journalists in Bosnia are required to submit their articles to Bosnian censors in Sarajevo.” “Notice that any reference to conflicts between Croatians and Muslim forces are heavily edited, visual images of these conflicts are forbidden. Any journalist breaking these rules is expelled from Bosnia.” End Quote.

In other words John Burns accepted half a Pulitzer and never told his readers that he abided by this kind of censorship. It also makes me wonder what kind of Bosnian democracy did Madeleine Albright built on such deceptions.

In his December 1993 editorial in Strategic Policy Gregory Copley wrote: I quote: “The big lie technique is alive and well. Croatia has used the media and skillful image manipulation to hide its renewed genocide against the Serbs while at the same time ensuring that Serbs are themselves wrongly accused of the same type of crime, and more. Pictures of dead, wounded (or raped) Serbs often fill the screens of the world’s television and print media, only to be re-labelled as dead, wounded or raped Croats or Muslims. Serbs—not only suffer the indignity of defeat in death; they also are used in death as models in the macabre image manipulation operations of the Croatians and Muslim Bosnians.” End quote.

Mr. Brock’s career as a newspaper journalist for more than 30 years is highlighted by 17 professional awards – including being named a finalist for the 1989 Pulitzer Prize competition for Public Service.

Recognized as a political and environmental writer and investigative reporter, Mr. Brock holds the Southern Journalism Award for Investigative Reporting (Duke University), the Thomas L. Stokes Award for Environmental Reporting of the Washington Journalism Center, and 15 other distinctions.

He has widely traveled the Balkans, Western Central Europe, the former Soviet Union, the Middle East and other regions since 1976.
A specialist in the role of the Western media in the Balkan wars, Mr. Brock’s controversial articles and reports were reprinted in major newspapers worldwide. He appeared on nationally-televised panel discussions that focused on the Yugoslav wars, and he was interviewed by numerous domestic and international newspapers, television and radio. During his career, he has covered organized crime, drug-trafficking, and the unique politics along the U.S.-Mexican border as well as critical water issues in that desert climate.

His “Dateline Yugoslavia: The Partisan Press”, published 13 years ago in the journal Foreign Policy set off shock waves in Washington and the media that are still rippling. The publisher was regaled into organizing a virtual accountability session at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Brock appeared with David Binder, facing a roomful of media “pit bulls,” and restated his findings about the co-belligerent Western pack journalism maneuvering and manipulating for NATO intervention, incouraging NATO to violate it own defensive treaty.

But, that wasn’t enough for his critics who harangued Brock as a “holocaust denier” until they ran out of breath.

In preparation of Media Cleansing…, Peter confronted his colleagues about their professional lapses and collusion with the secessionist Yugoslav governments – and our own State Department.

He did what any good investigative reporter does. He searched for information and waited patiently as the story developed, talking with scores of professionals and eventually tracking down the offending correspondents one-by-one, some of whom refused to answer questions.

They complained to his superiors at his newspaper, and even threatened him with lawsuits. He caught up with one Pulitzer Prize winner at an international Balkan conference in Sweden and unrelentingly questioned him from the audience.

One of the best lines in his book is from the editor of a top supermarket tabloid who, when asked about the shrill and surreal war-coverage by the American media flagships, answered: and I quote: “They’re doing a better job of it than we could!” end quote.

Peter Brock began his newspaper career at The Philadelphia Inquirer, served for 20 years with The El Paso (Texas) Herald-Post, and wrote/reported/edited for newspapers in New Mexico, Colorado and Washington, D.C. Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to introduce a true professional, an expert at his craft and my friend, Peter Brock.


Anonymous said...

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Time: 6:50 AM,Wednesday, March 22, 106

Former NY Times Reporter: '93 Pulitzer Should be Revoked
By Sherrie Gossett Staff Writer
March 22, 2006

Washington ( - Castigating the press for "journalistic crimes" committed during its reporting on the Balkans wars of the 1990s, retired New York Times reporter David Binder claims the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting awarded to both the Times and New York's Newsday "should, in all fairness and honesty, be revoked."

Binder was speaking at a press conference for the release of a new book criticizing the war reporting. Binder wrote the foreword to the book by Peter Brock, titled "Media Cleansing: Dirty Reporting, Journalism and Tragedy in Yugoslavia."

"What we're looking at here is a series catalogued by Peter Brock of journalistic crimes," said Binder. Before mentioning the reporting of the Times' John F. Burns and Newsday's Roy Gutman, Binder evoked the memory of what he called Walter Duranty's "phony reporting" for the New York Times in the 1930s as an example of an undeserved Pulitzer. Duranty was criticized for having been too deferential to Joseph Stalin and his plan to industrialize the Soviet Union.

"What Peter [Brock] has unraveled and disclosed in this book involves at least a couple of Pulitzer prizes that should in all fairness and honesty be revoked." Binder confirmed to Cybercast News Service that he was referring to the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting, awarded to Burns of the New York Times and Gutman of Newsday for their reporting in the Balkans. Brock devotes considerable space in his book to criticizing the reporting of Burns and Gutman.

Binder noted that the Times has gone through "agony" in recent years over the "terrible professional behavior of its staff members" and with "what has gone on under its masthead."

"[E]xposure is the best remedy," said Binder.

"I think Peter Brock's book helps a great deal to confront these egregious crimes of journalism. I think it should be shoved under the noses of editors all across the press, at least the editors who are dealing with foreign news ..." said Binder.

The Pulitzer Board at first voted to award the prize solely to Gutman, according to Binder. "The New York Times got so agitated that John Burns was passed over that they started lobbying the board. The Pulitzer is an extremely political award in many if not all cases. There are all kinds of backstage manipulations that go on."

The centerpiece of Burns' Pulitzer entry was a seven-hour interview with a captured Bosnian Serb -- Borislav Herak -- who in graphic statements to Burns, confessed to dozens of murders, including eight involving rape. Burns' Nov. 27, 1992, article was described by the New York Times as offering "insight into the way thousands of others have died in Bosnia."

However, more than three years after the publication of Burns' story, the Times on Jan. 31, 1996, described Herak as "slightly retarded" and reported that Herak had retracted his confession and claimed it had been beaten out of him by guards.

"I was tortured, forced to confess," said Herak. By that time his testimony already had been used to convict Sretko Damjanovic for the killing of two Muslim brothers who were later found alive. Both Herak and Damjanovic, who also said he had been "tortured" into providing a false confession, were sentenced to death by firing squad.

Author Peter Brock described Burns' interview with Herak as "a manipulated confession and interrogation in which Burns was the key participant." Brock faults Burns for failing to tell readers that the interview took place with a Sarajevo video production crew present and that "interrogations were conducted by [government] investigators and by Sarajevo film director Ademir Kenovic."

He also argues that "vital pieces" of Herak's story were missing. "[T]here was no evidence, corpses or victims, or eyewitnesses to implicate Herak, except for hearsay from Bosnian government 'investigators,'" Brock writes.

Brock also faults Newsday's Roy Gutman for being unduly influenced by government propagandists including one source who operated under four different aliases. Gutman was criticized for not exercising enough scrutiny before repeating allegations of atrocities and statistics of the dead and tortured.

Gutman won his Pulitzer partly for "electrifying stories about 'concentration camps'," notes Brock, who criticizes the reporter for the prominence of "hearsay" and "double hearsay" in his stories, as well as gratuitous use of the language of the Nazi Holocaust.

Gutman's first five stories about the alleged Omarska concentration camp in Bosnia were actually filed from Zagreb, in Croatia, Brock complains. It was Gutman's sixth story on the subject that finally carried an Omarska dateline, Brock wrote, and that was after the prison had been shut down.

Both Binder and Brock accuse the press of falling into "pack journalism" and playing the role of "co-belligerent." The reliance on Croat and Bosnian Muslim propaganda resulted in distorted reporting that exaggerated the Serb role in the three-sided conflict and ignored ethnic cleansing of Serbs, according to Binder and Brock.

Brock went so far as to say the $3,000 Pulitzer Prize money awarded to Burns and Gutman was "blood money."

"What we're talking about in terms of what I call crimes of journalism was only ten years ago," said Binder. "It wasn't so long ago that these, I think revolting things, were happening -- revolting bias, revolting suppression of other sides of the story."

During his recent appearance at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Binder said it would take "at least a decade" before historians "clear out that wretched underbrush of lies and concoctions" from "despicable" politicians "like Richard Holbrooke," an international negotiator during the administration of former President Bill Clinton and "certainly the journalists" criticized in Brock's book. The rise of blogs and media watchdog groups offers a "corrective" for the public now, Binder contended.

In his call for the revocation of the Pulitzer Prize Peter Brock said that "in all fairness, if [the Pulitzer board] is not going to revoke the prize, they ought to give Janet Cooke's Pulitzer back." Cooke was a Washington Post reporter who won a Pulitzer for a fabricated 1980 story about an eight-year old heroin addict.

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Anonymous: This was so good,we are going to move it to headline status! I hope that you don't mind. Thank you!