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Degraded Capability: The Media and the Kosovo Crisis [Paperback]

Philip Hammond , Edward S. Herman
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 22.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

20 May 2000
The media served a highly partisan and propagandistic role in Nato’s Kosovo war, uncritically reproducing official spin in a way that was incompatible with their proclaimed democratic role as objective purveyors of information. Degraded Capability is the first book to integrate a critical interpretation of Western policy toward the former Yugoslavia with analysis of media coverage of the Kosovo crisis and war.

The first part of the book deals with the war itself and the build-up to it, placing this in the context of earlier Western intervention in Yugoslavia. Part two discusses key issues raised by the media coverage, including the demonisation of the enemy, and the role of CNN. In the final section, contributors analyse how the war was reported in different countries around the world, including the United States, Britain, Germany, India, Greece, Russia, and France. The book offers an important corrective to the hysteria and misinformation that permeated media coverage. Subjects covered include the role of the internet, the changing media-military relationship, the depiction and definition of ‘war crimes,’ and how Yugoslav television was presented as a legitimate military target. Contributors include John Pilger, Edward S. Herman, Phil Hammond, Diana Johnstone and Jim Naureckas.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Pluto Press (20 May 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074531631X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745316314
  • Product Dimensions: 21.5 x 13.5 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 534,038 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"These are all informative, well-written, and well informed contributions. The real value lies in its raising critical and ethical questions about the role of the media in times of crisis and war. The book should be of interest not only to scholars and students of communications and the media and to those interested in the Balkans, but also to anyone concerned with contemporary relationships between international politics and the media during war and crisis." -- Slavic Review"John Pilger and other experts in the field provide a rigorously researched exposi of the many fictions of the "war" and the mechanisms by which they were maintained...Required reading for anyone wishing to understand the war and the media's role in it."-- The New Internationalist "Insightful and compelling.. The Kosovo crisis is a painful reminder of how easily journalists fall in behind the party line of the powerful. "Degraded Capability" not only makes that case but serves as a model of what independent journalism can look like." -- Z Magazine

About the Author

Philip Hammond is senior lecturer in Media Studies at South Bank University. He has written on media coverage and the Kosovo war for the Independent, The Times and Broadcast. He was consultant on Counterblast: Against the War (BBC2 TV).

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant expose of NATO aggression 17 July 2001
Format:Paperback
This is the best book yet on the NATO aggression of March-June 1999. It also studies the media coverage of the war. The first part consists of four essays on the background to the war, David Chandler's essay, Western intervention and the disintegration of Yugoslavia, 1989-1999, being outstanding. The second and third parts comprise fourteen essays on media coverage around the world, including a brilliant essay on CNN's role as NATO's mouthpiece. Unfortunately, however, there is no essay studying the huge popular opposition to the war in Europe and America...
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How many truths are there? 6 Sep 2000
Format:Paperback
An excellent compilation of "dissident" writers so far as the bombing and mainstream press is concerned.
For those who have swallowed the propaganda from Western media, this book should be an eye-opener; it is a reminder that not all that you read in the papers is the only truth, and it demonstrates the degree of oposition to US policy around the world - something which has certainly not been spoken of much in the US and UK.
On the negative side, the writing style is generally heavy going, and the font is small. If you can afford it, buy the hardback.
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Amazon.com: 3.4 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
67 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Destroys The Myths Of The Kosovo War 26 Oct 2000
By Chris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a collection of essays which attack the myths of the Kosovo war. Essayists include John Pilger, Philip Hammond, Diana Johnstone, Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, Nicos Raptis, Thomas Deichman, David Chandler and Mick Hume (a British right wing libertarian).
The subjects the authors analyze include, the Western intervention that was the primary cause of the Balkan wars in the first place; the extreme pro-Nato bias of the so-called International War Crimes Tribunal For The Former Yugoslavia; the efforts of the U.S. military to "work with" the mass media; the effort to "nazify" the Serbs in the Western media; and the evolving nature of warfare in the West.
Probably the best chapters are by Jim Naureckas and Seth Ackerman of Fairness And Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) and Edward S. Herman and David Peterson on the American media's coverage of the war (Herman and Peterson concentrate on CNN's coverage) and John Pilger and Philip Hammond on the British media's coverage of the war. The subjects discussed in these chapters include, New York Times articles from the 1980's describing mass atrocities in Kosovo by Albanians against Serbs, stories that the Times, along with the rest of the media, forgot as they portrayed the Kosovo conflict as a black and white story that was nothing more than Milosevic, when he came to power in the late 80's, inflicting his barbaric racism against defenseless Albanians; the fact that atrocities and the misery of Kosovar Albanians vastly increased in Kosovo after the bombing began on March 24th; the hysterical anti-Serb racism of the British and American media along with their typically puerile self-righteousness as they urged Nato to attack Serb civillians and civillian infrastructure so that the Serbs's would get a taste of the unique atrocities that their leaders had inflicted upon other people's of the region; the unwillingness of the media to report details about these Nato war crimes; the fact that the Western media paid no attention to the fact that Nato inserted a clause in Appendix B of the Rambouillet accords which called for an exclusively Nato occupation force for Kosovo that would have unlimited access to the rest of Yugoslavia, terminating that nation's sovereignty (all this caused a brief stir in the German media before being quieted by foreign minister Joschka Fischer, as Thomas Deichman shows in his chapter on Germany's reaction to the war); the fact that George Kenney, former chair of the Yugoslav desk at the State Department during the Bush administration, ignored by the media, reported that a state department official had told him that Nato deliberately had deliberately sabotoged the Rambouillet accords; the fact that the Serb parliament had passed a resolution the day before the bombing began, that received scattered attention in the U.S. media, agreeing to an international security presence in Kosovo that would include neutral elements like the United Nations, as opposed to the exclusively Nato occupation force that the U.S. insisted upon; the fact that tens of thousands of Serbs, gypsies, Jews, and other non-Albanians have been ethnically cleansed by the Kosovo Liberation Army since the bombing ended; the fact that war crimes investigators have not been able to find more than between two thousand to three thousand bodies since the war ended, placing serious doubt on Nato's claims of "genocide" and its 10,000 dead figure (or 11,000, Bernard Kouchner's figure).
The rest of the book contains some good chapters on the reaction of the media the to the war in Germany, Russia, India, Norway and Greece, where the vast majority of the population opposed the war. Diana Johnstone analyzes the likely imperial motivations for the war and analyzes the media reaction to the war in France, where liberals, like Bernard Henri Levy, were obsessed by the alleged "multiculturalism" of Bosnian Moslems and their city, Sarajevo, in contrast to the barbaric racism of the Serbs, a centerpiece of their drive to distract attention from the harmful economic effects of further European integration and focus on an ideology of anti-racism, anti-chauvanism, anti-isolationism,etc. and smear any opponents of the European Union as automatically being in the same league with Jean Marie Le Pen, the fascist party leader.
On the whole, this is an excellent collection of essays. Not all of them are particularly well written. If you want a more succinct summary of the Kosovo War, try Noam Chomsky's "The New Military Humanism."
36 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book yet on NATO's illegal assault on Yugoslavia 5 Aug 2001
By William Podmore - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is the best book yet on the NATO aggression of March-June 1999. It also studies the media coverage of the war. The first part consists of four essays on the background to the war, David Chandler's essay, Western intervention and the disintegration of Yugoslavia, 1989-1999, being outstanding. The second and third parts comprise fourteen essays on media coverage around the world, including a brilliant essay on CNN's role as NATO's mouthpiece. Unfortunately, however, there is no essay studying the huge popular opposition to the war in Europe and America.
This was NATO's first war, and it attacked a sovereign country with no UN authorisation. It showed itself as an alliance with no legal or geographic limits, in which the USA and Germany quarrelled like rats in a sack. To trigger the war, the US government demanded that NATO forces occupy the whole country. As a US official said, "We intentionally set the bar too high for the Serbs to comply. They need some bombing, and that's what they are going to get."
It was also the EU's war. From 1990, the EC intervened in Yugoslavia's internal affairs, aiding those seeking to secede. Its recognition of Yugoslavia's seceding republics breached international law, precipitating war. The EU's social democratic governments embrace capital, `the market' and big business: their enemy is nationalism, politics, demonised as the source of all evil.
Germany, the USA, Austria and Albania armed the Kosovo Liberation Army. In early 1998, the KLA's first major attack provoked a Serb crackdown. NATO claimed that the Serbs killed 100,000 people. Later the International Criminal Tribunal of The Hague counted 2,500 dead. The NATO bombing killed 2,600 people. Who should be tried for war crimes?
After the war, the US Congress voted $100 million to `independent' forces in former Yugoslavia, seeking its further disintegration. NATO was supposed to disarm the KLA and to protect Serbs and Roma Gypsies in Kosovo. But it has allowed the KLA to kill more than 200 Serbs and to expel 240,000 Serbs and 90,000 Roma.
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally a book that shows the true face of the Wetsern Media 16 Feb 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I have been waiting for such a book for a long time. First of all let me tell the reader of this review to ignore those morons that gave this book a low grade and call the author boring, reading "entertaining" and "short" history is what made the Kosovo war so appealing to the public in the first place.
Book is very well written, not boring to a person interested in the subject, and tells in great detail what and how the western media did during the Kosovo crisis. It tells about the bias that western media had against the Serbs, people who fought bravely against Nazis in WW2, and how the war was manufactured, and many other GREAT FACTS about the "civilised west" that we will not see on FOXNEWS or read in New York Times.
Also the book NEVER says that Serbs did not commit atrocities (whoever says this clearly did not read the book), but it remindes the casual reader that Serbs were not the only ones who did violent things, a major ommission in the western media.
I would recommend this book to any student that needs an excellent source on the subject and to anyone else who thought that the coverage of the balkan conflicts were not objective.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserves ten stars 31 May 2006
By Aaron Aden - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If you just look at the contributors and authors of this book you will know how good it is. Those who rate this work with one star are same people who do this with every other book that exposes anti-serb propaganda. It is now more than obvious that they are doing this proffesionaly, as a full time job.Neither they have read this book neither they really know what is inside the covers. Their only task is to downgrade any work that could open your eyes regarding ex-Yugo affairs. Do not listen to them and don't let them influence you- this book is a rare gem, and after you read it you will know why.
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative Book 9 Nov 2012
By Dusica Sekulic - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a well-researched compilation of the essays of several different authors on the Kosovo War and the media's role in it. I suggest it to anyone who wants a new perspective of the Kosovo War.
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