Toma Nikolic's victory in the Serbian presidential election has panicked the boys of the press. The Washington Post has particularly hysterical account, typical of the Post's purely ideological coverage of foreign affairs. Both the headline and the lead sentence get in the key-word "ultra-nationalist," while Nikolic's moderate strategy is described as "claims to have transformed himself into a pro-EU populist." Don't ask me what the writers thought this means, though it does indicate that for the Post, anyone who loves his country has to hate the EU.
Look at how much propaganda can be packed into one sentence: "During the 1990s Balkan wars, Nikolic was the deputy leader of the extremist Serbian Radical Party, which was even more hardline than late strongman Slobodan Milosevic — who plunged the region into its ethnic conflagration." Note the words extremist, even more hardline, strongman (Slobo was, after all, elected!), and the allegation that Milosevic, coming to power in the middle of a civil war, alone is responsible for the "ethnic conflagration"--whatever that means. I wonder if these guys own a dictionary.
You the piece yourselves, but pay attention to this little beauty:
"He supported Serbia’s warmongering in the former Yugoslavia, and even fought briefly in Serbia’s notorious volunteer units during the war in Croatia."
See, it is warmongering if a federal government tries to prevent the violent secession of the members and a war-crime to defend the lives and homes of Serbs who were being slaughtered by the Neo-Nazi regime in Croatia. (No, I don' hate Croats, quite the contrary, but Tudjman was vile and so were his supporters.)
"People say believe half of what you see,
Son, and none of what you hear."
Sing it Marvin--or rather Barret Strong, who co-wrote the song, but with this addition--"and even less of what you read."
Maybe we can hear about the election from friend George who is over there!
Thomas Fleming is the former editor of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is the author of The Politics of Human Nature, Montenegro: The Divided Land, and The Morality of Everyday Life, named Editors' Choice in philosophy by Booklist in 2005. He is the coauthor of The Conservative Movement and the editor of Immigration and the American Identity. He holds a Ph.D. in classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Before joining the Rockford Institute, he taught classics at the University of Miami of Ohio, served as an advisor to the U.S. Department of Education, and was headmaster at the Archibald Rutledge Academy. He has been published in, among others, The Spectator (London), Independent on Sunday (London), Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Chicago Sun-Times, National Review, Classical Journal, Telos, and Modern Age. He and his wife, Gail, have four children and four grandchildren.