At any given moment there are mass protests happening somewhere for some reason. Whether the protestors have a legitimate call to arms is a very delicate question. However for the Mainstream Media things are much more black and white and this narrative is a critical component of each and every Color Revolution.
Over the last few months a protest movement has sparked up in Serbia and we are going to take a look at this via the mainstream media coverage of it. The actual motivations behind it (although proving motivation beyond a reasonable doubt is impossible) do not matter so much as what the media declares them to be. The Mainstream Media creates a narrative about the movement in order to either motivate us to sympathize with those in the streets (thus legitimizing them) or to be repulsed and afraid of them (thus blocking any chance of legitimacy). Ignoring the obvious and hoping it goes away is a common third option.
You will see this dynamic in action if we take a look at the BBC’s breakdown of the protests…
“Thousands of demonstrators in Serbia have rallied for the fifth week against President Aleksandar Vucic.
Protesters say the president has seized control of the media and launched attacks on the opposition and journalists.
An attack on opposition politician Borko Stefanovic by unknown assailants in November triggered the marches.
Opposition umbrella group Alliance for Serbia (SZS) says they were supporters of Mr Vucic – a claim authorities deny.”
At a quick glance this may seem very neutral but the first words of the article make a very bold hint to the subconscious of the reader. First off, the BBC makes it clear that the protestors are just normal Serbian citizens, when in fact all protests are organized and the more successful ones are organized by professional activists. Thousands of normal people on their own don’t just drop their lives for two months to walk around with signs in the hope of making some abstract changes. Even if the masses agree with the protestors there is no way to prove this.
The next form of manipulation is that the BBC and no other media outlet offers any other motives for the attack on Stefanovic other than “protestors say Vucic’s guys did it”, which essentially tells the reader that Vucic is guilty. There is no alternative and if anyone who supports you does a crime then you are guilty even if you have millions of supporters from all walks of life and levels of sanity.
“What are their (the protestors’) demands?
They demand more media freedom and more coverage of opposition groups by the public broadcaster as well as an end to attacks on journalists and opposition figures.”
This is something that sounds nice and reasonable at first, but is actually impossible to implement because it is not a concrete demand. No matter what a government does the opposition could always claim that it is not enough.
For example, if the government in Country X banned Product Y and the population was organized to march to change the law then the government could legalize Product Y and the protestors would get what they want and go home. As long as the government did not look weak during this reversal on position this would pose no threat to causing a Color Revolution. That is why concrete demands are horrible if you want a regime change.
So how can make “media freedom” into a concrete demand? How many “opposition” members are needed in Serbia’s media and in what capacity would be “freedom”? I am sure Serbia has a few Neo-Nazis, Satanists and NAMBLA members in the hills somewhere, do they need access to the media too, they are opposition groups after all, right?
Euronews continues their breakdown…
“Vucic, who has served as president of Serbia since May 2017, became known for his nationalist stance following the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1992.”
In EU-speak being called a nationalist basically means you are a hardcore Hitlerian Nazi. (Deutsche Welle called him “Ultranationalistic”, meaning he is definitely an Ultra Nazi) Furthermore this text is placed a few lines above a picture of Vucic standing next to Vladimir Putin. This drives home the portrayal of him as the bad guy aligned with the Evil Putin. This photo is of some relevance as the protests did spark up around the time of a visit by the Russian President, but then again if you do a Google search for pictures of Vucic you can see him shaking hands with Xi, Trump and Merkel who all hold very different ideological views. They could have shown him in this article with the Angel I, the Queen of EU, but they chose the KGB dark Tsar instead on purpose.
Deutsche Welle early in the article mentioned above lays out the protestors supposed motivations in a very clear Color Revolution tone.
“…what they called a climate of “political violence” created by Vucic and his Serbian Progressive Party”
One would think that journalists, when hearing an accusation of a “climate of violence” would try to present the evidence regarding said violence but DW just sort of lets it fly to the readers that there is some kind of conditions for brutality somewhere, that are somehow consciously caused by one man – The President of Serbia. Violence is very easy to measure, an abstract climate of violence is not and therefore it is good Color Revolution rhetoric – you can accuse the enemy of widespread violence even if there is no actual violence.
DW continues their “journalism” by writing…
“A group of opposition leaders last week drafted an “agreement with the citizens” listing their next steps, including not to take part in an election until the conditions for a free and fair vote are met.”
If the people on Vucic’s side who are also activists made an “agreement with the citizens” would that also bear some sort of legitimacy? DW makes no effort to question by what authority the protestors assume they represent the masses of the nation. Every Mainstream Media outlet writes that there are “thousands” of protestors, yet thousands of people in any country that is not a tiny island are a small percent of the population at best.
So what we can see is that across the board is the European Mainstream Media is saying.
- Some violence happened somehow so Vucic is responsible 100% (Regime Change Warranted)
- There is a climate of violence and Vucic is responsible 100% (Regime Change Warranted)
- The protestors are large in number (“thousands” of them!) and represent the average Serbian disgusted with Vucic (Regime Change Warranted)
- Vucic is some kind of ultra-mega Nazi because he is not ashamed of being Serbian and talked to Putin (Regime Change Warranted)
- The protestors’ impossibly vague demands must be met even though doing so is impossible, “muh rights”. (Regime Change Warranted)
By Tim Kirby
Source: Strategic Culture