Lying by Inertia

From Serbian daily “Blic,” March 19, 2004 (UNMIK summary)

A woman, representative of UNMIK Police told Blic on condition of anonymity that she could only repeat the statement given by the spokesman of UN Police Derek Chappell about the tragic death of three Albanian boys. Chappell said that three Albanian children drowned in the River of Ibar in an attempt to cross the river and that no Serbs with dogs had made them jump into the river. (emphasis NM)
When we mentioned to her that the world media continued quoting the statement by another UN Police spokesperson, Angela Joseph – who is, by the way, sharing the office with Chappell – and the person that reported about Serbs with dogs forcing the boys into the river, she told us that she could not comment on that.
Just to mention that it was almost impossible to make a telephone contact with UNMIK representatives. Whenever we said that we were journalists from Belgrade, local telephone operators, Albanians, would disconnect the line. For that reason we were forced to present ourselves as foreign journalists.
Blic tried to forward to the world media UNMIK’s official statement. Editor of BBC European news Bill Hayton thanked us for disclosing that fact to him and said that he “does not believe a 13 year-old-boy, but that he has not received any other news while he has to explain to the world public why the clashes occurred.” (emhasis NM)
In spite of the fact that we forwarded official information about the tragic accident in which three boys lost their lives and in spite of the fact that BBC and CNN initially expressed their intention to change their initial reports, they have not done so. Their viewers are still listening to the stories about evil Serbs and their dogs.

Notice the explanation supposedly given by the BBC editor. They have to explain the “clashes” somehow, so even though NATO, UNMIK and the Serbian Church (all targets) have said the attacks were premeditated and well-organized (and therefore not a spontaneous reaction to drowning children), they chose to go along and treat the unconfirmed allegations as gospel.
I’ve seen plenty of stuff of this kind in Bosnia before. Journalists know the truth, but the lie sounds so much better in the lead paragraph, they go with it anyway. It may not be deliberate malice – just laziness.
As a result, over 1000 people have been ethnically cleansed, hundreds of houses burned, and over 20 churches and monasteries torched, while the death toll grows by the day – and the world doesn’t care one bit.