The new post-modern theory of mass media as elaborated by Jean Baudrillard makes the provocative claim that the media representation of social reality is the very mode of its disappearance. In this essay, using Baudrillard's theory, the author analyses the production of news on the war in Bosnia by American TV networks and argues for a local rather than global representation of social reality. While the edited words and images on the television screen produce fake realities, there are specific practical conditions behind their production that can be described and analysed as a locally produced social reality. To prove this point, the author draws on two sets of data. The first contains two news reports by ‘ABC News' (American Broadcasting Corporation) about the war in Bosnia, each of which uses the same image of a sniper: in the first report, he is identified as a Bosnian Muslim, in the second, as a Bosnian Serb. The fact that the same image may signify two mutually exclusive identities is an example of fake news created by means of specific editing practices. The second set of data consists of a television news broadcast in which the author appears as a translator for a Bosnian woman. The author compares the edited news footage with the event as he actually experienced it and argues that the falsification of this ‘news' occurred, with his complicity, in response to a particular contingency of the moment.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.