Wednesday, December 31, 2003

More media madness

The media's desire to trivialize, sloganize, and hyperbolize events is not limited to US elections, even when the events themselves have their own drama, as ABC News for December 29 shows.
Belgrade, Serbia-Montenegro Dec. 29 - Jailed former President Slobodan Milosevic and another U.N. war crimes suspect won seats in Serbia's parliament as an extreme nationalist party swept weekend elections, according to results released Monday.

Vojislav Seselj's Serbian Radical Party, which supported Milosevic's Balkan war campaigns in the 1990s, won 81 seats in Sunday's ballot for the 250-seat parliament....

Milosevic's Serbian Socialist Party won 22 seats. ...

Vojislav Kostunica, the former Yugoslav president who succeeded Milosevic and whose conservative Democratic Party of Serbia finished second with 53 seats. The pro-Western Democratic Party, a separate bloc which led the outgoing reformist government, was third with 37 seats, according to the near-complete results.
Okay, two accused war criminals have been elected to seats in the Serbian parliament. That's pretty dramatic. And it does show, as ABC reports, a profound dissatisfaction with the government and the existence of strong anti-West feelings in the wake of 1999's bombings.

Still, the Radicals won 81 seats out of 250. Even with Milosevic's party, they have only 103, which means they still would have to go into coalition with at least one of the pro-Western parties. Adding Kostunica's party would enable them to form a government, but one with a razor-thin majority of six seats. And as the article itself says, "The parties belonging to the Democratic bloc suggested they might join forces and try to form a government."

So explain to me how this constitutes having "swept" the elections.

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