NYT fails again with tweet on Serbia-Kosovo meeting falsely says it was Serb leader who was indicted for war crimes


A Balkans meeting planned in Washington was canceled after Hashim Thaci of Kosovo was indicted with war crimes. But somebody at the New York Times apparently thought the Serb must be the default villain in every story.

“The White House had planned to host the presidents of Serbia and Kosovo on Saturday. Then Kosovo’s leader was charged with war crimes,” starts the Gray Lady’s story on the failed summit.

But when it was shared on NYT Twitter account, the premise mysteriously morphed, stating that it was the Serbian leader who had been indicted. Subsequent tweets described the accused party accurately, while the erroneous one, which some readers found amusing, was deleted.

Thaci canceled his trip to Washington after he was indicted among other Kosovo Albanian figures by the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office (SPO) in The Hague. The politician, who serves as the self-proclaimed entity’s president, is accused of war crimes committed by the Kosovo Liberation Army, the insurgency group that fought against the government of Serbia and won, thanks to NATO’s 1999 bombing campaign. Thaci is a co-founder of the militia.

The NATO attack against Serbia was framed by the Bill Clinton administration as a morally justified ‘humanitarian intervention’ necessary to save civilian lives. That narrative was wholeheartedly supported by US media and gave birth to a long row of Serb villain characters in Western entertainment.

The actual break-up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s was a protracted and bloody ethnic conflict, in which criminals and victims were found on all sides. Serbs have long complained that the crimes of their opponents had been whitewashed in the aftermath.