Live Report From North Korea Cut Short After NBC Reporter Describes Failed Missile as 'Enormous Embarrassment'

North Koreans appear even more prickly about criticism of their dear leadership as American liberals are of theirs.

On her MSNBC show last night, Rachel Maddow was interviewing NBC foreign correspondent Richard Engel live from Pyongyang shortly after a long-range missile launched by the communist regime broke apart and crashed into the sea. (video after page break)

"This is an enormous embarrassment for North Korea," Engel said after describing the three-stage missile with a model of the rocket. "And what's critical to see now is how the North Korean government is going to explain this to the world and explain this to its own people."

Maddow responded, "Richard, given what you have been told about what the missile launch was for in North Korea, the fact that you are there at all, that they are letting you see things, that they are trying to show this off to you in some way or another, given ..."

At which point Engel pointed to his earpiece and said, "I no longer have audio."

Maddow, clearly disappointed -- "I can talk, I can hear Richard, but he can't hear me? Richard still can't hear me?" (No response from a still-visible Engel). "All right, we have lost our connection with Richard, with Richard Engel in Pyongyang."

After the interview was abruptly cut short -- curiously close to Engel's observation of the botched launch as hugely embarrassing to North Korea -- Maddow was at a loss to explain what happened and did not say anything about technical difficulties. (I posted a longer version of the segment at YouTube).

Earlier while talking with Maddow, Engel said the North Korean "minder" shepherding Western journalists during their stay in the country reacted comically when asked about the errant missile -- which the reporters learned about from news sources outside of North Korea, not from the minder.

"We were met with a completely blank stare and then he shrugged his shoulders and ran out of the room," Engel said.

Jack Coleman
Jack Coleman
Liberated ex-liberal from the People's Republic of Massachusetts