Soft labeling of Communist dictators ("enigmatic"?) has been a historical problem for the New York Times. On Wednesday, reporters Mark Landler and David Sanger described the late South Korea president Park Chung-Hee as a "strongman" as his "steely conservative" daughter Park Geun-hye, current president of the country, meets President Obama for the first time.
In contrast, North Korea's new young dictator Kim Jong-un was an "erratic, often belligerent young leader in Pyongyang," the Times leaving out ideological labels and not mentioning the totalitarian nature of his regime.
"If he’s not assassinated or not overthrown in a coup, he’s going to be in power for 40 years, and he is going to wed those atomic bombs to those missiles, and he’ll be able to threaten South Korea and Japan and U.S. bases in Asia.”
So said Pat Buchanan about North Korea's Kim Jong Un on PBS's McLaughlin Group Friday.
On Monday, the NBA Hall of Famer, in a vulgarity laden interview with CBS's Fargo, North Dakota, affiliate KXJB, said he’s going to be "vacationing" with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un in August (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary, serious vulgarity warning):
Ping-pong diplomacy worked with China, so why not b-ball diplomacy with North Korea? Mika Brzezinski is clearly not buying that line of logic. On today's Morning Joe, Brzezinski confessed to being "angry" with George Stephanopoulos for having the extraterrestrial otherwise known as Dennis Rodman on This Week to discuss his recent trip to North Korea, which included meeting with its new leader, Kim Jong Un.
Mika didn't spare her fellow MJ panelists, calling them "idiots" when they persisted in discussing Rodman's trip and TW appearance. View the video after the jump.
Kim Jong-un, the dictator of North Korea who inherited his position from daddy, Kim Jong-il, now has another toy to play with thanks to being fortunate enough to live through birth. Although the bloated young Kim appears as if he would have difficulty performing even one boot camp pushup, he has just been given control of the entire military due to his promotion to grand marshal of the army.
Jack Kim (no known relation to guess who) of Reuters wrote up the story about this not exactly merit-based promotion. However, Mr. Kim also gave us a buildup about some "sharp change" in North Korea that turned out to be a highly laughable letdown. First the "sharp change" hype:
Yet another episode being reported from the totalitarian nightmare that is North Korea is getting short shrift in most of the world's press, namely "criticism sessions" (i.e., rat out your neighbor, coworker, etc.) identifying North Koreans who allegedly weren't sufficiently grief-stricken over the December death of Kim Jong Il (pictured at right), weren't sufficiently demonstrative about it, or didn't attend enough mourning events, as well as the punishments for such transgressions which have reportedly followed.
The source is the Daily NK, a South Korea-based web site described by AFP as "an Internet website run by opponents of North Korea." The opening paragraphs from Wednesday's Daily NK report read as follows (bolds are mine throughout this post):
At the New York Times Thursday morning, reporter Choe Sang-Hun's covering the funeral for late North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il made it clear to readers that it "The funeral, and the mourning, appeared to have been meticulously choreographed by the government." Meanwhile, over at the Associated Press (saved here at host for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes), a story involving five reporters left the impression that the outpouring of grief was genuine and broadly shared.
Here are key paragraphs relating to that aspect of the funeral coverage, first from the Times (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Will the death of despotic dictator Kim Jong Il lead to less pandering and naive reporting on North Korea? Not if the past is any indicator. On September 19, 2005, CNN founder Ted Turner appeared on his own network to credulously insist that Kim "didn't look" evil. Turner proclaimed, "...He didn’t look too much different than most other people." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
After a bewildered Wolf Blitzer pointed out the harsh treatment of the North Korean people, Turner offered his own first-hand account: "Well, hey, listen. I saw a lot of people over there. They were thin and they were riding bicycles instead of driving in cars, but...I didn’t see any brutality."