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.
Donald Rumsfeld said Thursday that Americans should and do penalize media outlets that have a strong bias.
Speaking with Steve Malzberg via Spreecast, the former Secretary of Defense added, "They stop buying those newspapers, or they change their channel and go to a channel that they think is somewhat more balanced" (video follows with transcript and commentary, relevant section begins at minute 15:00):
In gross-out news, London's Daily Mail reports "Thousands of pills filled with powdered human flesh have been discovered by customs officials in South Korea, it was revealed today."
"The grim trade is being run from China where corrupt medical staff are said to be tipping off medical companies when babies are aborted or delivered still-born." This could be a new income stream for Planned Parenthood if they get their subsidies reduced.
It seems that the Times's Michael Shear is disappointed that Dear Leader is yet again caught up in a "distraction" ("Pat-Downs Ensnare White House in New Distraction"). It's headlined in the item's browser window as "Pat-Downs Ensnare White House in New Controversy." Interesting edit, don't you think? If it's a "controversy," the President owns it. If it's a "distraction," well, it's an unfair intrusion. Clever.
Shear wrapped it in a narrative whose theme was that "It all felt vaguely familiar." Well, yeah. What's more than vaguely familiar has been the press's tendency to lament the distractions our supposedly otherwise focused like a laser beam chief executive must endure. On April 9, 2009 (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that "The words 'Obama' and 'distraction' have both appeared in 2,425 articles in just the past 30 days; excluding duplicates, it's about 450."
In his blog entry, Shear listed many other awful distractions the president has encountered. What's interesting are how many of them escalated because of Obama or people working directly for him:
The Pentagon rescinded the invitation of evangelist Franklin Graham to speak at its May 6 National Day of Prayer event because of complaints about his previous comments about Islam.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation expressed its concern over Graham's involvement with the event in an April 19 letter sent to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. MRFF's complaint about Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham, focused on remarks he made after 9/11 in which he called Islam "wicked" and "evil" and his lack of apology for those words.
Col. Tom Collins, an Army spokesman, told ABC News on April 22, "This Army honors all faiths and tries to inculcate our soldiers and work force with an appreciation of all faiths and his past comments just were not appropriate for this venue."
I believe that the comment (bolded) could be seen as shining a less than flattering light on the president's mindset:
Obama arrived on the base 3:19 p.m. local time (1 a.m. Eastern Standard Time), and received a rousing welcome from 1,500 troops in camouflage uniforms, many holding cameras or pointing cell phones to snap pictures.
"You guys make a pretty good photo op," the president said.
Does anyone think that a similar comment by Bush 43 would have escaped establishment media criticism? Let's see if this Obamism slides by without criticism.
Earlier in the report, Kornblut noted that Obama's Afghan dither continues:
Over at Gateway Pundit, Jim Hoft introduces us to Amy Proctor's report on the amazingly large crowd of South Koreans that came out to welcome George W. Bush to their country. It's a good thing that Amy clued us in here in America, because our media sure ignored the story of this large turnout.
Amy directs our attention to The Korea Times report that revealed that 374 "conservative groups" intended to "stage a large-scale demonstration welcoming Bush, at Seoul Plaza," and boy did they ever come through. It turns out, the anti-Bush protesters were only able to muster a could of hundred protesters while the pro-Bush rally saw 15,000 Koreans turn out to participate.
Amy reminds us that none of the pro-Bush rallies were sponsored by the South Korean government, too.
During an interview by "GQ" magazine's Wil Hylton posted on the magazine's blog on September 20, CNN founder Ted Turner blamed Fox News for pushing America into the Iraq war, tagging the conflict as "Rupert's war," and contended that he is more afraid of America's possession of nuclear weapons than he is of rogue states like Iran obtaining such weapons. Turner: "I'm much more worried about our nuclear arsenal than theirs. Iran, at best, can get a few nuclear weapons. We have tens of thousands. We have to get rid of them." The CNN founder, who has a history of defending North Korea, ignoring the country's problem of starvation, complimented its "thin" citizens as "healthy," and suggested the despotic regime is of no more danger to America than Cleveland, Ohio. Turner: "They were nice to me. There weren't a lot of fat people walking around. They were all thin. And being thin is healthier than being fat. ...
Andrew at Biased BBC has an excellent take on the British news agency's flawed reporting on the recent release of some South Korean aid workers. For starters, the original headline glossed over the brutal murder of two hostages. Andrew also noted that contrary to BBC's own style guide, the news agency characterized the murdered missionaries as having been "executed," which implies a legal penalty governed by due process of law.