A newly posted Time-Life magazine photo montage showcased pictures of North Korea and touted photographer Christopher Morris comparing brutal dictator Kim Jong Il to the "very controlled environment" of George W. Bush's White House.
On Life magazine's website, Morris connected, "America at that time  was, you'll recall, filled with a kind of blind nationalism. But Time appreciated the way I was able to work and get good photos even within that intensely restrictive environment -- and that's why they sent me to North Korea." The photographer bizarrely insisted that taking pictures in America could be "more restrictive than in North Korea."
After 17 years reigning as the Supreme Leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Il has reportedly died of heart failure, and his son, Kim Jong Un, has been announced as his successor. With instability in the region possibly posing a security threat to neighboring countries and abroad, governments around the world are keeping a careful eye on the region.
What do you think Kim Jong Il's death means for the future of North Korea? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Pat Buchanan regularly serves as Morning Joe's lone conservative in the show's self-described 10:1 ratio sea of lib to conservative guests. But Buchanan this morning demonstrated that he is anything but a Republican partisan.
Sounding more like Barney Frank after a bad night's sleep, Buchanan blasted President George W. Bush, claiming 43 "broke the Republican party and frankly he broke the United States as a superpower." View the video after the jump.
President Obama’s nominee to a top State Department post is one of the few American diplomats to have met North Korea’s Kim Jong-il, whom she later described as “smart, capable and supremely confident.”
Wendy Sherman traveled to Pyongyang in 2000 in her capacity as counselor to then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Visiting South Korea four years later – when she was no longer in government – Sherman had positive things to say about the reclusive Stalinist leader.
When candidate Obama bragged of campaigning in 57 states, or Pres. Obama suggested that the national language of Austria is "Austrian," we all remember how ABC flaunted those embarrassing flubs. Or not.
But let Sarah Palin momentarily mention North rather than South Korea as our ally, and ABC finds it newsworthy. Check out the video after the jump, containing the news scroll from today's Good Morning America.
By the way, as Ben Smith has pointed out at Politico, Palin actually correctly identified South Korea as our ally earlier in her Glenn Beck radio interview.
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:
Granted exclusive access to North Korea, Good Morning America's Bob Woodruff on Monday informed viewers that the incoming leader, Kim Jong Un, is "said to be a fan of basketball star Michael Jordan." [MP3 here.]
Standing next to a parade of military might in Pyongyang, Woodruff lauded, "North Korea may well be the world's most isolated country, a state with few allies, but they do know how to put on a show." At no point in the piece did the ABC journalist actually use the word dictator. Instead, he referred to Kim Jong Un as "the handpicked successor to the family dynasty."
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."
First of all, let me wish you a happy and prosperous New Year, and I want to thank you all for reading this column and letting your thoughts be known by responding.
Whether your reaction to what I write be pro or con, it's always good to know what's on your mind, and I sincerely hope that you will continue to do so.
There is a great frustration abroad in America these days and goodness knows we have enough to be frustrated about; the economy, the two wars we are fighting, people walking unimpeded across our border from Mexico, a country that for all practical purposes is being controlled by a ruthless drug cartel.
The closing of businesses, the loss of jobs and the relentless cruelty of Islamic terrorists around the world all add up to a myriad of serious problems facing America today.
Although you will not hear it articulated in the mainstream media, I think what's bothering Americans more than any other single subject is the fact that we've lost control of our government.
On Monday’s Good Morning America, the ABC show began a week’s worth of nostalgic segments on the legacy of host Diane Sawyer, who will leave the program on Friday to become the new anchor of World News. Chris Cuomo gushed over Sawyer’s 2006 trip to North Korea, lauding her "pivotal" interview: "It really matters to people and it makes us all proud, when you hear something like that. You ask that question that we were all so worried about."
Cuomo was referring to Sawyer’s questioning of a North Korean general, but didn’t mention her superficial tour of a school in that country, also from the same visit. (See above video.) On the October 19, 2006 GMA, while being escorted by officials of the state, she touted, "It is a world away from the unruly individualism of any American school."
Seemingly ignoring the concept of propaganda and brainwashing, Sawyer intoned, "Ask [the students] about their country, and they can’t say enough." One North Korean girl brightly chirped, "We are the happiest children in the world."
On Monday’s GMA, ABC’s Martha Raddatz pressed Hillary Clinton from the left on the Obama administration’s stance towards North Korea: “From the beginning...the rhetoric seemed almost exactly like the Bush administration’s, and it didn’t do much good. So is it a real shift that you decided to dial back?” Earlier in the month, she also labeled the overall Obama foreign policy “very thoughtful.”
The ABC correspondent’s segment with the Secretary aired minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour of the ABC morning program. Midway through the interview, Raddatz brought up the Obama administration’s dealings with North Korea. She asked Mrs. Clinton, “From the outside, it seems to me that after the latest missile launches, the rhetoric from the United States was dialed back a bit.” After the Secretary replied, the ABC News senior foreign affairs correspondent followed up with her question from the left: “But that’s a real shift- I mean, from the beginning of the Obama administration... the rhetoric [towards North Korea] seemed almost exactly like the Bush administration’s, and it didn’t do much good. So is it a real shift that you decided to dial back?”
During an interview with President Obama, Harry Smith asked about recent criticism by Dick Cheney and President Bush: "Leon Panetta intimated that the former Vice President was playing politics with national security issues. The former President has intoned his own displeasure with some of your policy changes. I think they feel like some of the things that you've done, in fact, are treacherous."
Smith failed to provide any direct quote of Panetta’s comments, made during an interview for The New Yorker, in which the CIA director declared: "I think he smells some blood in the water on the national-security issue...It’s almost, a little bit, gallows politics. When you read behind it, it’s almost as if he’s wishing that this country would be attacked again, in order to make his point. I think that’s dangerous politics."
Instead of asking Obama why a member of his administration would make such an outrageous statement about a former vice president, Smith simply mentioned that Panetta accused Cheney of "playing politics with national security issues."
In the midst of conservative criticism that President Barack Obama, at the summit in Trinidad over the weekend joked around with Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and was uncritical of a 50-minute anti-American screed from Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega, ABC decided to defend Obama's foreign policy mettle -- with his only failure coming where he has followed Bush's policy. Martha Raddatz began by trying to undermine the pictures of a jovial Obama with Chavez: “Today, cell phone video images emerged of a stern and serious President Obama during a brief encounter with Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez. The image counters the cordial hand shake with Chavez who once called Mr. Obama an 'ignoramus' and George Bush 'a devil.'”
She noted that “it should not be a surprise that President Obama is reaching out to friend and foe after promising a stark change,” before she recited, interspersed with Obama soundbites, how in a mere 90 days “he has reached out to the Iranian people...Muslims worldwide...And the Russians.” She asked: “And where has all this gotten him?” Her one expert, former Chicago Sun-Times and New York Daily News executive James Hoge, who now runs Foreign Policy magazine, hailed Obama's approach: “I think he's doing it very sequentially, so that he's got a better chance of getting deals with people, getting some of the things we want to have done, done.”
As was usually the case during Bill Clinton's presidency, the ascendancy of Dear Leader Barack Obama means that we will often have to consult the output of center-right commentators, and of course the Media Research Center and its affiliates, to cut through the establishment media's puffery to pick up even the most basic pieces of news.
I have bolded items in the excerpt below that represent news that was either not reported or vastly under-reported by what's left of the establishement media (there are even more examples at Krauthammer's full column):
Whoopi Goldberg’s solution to winning the War on Terror: talk to "Shum Jum Yum Yum," whoever that is. On the October 24 edition of "The View," the aforementioned co-host defended Barack Obama’s call for unconditional talks with rogue nations like Iran. Whoopi concluded that dictators such as "Ahmadinejacket" and "Shum Jum Yum Yum" (presumably she meant Kim Jong Il?) have become "less rational" because the Bush administration has allegedly not talked to these regimes.
Besides airing her opinion without getting key names correct, Whoopi should know that talking unconditionally to Adolf Hitler did not make him any less radical. This should come as no surprise to a woman, who, on more than one occasion, demonstrated her ignorance of basic history.
The wording may be a tad nuanced, the referenced two-bit dictator from a different country, but the idea behind the following jokes involving Barack Obama and the race card seems too similar for mere happenstance.
Judge for yourself.
On September 19, conservative blogger Jim Treacher wrote the following fictious exchange between "President" Obama and Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that seems eerily similar to the one presented on the most recent installment of NBC's "Saturday Night Live" (video embedded right, relevant section at 3:30):
When the latest installment of Saturday Night Live parodied Friday’s presidential debate, the NBC comedy program gave attention to Barack Obama’s connections to convicted criminal Tony Rezko, corrupt Chicago politics, and Obama’s recent attempts at "playing the race card," which notably are all matters that the mainstream news media have given little attention to. While the show also took a number of shots at John McCain, several times having him propose a bizarre gimmick like challenging Obama to a pie-eating contest for example, the Illinois Senator also received several noteworthy jabs. One line involved McCain’s character, played by Darrell Hammond, referring to Obama, played by Fred Armisen, as making an earmark request titled "Tony Rezko Hush Money." Obama’s character also bragged that his tax cut plan would benefit Chicago politicians and city employees "because my plan would not tax income from bribes, kickbacks, shakedowns, embezzlement of government funds, or extortion."
The Obama character later promised that he would "play the race card" against dictators like North Korean President Kim Jong Il if necessary to guilt-trip them into dismantling their nuclear programs, as he would accuse Kim of refusing to cooperate with him because "I’m not like the other guys on the $5 and $10 bills."
At that time, Newsweek's Conventional Wisdom toasted Kim Jong-il, the dictatorial "Dear Leader" of the radical Communist state, on the agreement, which would have removed North Korea for a list of state sponsors of terrorism:
"North Korea: U.S. to take it off the terror list after nuclear declaration. More cognac for the Dear Leader!"
Here's the Newsweek CW for today's online edition:
[Down arrow] By planning to restart nuclear plant, the country shows it's more volatile than Wall Street.
During the weekend's coverage of President Bush's trip to the G-8 Summit in Japan, ABC correspondents Martha Raddatz and John Cochran both reminded viewers of faux pas by the President from past G-8 Summits. On World News Saturday, while downplaying expectations of any significant accomplishments at the summit, Raddatz relayed: "In fairness, the G-8 rarely has created any breakthrough announcements. The most memorable moments had little to do with real news. There was the famous shoulder rub with Germany's Angela Merkel, and the live microphone that caught the President talking in less-than-diplomatic terms while he lunched with Tony Blair." (Transcript follows)
ABC showed the clip of Bush startling German Chancellor Angela Merkel by grabbing her shoulders from behind, and a censored clip from 2006 of him using profanity while talking about the terror group Hezbollah with then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Bush: "What they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this [BLEEP]-"
I'm still trying to figure out who died and made Joe "Anonymous" Klein Time magazine's foreign policy expert-in-residence. The sometime presidential primary fiction writer apparently thinks John McCain's statement on the Bush administration's nuclear deal with North Korea is too "grudging":
...Congratulations to George W. Bush for finally making the correct choice--diplomatic engagement, regional talks that enabled quiet unofficial contacts with the North Koreans, which then led to direct negotiations--in resolving this dispute. Wonder what John Bolton is thinking this morning?
Update: John McCain has just released this statement, which is a bit too grudging for my taste, but does raise the appropriate questions going forward
So let's see: Klein praises Bush but takes a mild swipe at Sen. McCain for having the gall to suggest that North Korea might not live up to its word, which it clearly has a history of doing.
At right you can see a screen capture of the up arrow. The caption reads, "North Korea: U.S. to take it off the terror list after nuclear declaration. More cognac for the Dear Leader!"
Putting aside for a moment the matter of the wisdom or folly of the deal, since Newsweek CW clearly judges it wise, it's telling that the Bush foreign policy team is not given the thumbs up here instead of Kim Jong-Il.
Christiane Amanpour interviewed former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, famous for her October 2000 meeting with North Korean dictator Kim "He’s Not a Nut" Jong Il, as part of her "Notes from North Korea" program, which aired on Saturday and Sunday evenings. During the segment, the CNN senior international correspondent failed to note how her husband, James Rubin, worked as spokesman and Assistant Secretary for State for Albright from 1997 until May 2000. Albright emphasized how "it's possible to have verifiable agreements" with the North Korean regime and how "negotiations need to be pursued actively." The Clinton administration that she worked for conducted negotiations with the communist dictatorship during the 1990s and signed a nuclear agreement with them, which the North Korean government violated by conducting a secret uranium enrichment program. So much for "verifiable agreements."
Amanpour did call the North Korean regime "a police state" and a "dictatorship" during her special, but she downplayed the communist government’s responsibility for the deaths of millions of North Koreans during a famine in the 1990s. [audio available here]
Reuters, the British newswire notorious for refusing to call terrorist organizations anything more incendiary than "militant," is now worrying that a Bush administration decision to declassify intelligence that makes Syria look bad may harm "diplomacy."
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States laid out intelligence on Thursday it believes shows North Korea helped Syria build a suspected nuclear reactor destroyed by Israel last year, a step that may complicate its diplomacy both on the Korean Peninsula and in the Middle East.
In breaking its official silence on the mysterious September 6 Israeli air strike, the Bush administration is taking the risk that Syria could be angered by the public disclosures and could seek to retaliate against Israel.
International journalism advocacy group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is declaring March 12 "Online Free Expression Day" to raise awareness to government repression of Web-based journalism in over 20 countries throughout the world.
RSF now lists 15 countries as "Internet enemies" (such as Cuba, Iran, and North Korea) and 11 other nations in a less-severe but nonetheless troubling designation as "countries under watch" (emphasis mine):
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. ...
James Joyner of Outside the Beltway complains that the New York Times buried the lede with an article about an Israeli airstrike in Syria. Turns out there's reason to believe that North Korea may be smuggling "nuclear material" to terror-sponsoring states Iran and Syria:
Talk about burying your lede. This is seven “paragraphs” down in the story (I use scarce quotes because newspaper style favors incredibly short paragraphs and breaks even when the subject has not changed for ease of editing). It’s wise to be wary of assertions from unnamed officials about this sort of thing, especially when the target is those perennial bogeymen Iran and Syria but it’s hardly inconceivable that the DPRK would sell nuclear materials to our adversaries.