N. Korea: What, No Free Health Care?

To those of us who see the Castro regime as an ugly dictatorship whose people are mired in poverty due to the communism it has imposed, little is more annoying than to hear the MSM tout the glories, as reported here by MRC, of Cuba's 'free health care,' and low illiteracy and infant mortality rates. Beyond the dubiousness of the statistics cited, are the media suggesting that trading freedom for a bowl of government porridge is a good deal?

In any case, judging by this morning's Today show, it looks as if the MSM have finally found a communist dictatorship they will not extol. The media have drawn the line at, well, the DMZ line separating South from North Korea.

NBC reporter Tom Aspell [who I find resembles a younger Ian McKellen], narrated a segment which in turn reported on two documentaries that westerners have been permitted to film inside North Korea in recent years.

In narrating the images, Aspell offered this bleak commentary:

  • "Twenty-two million people in a failed state the size of Mississippi and most of them hungry because all available resources go to the military."
  • "A bleak country where everybody is told to worship Kim Jong Il."
  • "Misery for the majority and a pretty good living for a small elite around Kim Jong Il."
  • "A leader presiding over a ruined country but one he hopes to keep isolated for as long as possible. Kim Jong Il's missiles may be his downfall as the west moves toward more sanctions which may drive him from power."

For me, the most striking image was the satellite photo of the Korean peninsula displayed here. The stark contrast between the bright lights of the south and the virtual blackness of the north is a perfect metaphor for the darkness and light of dictatorship versus democracy, communism vs. the free market.

All this and, blessedly, not a word about the North's free health care!

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.