Regarding N. Korea, Who Said It: Tehran or LA Times Columnist?

I experienced an eerie sense of déjà vu this morning while reading an AP article entitled "Iran Blames U.S. for N. Korea Nuke Test." I could swear that I had already read this same blame-America analysis somewhere else. That sent me scrambling back to my report on the piece by LA Times columnist Rosa Brooks, "A Good Week for the Axis of Evil" contained in my NB item of yesterday [but please don't read just yet]. And sure enough, I found language there that closely tracked the statement from Tehran.

So, let's have a little fun. I'll set the two statements out below, and you try to guess. Which was issued by the Men of Mahmoud, and which by a homegrown member of the Blame America Brigades? Answer below.

A. "In the 1990s, the [US government] used a mix of tough sanctions and incentives. Though imperfect, that approach produced results . . . the North Koreans produced no new plutonium, conducted no nuclear weapons tests and produced no new nuclear weapons. When [Bush] took office, he refused to have anything to do with the policies embraced by his predecessors. Instead of using diplomacy and a careful balance of carrots and sticks, Bush just blustered and threatened."

B. "Not only did the [Bush administration] not lift the sanctions it had imposed on North Korea, it even increased the diplomatic pressure. Such pressure finally led North Korea to conduct its nuclear test. North Korea's nuclear test was a reaction to America's threats and humiliation."

OK - ready? Answer at foot of column.

What does it say about the MSM that the two items, laying the blame for N. Korea's actions at the feet of the Bush adminstration's use of "threats" instead of diplomacy, are virtually interchangeable?

Answer: 'A' is by Brooks, 'B' from Iranian state radio.

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.