Sawyer Relays NK Propaganda Blaming Bush & Touting 'Happiest Children in the World'

On Thursday's World News on ABC, Diane Sawyer checked in from North Korea, but she proved little more than a conveyor belt for the repressive communist regime's propaganda. Talking to a North Korean Army General, she relayed how “he said to us, 'make it clear to everyone in the United States, if there is another nuclear test, the person responsible is George Bush,' because he said, 'the Bush administration is backing North Korea into a corner with its pressures and its sanctions.'" Sawyer helpfully added that “the General said to us, he does want peace. And he also said, again, reiterated, North Korea will not be the first to use a nuclear weapon.” How reassuring.

In a second segment, Sawyer was taken to a school which she favorably described as “a world away from the unruly individualism of any American school." She gushed: “Ask them about their country, and they can't say enough." A teenage girl declared, in English: “We are the happiest children in the world.” Sawyer ended her piece with video of her and the class singing "Do-Re-Mi" from the Sound of Music. Far from being embarrassed by Sawyer's obsequious approach, anchor Charles Gibson proposed: "A fascinating glimpse of North Korea."

Sawyer's sycophantic segments were reminiscent of Bob Woodruff's reports from North Korea back in June of 2005. The June 10, 2005 MRC CyberAlert article, “ABC: North Koreans Hate Americans, Offer Great Music/Art for Kids,” recounted:
North Koreans are isolated from outside information and fed a steady diet of anti-American propaganda, but that apparently doesn't make the anti-American comments from regime operatives, or citizens with minders standing nearby, unnewsworthy to ABC. "There are large gaps in what the world knows about the North Korean leader and his people," World News Tonight anchor Elizabeth Vargas noted before asserting that "many North Koreans, it seems, have strong opinions about Americans." From Pyongyang, Bob Woodruff went aboard the captured USS Pueblo and relayed how the "officer who gave us a tour today said the ship's an example of American crimes and another reason Koreans don't like Americans." The uniformed woman declared: "They invaded to our territory, and they supplied information, so all Koreans were angry." Woodruff traveled to a collective farm where found an 11-year-old girl who said of Americans: "They killed Korean people." Finally, Woodruff went to the "Children's Palace" where "five thousand North Korean kids are trained after school in music, art and sports." The video showed healthy kids in colorful uniforms paying instruments, painting and dancing.
Transcripts of Sawyer's two segments on the October 19 World News with Charles Gibson:
Diane Sawyer: “Today, we had a chance to sit down with Lee Jung Pak who for 40 years has been the General in charge of the DMZ, that flash point, that two and a half miles between South and North Korea. And we talked to him about what the President said yesterday. But we also talked to him about the prospect of another nuclear test. And he said to us, 'make it clear to everyone in the United States, if there is another nuclear test, the person responsible is George Bush,' because he said, 'the Bush administration is backing North Korea into a corner with its pressures and its sanctions.'”

Sawyer to interpreter with the General across a table from her: “Can the General guarantee or reassure the American people that this nuclear information will not be passed to terrorists?”

Translator: “We have nuclear weapons to defend our country and our people. Not to make money out of selling it.”

Sawyer: “The General said to us, he does want peace. And he also said, again, reiterated, North Korea will not be the first to use a nuclear weapon. No first strike, he says, from North Korea.”
ABC then jumped to her second report, during which viewers could see the minders in the doorway of the barren classroom:
Sawyer: “It is a world away from the unruly individualism of any American school.”

Class of teens in uniforms: “Good morning.”

Sawyer: “Good morning.”

Sawyer: “Ask them about their country, and they can't say enough.”

Girl, standing, in English: “We are the happiest children in the world.”

Sawyer: “What do you know about America? Anyone?”

Sawyer: “We show them an American magazine [Elle]. They tell us, they know nothing about American movies, American movie stars. They do know nearly every soccer player in the world by name.”

Adult male voice: “Did you watch the world cup?”

Class, in unison: “Yes.”

Sawyer: “And then, it becomes clear that they have seen some movies from a strange place. Not sure where. The movie names:”

Girl: "Toy story."

Sawyer: “Toy Story. You saw Toy story?"

Boy: "Shrek."

Sawyer: “Shrek. You know The Sound of Music."

Voices: “Yes.”

Sawyer singing “Do-Re-Mi” with the class: “Do, a female deer. Re a drop of golden sun-”

Sawyer: “Together, a round of Do-Re-Mi.” [singing continues]

Gibson: “A fascinating glimpse of North Korea.”

The MRC's Brad Wilmouth provided the screen shots for this posting.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center