Ed Driscoll

CNN, The NYT, And The Limits Of Radical Chic

Last September, when Ted Turner had this infamous exchange with Wolf Blitzer…

WB: But this is one of the most despotic regimes, and Kim Jung Il is one of the worst men on Earth. Isn’t that a fair assessment?

TT: Well, I didn’t get to meet him, but he didn’t look…in the pictures I’ve seen of him on CNN, he didn’t look too much different than most of the other people I’ve met.

WB: But look at the way he’s treating his own people.

TT: Well, hey. Listen, I saw a lot of people over there. They were thin, and they were riding bicycles instead of driving in cars. But I didn’t see any brutality in the capitol, or out in the DMZ. We drove through the countryside quite a bit to down to P’annumjom and Kaesong. We traveled around. I’m sure we were on a special route, but I don’t see…there’s really no reason…North Korea’s got enough problems with their economy and their agriculture. I think they want to join the Western world, and improve the quality of life for their people, just like everybody else. And I think that we should give them another chance. It doesn’t cost us anything. They already have agreements, and then North Korea never posed any significant threat to the United States. I mean, the whole economy of North Korea is only $30 billion dollars a year. It’s less than the city of Detroit. It’s a small place, and we do not have to worry about them attacking us.

I wrote:

Whether it’s Cuba, the Soviet Union, or Iraq, Turner’s never met a totalitarian regime he didn’t want to prop up with sympathetic coverage.

And these days, North Korea is no exception. One man’s Hell on Earth is another man’s fun vacation getaway, as Ted describes Kim Jung Il’s rotting death trap of a country to Wolf Blitzer…

And of course, as both Reuters and Octavia Nasr, CNN’s senior editor for Arab affairs would say, one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. Stephen Spruiell of NRO’s MediaBlog looks at Christiane Amanpour’s recent documentary on Osama Bin Laden, airing, as Spruiell notes, just two weeks before the fifth anniversary of 9/11:

even the New York Times says that it’s a little too “suffuse[d]” with “romantic awe” for the terrorist mastermind. That’s sort of like Chris Rock telling you to tone down the swearing.

Good to see that even radical chic has some limits.