Many Americans over the weekend observed the mainstream media’s fawning coverage of North Korea at the Olympics with abject disgust — especially in light of the hostile coverage of Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence.
The over-the-top praise of the North Korean cheer squad and Kim Yo-jong, the younger sister of North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong Un, has been nothing short of disgraceful.
I am deeply saddened by how my profession has normalized and glamorized this murderous regime.
And then we wonder why no one trusts us. pic.twitter.com/pMKVPEvOWP
— SalenaZito (@SalenaZito) February 11, 2018
— ABC News (@ABC) February 10, 2018
Yo-jong (whose leering, smirking mug brings to mind Kill Bill’s meteor hammer-wielding villainess Gogo Yubari) is the deputy director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department of North Korea’s Workers’ Party and a member of the Politburo. This is probably not a pleasant woman.
CNN was impressed, however: “Kim Jong Un’s sister is stealing the show at the Winter Olympics,” the network gushed on Saturday.
— CNN (@CNN) February 10, 2018
The article began, “If ‘diplomatic dance’ were an event at the Winter Olympics, Kim Jong Un’s younger sister would be favored to win gold.”
North Korea continues to starve, imprison, torture, and murder its own people and threaten its neighbors with nuclear annihilation — but that didn’t stop Reuters from awarding the totalitarian regime with a gold medal for diplomacy.
— Reuters (@Reuters) February 11, 2018
Not to be outdone, the New York Times also heaped praise on the murderous dictator’s little sis while taking a jab at the vice president: “Without a word, only flashing smiles, Kim Jong-un’s sister outflanked Vice President Mike Pence in diplomacy,” cheered the Grey Lady.
Without a word, only flashing smiles, Kim Jong-un's sister outflanked Vice President Mike Pence in diplomacy https://t.co/c2gTuSTF9e
— The New York Times (@nytimes) February 11, 2018
Conservatives on Twitter reacted with disgust:
the North Korean state run by her brother forces starving children to inform on their parents who are then tortured to death inside multi-generational concentration camps-
but Trump tweets mean stuff to the media sometimes, so the NY Times is with her https://t.co/06z7neZ4nI
— Buck Sexton (@BuckSexton) February 11, 2018
Just a reminder that Kim Jong-un's sister literally heads the Department of Propaganda and Agitation. The Soviets called it Agitprop. The NY Times & other outlets are providing North Korea, with this fawning coverage, more than it could have ever dreamed of. We've lost our minds. https://t.co/05JIcySkC2
— Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV) February 11, 2018
Last week: Trump wants a military parade like a dictator!
This week: The admirable precision of North Korea's cheerleaders will warm your heart!
— Razor (@hale_razor) February 12, 2018
While some in the media look fondly upon North Korea during the Olympics, I can't help but recall this from 2 weeks ago–one of the most powerful moments I've ever witnessed.
Ji Seong-ho–once starved and tortured by the North Korean regime–now free. Remember his story. pic.twitter.com/6TxNxxrP0C
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) February 11, 2018
Pence is being criticized for avoiding a dinner where the North Korean delegation was in attendance and refusing to stand up when the unified Korean Olympic team marched onto the field to a standing O during the opening ceremony.
Maybe that seemed unnecessarily churlish to the media types who wanted him to applaud like a trained seal at a likely short-lived moment of unity.
But one suspects Fred and Cindy Warmbier would beg to differ. Their son Otto Warmbier, you may recall, was detained in North Korea in January 2016 after he was accused of stealing a poster at his hotel in Pyongyang. He was sentenced to 15 years of prison and hard labor — with a little torture on the side. He was extradited back to the U.S. 17 months later in a vegetative state, and died soon after. According to North Korea’s medical records, he had been in a coma since April 2016, one month after his conviction.
But hip, hip hooray for Queen Slay and her fake smile “charm offensive” that totally “outflanked” our vice president.
Ditto for the weirdly smiling robots whose synchronized chants so enchanted the media.
How is every major outlet gleefully pushing North Korean propaganda? This is bizarre. Gee. I wonder why these people are so coordinated? I'm sure it's all voluntary. https://t.co/D4wFTGWuZv
— Stephen Gutowski (@StephenGutowski) February 11, 2018
Have you ever heard of Yeonmi Park? She’s a 24-year-old woman who defected from North Korea when she was 13. She appeared at the One Young World Summit 2014 in Dublin, Ireland, one day after her 21st birthday to give a brief talk about her life in the “unimaginable” dictatorship and described what happened to her and her mother after a human trafficker helped them escape to China.
Years later, Park could barely talk about the horrors she lived through.
Out of antipathy toward President Trump, American media outlets propped that nightmare regime up over the weekend so they could push the narrative that Vice President Pence looked weak and ineffective compared to the mighty Norks.
Have a tissue ready because this will make you cry.
I have to do this because this is not me speaking. This is the people who want to tell the world what they want to say. North Korea is an unimaginable country. There is only one channel on TV. There is only one Internet. We aren’t afraid to sing, say, wear, or think what we want. North Korea is the only country in the world that executes people for making unauthorized international phone calls. North Koreans are being terrorized today. When I was growing up in North Korea, I never saw anything about love stories between men and women. No books, no songs, no press. No movies about love stories.
There is no Romeo and Juliet. Every story was propaganda to brainwash us about the Kim dictators. I was born in 1993 and I was abducted at birth, even before I knew the words freedom or human rights. North Korea is so desperately seeking and dying for freedom at this moment. When I was nine years old, I saw my friend’s mother publicly executed. Her crime: watching a Hollywood movie. Expressing doubt about the cruelness of the regime can get three generations of a family imprisoned or executed. When I was four years old, I was warned by my mother not to even whisper.
The birds and mice couldn’t hear me. I admit it. I thought the North Korean dictator could read my mind. My father died in China after we escaped North Korea and I had to bury him at 3:00 a.m. in secret. I was 14 years old. I couldn’t even cry. I was afraid to be sent back to North Korea. The day I escaped North Korea, I saw my mother raped. The rapist was a Chinese broker. He targeted me. I was 13 years old. There is a saying in North Korea, “when men are weak, our mothers are strong.” My mother allowed herself to be raped in order to protect me. North Korean refugees, about three hundred thousand are vulnerable in China. 70% of North Korean women and teenage girls are being victimized, sometimes sold for as little as 200 dollars.
We walked across the Gobi desert following a compass. When this stopped working, we followed the stars to freedom. I felt only the stars would lead us. Mongolia was our freedom moment. Death or dignity. And with the knives, we were prepared to kill ourselves if we were going to be sent back to North Korea. We wanted to live as humans. People often ask me, “how can you help North Koreans?” There are many ways but I would like to mention three for now. One, educate yourself so that you can raise awareness about human crisis in North Korea. Two, help and support North Korean refugees who are trying to escape to freedom. Three, petition China’s on repatriation. We have to shine a light on the darkest place in the world.
It isn’t just North Korean human rights, it’s our rights that North Korean dictators have violated for seven decades. We need governments all around the world to put pressure on China to stop repatriation. In particular, Chinese delegates of One Young World, can play a part by speaking up. North Korea is indescribable. No humans deserve to be oppressed just because of their birth place. We need to focus less on the regime and more on the people who are being forgotten. One Young World, we are the ones who make them visible.
Fellow delegates, please join me as you make this a global movement to free North Koreans. When I was crossing the Gobi desert, scared of dying, I thought nobody in this world cared. It seemed that only the stars were with me. But you have listened to my story. You have cared. Thank you very much.