The sick celebration of North Korea
Every two years, Americans unite around the television to root for U.S. athletes, to see their dreams of gold medals come true — unless you’re a journalist, in which case the Olympics are a time to root against your country on the world stage.
At opening ceremonies in Pyeongchang, South Korea, organizers strangely seated Vice President Mike Pence just a few feet from Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korea’s communist dictator, Kim Jong Un. To American reporters who hate President Trump, a star was born. The summaries of Jong on Twitter alone were enough to make you throw your phone across the room.
The Associated Press gushed, “The trip by Kim Yo Jong is the latest move in an extraordinary show of Olympic diplomacy with Seoul that could prove to be a major challenge to the Trump administration’s hard-line Korea policies.” Reuters: “North Korea has emerged as the early favorite to grab one of the Winter Olympics’ most important medals: The diplomatic gold.”
The newspapers claimed Pence lost to the woman who serves as the North Korean deputy director of propaganda. A New York Times headline read, “Kim Jong-un’s Sister Turns on the Charm, Taking Pence’s Spotlight.” It turned to history professor Alexis Dudden, who specializes in Asian countries, for the slam dunk. She said, “The fact that he and Mrs. Pence didn’t stand when the unified (Korean) team came in was a new low in a bullying type of American diplomacy.” The Washington Post front page declared it had found the “Ivanka Trump of North Korea.” Jung “has enraptured people in looks-obsessed South Korea with her sphinxlike smile and low-key beauty.” Her attendance was “a signal that North Korea is not this crazy, weird former Cold War state, but has young women who are capable future leaders.”
This kind of truth-shredding article makes a mockery of all the Post’s indignant “Democracy Dies in Darkness” bravado. One might totally forget that last May, when Trump called the North Korean dictator a “pretty smart cookie,” the Post ran a story headlined “Praise for Strongmen Alarms Rights Advocates” with the subheading “Trump’s vocal affection for totalitarians marks major U.S. policy shift.”
The biggest target for outrage on Twitter was CNN, which announced, “Kim Jong Un’s sister is stealing the show at the Winter Olympics,” and included a link to an article. It began, “If ‘diplomatic dance’ were an event at the Winter Olympics, Kim Jong Un’s younger sister would be favored to win gold.” That was in addition to a piece CNN ran with the headline “North Korea Is Winning the Olympics — and It’s Not Because of Sports.” It insisted, without the slightest hint of irony or introspection, that “the North has gotten the kind of publicity money can’t buy.”
CNN also brought its academic expert. “The North is masterful at getting something for nothing,” David Maxwell of Georgetown University proclaimed. “They’re going to get recognition, legitimacy, resources, without giving anything up.”
This is a flip-flop from last May. When Trump called the North Korean tyrant a “pretty smart cookie,” CNN anchor Jake Tapper brought the brutal facts, saying: “Kim Jong Un had his uncle murdered. That does not make Kim Jong Un a smart cookie. That makes him a murderer.”
If our media elite revered democracy and loathed totalitarianism, none of this sugar-coated nonsense on North Korean “mastery” would have been uttered or published. Their bitter hatred of the Trump-Pence ticket colors everything they say and write.
Bozell is president of the Media Research Center.