Larry Elder
Former NBA star Dennis Rodman traveled to communist North Korea, a trip financed by a documentary filmmaker. Rodman appeared neither officially nor unofficially as part of the U.S. government.

An incredulous George Stephanopoulos of ABC subjected Rodman to a grilling more suitable for a corrupt, double-dealing politician: "When you said you love Kim (Jong Un) and think he's awesome, were you aware of his threats to destroy the United States and his regime's horrendous record on human rights? ... Do you think you have a responsibility to ask him about it so that you don't be perceived as sort of propping up his regime, his cult of personality? ... (He's) a 'great guy' -- who puts 200,000 people in prison camps? ... It sounds like you're apologizing for him. ... Someone who hypothetically is a murderer who is your friend is still a murderer."

So George Stephanopoulos can aggressively interview non-Republicans. Too bad he used his skills on Dennis Rodman rather than on Sean Penn or Michael Moore or his former boss Bill Clinton.

Former President Jimmy Carter, with the approval of then-President Clinton, traveled to North Korea in 1994. But without consulting the Clinton administration, Carter triumphantly announced on CNN the terms of the deal he had supposedly brokered in which North Korea agreed to end its nuclear proliferation program. Hallelujah! But North Korea took the economic assistance -- and continued its nuclear program.

Rodman committed no such blunder.

Actor Sean Penn, who, unlike Rodman, is taken seriously by major media, traveled to Iraq on the eve of the war. As with Rodman, Penn was accompanied by government minders: "I'm here for a simple reason, which is because I'm a patriot and an American who has benefited enormously from being an American, and because I had areas of personal concern and conscience that led me to come to Iraq."

Unlike Penn, Rodman did not blame hostilities on corporate greed. After the Iraq War began, Penn wrote: "If military intervention in Iraq has been a grave misjudgment, it has been one resulting in thousands upon thousands of deaths, and done so without any credible evidence of imminent threat to the United States. Our flag has been waving, it seems, in servicing a regime change significantly benefiting U.S. corporations. ... That same flag that took me so long to love, respect and protect threatens to become a haunting banner of murder, greed and treason against our principles, honored history, Constitution, and our own mothers and fathers. To become a vulgar billboard, advertising our disloyalty to ourselves and our allies."

Larry Elder

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit