American Media Literally Fawned Over North Korea’s Propaganda Minister

Chris Reeves
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Posted: Feb 12, 2018 4:30 PM
American Media Literally Fawned Over North Korea’s Propaganda Minister

Over the weekend, the avalanche of pro-North Korean propaganda that emanated from such presumably prestigious outlets as The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Associated Press, Reuters, ABC, NBC, and CNN incited a massive backlash from people across the political spectrum. Many commentators were outraged by the press’s flowery descriptions of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, who enthralled low-info journalists at the aforementioned outlets by purportedly smirking at Vice President Pence while seated near him at the Winter Olympics opening ceremony.

However, in the rush to both praise Kim and rail against the media organizations that were idolizing her, a key bit of context slipped under most peoples’ radars. Namely, she is not just the supreme leader of North Korea's sister—she is his chief minister of internal propaganda. Thus, Kim is an active player in keeping North Koreans mentally and emotionally enslaved to a regime that kills, tortures, imprisons, starves, and rapes people by the millions every decade.

As the Vice Director of the Workers’ Party of Korea’s Propaganda and Agitation Department (PAD), Kim has led national efforts to both shape internal propaganda directed at North Korean citizens and censor any wayward thoughts about the Dear Leader in their news media.

According to a 2016 press release from the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), PAD is used by the Worker’s Party of Korea as a “tool to control the public,” issuing monthly “party guidelines explaining the narrative that all broadcast and news reporting plans must follow.” In addition, PAD is “the primary agency responsible for both newspaper and broadcast censorship,” including television and radio reports. No external narratives or voices enter the country, at least not with the government’s permission. Those who do try to smuggle in outside information are subject to arrest, imprisonment in a concentration camp, and even execution.

Therefore, when The New York Times lauded Kim for her “charm offensive,” or the AP salivated over her “extraordinary show of Olympic diplomacy,” or Reuters gushed about Kim winning “the diplomatic gold” with her “elegant smiles,” they were not only casually brushing aside North Korea’s deserved reputation as one of the most brutal regimes in human history—they were heaping adulation on someone who is in charge of maintaining her state’s iron grip on the press. 

And the mainstream media’s reverence for Kim could have serious real-world consequences. Michael Malice,  author of “Dear Reader: The Unauthorized Autobiography of Kim Jong Il," warned Townhall that Kim “will now be able to 'honestly' take Western headlines to tell the population that all eyes were on her at the Olympics.” He also explained that, in the context of the Korean War, one of the dictatorial regime’s “big lies is that North Korea is respected worldwide for defying the US.” Malice opined that “now, [Kim] has New York Times headlines to ‘prove’ her claim.”

Malice was among those who vehemently spoke out against media outlets who tried to normalize North Korea's dictatorial dynasty. "To say I was baffled and mortified (no pun intended) would be an understatement," he said. Looking at his Twitter feed from Sunday, this is hardly a surprise:

Malice also noted to Townhall that Kim’s position as head of PAD is the same post that her father and previous North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il held before being chosen to ascend to the Hermit Kingdom’s throne. Although Kim Yo Jong is not expected to overthrow her brother anytime soon, this fact does demonstrate the importance of her job within North Korea. Perhaps American media should think twice before giving her free help to do it?