Yes, we have the media going gah gah over North Korea’s brainwashed cheerleaders and giving the sibling of a brutal Asian dictator good press; we’ll get to that later today. But for now, let’s revisit another media trip up, like when NBC tried to do Korean history—and failed miserably. In fact, the error was so appalling, the network had to issue an apology. During the coverage of the Opening Ceremonies, analyst Joshua Cooper Ramos noted Japan’s annexation of Korea between 1910-1945 in which he said, “every Korean will tell you that Japan as a cultural and technological and economic example has been so important to their own transformation.”
Uh, that’s fake news. The annexation period was brutal. The Japanese tried, as other powers have done so in other parts of the world, to strip the Koreans of their cultural identity. Just search and read about the occupation period on your own. It was not a pleasant period, and the South Korean media was rightfully outraged (via WaPo):
“His incorrect and insensitive comment about Korea’s history has enraged many of its people,” the Korea Times observed.
“Some say it’s questionable whether Ramo has been even following the news leading up to the current Olympics, as some of the disputes between South Korea and Japan erupted even during the preparation phase of the games,” the Korea Herald added, mentioning as an example the unified Korean flag that Ramo liked so much.
In fact, the Herald reported, an earlier flag design had outraged Japan because it included a group of islets still claimed by both countries.
Japan and South Korea have not even fully reconciled over atrocities committed during the occupation. While the Japanese government has expressed remorse and set up a fund in the 1990s to help victims it once referred to as “comfort women,” some politicians and academics claim estimates of 200,000 sex slaves are exaggerated. Many South Koreans, in turns, compare those skeptics to Holocaust deniers.
NBC issued this apology, which was read by anchor Carolyn Manno.
"During our coverage of the Parade of Nations on Friday we said it was notable that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made the trip to Korea for the Olympics, "representing Japan, a country which occupied Korea from 1910 to 1945 but every Korean will tell you that Japan is a cultural, technological and economic example that has been so important to their own transformation." We understand the Korean people were insulted by these comments and we apologize."
Hey, it could be worse. The news media could gush over North Korea. Oh wait—they did.