The major U.S. media outlets enthusiastically helping spread North Korean propaganda at the winter Olympics are putting on a stunning show of disregard for the millions of people suffering under Kim Jong Un’s brutal regime.
In headline after headline, the freest press in the world is normalizing one of the most terrible regimes on the planet, choosing to advance the interests of a dictator over the interests of the people under his authoritarian rule.
CNN: Kim Jong-un’s sister is “stealing the show.”
Reuters: His regime is headed for the “diplomacy gold medal.”
The Wall Street Journal: Look how pretty and fun his cheerleaders are!
The Washington Post: Totally, and here’s what they’re saying!
It’s nothing new for the media to jump at the chance to make the Trump administration look bad, this time by dinging Vice President Mike Pence for his behavior at the games. (He apparently lost the side-eye contest with the sister). But it is a new level of hypocrisy for a press that has spent a year and a half hyperventilating over the threat of a dictator in the White House to knowingly buttress a ruler who is stockpiling nukes and committing unparalleled atrocities on his own people.
At home, the press sees potential authoritarian rule behind so much as a twitch from the Trump administration. Trump is labeled a fascist because he rewarded a private company for investing in the United States, and because he broke protocol with China by calling the president of Taiwan. He is said to be using Mussolini and Hitler’s playbook by openly criticizing the press. When Trump’s transition team declined to bring on people loyal to former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, the media characterized it as a “Stalin-esque purge.”
Pence is suspected of wanting to force people into gay conversion therapy, because he has expressed a personal view it can work. Encouraging immigration officers to enforce the laws of the country is deemed “disturbingly authoritarian.” But abroad at the winter games, just next door to what the United Nations has called a land of “unspeakable atrocities,” and what Human Rights Watch describes as “one of the most repressive authoritarian states in the world,” the press seems to have misplaced its nose for authoritarian rule.
While Kim Jong-un’s sister “turns on the charm” in Pyeongchang, her brother runs a state estimated to be holding between 80,000 and 120,000 people in prison camps — a state that routinely denies its people food, the right to express themselves, the right to move from place to place, and ultimately, the right to life.
Sure, Kim Jong-un’s sister can give a mean side-eye and look pretty. Meanwhile, her brother is overseeing what the U.N. called in 2014 “violations of a terrifying scale, the gravity and nature of which … do not have any parallel in the contemporary world.” This is a state that systematically murders, tortures, enslaves, and rapes its own people on religious, political, sex, and racial grounds. This is a place where a woman was forced to drown her own baby after giving birth in a detention camp, and where a man was put in prison for mistakenly using a paper with Kim Jong-un’s face on it to mop up a spilled drink.
The remarkable North Korean defector Trump highlighted in his State of the Union address later described what struck him most about South Korea when he made it into the country, after a brutal journey that included the loss of loved ones, torture, and several limbs.
“When I was in North Korea, I dug through the trash but struggled to find food,” Ji Seong-ho told The Daily Caller. “In South Korea, I found trash cans full of food. I thought, what has my life been? Is my life worth less than trash?”
The media’s willingness to side against people like him, and to overlook these atrocities for the sake of political gain, is an embarrassing betrayal of the values they claim to champion as members of the American press. Instead, they’ve made themselves an enemy of these millions of oppressed North Koreans by championing the interests of their leader.