Demonstrating that they’ve learned absolutely nothing from being baited by an orange, glowing sociopath, CNN recently ran a particularly insipid headline:
And it went downhill (pun intended) from there.
I think I just threw up a little.
Once again, American media outlets are determined to fall victim to the same cheap tricks. A smile? A handshake? Apparently, the bar of expectation for North Korea is so low that, so long as Kim Yo-jong doesn’t publicly devour a kitten, CNN will fall over themselves with nauseating praise. Kim apparently wrote in her guestbook:
“Unification” is of course a heavily strategic term here, because it recasts the peninsula conflict as a tit-for-tat, internecine squabble that would go away if only the two leaders would come to the table and stop bickering. And after decades of Middle East turmoil, Americans are used to thinking of foreign conflicts in these terms. So let me spell this out for you. This is not a dispute between two equally-aggrieved sides. There is satellite imagery of what amount to North Korean death camps that contain as many as 70,000 people at any given time. A 2013 draft report to the UN Human Rights Council describes the kind of horrors the regime visits upon its prisoners, including forcing a female prisoner to drown her own baby in a bucket.
Other reporting details forced abortions so horrifying I can’t bring myself describe them.
But why dwell on such unpleasant little details? Why don’t we instead wax poetic about how Kim Yo-jong is basically just like Ivanka Trump, because she’s uh… female, under 40 and in power. She does, at least, seem to share Ivanka Trump’s deafening lack of self-reflection. CNN refers to previous reporting that, when asked about about Seoul, Kim’s reply was that, “It doesn’t feel unfamiliar.” And I suppose it wouldn’t given that in North Korea she lives in palatial splendor.
After CNN took some considerable heat for their story, Esquire came to their defense,
I’m very sorry, but yes, gulags and other crimes against humanity in North Korea are a really big fucking deal. Charles Pierce at Esquire would apparently like to read a review of that lovely parade in Dallas, TX back in 1963 without an 8,000 word digression about how JFK’s brains saw sunlight for the first time in Dealey Plaza.
CNN and other media outlets could at least try to be fair and give other rogue-states the same treatment, but they won’t because they know it wouldn’t score the same juicy click-counts. American journalists and editors know perfectly goddamn well that North Korea’s black hole of human suffering is common knowledge. They know that the regime’s unthinkable crimes are extremely well-publicized, and so they also know that articles that tease us with comparisons between Kim Yo-jong and Ivanka Trump are just too much for our macabre fascination to pass up.
An even more sickening dimension to this is the fact that the Bad Guys know exactly how the American media will behave. Outlets like CNN are being played like harps from hell to furnish Kim Jong-un with a crucial weapon: False equivalence. Show the average American enough pictures of North Korean leaders shaking hands with their South Korean counterparts, and the prevailing attitude across living rooms will shift to something like: “Well, good thing these countries are finally getting along! If these Koreans won’t stop fighting like teenagers, don’t expect any help from us!”
Sound familiar? If you know anyone who responded to stories of Trump’s sexual assaults or his sundry conflicts-of-interest with the words, “But… her emails”, then you already know the power of false equivalence. Rome is burning because our idiotic media calculated that it would be profitable to paint Hillary and Trump as equally dislikable/flawed candidates. They were right. Hillary’s emails kept the click-counts coming, and Trump provided no end of blockbuster headlines.
But this is worse, because after getting played by Trump, editors at outlets like CNN have more than an inkling of what’s going on. They know that they’re being used as leverage in a charm-offensive by North Korea. And they’re choosing to go along with it anyway. So, if they were just simple fools before, now they’re actually complicit.