“With a smile, a handshake and a warm message in South Korea’s presidential guest book, Kim Yo Jong has struck a chord with the public just one day into the PyeongChang Games.”
WaPo national correspondent Philip Bump shared a gif of Kim Yo Jong giving a “deadly side-eye” to Vice President Mike Pence during the opening ceremony in a tweet that has since been deleted after it went viral. In another tweet lacking any self-awareness, New Republic senior editor Jeet Heer openly admitted that North Korea’s “charm offensive is surprisingly successful.”They marveled at her barely-there makeup and her lack of bling. They commented on her plain black outfits and simple purse. They noted the flower-shaped clip that kept her hair back in a no-nonsense style. Here she was, a political princess, but the North Korean “first sister” had none of the hallmarks of power and wealth that Koreans south of the divide have come to expect. In looks-obsessed South Korea, many 20-something women list plastic surgery and brand-name bags as life goals. Most of all, Kim Yo Jong was an enigma. Just like them, but nothing like them. A woman with a sphinxlike smile who gave nothing away during her three-day Olympic-related visit to South Korea as brother Kim Jong Un’s special envoy.
Then there was North Korea’s creepy cheerleading squad that drew attention during the games. The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, ABC News, and even NBC fell head over heels over the spectacle (NBC later deleted its tweet.)
1. Since people are being willfully obtuse in interpreting this tweet, I’m going to delete and spell out, slowly, why North Korean charm offensive is surprisingly successful. pic.twitter.com/io7hN1PuXw — Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) February 11, 2018
While these media outlets treat this cheerleading squad like they’re One Direction, there’s a solid chance that these women would have faced death or imprisonment if they refused to cheer on the regime. But of all the fawning over the Hermit Kingdom’s Olympic showing, this headline from the liberal outlet ThinkProgress may take the cake.
North Korea’s 200-plus cheerleaders steal spotlight at 2018 Winter Olympics with matching outfits, synchronized chants. https://t.co/ITFVvyPuIj pic.twitter.com/CWzuJMHG3Z — ABC News (@ABC) February 10, 2018
In the article, they out of their way to trash the vice president, painting him as a big jerk for not being friendly to the ruthless dictatorship.
So, while Vice President Mike Pence has made no effort to extend a diplomatic hand — he actually avoided shaking hands with Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, attending the Winter Games — and refused to stand up for any national anthem other than that of the U.S., North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and South Korea’s Jae-in Moon are planning to meet in Pyongyang.In other words, they have found themselves rooting for a malevolent country like North Korea simply because they oppose anything and everything the Trump presidency does. Their blind hatred for this administration is literally aligning them with the enemy. And sadly, they’re not alone. What’s so disturbing about this sugar-coated coverage of North Korea is that it whitewashes the atrocities, the starvation, the human rights violations of its people and the threats to our allies. It wasn’t long ago that that the regime threatened war with the U.S. over a Seth Rogen movie, that they released 22-year-old American student Otto Warmbier knowing that he was going to die from the abuse he faced in prison, that they shot a missile over Japan, and that we learned the incredible story about North Korean defector Ji Seong-ho at the State of the Union. It’s as if the media has forgotten what evil Kim Jong-un and his sister are responsible for, and that their totalitarian regime is deliberately using the Winter Olympics to cover up and whitewash the atrocities they commit at home. This favorable coverage of North Korea is a disgrace to journalism, and those who fed into the regime’s propaganda machine ought to be ashamed.