• US and international media outlets went gaga over Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at the Winter Olympics.
  • CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, ABC, and Reuters were all criticised
     for surprisingly cheery depictions of Kim and the North Korean cheer squad.
  • Kim heads North Korea’s propaganda department, and citizens of North Korea are regularly killed or enslaved for disagreeing with her and her brother.


US and international media went gaga over North Korea’s “Princess” Kim Yo Jong, despite her family’s role in a massive, ongoing system of political oppression that has tortured and killed millions over decades.

CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, ABC, and Reuters were all criticised for surprisingly cheery depictions of Kim and the North Korean cheer squad dispatched to the Winter Olympics in South Korea.

“Without a word, only flashing smiles, Kim Jong-un’s sister outflanked Vice President Mike Pence in diplomacy,” a
New York Times tweet read
. The tweet got an overwhelmingly negative response in the replies. 


“Is the ‘newspaper of record’ really this susceptible to charm and propaganda from murderous dictatorships? Reminder: there are currently over 100,000 prisoners enslaved in North Korea,”
Colorado Senator Cory Gardner responded to the Times


Articles from 
The Washington Post
and
BBC
 that compared Kim to Ivanka Trump were vilified for similar reasons. While Trump’s youngest daughter does advise his White House in some capacity, Kim actively runs the propaganda department that aggrandizes her brother’s regime.

Within North Korea, rejection of the propaganda espoused by Kim can result in a death sentence or a prison sentence for multiple generations of a family. 

 


Usually straight-laced
Reuters awarded Kim an imaginary “diplomacy gold medal”
for her brief appearance at the Olympics, quoting an analyst as saying that Kim “showing elegant smiles” made North Korea appear as a “normal state.”


Eventually, BuzzFeed struck back at the media’s applause for Kim’s charm offensive, with an
article titled “PSA: Kim Jong Un’s Sister Is Not Your New Fave Shade Queen. She’s A Garbage Monster,”
 and subtitled “What the hell is wrong with you people?”

Experts say North Korea intended to use the Olympics as a propaganda bonanza, and it appears to have succeeded. Smiling Kim struck a contrast to the US’s representative, Mike Pence, who declined to speak with her or shake her hand as he travelled with Fred Warmbier, the father of a college student who lost his life over the theft of a poster from a hotel in Pyongyang. 

The near-unanimous US media celebration of North Korea’s attendance to Pyeongchang rarely mentions that last time South Korea hosted the games, a North Korean agent blew up a civilian airliner, killing all 115 crew and passengers.


While US media giants
ponder an erosion of trust
, Kim’s trip to the Olympics shows how a politically motivated agenda can dictate press coverage and potentially help normalize a murderous regime.





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