Wednesday, March 13, 2013

North Korean Propaganda Video Shows that Western Journalists are Morons

Dear Korean,

I'm guessing I'm the bajillionist person to ask this, but just in case... I saw this news article today, and find it very very hard to believe that the voice-over is accurate in translation. (Although very hilarious- snow coffee and yummy birds for the americans!) Also hard to believe someone would just write a news article without even asking someone who spoke Korean if it was true, but... well, maybe not that hard to believe, unfortunately. Could you please let us know what the woman is actually saying?

Sylvia B.

Many, many readers sent questions today asking essentially the same question, which nearly caused the Korean to create a brand-new the-Korean's-head-sized hole on his wall as a result of repeated banging.

For the readers who are seeing this piece for the first time on this blog, here is the video in question:


And here is the original video, without the voiceover:


The Korean will tell you two things about this set of videos:

1.  The original video, indeed, is a real propaganda video from North Korea.
2.  The voiceover, however, is a joke.

How can the Korean be so sure about these two things? Because it only took very simple steps to verify them. The Korean could figure out that the original video was a real propaganda video, because when he typed into Youtube's search bar the video's title in Korean--갈수록 암담해지는 자본주의 사회 현실, which was right there at the beginning of video--the video popped up, showing that it was originally posted by Uriminzokkiri [우리 민족끼리], the official Youtube channel of the North Korean propaganda machine. If you are curious, here is their official website, Twitter account and Flickr account.

(WARNING.  If you are reading this from South Korea, do not click on any of those links. In all likelihood, you would not even be able to access it due to South Korea's own version of the not-so-Great Firewall. But visiting those sites may be a violation of South Korea's National Security Act. Just this past November, a South Korean man was prosecuted and found guilty of violating the NSA for re-tweeting the tweets from Uriminzokkiri. This is not a joke. Seriously, don't do it.)

Second, how could the Korean figure out that the voiceover was a joke? Because he went through the arduous process of . . . wait for it . . . watching the two videos in succession and noticing that the "translation" did not match up to the original.

Just in case you missed it, here are the two very simple things that the Korean did to fact-check: (1) Enter the (obviously presented) title into the Youtube search bar; (2) actually watch the two videos and compare the soundtrack. The entire process took no more than 15 minutes, and it would have taken less if the videos were shorter.

Now, let's look at the media articles that covered these videos. Surely, these luminous media organizations must have employed the most basic fact check methods that only took 15 minutes for a hobbyist blogger to implement, right? Nope--the coverage of this video reads like the greatest hits of journalistic malpractice.

(More after the jump.)

Got a question or a comment for the Korean? Email away at askakorean@gmail.com.


From this point forward, all emphases in the quotes belong to the Korean. Let's start with the estimable bastion of American conservatism, the National Review:
The video above is reportedly a North Korean propaganda video that portrays life in the United States — a dire existence in which citizens subsist off of snow and the landscape is devoid of trees because the American people have been forced to eat them all. 
“This is how Americans live today,” a faceless narrator announces, “drinking coffee made from snow, living in tents and buying guns to kill each other, especially children. Some people complain about the guns.”
North Korea portrays life in U.S. [National Review]

A straightforward, descriptive article, which is somewhat better than the atrocities that we will see soon. Regardless, no sign that the reporter asked the most basic questions upon seeing this video, such as: "Is this real?"

Along the same line is the article from Yahoo! News, which gives a generic description of the video, and then cheekily asks at the end of this article:  "So, what do you think? Is this propaganda video for real or is it too weird even for the North Korean government?" Here is a tip, journalist for Yahoo! News--do your own goddamn homework and figure it out yourself. It would have taken 15 minutes, tops.

But it gets better. Let's take a look at the Washington Post, one of the premier newspapers of America that set the gold standard of investigative journalism by exposing the Watergate scandal:
Ironically, the video portrays American life as somewhat like the darkest days of North Korea’s 1990s famine, though with much more violence and drug addiction. . . . Some of the footage might be of the United States, but a lot of it clearly isn’t. The pay phones don’t look very American, and one screenshot I took shows a Dell post in what might be Spanish or Italian. . . . There are a few clues suggesting the original video, if not necessarily the English dub, may be authentic. The narrator is speaking in the theatrically emotional, sing-song Korean often used in state media broadcasts. And the message is consistent with North Korean propaganda . . .
North Korean propaganda video ‘explains’ what life is really like in America [Washington Post]

The Washington Post article is infuriating because the reporter attempted to do his homework, but completely missed all the obvious answers. He correctly sees that a lot of the footage clearly is not of the United States, but he does not take the one extra small step to ask himself:  "Maybe the footage is not of America because the video is not about America." (This failure is even more incredible because the reporter did find the correct(-ish) translation of the title, The Dark Reality of Capitalist Societies, without putting two and two together.) He even watched the original video in Korean, but never took the next logical step of actually comparing the audios. Somewhere, Woodward and Bernstein must be weeping.

But the winner of the "We Are Idiots When It Comes to North Korea" trophy goes to Daily Telegraph, which gives us this gem:
But there’s a weird twist. The narrator keeps quoting homeless people saying that the snow is actually rather nice and once or twice our tour guide can be heard saying, “Yum, yum!” My theory is that this video serves a dual purpose: on the one hand bashing America and, on the other hand, softening North Koreans up for a future state-approved cuisine based on snow. If anyone grumbles about eating snowballs and spaghetti, the party can point out that the Americans eat it and they love it. “If it’s good enough for a former Republican candidate from Oregon, it’s surely good enough for you, comrades!” 
There’s a slim chance we’re being led down the garden path with this video as its authenticity has not yet been proven. But it certainly matches all the usual standards of North Korean cinema . . .
Americans eat snow, claims North Korea propaganda video. And it's yummy [Daily Telegraph]

This article fails at journalism at several levels beyond the Washington Post article. The reporter here notices the obvious sign of a hoax, but instead of raising a reasonable doubt, he doubles-down by giving a ridiculous "theory." The reporter then notes the "slim chance" of a hoax (again, he could have verified that "slim chance" if he just spent 15 minutes checking,) but gives a hand-wave at that possibility because, hey, North Koreans are stupid and they will believe anything.

The Korean will skip the detailed description of what numerous other media outlets unthinkingly reported on this video, such as the Sun, the Daily Mail, the Daily Caller, the Week, the Blaze and Slate. Special mention goes to Wired.com, which apparently pulled off the article upon realizing the hoax, but not before causing a number of other media (e.g. Slate and Washington Post) to think that the video may be real. (By the way, Wired.com, we can still see your embarrassing error from Google Cache. A tech magazine should probably know that.)

There are so many takeaways here that the Korean can only provide a list of things that rushed through his head, in no particular order:

1.  How uninformed could these journalists be about North Korea? If they really wanted to know what North Korea was saying in its propaganda videos, all they had to do was to visit Uriminzokkiri's Youtube channel. They are all right freakin' there. Its existence is not a secret. In fact, most South Koreans know its existence, if only because they know that clicking through it could possibly result in jail time. All a Western journalist had to do is to ask someone, anyone from Korea and ask where one could find North Korean propaganda video on the Internet. Yet the original video from Uriminzokkiri's channel right now has less than 500 views, suggesting that no Western media actually linked to it.

2.  How is it possible that the majority of the media outlets that covered this story did not even bother to look up the original version of the video, and simply took the (facially ridiculous) English voiceover?

3.  For those few who did manage to find the original version, why would they just run the story without spending at least a little effort to actually compare the English voiceover and the original video?

4.  Just how stupid do these journalists think North Koreans are? North Koreans are impoverished and cut off from outside information, but they are not idiots. They know that Americans do not subsist on snow, because no one can. This should have been obvious, but somehow it is not.

5.  Why is it that, whenever North Korea is involved, people push the story toward the dumbest angle possible, when all objective indications say otherwise? Remember the ridiculous North Korean unicorn story? In fact, this is not just limited to North Korea--South Korea had its own share of ridiculous non-story reverberating through the Western media, like the breathless coverage in the Nature and Huffington Post about how South Korean science textbooks supposedly dropped the theory of evolution. (They did not.)

6.  The lack of Korean language ability on display here is staggering. Again, I was able to find the original version by punching in the title into Youtube search window. The title was right there, at the beginning of the video, in large letters. All one had to do is to type the title in the search window . . . if you know how to type Korean.

On this score, Wired.com does not get off easy. Call this observation stereotyping, but you will never convince me that a tech magazine has no one in its staff and contacts that can understand and type Korean. But the Washington Post is the worst offender here because (1) the Korean knows for a fact that Washington Post has Korean-speaking reporters and staff who could have checked this article; (2) even if a Korean-speaking staff member was not available, the newspaper is based in a city that has hundreds of thousands of Korean speakers in and around it, including renowned experts on North Korea at numerous universities and think-tanks who are just a phone call or an email away, and; (3) the Worldview blog, in which this article appeared, has a separate "North Korea" tab. If the Worldview holds itself out to be specializing in North Korea, how is it possible that nobody who runs that section can speak Korean? Can you imagine this happening with any other country-language pair? If someone told you he was a journalist who specialized in France, but could not speak French, could not find anything on the Internet that is in the French language, did not keep up with notable sources of French news because they are in French,  and never checked his stories with his contacts who do know a lot about France and spoke French, wouldn't you just laugh at everything he says about France?

It is not as if Korea--North or South--is some obscure country, or as if Korean language is spoken by a tiny number of people. There are 75 million Koreans in North and South Korea. (To give another prominent country whose language is rarely spoken outside of its borders, Italy only has 60 million people. Now, ask yourself whether this would happen if the video was in Italian.) There are a million Korean Americans in America, many of whom speak Korean. North Korea is infamous worldwide for being a dangerous rogue state with horrific human rights violations and frequent threats of nuclear warfare. South Korea is a major economic power with world-class companies like Samsung and Hyundai, and also a major source of international pop culture in the form of Korean dramas and Gangnam Style. So how is it that we are encountering this type of story from so many different news outlets, when even the most basic Korean language skill would have prevented this embarrassment?

7.  Again, how can so many journalists get this so spectacularly wrong? I just can't get over this. I can understand that people can get things wrong, but it is the scale that is incredible. It is JUST. SO. MANY. journalists from so many different media outlets (at least 11 so far and counting,) all of whom uniformly failed to do the simplest homework. Under no circumstance should an amateur like the Korean (who works as a corporate attorney for at least 10 hours a day and runs this blog as a hobby) be able to show up this many journalists from this many media outlets--yet that's exactly what happened.

Finally, here is what the original video actually says. The title of the video is: The Increasingly Bleak Reality of Capitalist Societies. Here is a quick translation of the script (that is not word-for-word):
In capitalist societies of America and Europe, the extreme gap between the rich and the poor, racism, chaos and disorder proliferate, leaving the workers in starvation, poverty, anxiety and fear. Amid snowstorms, the number of homeless people are increasing in the Western countries. Numerous Americans who lost their homes from Hurricane Sandy are still without homes, shivering in the cold for more than three months. Although American government promised to reconstruct the homes before the election, it no longer cares after the election is over. In Wisconsin, although the temperature is below negative 10 Celsius, many homeless people roam the streets, some of whom became homeless recently because they could not afford the soaring rent. America currently has more than 1.5 million homeless children. 
The situation is also very grave in Europe, which is also hit by severe cold. In Bucharest, Romania, the homeless people line up early in the morning to receive just a piece of bread from charities. The 5,000 homeless people of Bucharest survive by rummaging through the trash. All of them say that during the socialist times, there was no one who was without a home. More than 300 die from the cold and related illness every winter. The same is true in Budapest, Hungary. The homeless shelters are so full that many have to resort to cardboard boxes and ragged blankets. Although the homeless lie exposed in front of tourists, the government cannot do anything. Hundreds of homeless people roam the public spaces of Budapest. The government built two new shelters in Budapest, but they are not nearly enough to house the rapidly increasing homeless population. 
The foreign press say that although Western countries speak of welfare programs and civilization, the wealth gap, inequality and the nation's apathy toward the social weak are incurable diseases of capitalism. 
Then the video transitions into gun violence in America:
Social anxiety and fear are peaking in America as mass murders with guns are occurring rampantly since the new year. [Lists off Sandy Hook, Aurora, shooting in a high school in California, a community college in Missouri, a 15-year-old boy in New Mexico killing his five family members.] Although the criminals are diverse in age, occupation, gender, etc., they are uniformly a product of America's inequality and other social ills. The American public's demand of gun control is louder than ever, but the NRA and weapons manufacturers bribe and pressure the key governmental officials from responding to the public demand. After President Obama announced a new gun control law, the protests for and against the new law are sweeping across America. Experts say that even if the guns are controlled, crimes will not stop unless America's extreme inequality, variety of social ills and the American system itself are changed completely.
A lot of snow-eating here, right? Yum, yum to the morons who believed the ridiculous English voiceover. Now, if you will allow me, the Korean will get back to banging his head against the wall.

Got a question or a comment for the Korean? Email away at askakorean@gmail.com.

35 comments:

  1. Nice takedown, TK.

    I have noticed that journalistic standards are rather low this day and age, especially with the heavy proliferation of articles that essentially just rewrite what the journalist found on another news site without adding any research or facts, or investigating the claims of the original article.

    The parody wasn't especially strong though. They should take lessons from Bunuel's Las Hurdes.

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  2. It's been my personal experience that whenever I see a news item about a thing that I have first-hand knowledge about, countless details and even major things get reported on completely wrong - but up until now the public would remain none the wiser. So while journalism has always been rife with these kind of mistakes, only now are they being exposed in an immediate and effective manner, because the internet has given people the power to express when and how it's happening. The whole news industry is just too obsessed with putting out something first, and having the best sensational angle, and doesn't seem to care if the quality of their reporting suffers because of it - it's not cute, and I think it's driving my generation away from traditional media at an even faster pace.

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  3. 1. You cannot eat snow in America. It is toxic because of air and water pollution.

    2. I want some North Korean coffee and cake too! They look yummy. Yum, yum!

    3. As for social anxiety... it is all about nutrition or, rather, malnutrition. When Americans stop eating sugary breakfast cereal with pasteurized milk added and gobble up fast food laden with additives and preservatives, they might develop less mental problems and less fake North Korean propaganda videos. Although it was really fun watching it! The N.K. lady has a very nice voice. She would be good in some drama, I think.

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  4. The Koreans--in South Korea-- I asked to translate the video said the translations are accurate, albeit paraphrased. I agree that American news outlets exaggerate events to get ratings. But propaganda videos like this are nothing new. The USSR created such videos for years, and I've seen dozens of other videos that show just a ridiculous stretch on the truth. Hell, they said that Kim Jong-il was born at the base of a rainbow. Why is eating "hot snow" any less possible as rhetoric from North Korea?

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    Replies
    1. If they said the translations are accurate, you should make some new Korean friends.

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    2. LOL, I agree with The Korean here. If you were to choose someone as a reliable source about anything that's Korean, I'd go with The Korean.

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    3. Well, that's how it's done isn't it? It's like propaganda of sorts... continuously portray N.Korea as deranged and unstable that even ridiculousness like 'snow eating' is readily believed. Shameful journalism but this doesn't surprise me that much actually - I regularly see news about my home country that doesn't show the whole picture,is very biased or is just plain wrong...

      Delete
  5. Why does South Korea, as a democratic country, censor the North Korean propaganda, and impose rigid punishments for everyone who accesses it? Shouldn't a democracy be stable enough to allow other viewpoints?

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Try accessing Jihadi propaganda in the US, or other stable democracies. Someone will come knocking at your door sooner or later.
      North Korean propaganda is not just another "view point" from South Korean perspectives. Even if you consider threatening nuclear and conventional war and occasionally shelling your border just a political disagreement, you should remember that they have carried sabotage, assassinations and terrorist acts and fomented trouble and rebellions by planting or turning people into agents in the past.
      I am not saying it is not wrong from a democratic point of view, but there is a strong case for this kind of restrictions as well.

      Delete
    3. Um, in case you forgot, North Korea is (very currently and presently) a war enemy to South Korea... There's no reason showing support to the North Korean regime and its propaganda shouldn't be considered at least borderline treasonous.

      Delete
  6. I feel famous that you used my question out of the countless others- thank you! Seriously, this, THIS is why no one can convince me that the vast conspiracy theories involving the media (or govt, etc) are true. People are just too dumb to pull that stuff off. Staggeringly dumb. Omissions and hiding things, yes. Hiring actors and paying all the scientists off- no. At this point I'm surprised some of them can tie their shoes. Good thing for velcro!

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  7. The dubbed video is hilarious!

    As to the reception, I'm surprised that people -- journalists and others -- are not more skeptical in this era of homemade content.

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  8. People in Korea were calling this video out well before "The Korean" even knew this video existed. "The Korean" is about a day too late on this. Here is a link to my friend's site that provided the original translation which proved the media wrong and a link to the site I run that called the media out on their mistake. "The Korean" may be a busy and important lawyer that spends "10 hours a day at work", but I can guarantee you he spent some of his day at work writing this long winded post. It's easy to call out a mistake after everyone knows it's a mistake, but when you are doing it on the fly, while the mistake is happening there is a lot more personal risk involved for obvious reasons. "The Korean" gives a good detailed explanation here, but at the end of the day, he was late to the game. I once saw "The Korean" claim on Facebook that hurricane Sandy was a joke that shouldn't be taken seriously. He was dead wrong. Everyone has bad their days, and the media just had theirs.

    http://www.peninsularity.com/2013/03/hmm-heres-what-the-north-korean-really-said/

    http://www.asiapundits.com/of-the/video-of-the-week/video-of-the-week-did-north-korea-just-troll-mainstream-media/

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    Replies
    1. So... what's your point? That you got there first? Good job then, since I never claimed otherwise.

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    2. I guess my point is that everyone makes mistakes - and since you are so eager to call out people for being morons, I guess its only fair to point out that you've in the past made calls that have turned out to be false as well. Sure, a lot of folks in the media are a morons, but aren't we all?

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    3. This is what I wrote in the post: "I can understand that people can get things wrong, but it is the scale that is incredible. It is JUST. SO. MANY. journalists from so many different media outlets (at least 11 so far and counting,) all of whom uniformly failed to do the simplest homework."

      It would be nice if you read what I wrote before commenting on it.

      Delete
    4. I read what you wrote, several times, and still can't help but think that this posts comes off as pretentious and high an mighty, as if "the Korean" is above mistakes a more common man might make. Not that there is anything wrong with that, if that's how you see yourself. Again, everyone makes mistakes, you included - cut people a bit of slack before you call them out as morons. Sure, 11+ writers made the same mistake, but millions united by ideology and nationalism have made far worse ones. Its easy to point out others mistakes once you are aware of them and they are readily apparent, but quite a different matter to look into the mirror and see your own ridiculousness in calling people morons, when you also likely make mistakes on a daily basis.

      In the matter of fairness, I was duped by this video as well when I originally saw it and posted it on my FB account. A few friends pointed out the differences in what they were hearing when they listened to the narration in Korean vs what they were hearing when they listened to it in English. Once I focused in on the Korean, I also found differences, but I still couldn't fully understand what was being said. I had my wife give it a listen and she agreed that the translation was way off. Then my friend posted the translation from his site and I decided to write the article once I saw Wired (and several others) had run with it. That's how things get done on the internet. We all learn from each other and no one is a moron, just another person that makes mistakes. Did the media fuck this up? Sure, but we all do from time to time. Given NK's rhetoric in recent weeks and coming on the heels of their release of the "We Are the World", it wouldn't have been entirely implausible that this video was the real deal.

      Delete
    5. I'm not sure if this is satire or not.

      It's gross irresponsibility and pure laziness on the part of JOURNALISTS. Not common men. JOURNALISTS. Of course they should be held to a freaking higher standard when their articles are reaching large audiences, and those audiences rely on these articles to get their information about the world.

      That a single journalist didn't think to find the original or find a Korean-speaking person who could is absolutely ridiculous. What are these clowns getting paid for?

      It's symptomatic of a much wider problem. The vast majority of outside observers of the Korean peninsula don't know anything at all. They can't speak the language, they don't know the culture, and here they are touting themselves as experts and relaying their terrible information to the rest of the world.

      Could you imagine a historian studying the Classical Period without knowing Latin or Greek and being unable to read primary documents in their original language? Sounds silly right? No serious historian worth their salt studies a period without knowing the language of the period.

      So why on Earth should journalists reporting on Korea display such utter incompetence that they can't even find the original source of the video? It's amateur, it's something that I would've known to avoid after doing newspaper in high school. I have no idea why you're standing up to these slackers.

      Delete
    6. Ah, you're a journalist yourself. I see.

      Delete
    7. Well Asia Pundits, the two links you provided posted on the same day as this blog. I think you are just trying to garner views to your sites since you don't have many readers. Nice try buddy. Besides, "The Korean" is probably more irritated by how the media is constantly relaying false information to the public. Most big media companies don't care about the truth. They will publish anything as long as they think it will get them views. This sort of mentality has lead to sloppy journalism. So yea, "The Korean" is calling it out like how it is. Many journalists are sloppy and not thorough in their work. It's not about people making simple mistakes. It's about people not caring if they are doing their job properly because they just want to do things the easy way.

      Delete
  9. Whoa dude, Asia Pundits...are you kidding? Yeah, The Korean is a little arrogant, so what? (It is his blog.) If he doesn't have any kind of special insight into a subject he at least does what anyone with a brain would do, he researches. I'm sorry but just because you were duped by the video doesn't mean the Washington Post should get a pass. Did he call them "idiots", I'm not gonna re-read, but so what? I wouldn't call them idiots. I'd call them lazy and unprofessional, does that sound better? I guess we shouldn't be surprised to see journalistic inaccuracies about some YouTube video when many of these publications don't bother to get a lot of stories right. I have to agree that for some reason this blunder by so many major outlets is a real WTF moment. Although I don't expect much in the way of journalistic excellence from The Washington Post. It's been over a decade since I lost faith in that paper to publish the facts. It's been a little less than 10 years since I began to look at the NY Times with a skeptics eye. It really makes you wonder why they bothered to even cover it if they weren't going to do a little basic research.

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  10. It bothers me particularly because I am on my school's newspaper staff. We even had an editorial last issue about believing everything you hear in the news. Obviously there are some media sources that you can't expect straight facts from (CNN, FOX) but at least they do enough research to be able to twist random sentences into far more than they actually are. You wouldn't expect something like this from supposedly respectable news sources. Even in my high school's student-run newspaper we know that you go to the direct source and check and double-check your facts.

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  11. Please, could you translate something for me that is written in Korean? is a small text. Is very important to me, and I have no one who can help me.
    grateful

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  12. After the whole WMD mess, who really believes the media anymore? Even the ESPN gets its football stats wrong.

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  13. Ok, i just saw the voiceover video and fell on the floor laughing. How can anyone think this was for real? It is so obviously comical that you don't even need to compare the videos to realize it is a hoax. Do people not have a sense of humor anymore?

    Yummy. So freakin' hilarious.

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  14. And, this so soon after Breitbart bit on the Krugman hoax? Is there no shame? This is why James Randi established a foundation, to expose hoaxers who really do harm, like naturopathy. And, this is why magicians make the best scientists. It took me three expensive trips to Vegas, to learn that the house always wins, even when my own step-father was a former dealer for a summer and taught all of to beware gambling. It's not that this stuff happens once in a while; it's a wonder it doesn't happen more often. We should hire Hill as a consultant, form a newspaper with editors and a staff - standards, you know - and expect ourselves to be swindled more often. Calling each other names is the opposite tack we should take.

    Thank you, Barnum

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  15. 1. Anything that fits with the prevailing ideology gets a free pass in the media.

    2. Mistakes made by the tiny number of lead newspapers in the anglosphere will get parroted by all the others as gospel because we have such a centralized media system.

    3. The British press in particular is highly sensationalist and irresponsible, including not only notorious tabloids like the Daily Mail but also supposedly respectable broadsheets like the Daily Telegraph.

    4. Ignorance about Korea still runs deep and Korea's profile remains low despite the transformative changes that have taken place there not only since the 60s but just in the last 10 years.

    5. We should all look at alternative news media for reliable information or at least a balance of viewpoints.

    6. We should all look at anything boldly claimed in the media and say to ourselves, 'Wait. Is this true?'.

    ...

    7. And, to be fair, the tenor of North Korean propaganda and official announcements do make any level of stridency and ridiculousness if purporting to coming from them plausible.

    8. Then again, nothing they claim in the original NK film is actually untrue. And that's how bad poverty is in the capitalist West, let alone the capitalist Third World!

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    Replies
    1. I agree with this post.

      After reading through this post, I feel like I should laugh a little and maybe start up my own blog.

      I've been frustrated by similar issues in my (rather highly ranked) university history department regarding ex-Soviet nations and it's just...you're living in America. America is the centre of the world over here, and if there's a prevailing ideology, anything that fits that will be less likely to be questioned, even if it's intelligent, thoughtful people who should maybe know better.

      Sadly, world history isn't a mandatory subject at the high school level, and the information would be obsolete anyway by the time people hit their careers, so it's not surprising that a lot of people are so uninformed about what should be basic facts. Endlessly frustrating, but it happens.

      Delete
  16. what is funny is us (yes us i am one to) Americains look at this and say this is not who we are and how we live this is all B.S. well i am here to say on one hand you are correct this is not how all of us live but yes there is a large chunk of us that do live just like that the only false part of that video and voice over is when he says we walk past each other without compassion because we are all like that. now that is false we do walk past each other without compassion not because we are all like that but because we are heartless and it is easier to walk past and act like we did not see anything than it is to care and help each other out

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  17. Whoa, disclaimer before links, please! (Wait for the police to burst in and arrest me).

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  18. As always, you explain the situation with great clarity and articulation. I'm glad I stopped by to check this post out. I'm not so glad that I clicked a couple of the North Korea links because I happen to be in South Korea and read the warning paragraph too late. Luckily, that firewall thing blocked me from accessing the sites (I presume; I read Korean too slowly so I didn't bother to try read the page that confronted me) and hopefully I won't have government people coming to jump on me. Hopefully.

    Eep. I'm scared!

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  19. And tyger101 was never heard from again...

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  20. Maybe it is because North Korea has become such a joke in itself, that people will believe anything. Ever watch KCNA on an average day? I have. You have got to be fucking kidding me.

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    Replies
    1. I have, too. And there is a pretty clear line between what is on KCNA, and the "translation" offered here.

      Delete

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