Instead of blaming CNN and other media outlets for publishing misleading reports, BuzzFeed News criticized North Korean defectors for misleading the media about the health of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
BuzzFeed News headlined the media controversy, “Kim Jong Un Came Back And Some People Are Sorry For Saying He Was Really Ill.”
The website blamed North Korean defectors, but not CNN and other media outlets, for reporting that Kim was in “grave danger” and ill health after an alleged botched surgery. The report came after Kim disappeared from the public eye for three weeks.
The website wrote that a North Korean defector news outlet, the Daily NK, “originally cited several sources” at first, but “revised it to just one in a correction.” CNN and other media outlets ran with the story because it could have explained why Kim missed a national commemoration event to celebrate his grandfather’s birthday.
North Korea is difficult to report on due to its isolated and reclusive standing in the world, in addition to its authoritarian government and lack of transparency. It makes journalism and news reporting difficult as outside media relies heavily on North Korean defectors.
But CNN and other media outlets should have done their due diligence in verifying the initial reports about Kim’s health. BuzzFeed News was right to criticize defectors for their misleading report, but it failed to acknowledge that the media must do a better job in verifying sources and information before publishing the news.