Accuracy in Media

The media gushed and fawned over the public appearance of North Korean government official Kim Yo Jong, who is the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. She has attended this year’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea and the media lauded her presence. However, the media overlooked the North Korean government’s human rights abuses and violations and wrote positive articles about Kim Yo Jong and the government she represents.

The Washington Post compared her to Ivanka Trump, the daughter of U.S. President Donald Trump, based on a quote from a former CIA analyst, and said the following phrases about Kim Yo Jong:

  • “an enigma”
  • “a political princess”
  • “A woman with a sphinxlike smile”
  • “She sat so upright — maybe she’d been a dancer like her mother — and was so well mannered.”

The list of human rights abuses and violations was conspicuously missing from the article, although it did mention how Kim Yo Jong is under U.S. sanctions for censorship of the media.

ABC News highlighted the choreography of the North Korean cheerleaders in an article entitled, “North Korea’s 200-plus cheerleaders command spotlight at 2018 Winter Olympics with synchronized chants.” Nowhere in the article was any human rights abuse or violation written, in addition to the starvation of civilians and refugee problems that neighboring countries face with North Korean citizens seeking asylum.

Reuters’ headline read, “Head held high, Kim’s sister returns to North Korea,” as if the North Korean delegation accomplished a goal and were successful. The North Korean government’s abuses were saved for the last part of the article, multiple paragraphs below the headline.

The New York Times’ own headline said, “Kim Jong-un’s Sister Turns On the Charm, Taking Pence’s Spotlight.” Not a single human rights abuse or violation was named in the article, instead, it focused on Kim Yo Jong’s visit and how it could have been a part of the North Korean government’s “charm offensive.”

Also, CNN’s own article, whose headline said that Kim Yo Jong was “stealing the show” at the Winter Olympics, buried government abuses multiple paragraphs into the article.





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