LA Times, With the Rancor
Hugh Hewitt was all over
a ridiculous piece in yesterday's LA Times, entitled "North Korea, Without the Rancor". A lot of people have already blogged on this subject, so rather than hit the big issues (like the fact that the Times is shilling for a corrupt dictatorship), I thought I'd focus on some odd little things I found in the article.He arrived at the entrance to a North Korean government-owned restaurant and karaoke club here in the Chinese capital with a handshake and a request. "Call me Mr. Anonymous," he said in English.
Okay, two big issues here. First of all, note that the North Korean government owns the restaurant where the interview took place. Second, this "Mr. Anonymous" bit is hilarious. The writer, Barbara Demick goes on to describe the man's job:This North Korean, an affable man in his late 50s who spent much of his career as a diplomat in Europe, has been assigned to help his communist country attract foreign investment.
Now, I'm just guessing here that if there were any reason to protect this man from the potential of reprisals (which is the only reason for calling him Mr. Anonymous), that description should make it pretty easy for Kim Jong-Il to whittle down the potential suspects to about one man. Not that he would be likely to, given the way Mr. Anonymous parrots the party line faithfully.The North Korean, dressed in a cranberry-colored flannel shirt and corduroy trousers, described himself as a businessman with close ties to the government.
Uh, what kinds of businesses are there in North Korea? And if he just has "close ties" to the government, then how is it that he "has been assigned" to the task of attracting foreign investment?Because North Koreans seldom talk to U.S. media organizations, his comments offered rare insight into the view from the other side of the geopolitical divide.
No, his comments do not offer any rare insight at all. One of Hugh's callers suggested that Demick did not actually interview a North Korean businessman at all, that she just made the column up a la
Stephen Glass. I doubt this is true, but the fact is that it could have
been done that way. I mean, if I wanted to make up a story about meeting a "businessman" from Cuba, how hard would it be to manufacture quotes that parroted the Fidel line?
"Yes, our country is poor, but it is caused by the economic embargo from the United States. If the US would just treat us like any other country in the Caribbean...."
This is indeed a pathetic excuse for an article.