In the Spirit of Walter Duranty

The Los Angeles Times has published an absolutely despicable article about North Korea. Article here; reactions by Hugh Hewitt (along with many links to other comments) here.

Hugh says that the LAT has thus far chosen to publish none of the letters to the editor which have been e-mailed in response to this article.

7 thoughts on “In the Spirit of Walter Duranty”

  1. I read the LAT article — it cracked me up. This guy is way cooler than Baghdad Bob. And it’s a twofer, or maybe a threefer, if you throw in the clueless press: we get to watch Hughie & The Wingnuts taking it all very, very seriously, like the Chinese government responding to an Onion piece.


  2. I commented on the debacle here.
    Jody – Mass starvation, mass murder, and a humor magazine are not on the same moral plane, not even close. North Koreans are starting to have a hard time infiltrating spies into South Korea. They get spotted nowadays because malnutrition means most N. Koreans are much shorter than their southern brothers (the difference in average heights is significant). Ha, ha, ha, isn’t that funny? It’s almost as funny as the infanticide, forced abortion and death camps.


  3. Ah, TM, make that very, very, very serious. I remember even the most gung ho, hyper-patriot, God-speaks-through-George-Bush wackos getting a kick out of Baghdad Bob. Didn’t mean that they were endorsing Saddam, now did it? I will allow, however, that Kim is a much greater threat than Saddam ever came close to being.

    The LAT article simply quoted the guy’s deadpan standup act, after first providing the information that he was a diplomat, here on a mission to put a smiley face on that loathsome regime. I found that information to be ample context to properly frame the man’s comments; having read them I feel I have a clearer, more immediate picture of the self delusion that makes Kim both dangerous and ludicrous.

    So I found the article to be useful, and I’m grateful to David Foster for pointing it out, since I don’t read the LA Times on my own initiative.

    But I did not find myself moved to leap into action to suppress any future reporting of views with which I don’t happen to agree. That unfortunate tendency in human nature is, after all, precisely what makes North Korea the Hell that it is.


  4. But I did not find myself moved to leap into action to suppress any future reporting of views with which I don’t happen to agree.

    Who suggested suppressing any views? The complaints I read (and agree with) were about the failure to present the NK spokesman’s remarks in appropriate context and to acknowledge subsequent criticisms. IOW they were about the LAT’s attempt to suppress views with which its editors don’t happen to agree.

  5. Who suggested suppressing any views?

    TM Lutas did, where he “commented on the debacle here.” Not a word there about “the failure to present the NK spokesman’s remarks in appropriate context and to acknowledge subsequent criticisms,” just call to attack the LAT for publishing the article itself via their advertisers, along with a further link to the article that inspired his boycott, an ugly and vicious attack on the reporter herself, as if she were the author of the views she was reporting.

    For the record, Jonathan, I agree with you on the LAT’s failures, but that was not what I was referring to. If you follow the links above, you’ll see what I was talking about.

  6. OK, so you’re complaining about what two different people wrote on two separate blogs, neither one of which is this one.

    I read what TM Lutas wrote. Boycotting advertisers, or merely letting them know that they’re underwriting corrupt news reporting and you don’t like it, is not “suppressing views.” Suppression of views is what they do in N Korea: express an inappropriate view and you get punished. A boycott is merely the witholding of business. If you can’t see the difference, I don’t know how to demonstrate it because we are on different planets.

    The other blog excoriates the LAT reporter who wrote the NK puff piece. No question but that it’s nasty. Maybe I wouldn’t have put the case so crudely. But the essential argument is correct: if the LAT’s Korea bureau chief allows herself to be used for the publication of a N Korean puff piece, she is corrupt, pure and simple. She has to know what’s going on in N Korea, so for her to fail to frame the “story” in that context is inexcusable.

    Here’s a thought experiment: Would the LAT facilitate publication of a pro-Israel puff piece by an Israeli diplomat? And if they somehow allowed it, would they publish it without going out of their way to frame the piece in the context of the LAT editors’ views about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? To ask these questions is to answer them. The LAT’s behavior in publishing the N Korea piece has been despicable.

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