I’ll say this for Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong — she’s considerably better looking than the goon who runs North Korea. This may be faint praise, but there’s nothing faint about the praise being heaped on the dictator’s sister by America’s mainstream media.
According to CNN, to take perhaps the worst example, “if ‘diplomatic dance’ were an event at the Winter Olympics, Kim Jong Un’s younger sister would be favored to win gold.” CNN gushes that “with a smile, a handshake and a warm message in South Korea’s presidential guest book, Kim Yo Jong has struck a chord with the public just one day into the PyeongChang Games.”
CNN goes on to call Kim Jong Un’s sister “North Korea’s Ivanka Trump,” a label also used by the Washington Post in its frivolous, fawning story. CNN then quotes some professor’s view that Kim Yo Jong’s presence at the Olympics “is a signal that North Korea is not this crazy, weird former Cold War state — but it too has young women that are capable and are the future leadership.”
The young woman in question is one of Kim Jong Un’s closest advisers — “a powerful member of Kim Jong Un’s kitchen cabinet,” as CNN puts it. And the regime she faithfully serves is beyond weird. It starves its own people, operates Nazi-style prison camps, represses political opposition, and executes senior officers and even members of the dictator’s (and his sister’s) own family members in an effort to maintain dictatorial control.
Even the most ardent feminist shouldn’t take any pleasure from the fact that a young North Korean women serves this murderous regime capably and may be its future leader. And it is obscene to compare the influential servant of what may well be the world’s most brutal regime to Ivanka Trump.
What American mainstream media outlets like best of the dictator’s sister, I suspect, is that she enables them to claim that Vice President Pence, who is also in South Korea for the Olympics, has been upstaged. That’s the take of ABC News, for example. Our media’s hatred of President Trump, and of conservatives like Pence, runs so deep that it will shower praise on anyone who can be used as a foil, even a top associate of a murderous tyrant.
There is a genuine story to be told in connection Kim Yo Jong’s appearance at the Olympics, but that story isn’t mainly about the woman. South Koreans live under the threat of something approaching annihilation at the hands of the dictator of North Korea. At the same time, they feel a bond with their former countrymen in the north.
It’s natural, then, for some South Koreans to glimpse the hope of reconciliation in the visit of an unimposing, smiling representative of North Korea. That some South Koreans do glimpse this — what percentage, we don’t know — doesn’t mean the dictator’s sister is “winning a diplomatic dance” or that Pence’s visit hasn’t gone well, and it certainly doesn’t mean that South Korea is about to be Finlandized.
What it means, I think, is that when a population is under the gun, some of its citizens will indulge in wishing thinking on special occasions. When the Olympics are over and little sister goes back north, normal service likely will be resumed.
Except that Kim Jong Un and his team, by some accounts, pay considerable attention to how the U.S. perceives them. If the dictator believes his sister’s press clippings from CNN and the Washington Post — if he thinks his sister has won a gold medal for “diplomatic dance” and that she has added to the distance between South Korea and the U.S. — it could make him more reckless.
There would be no gold medal in that for anyone.