Better Off Red?
Table of Contents:
- Executive Summary
- Before the Fall:Seeing Communism as a "Success Story"
- The Liberation of Eastern Europe: Missing the "Safety" of Communism
- "The Workers' Paradise Has Become a Homeless Hell"
- Whitewashing the Communist Record on Human Rights
- Journalists Distressed by China's Shift Towards Capitalism
- North Korea: Singing Along With Diane Sawyer
- Enthralled with Fidel Castro's Communist Paradise
- Scorning the Anti-Communists: "Nobody Likes a Snitch"
- Journalistic Gorbasms Over the Last Soviet Dictator
- Conclusion: Nostalgic for Totalitarian Communism
North Korea: Singing Along With Diane Sawyer
Along with Cuba, North Korea is one of the last totally communist
nations, with an entirely state-owned economy. The human tragedy caused
by this regime is monumental. Over the past decade, as many as two
million North Koreans have died from famine. In a 2009 report, Amnesty
International found “widespread violations of human rights” in North
Korea, “including politically motivated and arbitrary use of detention
and executions, and severe restrictions on freedoms of expression and
North Korea’s communist regime does not receive the sympathetic coverage that Cuba enjoys, but in 2005, CNN founder Ted Turner tried to defend the regime’s human rights record. In 2006, ABC anchor Diane Sawyer led North Korean schoolchildren in a bizarre sing-along, a warm and fuzzy photo-op that buried the reality of everyday life.
Ted Turner: “I am absolutely convinced
that the North Koreans are absolutely sincere....I looked them right in
the eyes. And they looked like they meant the truth. You know, just
because somebody’s done something wrong in the past doesn’t mean they
can’t do right in the future or the present. That happens all the, all
Wolf Blitzer: “But this is one of the most despotic regimes and [North Korean dictator] Kim Jong-il is one of the worst men on Earth. Isn’t that a fair assessment?”
Turner: “Well, I didn’t get to meet him, but he didn’t look — in the pictures that I’ve seen of him on CNN, he didn’t look too much different than most other people.”
Blitzer: “But look at the way he’s treating his own people.”
Turner: “Well, hey, listen. I saw a lot of people over there. They were thin and they were riding bicycles instead of driving in cars, but-”
Blitzer: “A lot of those people are starving.”
Turner: “I didn’t see any, I didn’t see any brutality....”
— CNN’s The Situation Room, September 19, 2005.
Diane Sawyer: “It is a world away from the unruly individualism of any American
school....Ask them about their country, and they can’t say enough.”
North Korean girl, in English: “We are the happiest children in the world.”
Sawyer to class: “What do you know about America?”
Sawyer voiceover: “We show them an American magazine. They tell us, they know nothing about American movies, American movie stars....and then, it becomes clear that they have seen some movies from a strange place....”
Sawyer to class: “You know The Sound of Music?”
Sawyer, singing with the class: “Do, a deer, a female deer. Re, a drop of golden sun....”
Charles Gibson: “A fascinating glimpse of North Korea.”
— Sawyer reporting from North Korea for ABC’s World News, October 19, 2006.