Patterico's Pontifications


WaPo Columnist Demands Apology From Writer For Calling Out Media’s Fawning Over Murderous Regime

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:36 am

[guest post by Dana]

As both JVW and Patterico have pointed out, there was a shameful display of adoration made by Big Media professionals over Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, at the Olympic Games this past weekend. While gushing about a “charm offensive,” many members of the media willed themselves to happily ignore the true nature of the now-dubbed “Ivanka” of North Korea, as well as the totalitarian state itself. It was an easy white-washing because Trump.

It’s unfathomable that people who should know better have behaved like adolescents in the throes of some newly discovered crush. It’s especially disturbing given what we know the brutal regime dishes out to its people on a daily basis. The brutal regime that includes Kim Yo Jong:

Critics also highlighted Kim Yo Jong’s senior role in a regime accused by a United Nations inquiry of systematic torture, starvation and killings comparable to Nazi-era atrocities.

Last January, the U.S. Treasury Department blacklisted her along with six other North Korean officials for “severe human rights abuses” and censorship that concealed the regime’s “inhumane and oppressive behavior”.

”Among the upper class in Pyongyang, she is a frightening presence,” because of her relationship with her brother, said An Chan-il, a former North Korean military officer who now runs a think tank in Seoul.

But by all means, let’s try to normalize that which is foul and grotesque by fawning over a woman who is as brutal and craven as is her brother. An oppressor of the people, by any means necessary.

With that, writer Bethany Mandel exposed herself as an Insensitive Monster of the Worst Kind by accurately called out Big Media’s insanity:


Enter Washington Post columnist Gene Weingarten, who huffed and puffed and demanded Mandel apologize for calling North Korea “the most brutal regime in human history”. Of course Weingarten, being the pompous gasbag that he is, conveniently chose to miss the spot-on point Mandel was making, and instead childishly pivoted – and proved her point:


The exchange continued:


When it was pointed out to Weingarten that it was at least an arguable issue, he shut that down, “It is not arguable. Please.” Please, indeed.

Exactly to whom Mandel is supposed to apologize is unknown. And Weingarten is obviously a classic example of the person who opens his yap and removes all doubt….

Comparing degrees of evil intentionally misses the point. But of course, Weingarten knows that. Or maybe he missed this:

Under the rule of Kim Jong-Un, North Korea remains among the world’s most repressive countries. All basic freedoms have been severely restricted under the Kim family’s political dynasty. A 2014 UN Commission of Inquiry found that abuses in North Korea were without parallel in the contemporary world. They include extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions, and other sexual violence. North Korea operates secretive prison camps where perceived opponents of the government are sent to face torture and abuse, starvation rations, and forced labor. Fear of collective punishment is used to silence dissent. There is no independent media, functioning civil society, or religious freedom.

Perhaps if he took some time to read his colleagues’ work, he would not be so quick to reveal himsel a fool:

North Korea’s political prisons are just as bad as — and perhaps even worse than — the Nazi concentration camps of the Holocaust, a renowned judge and Auschwitz survivor has concluded after hearing from former North Korean prisoners and guards.

Thomas Buergenthal, who served on the International Court of Justice, is one of three jurists who have concluded that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un should be tried for crimes against humanity for the way his regime uses brutal political prisons to control the population.

“I believe that the conditions in the [North] Korean prison camps are as terrible, or even worse, than those I saw and experienced in my youth in these Nazi camps and in my long professional career in the human rights field,” said Buergenthal, who was in Auschwitz and Sachsenhausen as a child, as well as the ghetto of Kielce, Poland.

Anyway, Mandel is supporting a campaign to rescue North Koreans. If you’d like to help, go here:

Your donation goes towards rescuing North Korean refugees who have managed to make it over the border into China. LiNK provides free passage over an underground railroad across China and Southeast Asia into freedom in South Korea, where North Korean refugees enjoy full citizenship.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


51 Responses to “WaPo Columnist Demands Apology From Writer For Calling Out Media’s Fawning Over Murderous Regime”

  1. It takes a spectacular breed of asshole to compare levels of brutality, starvation, cruelty, slave labor, and the oppression of a people just to score points.

    Dana (023079)

  2. Reuters Top News
    Head held high, Kim’s sister returns to North Korea
    — –

    David Burge
    Whose head was it?

    harkin (75fedf)

  3. Is Weingarten a total idiot? So maybe there were worse regimes in history? So what? The media did not fawn over them (well, Mao they did).

    It’s like a mass murderer saying, yeah, but Charles Manson was worse. Maybe he was, but that’s hardly an excuse.

    North Korea is the worst regime on the planet today, and at least makes the top ten worst in history. That the media fawned over it because the sister of the ruler was charming for 5 mintues is an embarrassment of the greatest proportions. That Hitler was arguably worse is just a distraction.

    Bored Lawyer (998177)

  4. Come on, Dana, everybody knows that the Trump regime is the most brutal regime in human history.

    nk (dbc370)

  5. I’m more concerned about the dismissive way she describes an obsession about the dangers of “fake news”; it’s almost as if she doesn’t believe there’s a real thing to be concerned about there.

    aphrael (3f0569)

  6. Bored Lawyer, at 3: during the Obama years, I constantly interrupted people who claimed that Obama was the worst President ever by pointing them at Buchanan, who *literally* presided over the dissolution of the United States. My point wasn’t to say that Obama was great; my point was to smack people with some perspective which, to my eyes, they appeared to lack. I do the same thing today when people claim Trump is the worst President ever.

    So I’m sympathetic to the objection that calling North Korea the worst regime ever shows a lack of perspective and imagination. It’s *really bad*, and it’s likely the worst regime of the day (although even that I can’t say for sure, as I don’t know about all of the regimes of the day), but calling it the worst ever distorts our understanding both of history and of how terrible humans can be to one another.

    I wouldn’t have raised the issue in this context because the context is one in which making the point effectively would be next to impossible, and because really (as I said above) I’m more concerned with the dismissal of the concern about fake news. But I don’t think it’s a distraction to point out that humans have done far worse to each other.

    aphrael (3f0569)

  7. Dana, there is something about the last election that has driven everyone seemingly insane.

    As in “Ghostbusters”: “Choose the form of your Destructor!”

    Mature adults can accept that people they don’t like—or even hate—can do good things. Children (regardless of age) cannot.

    So the Trump hatred (and I am no fan of the man) has led people to oppose anything that his administration (or, by extension, our current government) favors. This isn’t new. Many years ago I dealt with people who thought they were fair and kind defend the Soviet Union’s policies repeatedly.

    I used to love asking people insisting that our immigration policy is terrible what Mexico’s policy is…and then challenge them to say ours is better.

    They cannot do it.

    Which leads us to the current virulent oikophobia of putting our own nation under a transmission electron microscope, but other nations under Mr. Magoo glasses.

    But North Korea? Wow.

    I’m much happier with South Park’s view (though decidedly NSFW). Despots can’t handle humor.

    Great post as always.

    Simon Jester (c8876d)

  8. The US is under attack

    Dan Coates

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  9. What makes it more NSFW, Simon? The f-words or “ronery” (lonely) and “seriousry” (seriously)?

    nk (dbc370)

  10. Coats…

    But he’s Deep State.

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  11. who are need to apologize are

    number one the south korean gaylympic athlete trash what enthusiastically legitimized the sleazy dirty norks

    number two the US needs to apologize as a country to so many of our tatters for stationing them in harm’s way for the benefit of millions of south korean losers what are as droolingly idiotic as an entire short bus full of trudeaus

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  12. The media’s obsession with “fake news” only started when they suddenly realized their monopoly on that particular market was lost. It’s a legit obsession only for those who comically think it’s a recent phenomenon.

    random viking (6a54c2)

  13. Some mustard with that word pretzel vikeing?

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  14. Gene Weingarten is an unfunny comedic writer. At this point, I’m convinced he has compromising photos of the WaPo editor, maybe even Bezos. There is no other reason to explain he continued employment.

    MacGruber (093fb9)

  15. Next WaPo article: Otto Warmbier was a US spy stealing nuclear secrets!!

    Patricia (3363ec)

  16. weingarten: 1: a ludicrous figure; a clown. 2: a gross and usually ill-educated or stupid person. acting like a ridiculous weingarten; see beclown

    Colonel Haiku (1d71cc)

  17. It’s not a recent phenomenon, *but* the internet (and in particular social media) has made it much more of a problem. *As a society* we seem to have lost our ability to differentiate fact from fiction, and using tribal membership as the key to whether or not we should trust someone’s statements of fact … is a disaster.

    I don’t know what to *do* about it. The truth will eventually prevail, but that could take *decades* … and most of the proposals I’ve seen for fighting against the tide of fake news require us to abandon core principles.

    aphrael (3f0569)

  18. C’mon Man! Everyone knows Abraham Lincoln ran the most murderous regime in human history. It was infinitely worse than any of those upstart iron kettle cooking, festival flesh eating, South Seas cannibal clans.

    Even those South American, goofy half-as*ed pyramid building, virgin sacrificing, blood drinking, feathered serpent ghouls don’t come close to matching Abe’s bloodthirsty barbarism.

    Nope! If you’re looking for the real McCoy, the bull goose, top dog, murderous regime in human history, it’s hands down, our good ol’ homegrown CEO rail splitter in the top hat: Abe (Jellyfish) Lincoln.

    ropelight (a85eb7)

  19. The internet has not made “fake news” worse. The internet, including blogs like this, are a check on the fake news the media has dispensed for decades. It’s only an obsession now because the media can no longer decide what fake news gets out there. The solution is more internet and more voices, not more arbiters.

    random viking (6a54c2)

  20. Aphrael,

    I don’t have concerns that Mandel doesn’t believe that “fake news” is a problem. I think her point, more explicitly is that when you have a Washington Post columnist pick a fight over something that is, at the very least, arguable, and double down on it, then he is proving the point that there is a push by major media of “fake news, to some degree or another. In other words, her tweet (the original one) was a great set-up for a “professional” journalist to prove her point.

    Dana (023079)

  21. Rathergate. It was a blogger who proved the TANGO memos were fake. Gave a black eye to SeeBS and got Rather canned, and the Left has still not gotten over it.

    nk (dbc370)

  22. 20, that he wasn’t after Gettysburg was a missed opportunity.

    urbanleftbehind (5eecdb)

  23. “The internet has not made “fake news” worse. The internet, including blogs like this, are a check on the fake news the media has dispensed for decades.

    Yeah, but at the same time, social media is enabling fake news to travel the globe before the truth has a chance to pull its pants on.

    Also, social media enables the Thought Police to crowd shame/punish anyone who bucks the Groupthink.

    harkin (75fedf)

  24. Yes china killed 50 million while the left sought to embrace it, cambifia killed about 1/3 of its population in year 0-3

    narciso (d1f714)

  25. Random viking – some blogs help keep a check on falsehoods in the media, and that’s something Patterico has *always* done. But, to pick on one company as an example, Facebook is a *haven* for ridiculous falsehoods which are reshared by people implying they are fact. I mean, I’ve been told that THC kills all cancerous cells — and there’s stuff in the political realm that is at least as absurd as that, being reshared as absolute truth, and being *believed*.

    This problem has always existed. But it’s way worse now than it was in, say, the 1980s.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  26. Intel chiefs warn America not to fall for Kim’s Olympic charm offensive

    Top U.S. intelligence officials reminded Congress at a high-profile hearing that the North Korean dictatorship still represents an “existential threat” to the U.S.

    wow these jackoffs are really on the ball

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  27. Rather, pikachu, now about those miniaturized warheads

    narciso (d1f714)

  28. 19ff
    facebook and the problem of Fake News (and the problem also is that it had a bias)

    t appears that Facebook did not, however, carefully think through the implications of becoming the dominant force in the news industry. Everyone in management cared about quality and accuracy, and they had set up rules, for example, to eliminate pornography and protect copyright. But Facebook hired few journalists and spent little time discussing the big questions that bedevil the media industry. What is fair? What is a fact? How do you signal the difference between news, analysis, satire, and opinion? Facebook has long seemed to think it has immunity from those debates because it is just a technology company—one that has built a “platform for all ideas.”

    ….there is also Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act to recommend the idea. This is the section of US law that shelters internet intermediaries from liability for the content their users post. If Facebook were to start creating or editing content on its platform, it would risk losing that immunity—and it’s hard to imagine how Facebook could exist if it were liable for the many billion pieces of content a day that users post on its site.

    And so, because of the company’s self-image, as well as its fear of regulation, Facebook tried never to favor one kind of news content over another….

    …In February of 2016, just as the Trending Topics fiasco was building up steam, Roger ­McNamee became one of the first Facebook insiders to notice strange things happening on the platform…

    ….“I’m observing memes ostensibly coming out of a Facebook group associated with the Sanders campaign that couldn’t possibly have been from the Sanders campaign,” he recalls, “and yet they were organized and spreading in such a way that suggested somebody had a budget. And I’m sitting there thinking, ‘That’s really weird. I mean, that’s not good.’ ”

    But McNamee didn’t say anything to anyone at Facebook—at least not yet. And the company itself was not picking up on any such worrying signals, save for one blip on its radar: In early 2016, its security team noticed an uptick in Russian actors attempting to steal the credentials of journalists and public figures. Facebook reported this to the FBI. But the company says it never heard back from the government, and that was that….

    Sammy Finkelman (d007a3)

  29. Translation, we somehow weren’t able to push gay marriage cop
    hatred 24/7, like we did in 2012

    narciso (d1f714)

  30. Yesterday I ran across and bought a copy of the Spring 2008 issue of World Affairs (10 years old)

    It has an article by Christopher Hitchens on North Korea (called Dear Mr. Predident, meaning George W. Bush)

    he describes North Korea as “an artificial entity, entirely consecrated to the cult of hysterical worship of a hideoous crime family.”

    He also said: “I could not rid myself of the impression that somebody had given a Korean translation of george Orwell’s classic dystopian novel to Kim Il Sung and asked him to put its theory into practice.”

    He said in some other places as well, maybe in the article he refers to in this article, which he says was the biggets failure in his journalistic life because it involved the largest gap between what he saw and his ability to find words to describe it.

    Actually that statement about the novel “1984” was also said about Mao’s China, and Kim Il Sung adapted most of his ideas from the Chinese Communists. Maybe a few other places.

    Christopher Hitchens said maybe the best thing is that picture taken from space of the Korean openinsula, showing South Korea in a blaze of light, and utter darkness in North Korea, even around Pyongyang. Maybe three million North Koreans were starved to death to “feed a military oligarchy.”

    He also said: North Korea is a society organized for war. and its militarism is its meal ticket (at that time they were being bought off)

    Sammy Finkelman (d007a3)

  31. Relative to its possibilities, a regime that starves its people to build rockets and nuclear weapons IS the most brutal in human history. The Nazis at least had LIMITS to their brutality. Pol Pot was more brutal than Mao brutal, but they both had a goal of feeding people. That is the furthest thing from the Kim’s agenda.

    All regimes before, say, 1600 were terrible, but did not go out of their way to be brutal.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  32. The thing is that many on the hard Left WANT brutal dictators — to put the boot to the bad people.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  33. I’m more concerned about the dismissive way she describes an obsession about the dangers of “fake news”; it’s almost as if she doesn’t believe there’s a real thing to be concerned about there.

    aphrael (3f0569) — 2/13/2018 @ 7:55 am

    R U serious? Millions of dead NORKs want to know.

    Steve57 (0b1dac)

  34. Give Mookie an evasive answer, tell him to go **** himself.

    H/T: the immortal WC Fields.

    Bang Gunley (5a4596)

  35. At Tuesday’s press briefing, Sanders faced reporters demanding to know why she had seemingly misled them the day before.

    “We explained the process extensively last week,” Sanders insisted.

    According to the press secretary, the process within the White House “was still ongoing when Rob Porter resigned.”

    “Christopher Wray said it was closed so who is telling the truth?” NBC correspondent Kristen Welker asked.

    “Both,” Sanders replied, later adding: “I can only give you the best information that I have.”

    “Everyday I think we can learn from the day before and strive to do better.”


    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  36. Yeah, Steve57, I’m serious, because I don’t actually *care* about 90% of what the media does. Someone in the media said nice things about someone in the North Korean government in the context of the Winter Olympics? *Literally* the only way I even noticed it is that someone was complaining about it, because I just don’t pay attention to the media in general, or to the Olympics in general.

    I’m not saying I don’t care about North Korea; I do. I’m saying I don’t care about what television media personalities are *saying* about North Korea, or really about what the people criticizing the television media personalities are saying about either the personalities or about North Korea.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  37. Kevin M – some regimes before 1600 *did* go out of their way to be brutal. Tamarlane comes to mind as an example, as do some of the Assyrian leaders.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  38. aphrael. Maybe it would be more correct to say that the attitudes manifested in such things, and possibly promoted among some voters, should be worrisome.
    If Nork is presumed by a number of activists who know better and those whom they have deluded–made more malleable by the general anti-west theme of much of western education and intelligentsia–could pressure western governments to treat Nork as if they’re the injured party in this.

    Richard Aubrey (10ef71)

  39. aphrael (3f0569) — 2/13/2018 @ 7:59 am

    Well said aphrael.

    Kevin, I’m genuinely curious what “LIMITS” you think there were on Nazi brutality.

    They used unfed concentration camp slaves (Vernichtung durch Arbeit, they called it – “Extermination through Labor”) to build their rockets, and used tooth fillings and hair harvested from gas chamber victims as industrial raw materials.

    Kim is an amateur by comparison.

    Dave (445e97)

  40. Richard Aubrey: I think it’s sufficiently hard to persuade anyone that North Korea is good that I have no concern about that outcome.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  41. You would think that firing a dozen rockets at us last year, however that doesn’t register.

    narciso (d1f714)

  42. Let’s face it, being a member of the Kim ruling family is a Leftist’s wet dream. Weingarten just let the mask slip a little.

    random viking (6a54c2)

  43. Kevin M – some regimes before 1600 *did* go out of their way to be brutal. Tamarlane comes to mind as an example, as do some of the Assyrian leaders.

    aphrael (e0cdc9) — 2/13/2018 @ 4:08 pm

    1600 AD or 1600 Pennsylvania Ave?

    Pinandpuller (16b0b5)

  44. Dave is going full weingarten? You NEVER go full weingarten.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  45. One might say that both Marxist and fascist stem from the hegelian fallacy that there are no unalienable rights.

    narciso (d1f714)

  46. Pinandpuller: 1600 AD, obviously.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  47. Pinandpuller: 1600 AD, obviously.

    aphrael (e0cdc9) — 2/13/2018 @ 5:38 pm

    JK. I don’t attribute nonsense to you.

    Pinandpuller (16b0b5)

  48. Treating a comment thread like Memento is fun though, you should try it.

    Pinandpuller (16b0b5)

  49. I like Bethany and contributed to her charity.

    That said, I think Weingarten has a bit of a point. Dana makes a good and passionate defense here but the numbers are what they are.

    Also, I’ve long admired his writing. Yes, he’s a huge lefty but a talented and witty writer.

    Who for some reason uses poop as an avatar. OK, he has issues.

    Patterico (c3b99c)

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