propaganda?

October 10, 2006

My first chuckle of the day.

Okay. I’m not finding amusement from the frightening thought of North Korea having successfully tested a nuclear weapon. This certainly gives me the shivers. I can only imagine what it’s like in North East Asia…to be a person in South Korea, China, Japan and even in North Korea. Scary.

But, when I came across the above “front page” of a seemingly respectable American news agency (edit: to me, respectable no longer), I couldn’t help but chuckle. Why would CNN plaster a photo of a North Korean soldier throwing a pebble?

Perhaps to reflect this response to the N. Korean nuke test by the US Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton:

“This is the way North Korea typically negotiates, by threat and intimidation,” he said. “It’s worked for them before. It’s not going to work this time.” (from the CNN report here)

Is he saying the US have been intimidated by North Korean rock throwing before? (As the always philosophical Arsenio Hall would aptly put it, these are one of those things that make you go “Hmmm…”)

Or perhaps CNN is wanting to convey that the North Korean test is well…really not that threatening after all, as Bolton so boldly declares.

But isn’t it? A “rogue” nation, an underdog in the global community, flexing all of whatever might they might have (apparently, nuclear might). They just tested a nuclear weapon. That’s intimidating to me! I’m a Canadian one big ocean away from North Korea, and I’m a little scared. (But I do get a little frightened in dark rooms and big dogs too)

And all this is happening, according to Bolton, simply “because they [the N. Koreans] are not getting what they want.” Doesn’t even this sound a bit paternalistic? (There, there, you can’t always get what you want.)

I’m no expert in global politics, foreign policy, international law, blah blah blah. I’m just a regular schmo trying to make sense of this world in which I live. I’m also not an expert in media, journalism, news ethics, blah blah blah (that’s why I have a blog!). But I can’t help but think–after seeing CNN’s front page at mid-day–to continue my growing skepticism of news-tellers who want not only to tell me what’s going on, but how to think about what’s going on.

Just for fun (and to show that I have unbiased sensibilities), I browsed around to see what’s on the front page of other news agency websites:

CBS News: Much macho-er image than CNN’s. And the swirling proton and electron super-imposed on the N. Korean flag is a nice touch, eh? (But, which way are the missles going? Hmmmm….)


Good ol’ CBC: Polite. Accurate. Fully funded by Hockey Night in Canada…for now.

National Post: Now that’s a soldier who looks like he means business. Notice his weapon of choice.

And…even knowing that Big Red censors all of its news (p-r-o-p-o-g-a-n-d-a), I was still curious to know what would be on the front page of the China Daily:

Hmmmm… Headline should be: “Unusual High Heel Growth Appearing on Heads of Chinese Women” =P (Hmmm…to see the only mention of the nuke test you had to scroll down one page to see a one-liner link).

Back to the North Korean David (above), and about all this “information” we get about other people, places and countries, I think Jesus’ words to the rock throwers of his day is interestingly appropriate: “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Hmmm…

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4 Responses to “propaganda?”

  1. Charlene said

    Jason,

    interesting entry =) you’re right, it’s a bit hard to believe that the N. Korean soldier chose a pebble to be his weapon of choice, when he obviously had something *slightly* more powerful & destructive hanging off his belt.
    who knows what’s been cropped from the photo… perhaps dozens of reporters trying to throw even bigger rocks at the soldier?

    CNN is my least favourite place to go for news, cuz they have a tendency to make anything into “headlines,” even the “mundanest” of things. (ex. is “TomKat” really news worthy?)
    Larry King is big enough of a reason for anyone to NOT watch CNN…worst interviewer EVER!

  2. m said

    A good piece of rhetorical analysis and bias detection. Reminds me of Social Studies 9. I found the contrast with The China Daily a real hoot.

    I think applying the rock throwing parable to countries is apt. I can’t understand how some countries have the audacity to set the rules on the international playing field when they play dirty themselves. The thing is, in this dog-eat-dog world, who is going to stop throwing first? Or even stop gathering rocks in the first place?!!

  3. Yvonne said

    Is no one else curious as to why the runaway bride is suing her ex for $500,000?

    …perhaps it’s just me 😀 I like lawsuits!

  4. Char: Yeah, I visit cnn.com for a laugh. Even in their description of themselves they include “entertainment” as their content. Not only their content, but their way of conveying news–flashy, hip, always ‘breaking.’

    M: do you mean a real “boot”? (hee hee)

    Yvonne: Hahaha….

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