Jean H. Lee's Friday afternoon report at the Associated Press on the omnipresence of images of the late Kim Jong Il throughout North Korea reads more like an audition to be the communist nation's next propaganda minister than a wire service report.
Not once does she call the late tyrant a tyrant, or for that matter even a Communist. If you didn't know any better, you would think you're reading about some idyllic place where people are happy, content, and well-off -- not a place where oppression rules, hundreds of thousands starve, and millions more would but for the kindness of foreigners. Though there is no substitute for reading the whole relatively short thing, here are several paragraphs indicating just how bad Lee's report really is (saved here in full as a graphic for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes; HT to an NB tipster):
Kim Jong Il's presence is felt in series of images
It's hard to imagine a North Korea without Kim Jong Il, who led the nation for 17 years until his death in December.
His portrait hangs in every building, his visits to factories and shops are commemorated with signs in his honor. The song book at the hotel at Mount Kumgang features a full page of tunes with his name in the title, and the airline hostesses in lacy gloves give their thanks to him as Air Koryo flights cross into North Korean airspace.
Kim's death on Dec. 17 marks the end of an era for North Korea, which has known only two leaders: Kim and his father, Kim Il Sung. Already, a new era has begun under the leadership of his young son, Kim Jong Un.
... Doctors and nurses laugh as they huff and puff their way past mountains carved with Kim's sayings and signature.
Young men in bumper cars bash each other gleefully at an amusement park that Kim ordered renovated as part of a bid to "improve the people's daily lives," one of the goals he left unfinished when he died at age 69.
If the nominations for worst single sentence written by a wire service journalist in 2011 are still open, I'd suggest that Lee's final excerpted paragraph would end up at or near the top of the awful heap.
Memo Ms. Lee: The only place where Kim's magical presence is not so magically being felt is far away from North Korea, in a place usually characterized as being quite hot.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.