Lacking Self-Awareness, CNN Admits North Korea Manipulated ‘World Attention’ at the Olympics

Sometimes, you can’t make this stuff up. On the Tuesday edition of CNN’s The Situation Room, host Wolf Blitzer, and correspondent Brian Todd assessed whether the North Korean delegation at the Winter Olympic games “manipulate[d] world public opinion” without mentioning their own network’s role in aiding the so-called “charm offensive.”

Blitzer teased Todd’s four-minute piece four times throughout the 5:00 p.m. Eastern hour with the second one reporting that Kim Yo-jong returned home “as intelligence agencies try to assess if North Korea's attempts to manipulate world public opinion actually paid off.” 

 

 

No, really. Seeing as how CNN swooned over Kim like she was Barack Obama, that question shouldn’t be difficult to answer.

In the fourth tease, Blitzer hilariously wondered: “Did the brutal regime score any propaganda points at the Winter Olympics games?” 

Before going to Todd, Blitzer showed new video from North Korea in which Kim Jong-un appeared before a crowd while a band played what was likely worshipful tunes to the murderous regime. Unbelievably, Blitzer bailed out and the audio dragged on unencumbered for 22 seconds.

“We’re getting fresh analysis from intelligence experts on Kim Jong-un’s attempted charm offensive over at the Winter Olympics games...Brian, did the North Korean propaganda campaign have any serious impact,” Blitzer then asked.

Right on cue, Todd reported that “[i]t did have an impact, Wolf, but officials are telling us don't be fooled by a lot of this propaganda.” These unnamed U.S. government analysts were correct, but outlets like CNN, Reuters, and The Washington Post could have used that message last Thursday prior to the Pyeongchang opening ceremonies. Oops. 

“Tonight we're told U.S. intelligence analysts are assessing the North Korean mission to the Olympics. What the North Koreans went there to do and whether they accomplished their goals. Part of that intelligence assessment involves pouring over the images now being released by Kim’s regime showing how he interacted with his sister and other delegates when they returned,” Todd added. 

Todd and Korea expert Michael Madden each opined on possible takeaways from the footage and photos out of North Korea since Kim Yo-jong’s return with Madden observing that one photo “express[ed] that they're very confident in their trip.”

Prior to ending with the latest on Kim Jong-un’s grasp on his tyrannical government, Todd provided one last sampling of CNN’s pathetic lack of awareness on how much they were seduced by the North Koreans in Pyeongchang:

TODD: Kim seems to have accomplish that had goal, analysts say, but they believe he’s also manipulated the South Koreans to an extent and tried manipulate world attention away from the vicious realities inside North Korea. 

JOSEPH DETRANI: I think the conversation now has been on Kim Jong-un's presence and the cheerleaders and the athletes, not about the gulags that are still in North Korea, not about the 25 missiles that were launched in 2017.

To see the relevant transcript from CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer on February 13, click “expand.”

CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer
February 13, 2018
5:01 p.m. Eastern [TEASE]

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Family Affair]

WOLF BLITZER: And family affair. North Korea’s brutal dictator welcomes his sister back from the Olympics. Despite the smiles, U.S. intelligence chiefs say North Korea’s charm offensive may not have worked can. Anything convince the young dictator to negotiate?

(....)

5:17 p.m. Eastern [TEASE]

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Coming Up; Dictator’s Sister Returns from Olympics]

BLITZER: And later, North Korea's brutal dictator welcomes his sister home from the Olympics as intelligence agencies try assess if North Korea's attempts to manipulate world public opinion actually paid off.

(....)

5:25 p.m. Eastern [TEASE]

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Coming Up; Dictator’s Sister Returns from Olympics]

BLITZER: Then later, as Kim Jong-un welcomes his sister back from the Olympics, do the big smiles tell the story or did North Korea’s charm offensive fall flat? 

(....)

5:46 p.m. Eastern [TEASE]

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Coming Up; Dictator’s Sister Returns from Olympics] 

BLITZER: There's much more news coming in, including the sister of the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un returns home after an attempted charm offensive in South Korea. Did the brutal regime score an propaganda points at the Winter Olympics games?

(....)

5:51 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: New Tonight; North Korean Dictator Aims for Propaganda Victory at Olympics]

BLITZER: New tonight, we’re getting fresh analysis — look at this. This is Kim Jong-un. Watch this for a second. 

[SOUNDS OF NORTH KOREANS CHEERING KIM JONG-UN; BAND PLAYING FOR 22 SECONDS]

It’s a nice reception over there in Pyongyang. We’re getting fresh analysis from intelligence experts on Kim Jong-un’s attempted charm offensive over at the Winter Olympics games. Brian Todd has been following this story for us. Brian, did the North Korean propaganda campaign have any serious impact? 

BRIAN TODD: It did have an impact, Wolf, but officials are telling us don't be fooled by a lot of this propaganda. Tonight we're told U.S. intelligence analysts are assessing the North Korean mission to the Olympics. What the North Koreans went there to do and whether they accomplished their goals. Part of that intelligence assessment involves pouring over the images now being released by Kim’s regime showing how he interacted with his sister and other delegates when they returned. With a military officer hailing the return and bands playing, Kim Jong-un’s sister and her delegation returned from their charm offensive at the Olympics. After briefing Kim on their trip, his sister, Kim Yo-jong, is photographed holding her brother’s arm. The other top North Korean delegate to the games, Kim Yong-nam, is holding the leader's hand. 

MICHAEL MADDEN: This is sort of to express that they're very confident in their trip. Whatever news they are delivering from South Korea, directly to Kim Jong-un, they had a very high degree of confidence in that — that this was good news. 

TODD: Tonight as intelligence agencies assess North Korea's mission to the Olympics, a key question. What was Kim's end game then? 

MADDEN: I think what he wanted to get out of it was the delivery of a message of this invitation to have President Moon maybe had visit the DPRK. He wanted to get things back on track in terms of interacting with the South Koreans and the South Korean government. 

TODD: Kim seems to have accomplish that had goal, analysts say, but they believe he’s also manipulated the South Koreans to an extent and tried manipulate world attention away from the vicious realities inside North Korea. 

JOSEPH DETRANI: I think the conversation now has been on Kim Jong-un's presence and the cheerleaders and the athletes, not about the gulags that are still in North Korea, not about the 25 missiles that were launched in 2017.


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