NBC Downplays Purpose of North Korea Cheer Squad, CBS Points Out Dark Truth

After NBC took to Twitter over the weekend to tout how it was “so satisfying to watch” the North Korean cheerleading squad (before deleting it), Monday’s NBC Nightly News danced around and largely voided the reason the squad was there and what their actual purpose was. In contrast, CBS Evening News highlighted the outrage against the group and the dark reason they were performing.

Towards the end of a long segment about the Olympics, NBC News reporter Stephanie Gosk touted how much attention the cheerleaders were getting. “Not competing but getting a lot of attention here, those North Korean cheerleaders who have been stealing the show at hockey,” she said before downplaying the reason why they were attending. “Critics are calling them propaganda performers sent by Kim Jong-un to put a smiling face on a brutal regime.

So according to NBC, it was only the opinion of “critics” that said the cheerleaders were a propaganda tool for the North.

In contrast, CBS really wasn’t afraid to call them what they were, as anchor Jeff Glor proved when he announced that “North Korea brought its own cheering squad, gold medalists in propaganda,” during the lead into the story.

 

 

It's a North Korean charm offensive some South Koreans just find offensive,” reported CBS’s Ben Tracy during a report dedicated to exposing the squad. “But now it's their cheer gear that's causing a stir. Waving the unified Korean flag was okay, but then out came these masks that resemble a young Kim Il-sung, the founder of North Korea and Kim Jong-un's grandfather.”

Tracy noted that South Koreans viewed the masks as “propaganda, not proper cheering.” They were so angry that they drafted a petition to have them investigated. Apparently, the South Korean government did and the North assured them the masks weren’t of Kim Il-sung.

In passing along the North’s assertion, Tracy admitted the dark truth of what the cheerleaders were subjected to by the regime. “…Using a revered figure would not be allowed in cheerleading. In fact, it would likely be punishable by death. A reminder of the inconvenient truth behind all that Olympic spirit.

The CBS reporter also noted just how ridiculous the North Korean delegation to the Winter Games was. Out of the over 500 people they brought with them, only 22 were athletes and almost 250 were members of the cheerleading squad.

NBC’s downplaying of the North’s propaganda campaign came as the media was under fire for spending the entire weekend falling in love with Kim Yo-jong, the sister of Kim Jong-un and the head of their Propaganda and Agitation Department.

The relevant portions of the transcripts are below:

 

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NBC Nightly News
February 12, 2018
7:03:26 PM Eastern [18 Seconds]

(…)

STEPHANIE GOSK: Not competing but getting a lot of attention here, those North Korean cheerleaders who have been stealing the show at hockey. Critics are calling them propaganda performers sent by Kim Jong-un to put a smiling face on a brutal regime.

(…)

 

CBS Evening News
February 12, 2018
6:41:20 Eastern [1 minute 53 seconds]

JEFF GLOR: Now to this intriguing story that’s emerged at the Winter Olympics. North Korea brought its own cheering squad, gold medalists in propaganda. Ben Tracy is in Pyeongchang.

[Cuts to video]

BEN TRACY: The historic joint North and South Korea hockey team has been a big draw, but what many are watching is not on the ice. It's those matching red uniforms and highly synchronized movements of North Korea's official cheer squad.

(…)

TRACY: Kim Jong-un's so-called "Army of Beauties" are chosen for their looks and loyalty to the regime. His wife, Ri Sol-ju is a former member. The cheer squad makes up nearly half of North Korea's more than 500-person delegation, just 22 of which are actual athletes.

It's a North Korean charm offensive some South Koreans just find offensive. But now it's their cheer gear that's causing a stir. Waving the unified Korean flag was okay, but then out came these masks that resemble a young Kim Il-sung, the founder of North Korea and Kim Jong-un's grandfather.

That made some South Koreans angry. They viewed it as propaganda, not proper cheering. Some even signed a petition asking the government to investigate.

The government did, and says the North Koreans assured them it was not the North's founding father because using a revered figure would not be allowed in cheerleading. In fact, it would likely be punishable by death. A reminder of the inconvenient truth behind all that Olympic spirit. Ben Tracy, CBS News, Pyeongchang.

 


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CyberAlerts Foreign Policy North Korea Bias by Omission Broadcast Television CBS CBS Evening News NBC NBC Nightly News Video Ben Tracy Olympics Stephanie Gosk Jeff Glor