This Is CNN? Smerconish Changes Mind on Video Trump Gave to Kim Jong-un

June 19th, 2018 4:03 PM

Remember how many members of the mainstream media derided the video that President Donald Trump gave to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un? They wrote it off as something like a mere elevator pitch video for selling timeshares. Well, that was the first impression of CNN host Michael Smerconish...until he watched it a second time and came to realize that it could be a very effective video.

On Saturday he interviewed a former U.S. diplomat and psychiatrist who agreed that it was indeed a very effective video.

MICHAEL SMERCONISH: For me, the lingering question about the Singapore summit had nothing to do with did Trump give up too much or what are the details or what's the timeline. No, no, no. I'm interested in that four-minute video that the president showed Kim on an iPad, showing what North Korea can be if it will allow itself to be integrated into the world community.

In some quarters, the White House is being derided for use of that video as if it's an elevator pitch. You know, Trump trying to sell Kim a timeshare in Phoenix or some such thing. And that was my first reaction, too. But when I looked at it a second time, what stood out to me was the basketball dunk. In the midst of all of this footage showing progress in North Korea, trains and buildings and medical advance comes the dunk of a basketball.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A story about a special moment in time when a man is presented with one chance that may never be repeated.


SMERCONISH: That's when I said to myself, is this the equivalent of when we went to the drive-in in the '70s and the image of a hot dog would go sailing by and suddenly you felt hungry? In other words, is it possible that this was not some slap dash production, but rather was the result of thought and deliberation as to how do we reach -- based on some psychological profile, how do we reach Chairman Kim?

Is it more sophisticated than we might have thought at first blush? Joining me now is Dr. Ken Dekleva. He's a former U.S. diplomat and psychiatrist who used to work with the State Department. He's profiled various world leaders, including Kim. Dr. Dekleva, on a propaganda scale, how many stars out of five?

KENNETH DEKLEVA, PSYCHIATRIST: Good morning, Michael. I give it 4.5.

SMERCONISH: And why 4.5?

DEKLEVA: I agree with -- with what you were saying in your introduction, that the video is remarkably sophisticated, and I think it was carefully and thoughtfully designed to appeal not only to Chairman Kim but also to other members of the North -- North Korean elite. And also in an indirect way, to the people of South Korea and President Moon. I thought it rich with symbolism, powerful emotions and marvelously put together.

So rather than mere elevator pitch, a psychiatrist with a diplomatic background agrees that it is "remarkably sophisticated" and designed to appeal not only to Kim but also to other members of the North Korean elite. Oh, and "marvelously put together."

This is CNN?