Before meeting with North Korea's "very honorable" (Trump's words) dictator, Kim Jong-Un, the president should bone up on the history of that country's duplicity and deception, including ways it has used the wishful thinking of some past U.S. presidents to achieve its objectives. A good place to start is an essay written by Joshua Muravchik of the American Enterprise Institute for the March 2003 issue of Commentary magazine.

One thing is certain: Axelrod didn't do the rest of us any favors . . .  

On today's Morning Joe, after Joe Scarborough empathized at length, in the context of the Syrian situation, about what a lonely job President Obama has, David Axelrod actually had the chutzpah to say "there have been many days where I wonder, gee, I wonder if all of us who helped him get elected did him a favor." View the video after the jump.

Yet another episode being reported from the totalitarian nightmare that is North Korea is getting short shrift in most of the world's press, namely "criticism sessions" (i.e., rat out your neighbor, coworker, etc.) identifying North Koreans who allegedly weren't sufficiently grief-stricken over the December death of Kim Jong Il (pictured at right), weren't sufficiently demonstrative about it, or didn't attend enough mourning events, as well as the punishments for such transgressions which have reportedly followed.

The source is the Daily NK, a South Korea-based web site described by AFP as "an Internet website run by opponents of North Korea." The opening paragraphs from Wednesday's Daily NK report read as follows (bolds are mine throughout this post):

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):

It's certainly not the most egregious media bias or error story you'll every see. But hey, it's the end of the year and almost GOP primary time, so take a break, lighten up a bit, and enjoy this one.

On Wednesday, as shown here and based on when comments first appeared, USA Today's Chris Woodyard put up an item in McPaper's "Drive On" blog about how the funeral of North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Il used decades-old Lincolns. The headline: "North Korea's elite use Nixon-era Lincolns." Figures, right? Any chance to get in a dig at a Republican or conservative. What's wrong with just saying "1970s"? Well, nothing, especially when you're proven wrong about the Nixonian lineage.

At the New York Times Thursday morning, reporter Choe Sang-Hun's covering the funeral for late North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il made it clear to readers that it "The funeral, and the mourning, appeared to have been meticulously choreographed by the government." Meanwhile, over at the Associated Press (saved here at host for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes), a story involving five reporters left the impression that the outpouring of grief was genuine and broadly shared.

Here are key paragraphs relating to that aspect of the funeral coverage, first from the Times (bolds are mine throughout this post):

Will the death of despotic dictator Kim Jong Il lead to less pandering and naive reporting on North Korea? Not if the past is any indicator. On September 19, 2005, CNN founder Ted Turner appeared on his own network to credulously insist that Kim "didn't look" evil. Turner proclaimed, "...He didn’t look too much different than most other people." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]

After a bewildered Wolf Blitzer pointed out the harsh treatment of the North Korean people, Turner offered his own first-hand account: "Well, hey, listen. I saw a lot of people over there. They were thin and they were riding bicycles instead of driving in cars, but...I didn’t see any brutality."

After 17 years reigning as the Supreme Leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Il has reportedly died of heart failure, and his son, Kim Jong Un, has been announced as his successor. With instability in the region possibly posing a security threat to neighboring countries and abroad, governments around the world are keeping a careful eye on the region.

What do you think Kim Jong Il's death means for the future of North Korea? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

It appears that at NPR, even a fat lip for the President is to be heralded as a crowning achievement furthering his prestige and street cred when dealing with despots like Kim Jong Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

According to Scott Simon, a president with a "gnarly, vivid scar" might even be able to intimidate China's rulers into halting their currency manipulation (audio follows with partial transcript and commentary):

On Thursday’s Lopez Tonight on TBS, during a segment featuring photographs of public figures wearing similar clothing called "Who Wore it Better?" comedian George Lopez cracked that Sarah Palin was "an evil egomaniac that might destroy the world" as an image of her was shown next to a picture of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il. Guest and fashion guru Tim Gunn took part in the segment as the two poked fun at Palin’s outfit supposedly resembling that of the communist despot.

Lopez joked, "For people who don’t know, one is an evil egomaniac that might destroy the world, and the other one is Kim Jong Il," inspiring Gunn to respond, "I love you for that."

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Thursday, September 16, Lopez Tonight on TBS:

Whoopi Goldberg’s solution to winning the War on Terror: talk to "Shum Jum Yum Yum," whoever that is. On the October 24 edition of "The View," the aforementioned co-host defended Barack Obama’s call for unconditional talks with rogue nations like Iran. Whoopi concluded that dictators such as "Ahmadinejacket" and "Shum Jum Yum Yum" (presumably she meant Kim Jong Il?) have become "less rational" because the Bush administration has allegedly not talked to these regimes.

Besides airing her opinion without getting key names correct, Whoopi should know that talking unconditionally to Adolf Hitler did not make him any less radical. This should come as no surprise to a woman, who, on more than one occasion, demonstrated her ignorance of basic history.

Christiane Amanpour interviewed former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, famous for her October 2000 meeting with North Korean dictator Kim "He’s Not a Nut" Jong Il, as part of her "Notes from North Korea" program, which aired on Saturday and Sunday evenings. During the segment, the CNN senior international correspondent failed to note how her husband, James Rubin, worked as spokesman and Assistant Secretary for State for Albright from 1997 until May 2000. Albright emphasized how "it's possible to have verifiable agreements" with the North Korean regime and how "negotiations need to be pursued actively." The Clinton administration that she worked for conducted negotiations with the communist dictatorship during the 1990s and signed a nuclear agreement with them, which the North Korean government violated by conducting a secret uranium enrichment program. So much for "verifiable agreements."

Amanpour did call the North Korean regime "a police state" and a "dictatorship" during her special, but she downplayed the communist government’s responsibility for the deaths of millions of North Koreans during a famine in the 1990s. [audio available here]