North Korea is not as big of a threat as the media makes it to be

Media is, without a shadow of a doubt, the strongest weapon in modern warfare.

More powerful than guns, tanks or bombs, media – or propaganda – controls what most people see, talk about and hear.
In order to finance a war, you must sell it to your citizens first.

In the past few weeks, networks like CNN have blatantly been beating the drums of war, demonizing North Korea continuously and urging Americans to take seriously the hollow threats made against them.

Though North Korea does pose a threat, albeit a minor one, its amount of coverage in the media is wholly undeserved. Pundits like CNN’s Wolf Blitzer are contributing to gross, savage and unneeded propaganda directed against North Korea.

To better understand North Korea’s role in the world, it is important to understand its place in history as a victim of imperialism.

An independent kingdom for hundreds of years, Korea was occupied by Japan in 1905, following the Russo-Japanese War, according to the CIA Factbook.

Following Japan’s rule for nearly 40 years, Korea was eventually split up into two parts following World War II. North Korea, which was backed by the communist Soviet Union, and South Korea, which was backed by the democratic U.S., were what remained of a once-stable kingdom.
Since its failed invasion of South Korea in the Korean War, North Korea has had a proverbial axe to grind with the rest of the world.

Though I do not approve of how North Korea treats its citizens, with respect to human rights, I do not believe that a media-justification of war is needed.

CNN, for example, has an entire list of videos on its website entitled “North Korean Tensions Rise,” with titles ranging from “Fmr. North Korea spy: War will break out” to “Regime propaganda as news in North Korea.”

Blitzer, too, had a special edition of his show called “North Korean Crisis,” dedicated entirely to a country that at this point, has still not fired at South Korea or the U.S.

Does this war rhetoric sound familiar?

Though 10 years away and for a very different cause, the invasion of Iraq was similarly justified in the media, though to a much larger extent.

Instead of focusing on hollow threats made by a nation that has never bombed South Korea or the U.S., let’s focus on bigger issues elsewhere.

It’s one thing to take necessary precautions against a nation that claims to have nuclear capabilities. It’s another to provide unneeded propaganda.

Shane Newell is a sophomore journalism major and an assistant city editor for the Daily 49er.

One Comment

  1. Palmer Luckey

    “dedicated entirely to a country that at this point, has still not fired at South Korea or the U.S.”

    What about when they killed 46 SK sailors as a result of sinking the Cheonan with a torpedo in 2010? How about when they opened fire on SK fishermen in 2012? What of the many, many times in the past 20 years that they have violated sea and land borders and fired on SK patrols? Sorry, dude, but you have no idea what the hell you are talking about.

    NK is not a serious threat to the US, but they are incredibly worrisome for our ally, SK. I have friends who live in Seoul who have to live in fear of being shelled by NK artillery, which is a very real threat that neither the US nor SK has a way to counter. Kim Jung Un is trying to deal with a military that does not fully respect him like they did his father, don’t assume he will not do something rash. SK has never retaliated militarily when NK strikes because they want to re-unify with their lost brothers, but NK wants to establish communist rule over both Koreas. They continually threaten to destroy the US and SK alike, and that is something our media should report. You don’t need to embellish their threats to make them newsworthy, they do a fine job on their own.

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