Mainstream media gushes over Kim Jong-un, certified hottie
Why? Why, why, why? Whose idea was this? Whyyyyyy?
In 2012, The Onion jokingly awarded North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un the title of “Sexiest Man Alive.”
With his devastatingly handsome, round face, his boyish charm, and his strong, sturdy frame, this Pyongyang-bred heartthrob is every woman’s dream come true. Blessed with an air of power that masks an unmistakable cute, cuddly side, Kim made this newspaper’s editorial board swoon with his impeccable fashion sense, chic short hairstyle, and, of course, that famous smile.
“He has that rare ability to somehow be completely adorable and completely macho at the same time,” Onion Style and Entertainment editor Marissa Blake-Zweibel said. “And that’s the quality that makes him the sort of man women want, and men want to be. He’s a real hunk with real intensity who also knows how to cut loose and let his hair down.”
Added Blake-Zweibel, “Ri Sol-ju is one lucky lady, that’s for sure!”
The story made a bit of news a couple of weeks after publication when the official website for China’s People’s Daily English website picked it up and republished it alongside a slideshow of the North Korean Supreme Leader, seemingly unaware that everything published by The Onion is satire.
“Ha!” you may think. “What kind of fool would fall for such a thing?! Time to let out a hearty laugh at the idea that an American media outlet would publish something so uncomfortably fawning about that tyrant!” Well…
Late last week, a number of legitimate news organizations actually published pieces heaping praise on Kim for, as CNN would say, his “svelte new look.”
The Associated Press, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Fox News, MarketWatch, New York Post, and Newsweek were among the U.S.-based media outlets that ran pieces dedicated to discussion about how great Kim looks. And just…
It’s not that this topic is totally irrelevant. In fact, it’s probably pretty important to know whether Kim is in good health or not, as that’s been of recent concern. Rumors had long circulated suggesting that Kim was sick, and were he to die, who his successor would be and what that would mean for the nuclear state.
But this — from CNN’s Brian Todd during the September 9 edition of The Situation Room — is emphatically not it:
Other footage shows the Supreme Leader and top aides at an outdoor table, appearing to enjoy some kind of bright green drinks with the swirly straw. The western-style suit, the overall air of confidence, analysts say, could be an effort by Kim to channel his late grandfather, Kim Il-sung, the founder of North Korea, who remains a wildly popular figure there.
Naturally, days after getting American media to gush over how dreamy he is, Kim decided to test out some long-range cruise missiles.
I would say that these journalists got played, but they know what they’re doing. Maybe it’s the years of treating Donald Trump as though he’s just a regular politician (a mistake that was made in both 2016 and 2020 — and is something I’m sure will happen if he runs again in 2024) that have warped the press’s approach to reporting on dictators. Or, and this is the likelier option, in my opinion, they simply don’t care that they’re amplifying propaganda.
May the rest of this week be less head-slammingly chaotic. I’m really excited about this week’s episode of the podcast, out Wednesday, with features a conversation between me and my friend Franchesca Ramsey. Be sure to check that out.
Also, my wife Kayla’s shop, Tiny Werewolves, has some new Halloween-themed products that just went up. Check those out, too.