Anatomy of a fake news campaign: Media spreads lie from US govt-funded Korean outlet that Kim Jong-un died
Corporate media outlets spread fake news claiming North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had died. The lie originated with a Seoul-based website funded by the US government’s regime-change arm the NED.
by Ben Norton
There may be no other country on Earth lied about more than North Korea. Western corporate media outlets have absolutely zero editorial standards when reporting on the country.
Absurd lies are routinely treated as newsworthy stories, from the cartoonish claim that Kim Jong-un executed his uncle by feeding him to pack of starving dogs (fake news), to the notion that all North Koreans are drones forced to choose from state-mandated haircuts (racist-tinged fake news), to the assertion that state media swore it uncovered a unicorn lair (insanely stupid fake news based on a mistranslation).
But these lies are not just innocuous errors that come out of nowhere; they are part of an insidious pattern, and a decidedly political one. They are a form of information warfare aimed at destabilizing North Korea’s government, known officially as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), which has an independent foreign policy and geo-strategic location — and just so happens to be sitting on trillions of dollars worth of mineral wealth.
Many of these fake news stories originate with Korean opposition groups that are funded to the hilt by the US government’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a CIA cutout created by the Ronald Reagan administration to push regime change against foreign countries that don’t sufficiently kowtow to Washington.
The Grayzone editor Max Blumenthal published a documentary demonstrating how the NED bankrolls a global network of regime-change activists, whose unsubstantiated accusations against the DPRK, China, Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Iran, and other nations targeted by the US are spun into unquestionable truths. North Korean defectors are a particularly unreliable source of information, and many of their claims have been proven to be false. They are highly incentivized, however, with offers of nearly $1 million to continue cranking out the disinformation.
This April, we saw another textbook example of how NED-backed South Korean outlets notorious for spreading fake news are amplified by the international press corps to the point that their deceptions dominate the news cycle for days.
For nearly two weeks, dozens of major news networks across the globe provided a megaphone to unsubstantiated rumors that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was dead.
The disinformation campaign kicked off on April 20, when a little-known US government-backed media publication called the Daily NK ran a report claiming North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had just undergone heart surgery and was in bad health.
This story was later expanded into a shocking claim: Kim had died, at the young age of 36.
The Daily NK followed up with an article stating that a video confirming that the supreme leader was dead had been going viral inside North Korea.
These reports unleashed a firestorm. Dozens of media outlets across the globe published story after story claiming Kim was either dead or incapacitated after a botched surgery.
The anatomy of this fake news campaign is dissected below.
And it all began with the Daily NK. But what exactly is this obscure publication?
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