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Political Information Last Updated: Jun 11, 2019 - 12:13:27 AM


US Media Spreads False Claims About Purging of North Korean Official
By Ben Norton : Grayzone
Jun 11, 2019 - 12:08:05 AM

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https://consortiumnews.com/2019/06/06/us-media-spreads-false-claims-about-purging-of-north-korean-official/

 

The corporate media's editorial standards for reporting on official enemies of the U.S., especially North Korea, are as low as ever. Blatantly false stories are regularly circulated by leading news outlets without any kind of accountability.

In the latest example, virtually every major media outlet reported that a senior North Korean official named Kim Yong-chol was supposedly forced into a "labor camp," as part of a larger deadly "purge."

Two days later, that same official turned up alive at a public art performance, seated next to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Bloomberg kicked off the frenzy on May 30 by publishing a report claiming, "North Korea executed its former top nuclear envoy to the U.S. and four other foreign ministry officials in March after a failed summit between Kim and Donald Trump."

Bloomberg's source was South Korea's far-right newspaper Chosun Ilbo, which has a long history of fabricating stories about North Korea. Chosen Ilbo's story was based on a single unidentified source.

That is to say, the false report obediently echoed by the Western press corps was based entirely on the claims of one unnamed person.

This obvious lack of evidence did not stop credulous reporters from jumping on the sensationalist propaganda. The story was circulated by The New York TimesReutersThe Wall Street JournalThe Hill, The Daily BeastFox NewsCNBCTIMEABC NewsThe Financial TimesThe TelegraphVICE News, Rolling StoneThe IndependentThe Washington TimesThe New York PostHuffPostFrance 24The Japan TimesHaaretzThe Times of IsraelDemocracy Now, the U.S. government's Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and many more.

Twitter even went out of its way to create a shareable Moment based on the false report.

Twitter Moments✔@TwitterMoments

North Korea charged and executed multiple government officials involved in February's Trump-Kim summit, South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo reports. https://twitter.com/i/events/1134230924781019136 ...

1809:23 AM - May 31, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy

North Korea executed officials involved in Trump-Kim summit, Chosun reports

208 people are talking about this


Careful readers (only a small percentage of total readers) might have noticed that Bloomberg quietly admitted in its original report, "Previous South Korean media reports about senior North Korean officials being executed following the talks have proven false." But this concession didn't stop the rest of the corporate media from running with the story.

On June 2, the commentariat's favorite fable fell apart: North Korea's nuclear negotiator Kim Yong-chol showed up on state media, sitting a few seats away from Kim Jong-un at a musical performance.

The Associated PressReutersThe New York Times, and CNN quickly published new reports making light of the news  - but none of these contained mea culpas or official retractions.

As of June 3, the vast majority of blatantly false reports published in dozens of outlets remain uncorrected.

Grayzone has documented the long history of U.S. corporate media printing cartoonish lies about North Korea (officially known as the DPRK), especially in the form of execution stories that are quickly debunked. (The New York Times once even cited an obvious parody Twitter account as if it were the DPRK's real state media.)

A few actual experts on Korea did raise concerns about the latest hoax. Among them was veteran reporter Tim Shorrock, who has spent decades reporting on Korea, and who joined prominent peace activists Christine Ahn and Simone Chun in questioning the story.

Tim Shorrock✔@TimothyS

Incredible that Bloomberg would run this story based on one source quoted by the completely irresponsible and rarely accurate Chosun Ilbo. I don't care if it is South Korea's largest newspaper, as the Post constantly refers to it. It has a history of false stories.

Harry Kazianis@GrecianFormula

#NorthKorea watchers. Let's be careful on these reports that Kim killed #KimHyokChol. The REPORT HAS ONLY ONE UNNAMED SOURCE (That seems pretty thin.): https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-30/north-korea-envoy-executed-over-trump-kim-summit-chosun-reports ...

18910:53 AM - May 31, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy

110 people are talking about this


Shorrock cautioned on May 31, "It's important to keep tabs on this one, which if uncorroborated could turn out to be one of the biggest fiascos in journalism history."

As usual, Shorrock was right - but he was an outlier whose critical thinking was drowned out by a mob of mainstream pundits.

Below is a list of some of the top journalists in the U.S. corporate media and political class, including ostensible "progressives," who spread this blatantly false story. Many of these self-styled progressives promoted the hoax in hopes of embarrassing Presdient Donald Trump for embarking on a historic peace process with the DPRK.

Journalists and Activists Who Spread the Story

-Chris Hayes, a media celebrity and MSNBC host who used the fake news to get in a cheap joke about Trump

Chris Hayes✔@chrislhayes

Good God.

David Ingles✔@DavidInglesTV

JUST IN: North Korea envoy executed over failed Trump-Kim summit (Chosun)

11K9:09 AM - May 31, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy

4,587 people are talking about this


Chris Hayes✔@chrislhayes

Anxiously hoping the President doesn't tweet something about how the DPRK's envoy deserved what he got and Kim Jong Un is great.

3,9089:21 AM - May 31, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy

854 people are talking about this


-Julia Ioffe, a prominent journalist, GQ Magazine correspondent, and so-called Russia expert

Julia Ioffe✔@juliaioffe

"He speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same." Trump on Kim Jong Unhttps://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-30/north-korea-envoy-executed-over-trump-kim-summit-chosun-reports ...

2,17511:56 AM - May 31, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy

North Korea Executed Envoy Over Trump-Kim Summit, Chosun Reports

North Korea executed its former top nuclear envoy to the U.S. and four other foreign ministry officials in March after a failed summit between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump, South Korea's Chosun Ilbo...

bloomberg.com

1,515 people are talking about this


-Yashar Ali, a contributor to New York Magazine and The Huffington Post and liberal mini-celebrity

Yashar Ali 🐘✔@yashar

NEW: Kim Hyok Chol, who led working-level negotiations for the summit between Kim Jong Un and President Trump, was executed with four other foreign ministry officials in March

Kim Jong Un's top aide Kim Yong Chol is reportedly undergoing hard laborhttps://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-30/north-korea-envoy-executed-over-trump-kim-summit-chosun-reports ...

1,0479:22 AM - May 31, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy

North Korea Executed Envoy Over Trump-Kim Summit, Chosun Reports

North Korea executed its former top nuclear envoy to the U.S. and four other foreign ministry officials in March after a failed summit between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump, South Korea's Chosun Ilbo...

bloomberg.com

1,122 people are talking about this


-Peter Baker, chief White House correspondent for The New York Times and an analyst for MSNBC

Peter Baker✔@peterbakernyt

North Korea executed its special envoy to the US by firing squad in March and put four other Foreign Ministry officials to death as part of a purge following the failure of Kim Jong-un's summit with Trump in Hanoi, South Korean paper reports. @choesanghun https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/30/world/asia/north-korea-envoy-execution.html ...

1,1841:49 PM - May 31, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacyKim Hyok-chol, left, the special envoy to the United States, during summit preparations in Hanoi, Vietnam, in February.

North Korea Executed and Purged Top Nuclear Negotiators, South Korean Report Says

The report comes amid speculation that the North's leader is changing tack after his summit meeting with President Trump failed to lift punishing sanctions.

nytimes.com

1,641 people are talking about this


-Jon Cooper, the chairman of the Democratic Coalition Against Trump, which proudly boasts, "We help run #TheResistance"

Jon Cooper✔@joncoopertweets

OUCH: North Korea has reportedly executed its special envoy to the U.S. and four other Foreign Ministry officials after the February U.S.-North Korea summit in Hanoi didn't work out. https://www.thedailybeast.com/north-korea-executes-its-special-envoy-to-us-officials-involved-in-trump-kim-summit-report ...

1,81910:47 AM - May 31, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy

Report: N. Korea Executes Officials Tied to Trump-Kim Summit

Pyongyang's special envoy to the U.S. and four other foreign ministry officials are said to have been executed in an airport after the February summit collapsed.

thedailybeast.com

2,336 people are talking about this


-Katie Phang, a legal contributor for NBC and MSNBC

Katie Phang✔@KatiePhang

🚨 Trump's bestie, Kim Jong Un, has "executed [his] former top nuclear envoy with the U.S. along with four other foreign ministry officials in March after a failed summit" with Donald Trump in Vietnam.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-30/north-korea-envoy-executed-over-trump-kim-summit-chosun-reports ...

13312:24 PM - May 31, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy

North Korea Executed Envoy Over Trump-Kim Summit, Chosun Reports

North Korea executed its former top nuclear envoy to the U.S. and four other foreign ministry officials in March after a failed summit between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump, South Korea's Chosun Ilbo...

bloomberg.com

118 people are talking about this


-David Roberts, a reporter for Vox

David Roberts✔@drvox

"North Korea executed its former top nuclear envoy to the U.S. and four other foreign ministry officials in March after a failed summit between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump, South Korea's Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported." https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-30/north-korea-envoy-executed-over-trump-kim-summit-chosun-reports ...

253:53 PM - Jun 2, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy

North Korea Executed Envoy Over Trump-Kim Summit, Chosun Reports

North Korea executed its former top nuclear envoy to the U.S. and four other foreign ministry officials in March after a failed summit between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump, South Korea's Chosun Ilbo...

bloomberg.com

22 people are talking about this


-Caroline Orr, a neoliberal "Resistance" influencer who rose to prominence by pumping up the Russia-gate narrative

Caroline Orr@RVAwonk

Holy crap. North Korean envoy Kim Hyok Chol was reportedly executed over the failed summit between Kim Jong Un & Trump. Four other NK foreign ministry officials were reportedly executed, too, and a top aide for Kim Jong Un was punished with hard labor. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-30/north-korea-envoy-executed-over-trump-kim-summit-chosun-reports ...

2,2409:47 AM - May 31, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy

North Korea Executed Envoy Over Trump-Kim Summit, Chosun Reports

North Korea executed its former top nuclear envoy to the U.S. and four other foreign ministry officials in March after a failed summit between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump, South Korea's Chosun Ilbo...

bloomberg.com

2,409 people are talking about this


-Oz Katerji, a rabid pro-military intervention regime-change activist dedicated to harassing anti-imperialists online

Oz Katerji@OzKaterji

A North Korea official was executed in March over the Trump-Kim summit, Chosun Ibo newspaper reports https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-30/north-korea-envoy-executed-over-trump-kim-summit-chosun-reports ... via @bpolitics

89:09 AM - May 31, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy

North Korea Executed Envoy Over Trump-Kim Summit, Chosun Reports

North Korea executed its former top nuclear envoy to the U.S. and four other foreign ministry officials in March after a failed summit between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump, South Korea's Chosun Ilbo...

bloomberg.com

See Oz Katerji's other Tweets


-Josh Smith, a Reuters senior correspondent covering North and South Korea

Josh Smith✔@joshjonsmith

South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo reports that North Korea has executed several officials involved in working level talks before the Hanoi Trump-Kim summit, including Kim Hyok Chol the former ambassador to Spain who (briefly now it seems) served as Steve Biegun's counterpart

2,0718:40 AM - May 31, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy

2,483 people are talking about this


-Vivian Salama, a White House reporter for The Wall Street Journal, who previously worked as AP's Baghdad bureau chief

Vivian Salama✔@vmsalama

😳😳😳😳 North Korea executed Kim Hyok Chol, its special envoy to the United States, and foreign ministry officials who carried out working-level negotiations for the second US-North Korea summit in February, holding them responsible for its collapse. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-usa-purge-idUSKCN1T02PD ...

2,6449:14 AM - May 31, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy

North Korea executes envoy to failed U.S. summit -media; White...

North Korea executed its nuclear envoy to the United States as part of a purge of officials who steered negotiations for a failed summit between leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump, a...

reuters.com

3,973 people are talking about this


-Matt Bevan, the host and writer of ABC News Australia's "Russia, If You're Listening" podcast

Matt Bevan 🎙✔@MatthewBevan

Kim Jong-in executed the officials who organised his failed summit with Trump in Hanoi.

Interested to see what Trump says about his good friend Kim after this. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-30/north-korea-envoy-executed-over-trump-kim-summit-chosun-reports ...

569:20 AM - May 31, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy

North Korea Executed Envoy Over Trump-Kim Summit, Chosun Reports

North Korea executed its former top nuclear envoy to the U.S. and four other foreign ministry officials in March after a failed summit between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump, South Korea's Chosun Ilbo...

bloomberg.com

80 people are talking about this


-Kaitlan Collins, a CNN White House reporter

Kaitlan Collins✔@kaitlancollins

"North Korea executed Kim Hyok Chol, its special envoy to the United States, and foreign ministry officials who carried out working-level negotiations for the second U.S.-North Korea summit, a South Korean newspaper reported on Friday." https://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-usa-purge-idUSKCN1T02PD ...

9749:22 AM - May 31, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy

North Korea executes envoy to failed U.S. summit -media; White...

North Korea executed its nuclear envoy to the United States as part of a purge of officials who steered negotiations for a failed summit between leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump, a...

reuters.com

1,447 people are talking about this


-Geoff Bennett, a White House correspondent for NBC News

Geoff Bennett✔@GeoffRBennett

Bloomberg: North Korean envoy executed over failed Trump-Kim summithttps://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-30/north-korea-envoy-executed-over-trump-kim-summit-chosun-reports?srnd=politics-vp ...

149:20 AM - May 31, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy

North Korea Executed Envoy Over Trump-Kim Summit, Chosun Reports

North Korea executed its former top nuclear envoy to the U.S. and four other foreign ministry officials in March after a failed summit between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump, South Korea's Chosun Ilbo...

bloomberg.com

20 people are talking about this


-Andrew Desiderio, a political reporter at Politico

Andrew Desiderio✔@desiderioDC

New reporting tonight - that North Korea's top US envoy was executed after the Hanoi summit & Kim's top aide is undergoing hard labor - comes as Trump continues to heap praise on Kim and excuse his recent sanctions violations. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-30/north-korea-envoy-executed-over-trump-kim-summit-chosun-reports ...

10910:46 AM - May 31, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy

North Korea Executed Envoy Over Trump-Kim Summit, Chosun Reports

North Korea executed its former top nuclear envoy to the U.S. and four other foreign ministry officials in March after a failed summit between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump, South Korea's Chosun Ilbo...

bloomberg.com

146 people are talking about this


-David Nakamura, a Washington Post reporter

David Nakamura✔@DavidNakamura

South Korean paper reports Kim Jong Un has executed top envoy in wake of Hanoi summit collapse. If true, another stark reminder of brutality of the North Korean leader Trump has sided with over Biden, US intel agencies, Bolton, Shinzo Abe and Warmbier. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-usa-purge-idUSKCN1T02PD ...

1929:18 AM - May 31, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy

North Korea executes envoy to failed U.S. summit -media; White...

North Korea executed its nuclear envoy to the United States as part of a purge of officials who steered negotiations for a failed summit between leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump, a...

reuters.com

223 people are talking about this


-Amy Siskind, a prominent liberal anti-Trump activist and former Wall Street executive

Amy Siskind 🏳️‍🌈✔@Amy_Siskind

Trump buddy - and we knew this, Pompeo was asked about it weeks ago:
"Kim Hyok Chol, North Korea's special envoy to the U.S., was executed in March along with four other North Korean foreign ministry officials involved in the Hanoi, Vietnam, summit." https://thehill.com/policy/international/446267-north-korea-envoy-was-executed-over-failed-trump-kim-summit-report ...

2,0809:46 AM - May 31, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy

North Korea envoy executed over failed Trump-Kim summit: report

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reportedly ordered the execution of several top officials in March after they were unable to reach an agreement with President Trump at a second summit between the

thehill.com

1,677 people are talking about this


-Steve Silberman, longtime writer for Wired magazine

Steve Silberman✔@stevesilberman

This is the monster whose ass Trump kisses to mock Joe Biden. If a Democratic president did this to mock a GOP opponent, @FoxNews pundits would be invoking the 2nd Amendment. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-30/north-korea-envoy-executed-over-trump-kim-summit-chosun-reports ...

949:33 AM - May 31, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy

North Korea Executed Envoy Over Trump-Kim Summit, Chosun Reports

North Korea executed its former top nuclear envoy to the U.S. and four other foreign ministry officials in March after a failed summit between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump, South Korea's Chosun Ilbo...

bloomberg.com

61 people are talking about this


Rare Exceptions

There were a few exceptions to the norm. Some reporters who specialize on Korea did raise concerns, pointing out South Korean media outlets have a long history of publishing false stories about the DPRK.

These warnings, however, were ignored.

Ben Norton is a journalist and writer. He is a reporter for Grayzone, and the producer of the "Moderate Rebels" podcast, which he co-hosts with Max Blumenthal. His website is BenNorton.com, and he tweets at @BenjaminNorton.

This article is from Grayzone.




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