U.S. Media Misses on North’s Nukes

Note: 8th in a series on North Korea
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There are two certainties about North Korea (DPRK):

  • DPRK is continuing preparations for its 3rd nuclear bomb detonation
  • American national news media still can’t get the story right

The New York Times wasted space reporting on a purported fake missile in Pyongyang when the real story is buried 240 miles away under a mountain near the Chinese border.

Major American news media outlets generally miss the mark when it comes to North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). That is as true today as it was during previous weapons tests.

Latest North Korean WMD News

One of the most credible western sources for North Korean news is 38 North. It is a web site run by Joel Wit through the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at the U.S.-Korea Institute (USKI) at Johns Hopkins University. There’s a mouthful for ya! Its confusing.

Much of what is known outside of North Korea about its WMDs comes from 38 North. The “38” refers to the 38th parallel. That’s the original division line between north and south Korea decided by the United States and the Soviet Union at the end of World War II. It sparked the Korean War.

On April 27th, 38 North published a story titled “North Korean Nuclear Test Preparations: An Update“. That article describes the latest satellite images documenting preparations for DPRK’s upcoming nuclear detonation. That’s the same day the New York Times reported on the fake missile.

Matthew Pennington interviewed Wit and wrote an Associated Press story . It was picked up and repeated verbatim by Fox News, The Times of India and others. The LA Times did a better story. They got their information directly from Joel Wit and 38 North, too.

AP image from Pennington story: Compare this with 38 North's image above

Fox News Image: Compare with both the AP and 38 North images above

Fox News Blows it!

Fox News published this story titled, “New photo shows work at North Korea nuclear test site“, on April 27th.

Not only did Fox News simply reprint Pennington’s AP story, but totally screwed up the picture.

In its story Fox News cut off about 300 feet above where the actual excavation is taking place. The mining carts prominently mentioned in their caption aren’t even in the picture!!

But at least Fox News reported on the new preparations… that is more than the other major news organizations did.

CNN still remains totally clueless what is going on. The New York Times hasn’t said squat about the latest developments, either. CBS, NBC and ABC remain behind the 8-ball, too.

Wired Magazine Way Off

Wired isn’t exactly a hard news source, but it is widely read and it is a great example how poorly the American media reports on North Korea:
North Korea Spent a Whole $15 Making Its Website
– Spencer Ackerman, Wired Magazine, 4/18/2012

Ackerman is a national security reporter who does security articles for Wired magazine’s Danger Room. He freelances all over the place. He has a lot of credits in his resumé.

In this article he criticizes the North Korean government for using a cheap $15 Net template for it’s official government website. The site’s official name is the “Korean Friendship Association“.

The problem is that the website he accuses isn’t a North Korean site at all, let alone an official government site. It has nothing to do with North Korea’s government. It was created by Spaniard Alejandro Les Perez and is hosted by an ISP out of Malaga, Spain.

Perhaps Ackerman should not have used a Fordham student’s unverified homework assignment as his main source.

When Tad Ferrell at NK News attempted to get Ackerman to correct his error he was ignored. The appeals he left online as comments attached to Ackerman’s story were summarily deleted.


As a government, North Korea is an anachronism. Its a throwback to the old-style communist dictatorships described through fabricated government propaganda.

It is more challenging to find the truth, but its out there. You only need to dig a little bit.

There is no excuse for slipshod journalism. That is especially true for a dangerous rogue nation like North Korea.

Lets hope the American press and world governments wake up before North Korea unexpectedly delivers a dirty nuke or worse on someone.


About azleader

Learning to see life more clearly... one image at a time!

Posted on Apr 30, 2012, in Life, Military, news, North Korea, nuclear explosion, Opinion, Politics, Punggye-ri, Satellite images, Thoughts. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Your conclusion is that North Korea can and will nuke some one !!!
    Did you not see the last missile launch? LOL.
    The country is being used as a threat to enable the west to expand into the Asean region.The continuing Expansionist policy as economies fail and resources are snapped up.

    • NK watchers, such as those at 38 North and NK News, believe that NK is motivated by a combination of ancestry worship, of expressions of power to command the support of its people and the need to extract concessions from western and other outsiders.

      On its own North Korea, a backward and starving nation, has developed a totally autonomous nuclear weapons capability and is on the doorstep of developing a land-based intercontinental ballistic missile.

      That feat has only been accomplished by the US, Russia and China before.

      NK’s feat is quite remarkable, especially given it was done in complete isolation and without assistance from any other country in decades.

      If the time arrives when sword rattling is not enough to meet its needs, then NK may move on to the next level… an actual attack. By then the ICBM will be functional and their 2nd generation nukes available.

      • I don’t see it.
        They are far from having the abilities you say and have been warned by China not to pursue nuclear weapons.The Chinese are the only country openly supporting the regime.
        The two sites you refer to are U.S run and spout the U.S propaganda concerning NK.
        Do you really want to add another conflict with a poorer nation to list of countries the U.S occupies.
        The solution is education and including them in talks and development, if you support hard line tactics you play in to their hands and demonize yourself.The South Koreans are the most reliable when it comes to news on the north check out some of their free press websites.

  1. Pingback: Where North Korea Will Test Nuke « Inform The Pundits!

  2. Pingback: NK Nuke Test Set for May 28th? | Inform The Pundits!

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