Feb. 15 — From the establishment New York Times to the far-right Fox News, the U.S. capitalist media have been on a campaign to demonize the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The “news” presented by these two wings of the capitalist establishment aims to discredit the leadership of the DPRK and cover up the amazing progress made by this socialist country, despite its being assaulted by war and sanctions.
This writer appeared on Feb. 12 on the Tucker Carlson News Hour of Fox TV. In the less than five minutes of time I was allowed to speak, I concentrated on alerting the 2.9 million viewers of that program to the serious war danger posed by the Pentagon, which is openly discussing — and actually preparing for — an attack on the DPRK.
The north Koreans have been under the gun of the Pentagon for more than 70 years. The U.S. military has occupied south Korea since 1945. From 1950 to 1953, the U.S. dropped more bombs on the north of Korea than it had on Japanese positions all over the Pacific during World War II.
Annual Pentagon war “games” aimed at the DPRK in recent years have included the armed forces of Japan, the former colonial power that brutally exploited all of Korea from 1910 to 1945.
Reacting to such threats to its very existence, the DPRK has sacrificed a great deal to develop a nuclear defense. If any country needs such a deterrence against attack, it is north Korea.
People in the United States need to know that the Trump administration and the Pentagon are playing with fire. The DPRK will fight back if attacked. It has the will and the ability to defend itself. It is not going to surrender to threats. It never has.
War propaganda, both subtle and rabid
Neither the Times nor even Fox will admit to promoting a war. Carlson said “I’m not for a war” when I pushed him. But their “news” is war propaganda. It is meant to soften up the people of this country to accept a war against the DPRK as somehow a “humanitarian” crusade. They create sensational stories to put the DPRK in the worst light. Fox is frenzied; The Times is usually more nuanced, while still viciously biased against the DPRK.
Fox’s Carlson paints the bleakest picture imaginable of life in the DPRK. The people are starving, they’re kept in ignorance, they are slaves to the state, etc. That’s what this millionaire “journalist,” a mouthpiece for the billionaire Rupert Murdoch, tells millions of people here.
Why won’t he talk about the fact that the DPRK has 100-percent literacy — the highest in the world? Even the CIA World Factbook admits this. Interestingly enough, its list of countries’ literacy rates does not include the U.S. or south Korea.
No wonder. According to a study conducted in late April of 2013 by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy, 32 million adults, or 14 percent of the population in the U.S., could not read. In addition, 21 percent of adults read below a fifth-grade level and 19 percent of high school graduates could not read. For a country as rich as the United States, this is a monumental scandal.
And don’t blame it on the kids or their teachers. It is a reflection of the cultural backwardness imposed on the people of this country by the small class of billionaires who control the government and media and defund the system of education.
Why don’t Fox and the Times mention that health care in the DPRK is free and the country has cut its infant mortality rate by more than 80 percent since 1950, despite war and sanctions? Or that it continues to reduce maternal mortality — the rate at which women die as a result of childbirth — even as maternal mortality has actually been increasing in the U.S.?
The crime is not that a country like the DPRK, which was destroyed by U.S. bombers in the 1950-1953 war, has to prioritize defense while still pulling itself up by its bootstraps. The crime is that a country like the U.S., which has been among the most highly developed in the world for at least a century, can’t provide decent education and medical care for its people.
A sensationalist, lying media
What role do the media play in promoting imperialist goals? Plenty. Take, for example, the war begun in 1898, the so-called Spanish-American War.
People in the U.S. were told that Spain, the colonial ruler of Cuba, had blown up a U.S. warship, the Maine, in Havana harbor. The Hearst newspapers of the time, which had been campaigning for a war against Spain, ran screaming headlines for weeks: “Remember the Maine!” So did the paper of Hearst’s rival, Joseph Pulitzer, which equaled Hearst in printing distorted, exaggerated stories. (Pulitzer tried to cleanse his reputation for “yellow journalism” by leaving money to the graduate school of journalism at Columbia University — and it worked.)
When Frederic Remington, an artist who provided Hearst’s paper with illustrations, cabled from Cuba in 1897 that “there will be no war,” Hearst cabled back, “You furnish the pictures, I’ll furnish the war.”
This incessant propaganda was a prelude to a three-year war in which the U.S. ruling class succeeded in replacing Spain as the colonial ruler of the Philippines, Cuba and Puerto Rico. While the U.S. claimed it was “liberating” Cuba and the Philippines, where revolutionaries were already fighting the Spanish colonizers, it was a lie. The war with Spain was fought for purely economic reasons — to open access for U.S. capitalists to exploit the labor and resources of what had been colonies of Spain. Once Spain was defeated, the U.S. turned its military against the independence fighters in both Cuba and the Philippines.
Remember the Maine? Well, in 1974, U.S. Adm. Hyman Rickover commissioned a Navy investigation into the sinking of the Maine. The conclusion: the ship had blown up because of a fire that ignited munitions stored aboard. Spain had nothing to do with it.
We must be on our toes to combat war propaganda against the DPRK and expose any pretexts for war invented by the Pentagon and sensationalized by the capitalist media.