Trump administration officials have attacked the mainstream media’s “complicit” coverage of North Korea at the Winter Olympics, while emphasizing that the U.S. has no plans to ease up the pressure on the regime.
Multiple media outlets provided positive coverage of Kim Yo Jong’s presence at the games, which are being held in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Kim Yo Jong is the sister of North Korean dictator Kim Jonh Un, as well as a high-ranking official in the country’s government.
The dictator’s sister was “stealing the show at the Winter Olympics,” CNN declared in a headline. The New York Times wrote that Kim had “turn(ed) on the charm,” while The Washington Post called her the “Ivanka Trump of North Korea.”
However, according to an unnamed senior Trump administration official, this “fawning coverage” has made these outlets “complicit” in North Korea’s propaganda campaign.
“With its fawning coverage of Kim Yo Jong and the Kim regime, much of the U.S. media has unintentionally become complicit in North Korea’s charm offensive,” the official told The Washington Free Beacon.
Officials emphasized that the U.S. will continue to sanction North Korea, and America won’t back down until the regime ends its obsession with nuclear weapons.
“The U.S. is in no way easing up pressure on the regime,” said a senior administration official. “And unlike much of the mainstream media, the Trump administration is not falling for North Korea’s transparent propaganda.”
“The (vice president and president) will continue to apply maximum pressure and keep all means necessary on the table to denuclearize the Korean peninsula,” that official added.
Vice President Mike Pence attended the Winter Olympics opening ceremony last week. In fact, he was seated just feet away from Kim, though he sparked controversy by refusing to stand up during the entrance of the joint Korean team, which included North Korean athletes.
According to senior Trump administration officials, Pence attended the games to serve as a reminder that the U.S. takes North Korea’s behavior very seriously, despite the media’s adoring coverage of the regime.
And this tactic, these officials suggested, worked.
The (vice president) did exactly what he set out to accomplish,” the officials said. “He served as a foil and constant reminder to the North Koreans that the U.S. would not turn a blind eye to its behavior — and would not allow it to be normalized.”
Later, Pence told The Washington Post that the U.S. is ready to conduct talks with North Korea. But just because talks take place, it doesn’t mean the U.S. is going to stop putting intense pressure on the regime.
“The point is, no pressure comes off until they are actually doing something that the alliance believes represents a meaningful step toward denuclearization,” Pence said aboard Air Force One on his way home from the Olympics.
“So the maximum pressure campaign is going to continue and intensify. But if you want to talk, we’ll talk.”
Just days before the Olympics, meanwhile, Pence announced the U.S. will implement the toughest sanctions yet against North Korea.
It’s a move that represents a “continuation of the U.S.’s maximum pressure campaign to get them to halt their nuclear pursuits,” a Trump administration official told the Free Beacon.
That official also pointed out that this past weekend is not the first time the mainstream media has “fallen” for North Korea’s “charade.”
“Lester Holt fell for it when he conducted a cheery interview on a ski slope in North Korea, providing a platform for North Korean propaganda,” the official said.
He was referring to the NBC anchor’s widely panned report late last month from a North Korea ski resort — a resort that was only crowded because North Korea had brought in skiers to stage the scene.
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