Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Missle test reaction in Korea and US

The topic many not be as fresh now, but Matt, gusts of popular feelings, in an interesting post on propanganda has some interesting things to say about the different receptions of the North Korea nuclear test here and in the states.

There has been a lot commentary on this issue over the last few weeks, and I'm not so interested in reviewing this material except to say that although the tests certainly registered amongst people here as a genuine concern, indeed as a renewed topic of political debate, the representation of the threat posed by tests to Korean society have not had the same frenzied amplification as they have elsewhere.

Below is an excerpt from matt's post showing an example of how the US press used the incident of a regularly scheduled civilian drill that happened just after the test to make it seem like the Korean population was paniked and in fear. I'll reprint the except from his post which includes some interesting visual material, as well as commentary.

From "gusts of popular feeling":

To see an example of said American tv news in action, you need only look here. In the video clip found there, from October 16, you can hear this commentary:
In one corner of the globe tonight it is a full scale crisis. North Korea has now proven to the world it is now a nuclear nation. For its neighbours, those in close missile rangle, that is bad news, as it is for the US government, who worry that it will become at kind of nuclear arms dealership dealing with all the wrong people. Tonight US intelligence has picked up fresh evidence they might be planning another test, on the very same day when we were able to confirm that the first test was indeed the real thing.

Today, South Korea was taking the threat seriously. In Seoul, 40 miles from the border, regularly scheduled air-raid drills today, people running for underground shelters. While in the north, Kim Jong-il's second in command told a military rally they would be victorious over the united states.
I guess MSNBC was just hoping no one would put any thought into what 'regularly scheduled' means. How can South Korea be 'taking the threat seriously' by having an air-raid drill when it's a regularly scheduled one? Ah, but no matter, all you need to do is show rapid-fire shots of people running into subways in order to make it seem very, y'know, crisis-like. Follow that by North Korea saying it will defeat the US, and everybody is off to Walmart to buy duct tape.

Fox News was kind enough to also provide a video clip of their story about the civil defense drill here. I include it because, unlike NBC, you can take screen shots:

We are told, "This entire city of ten million shut down, there is no traffic on the streets, there are no people on the streets." Strange. By my place traffic continued as usual. Of course, this reporter is not exactly being truthful. There are several people in the streets, including himself in his cameraman. Look behind the man in yellow in the first picture, and you'll see some photographers with a tripod. It seems the media weren't required to seek shelter; they were too busy trying to scare the hell out of people living elsewhere in the world.

And people ask me why I don't watch TV.

These 'news' clips are basically telling Americans that it's a full scale CRISIS, NORTH KOREA WILL DEFEAT US, seoulites are RUNNING for the subways (which is utterly uncommon here) - first we confirm the FIRST TEST was the REAL THING, a genuine NUCLEAR BOMB, and now there are TWO BONGOS, A SCOOTER, AND A HALF DOZEN SOLDIERS near the TEST SITE - ANOTHER TEST could occur in OUR SLEEP! aaaAAAAEEEEIIIIIIEEEEEEAAAAAGHHHHHHH!!! Run! Run to the mall! Max out your credit cards!! (Brought to you by American Express)

Of course, when North Korea does this, its called propaganda.

1 comment:

  1. After writing this post I stumbled upon an nicely written anti-war piece by Hong se-wha in the Hankyoreh. You can read it here. I does remind one of what is at stake when one gives into war talk. Something I'm concerned about, as an aside, in the upcoming American election, as, indeed, it has strong implications for this area of the world. The worst possible result being a change in power that actually continues a hawkish policy in NE Asia.