North Korea is infamous for human rights abuses, and leader Kim Jong Un has been threatening the U.S. and other countries with nuclear war. So of course, NBC decided it was necessary to cover the hermit regime’s involvement in the upcoming Olympic Games.
NBC’s Lester Holt reported that he was treated “with respect” in North Korea and showed a ski slope where North Koreans seemed to be enjoying the winter day. On today’s show, Glenn and Stu couldn’t believe the upbeat coverage that North Korea gets when so many defectors have revealed to the world what’s really going on inside the country.
Watch the clip here and tell us your thoughts in the comment section below.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article provided courtesy of TheBlaze.
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Hollywood Reporter
This is a rush transcript and may contain errors.
GLENN: So NBC has been given rare access inside of North Korea. So we’ve got American news cameras finally able to show the truth about what life is like inside this — this hermit kingdom. And, wow, look what they’ve exposed so far.
VOICE: This is the bunny slope at a very modern ski resort here in North Korea. We have been treated with respect here. So many impressions. One is that how colorful a city it is. You can see the building. So many hues of green and yellow and red. One of the early impressions I’ve had here is how hardy the North Korean people are.
GLENN: Wow. Wow. You got a modern ski resort.
GLENN: You have colorful buildings. And the people are hardy. Now, I’m hoping that NBC is going to go further, and that’s — they’re only saying those things because they have a gun to their head. I mean, where is the journalism there?
You’re the — you know what, I am the only person from the West that’s been allowed to — to stand in front of these buildings. You know, you might want to mention that you’re only allowed to go where your guards will allow you to go. You know, anything that might point out the — the oppressive nature of the state, instead of regurgitating all of the state’s narrative.
NBC, I don’t even know what you’re doing. I mean, why go on report on anything at all? If you can’t tell the truth, why go there? At what point does your work become propaganda for a ruthless dictator?
Now, I’m — I’m counting on NBC having some sort of a follow-up. But then, why would you go in the first place, because you’ll never go again? I don’t understand what you were trying to — what you’ve traded for this rare access. Because you’ve traded your credibility. What did you get out of it? Doing a stand-up at North Korea had to sound cool, especially when the State Department just last week said, do not go to North Korea. And if you do, make sure your will and your estate is in order.
So I guess maybe it would be cool. But would we have done this before? I mean, if NBC was terrified of offending Kim Jong-un by doing their actual job? Why didn’t they just stand Lester Holt in front of a green screen with some cool-looking B-roll and say, yep. This is the ski slope that was probably built by slaves.
In 1944, there was a guy named Kurt Gerron. He was — he was probably one of the most famous movie actors of Germany before the war. He was Jewish. And his story is long and intense. And we have — we have covered it, on — his story on TheBlaze TV. And if you get a chance, watch it. Download — you know, watch it on demand now. The story of Kurt Gerron. It is truly remarkable. But here’s a guy who, in the end, compromised and was commissioned by the Nazis to make a film, taking a concentration camp, and turning that concentration camp into a Jewish paradise.
And the movie is out. And you should watch it. You can watch it on YouTube. It’s terrifying, when you know the truth. The movie is the furor gives the city to the Jews. And it showed the Jews laughing and playing and enjoying life. But when the cameras weren’t rolling, they were all being tortured. They were murdered. In fact, everybody in that film was dead within a month in the ovens of Auschwitz, in the gas chambers of Auschwitz.
Every single person.
You don’t go to the town of Auschwitz and say, you know, look at this beautiful little town. Look at how colorful it is, when you know that there are concentration camps down the street.
NBC News, you are dangerously close to Gerron’s movie. Evil exists when good men do nothing. What did you get out of that, that you can show to the world, this is what this regime is like?
Showing the colorful buildings and the sturdiness and the stockiness of the people. My gosh, they’re well-built, because they’re so well-fed.
Showing their colorful buildings does nothing. Those buildings were built by slaves. Darkness reigns when people — and especially the media fail to speak up.
STU: I think what you wanted to say was democracy dies in darkness.
GLENN: Maybe. Something like that. You should write that down.
STU: Yeah. Look, if there’s a gun pointed to your head, I’ll excuse your crappy reporting until you get home. But you’re right, there needs to be some sort of follow-up on this.
GLENN: No. There needs to be a discrediting of this. And I don’t see how that’s a win for NBC.
STU: Yeah. What’s the point of going over there? You know, it’s hard to understand. Especially because it’s kind of put into this context of the Olympics.
And, you know, we were just talking to Scott Hamilton, and he won a gold medal in Sarajevo, 1984, in the middle of the Cold War. You know, that same sort of tension seems to at least be discussed when they talk about North and South Korea right now, though they’ve had some bizarre coming together over the Olympics.
GLENN: Really bizarre. I don’t know why.
STU: But to go over to North Korea and talk about their colorful buildings and their sturdy people.
GLENN: Do you remember the Cold War?
STU: Yeah, I mean, I obviously remember it ending in Rocky 4.
GLENN: Okay. That wasn’t the point. But I remember during the Olympics — and maybe this is foggy memory, or, you know, revisionism. I don’t think it is.
I seem to remember, before we would go over — if we would ever go to, you know, Sarajevo. If we would ever go to some place that was, you know, ruthless and we’d ever discuss the Soviet Union or any of those countries, it was always, always, this is a brutal place. We’re only allowed to show you the things that we can show you. This is what they tell us. They tell us that these buildings, being so colorful, are, you know, one of the pride and joy of the people, who they also tell us are very stocky.
That is the way you can do that. When he says, I was really struck by the hardiness of the people — the hardiness of the people?
STU: I don’t know what that is.
GLENN: What the hell is that? And that is — that sounds like something a propaganda minister would give you to infer that you are — you’re full. You’re well-fed. You’re hardy.
STU: Yeah, exactly. There are times in the report, where he says — Lester Holt says, we’re going to a very modern ski resort. And this is a place the regime really wanted to make sure that we saw. He said something like that.
And it’s like, well, okay. He’s kind of hinting there, that he understands that this is part of a propaganda mission. And any time you go on a trip like that, you — you should expect some of that. And it doesn’t mean you don’t necessarily take the trip.
I mean, you know, we — we’ve had some discussions about —
STU: Syria. And going to Syria. And interviewing —
GLENN: Yeah. We’ve been asked by the Assad regime, how many times, to go over and — and interview Assad. And we have had real discussions on that. We knew that if we go over, when we’re there, we’d only be able to see what he wanted us to see. And we’d only say the things that we’d be okay with. And we would be able to push him maybe a little. But it’s Assad. And we’ve turned it down because we haven’t felt comfortable doing the — the bidding.
GLENN: Even though we think we would be able to have a perspective and a look at what’s happening in Syria that would be different than anyone else on talk radio. We decided against it because of that one show or two shows that would have come from Syria. We didn’t want to carry that regime’s water at all.
STU: Right. And, you know, you wouldn’t do it if you had to.
You know, you would never agree to carry someone’s water like that, obviously. The only reason to do it is to go over there and get whatever you can and say, this is what we think is really happening. Here’s what we saw. Here’s what they wanted us to see. And you have to be honest about that. And we’ll see if NBC can kind of do that on the other side of this trip.
But that’s an important — it’s an important part of it. You have to do that.
GLENN: If you come back and you have hidden camera stuff that shows you stuff — if you have, even first person. But there’s no way. It’s like we talked about with Assad. There’s no way we’re going — because we’re going to be with them the whole time. You know, if you read anything about Hitler, there would be streets — you know, he would go into towns in Poland or whatever, and it would be just desolation. It would be horrible. But the street he was on had flowers and cheers and flags and everything else.
GLENN: Well, that’s what you’re going to see when you go over there, because they are in total control. So do you do it?
And if so, why? What do you get in return? What does humanity get from making North Korea look like — oh, well, it’s not so bad. I mean, it’s got a ski resort. And look, the buildings are pretty colorful. It’s like Miami.
STU: The sad thing that I suspect is, what humanity is going to get out of it is access for NBC during the Olympics. They’re going to get some — and that’s not a worthwhile cause to do such a thing. I mean, we saw that with — you know, Michael Moore did this in his movie with Cuba, where he glorified them and tried to make his points that way. That’s not a trade you want to make.
GLENN: Venezuela, look at how many people in Hollywood went and did propaganda for Hugo Chavez, and look — if you can find it in the mainstream media or from anybody in Hollywood, look at the misery that that has caused.