Misleading by Omission by Bruce Gagnon

by Bruce Gagnon
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
Organizing Notes
October 13, 2009

The Washington Post this morning ran a story entitled North Korea Fires Five Missiles in which they intentionally mislead the public.

North Korea did indeed fire five short-range missiles, and they did indeed declare a navigation ban in waters off its eastern and western coasts, but the problem with the Post story is what they did not tell the reader. And this missing piece of information just so happens to explain why North Korea has taken the measures that they have taken.

What the post “conveniently” left out of their story is that the US and South Korean military have just begun major war games (Oct 13-16) that will include the USS George Washington aircraft carrier battle group. The exercises will be held in the western (or Yellow Sea) that sits between Korea and China.

North Korea does not know if the US and South Korea (which is now building long-range missiles that could strike deep into North Korean territory) will launch a shock and awe attack on them this time. After all they have seen Iraq and Afghanistan attacked and the hear the rattling of the US war sabers over Iran. So like so many people have told me this week, North Korea can’t take a chance when these big military war exercises happen. They drop everything they are doing and stand ready to defend themselves. It’s one reason their economy is such a mess.

And just for good measure they fired five short-range missiles harmlessly into the sea as a warning that they were on alert.

The Post wrote, “Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, reacting to reports of the missile launches, said the United States and its allies are trying to demonstrate to North Korea that the international community will not accept its continuing nuclear program.”

The US feigns surprise at such outlandish and unexpected behavior by the “unstable” North Korea, and uses the incident as a pretext to remind the world that the good Americans are working hard to stop North Korea’s nuclear program. The US, in other words, are just innocent bystanders. The good uncle just shakes his head in dismay at those strange North Koreans.

So back in the US, and likely in most places around the world, the unaware public just hears one more example of how a “half-cocked and crazy” North Korea is once again firing missiles at phantom targets. But in this case, today, I had a kernel of unreported news at my disposal. I could see how the US, and the Washington Post, are misleading the public. Even most members of Congress probably won’t know about the war exercises just off the North Korean and Chinese coast.

Peace groups in South Korea do know the full story though and they have held protests in the last two days and will continue to do so throughout the period of this war game. But those protests will largely go unreported in South Korea and will not be reported by the Washington Post.

This is one prime example of how North Korea has been demonized since the Korean War. The use has done it to Cuba for years, did it to Iraq, and is now doing it to Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. It is the American modus operandi – method of operation.

I sent an email to the reporter of the Washington Post story just to let him know I was not fooled by the important “omission” in his story. I don’t expect to get a response. If I do I will let you know what he says.