Authoritarian regimes often dream through propaganda. To see what they're fantasizing about, we regularly check in on what state-controlled media outlets have been churning out.
Kim Jong-il looking powerful
The Korean Central News Agency, you might be surprised to learn, has its own version of the wacky Kim Jong-il Looking at Things Tumblr: Kim Jong-il Looking Powerful. During the North Korean leader's recent trip to Russia, he was described by Western journalists as limping and looking frail, a possible consequence of his reported stroke in 2008. But you wouldn't know it by looking at the photos that accompanied to recent KCNA reports on Kim providing "field guidance" at the construction sites of "modern cultural and service facilities" (lead photo above) and a power station (below). And it looks like he managed to work in some helpful advice. At the power station, Kim reportedly peered out at the dam and manmade lake and declared that "the more one watches them, the more fantastic they look." At a wading pool at the next site, he proclaimed that the body of water is "of weighty importance in bringing up school youth and children to be pillars of the country equipped with knowledge, good moral character and good health and ensuring a happy life of the people in the county."
Iran honors 9/11 anniversary with conspiracy theory
With the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks fast approaching, U.S. news outlets are busy reflecting on the meaning of the attacks ten years later and what we've learned in the interim. But not Iran's state media, which is aggressively anti-American. The country's Press TV, which is operated by the state-run Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, is running an article today claiming that new 9/11 footage indicates that the U.S. government "staged the attacks on New York to eliminate the threat of Saddam Hussein to Israel and take control of Iraqi oil." Here's the clip that Press TV is running alongside the piece:
Venezuela: See--the CIA is a killing machine
Two years ago, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez claimed that the CIA had tried to assassinate him. So it's not particularly surprising that when The Washington Post came out with a story today that the CIA is expanding its "paramilitary mission" and increasingly relying on targeted killings, Venezuela's state-run news outlets were all over it. The coverage provides a good example of how authoritarian regimes and their media proxies tend to cherry pick stories that support their worldview and quote them without comment. Here's the homepage for Venezolana de Televisión. The headline reads, "The Washington Post: The CIA Has Become a Paramilitary Organization." Oh, and in case you're wondering, Venezuela is still talking about Chavez's milestone of reaching two-million Twitter followers, which we wrote about on Wednesday. Today's blockbuster interview is with his two-millionth follower.
Uzbekistan is also 'winning the future'
Who says Uzbekistan and the U.S. have nothing in common? In a write-up of President Islam Karimov's address on the occasion of the country's independence day on Thursday, the Uzbekistan National News Agency uses a headline that makes Karimov sound a lot like President Obama: "Winning the Future with Our Own Strides" To be fair, Karimov doesn't appear to have used Obama's exact phrase in his speech, instead putting forward the idea of Uzbekistan as a "state with a great future." And, let's be honest, Obama himself may have gotten the slogan from Politico.
The Libyan conflict from Cuba's point of view
Muammar Qaddafi is a longtime ally of Fidel Castro's, and it shines through in the Cuban media's coverage of the Libyan uprising, as it does in the state-controlled media of other Qaddafi allies like Venezuela and Zimbabwe. One report on the "Friends of Libya" conference in Paris on Thursday puts "friends" and "reconstruction and future of Libya" in quotes and notes that "humanitarian organizations have denounced an 'ethnic cleansing' on the part of the Libyan rebels who, in the last few days, have embarked on a 'witch hunt' of people of Sub-Saharan origin living in Libya." An op-ed on the same day was much blunter:
The perversion of U.S. and European agencies and their subordinates worldwide in calling what is happening in Libya "civil war," demonstrates how a colonial intervention in a country which the United States and its partners want to seize for diverse motives was converted into an internal "rebellion" which had to be aided for "humanitarian" reasons.