September 2, 2009

"[W]e believe that journalists have a responsibility to shine light in dark places, to give voice to those who are too often silenced and ignored."

"One of us, Euna [Lee], is a devout Christian whose faith infused her interest in the story. The other, Laura [Ling], has reported on the exploitation of women around the world for years. We wanted to raise awareness about the harsh reality facing these North Korean defectors who, because of their illegal status in China, live in terror of being sent back to their homeland.... We didn't spend more than a minute on North Korean soil before turning back, but it is a minute we deeply regret...."

18 comments:

Fred4Pres said...

I'm so roney...


And ultimately this sums him up too.

garage mahal said...

First and foremost, we believe that journalists have a responsibility to shine light in dark places, to give voice to those who are too often silenced and ignored..

Yea, maybe in other countries, but not this one.

David said...

My favorite part is "Producer Mitch Koss," who outran the North Korean border guards (and the two women) and managed to escape. What a man Mitch must be. First he conjures a cheap and dangerous media stunt. Then he leaves the women behind and saves his own ass. Mitch should run for Congress. He would fit right in.

Dark Eden said...

Actually Laura Ling has done at least one special about North Korea before where she traveled around the country. Its incredibly dangerous and its good to see at least a few people in the media remember what journalists are supposed to be like. I would like to thank her for her efforts to alert the rest of the world to what goes on there.

Maguro said...

Typical clueless, idealistic do-gooders who caused a lot of trouble for the downtrodden people they were trying to help. Next time, just write a check to Sally Struthers when you want to feel good about yourself for a while.

David said...

Dark Eden said...
"I would like to thank [Laura Ling] for her efforts to alert the rest of the world to what goes on there."

So, without this foolish bit of self promotion by Ms. Ling and her crew, we would never have known the truth about North Korea? How magnificently silly.

traditionalguy said...

Her eye opening reports are very valuable. The evil enslavement and torture system calling itself Atheistic Communism or Progressive Humanism is every bit as dangerous to human freedom and human life as it was in 1900. They fight now in the media to sway elections in the remaining Democratic societies and now counterfeit themselves as fighters for Environmental Protection. After the Communists once have taken power by elections, no one or their children are safe from a planned systematic enslavement.

jacksonianlawyer said...

And yet, Fidel Castro is lauded as a brilliant man who rescued Cuba from the clutches of the wealthy elite, with no mention being made of the fact that he is a theiving, murdering, torturing SOB.

Yeah..."shine a light"..."give a voice;" sure.

Roger J. said...

Jacksonian hits the nail on the head--its where the light shines that is more useful than the fact it is shining at all. Easy to beat up on Iran and North Korea--much harder to beat up on other regimes--of course cuba does have that great universal health care thing going for it--eggs and omelets I guess.

Richard Dolan said...

Maguro's comment is an odd reaction. "Typical clueless, idealistic do-gooders," he says, "who caused a lot of trouble for the downtrodden people they were trying to help." Clueless isn't quite right. From their account, they understood quite well the dangers, and were "clueless" only in following a trusted guide who may have duped them.

What about this story could characterize them as "typical do-gooders"? I'd say very "atypical" is more like it. A 'typical' do-gooder would exhibit all the bravado of mild mannered man safely entrenched behind his typewriter (to borrow a phrase). Running around on a frozen river on the NKorean border to report on the exploitation of refugees seems a bit different.

And is 'doing good' really an objective worthy of condemnation? The reporters wanted to publicize a refugee story that is horrific. Is there a better way to do that than going to the place where the story is unfolding and reporting on it first-hand?

Maguro concludes: "Next time, just write a check to Sally Struthers when you want to feel good about yourself for a while."

It strikes me as too cynical by half, to the point of being curdled.

Charlie said...

@David --

I believe the punch line is "I don't have to run faster than the bear; I just have to run faster than you."

Maguro said...

Richard Dolan - Sorry for being a curdled cynic, but their self-righteousness offends me. They went over there, trespassed into North Korea and brought a whole lot of unwanted attention to people who are doing really meaningful and dangerous work in helping refugees escape.

http://www.smh.com.au/world/journalists-may-have-compromised-north-korean-escape-network-20090823-ev5o.html

And then they write a an op-ed in the LA Times extolling their own idealism and courage? They should be apologizing to all the people they put in danger with their stupid publicity stunt/Pulitzer bid.

John Stodder said...

I'm with Richard Dolan in not getting the harsh reaction to this article.

Isn't it the job of journalists to expose and document hideous acts like these? The reporters here might have shown poor judgment -- which they admit, by the way -- but their courage in pursuing a very difficult story can't be dismissed.

Maguro, did you react the same way to Danny Pearl? Was he also a "clueless idealistic do-gooder?"

David said...

"Maguro, did you react the same way to Danny Pearl? Was he also a "clueless idealistic do-gooder?"

No, Danny Pearl was a first rate reporter who had done some of the best work around on his chosen subjects. He was not making a quick trip across a border to get some video that would give him 15 minutes of fame. He may have miscalculated a risk, but he did so in pursuit of actual journalism, not a little side show that went awry.

Actually, it's sort of sickening that you bring Danny up. He suffered a horrible and undeserved fate in pursuit of his story. These two ladies were put up in style (as much as North Korea can muster) and then were used by the dictator they exposed to advance his own media event.

The ladies pitched a softball and North Korea got a home run of reasonably good publicity out of their little adventure.

As for Mitch Koss, whoever he is, he is beyond contempt.

Maguro said...

John Stodder - These women put entire networks of people helping NK refugees at risk. Who did Daniel Pearl put at risk, other than himself?

This whole fiasco is so typical of the way investigative journalists operate. They go out to China and 1) Get captured through their own stupidity and recklessness 2)Get rescued and come back home and 3) Write an article telling us all about their own good intentions and J-school idealism. But the people they were trying to help are still over there, suffering the consequences of their actions.

I'm glad they were rescued (and who knows what deals were cut to make that happen?), but I really don't want to hear about their well-intentioned, light-shining journalisty idealism .

Randy said...

Wow. All I can say is "Great comment Richard!" (Yours too, John.)

David said...

Maguro has it right. The reckless act of these "journalists" resulted in the arrest and deportation of South Koreans in China who were assisting refugees, and probably capture of some refugees themselves. They were so concerned with their third rate story that they did not think of (or did not care about) the consequences of capture to the refugees, who were the people actually at risk.

A telling fact is that you did not hear effusive praise by Bill Clinton of the people he went to rescue. As usual Clinton's motives were multiple, but he probably was not thrilled to have to pose with a nasty dictator to get these people out, and he surely understood that their capture was a result of their own recklessness.

kathleen said...

What the hell were they doing playing footsie on the North Korean border when at least one of them had a little kid or kids at home? If you want to shine a light in dark places and give a voice to those who are ignored, start with your own kids who are implicitly asking "Mommy don't do dangerous stuff like mess around with the North Koreans until I've reached the age of reason, if not majority"