In today's tour of state-sponsored propaganda, we survey the Olympics coverage from propaganda outlets around the world. The most important takeaway this morning? Never ever mock North Korea's Olympics team.
MX, a tiny Australian newspaper, learned that lesson the hard way this morning after it published a joke in an infographic scoring each nation's medal count. Instead of using the traditional names of the two Koreas, it labeled the South "Nice Korea" and the North "Naughty Korea."
Shocking, right? Well, instead of ignoring it (this was published in a free city paper in Brisbane after all), North Korea's propaganda outlet KCNA responded with one of the most hysterical rebuttals imaginable:
The Australian newspaper Brisbane Metro behaved so sordid as to describe the DPRK as "Naughty Korea" when carrying the news of London Olympics standings. This is a bullying act little short of insulting the Olympic spirit of solidarity, friendship and progress and politicizing sports ...
The Brisbane Metro will remain as a symbol of [a] rogue paper for its misdeed to be cursed long in Olympic history. The infamy is the self-product of the naughty paper Brisbane Metro which dared challenge the spirit of Olympic, common desire and unanimous will of mankind.
Whoa there! In deeming the Brisbane paper "naughty," North Korea has essentially adopted the rhetorical device: I'm not stupid, you're stupid. We shudder to think what might happen if an even more well known paper, say, Time Out Chicago, speaks ill of the proud country.
Another revolution is simmering in Cuba: Not against capitalism, but the Olympic Committee, which robbed the island's prized boxer Jose Angel Larduet of a victory, or so alleges the official Cuban News Agency. "The president of the Cuban Boxing Federation Alberto Puig reiterated the island’s stance and said that the analysis carried out by the jury should have given the victory to the Cuban boxer," reads CNA. According to Reuters, the match was controversial because of the tactics used against Larduet by Italian heavyweight Clemente Russo:
Italian heavyweight Clemente Russo was booed on Sunday after reducing his Olympic quarter-final against Cuba's Jose Larduet Gomez into a holding farce in the third round.
The Italian, employing a flashy hands-down style, picked off Larduet in the opening two rounds to open a 9-7 lead before resulting to questionable tactics in the third.
Right or wrong it worked as the final round was scored 3-3 to give Russo a 12-10 win, putting him in the semi-finals and guaranteeing at least a bronze medal.
According to Reuters, the decision is final and Cuba doesn't have a prayer at getting it overturned, but that's not stopping the Cubans.
China Prides Itself on Pride
China is awfully proud of its Olympic medal successes so far. Right now, it's beating the U.S. in number of overall medals and number of golds. Interestingly, China's Global Times took a moment to reflect on whether all of this Olympic pride is a good thing. The answer: Absolutely!
The London Olympic Games has resulted in new happiness and confidence for Chinese society. Four years ago, the Chinese delegation topped the gold medal tally on home soil. This time, Chinese athletes continue to win glory overseas. The Chinese public is surer about the country's capabilities. No matter what the critics say, sporting achievements attest to the country's progress.
Patriotism cannot be denied. It is not denied in any country. It is one of the core values of China, helping sustain its civilization for thousands of years. Patriotic feeling is strong and authoritative. A few try to win attention by condemning patriotism. As long as China has an open public opinion platform, such voices are bound to exist.
Of course, not everyone agrees that unrestrained Olympic pride is a net positive (see The New York Times' Mark McDonald for that). Regardless, it's not really an area the U.S. has a lot of latitude to speak judgmentally about.