ABC’s Sawyer on North Korea: Touts ‘Happiest Children in World’

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on December 13, 2006

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Directions

-Read the excerpt below from Brent Bakers's post at newsbusters.org on Dec. 8th.
-Read "Types of Media Bias" in the right column. Then answer the questions.

On Friday…Dec. 8, ABC [aired] a special edition of Primetime, “North Korea: Inside the Shadows” [featuring] Diane Sawyer recounting what she found in that communist nation during a trip there back in October….

On the October 19 World News, Sawyer proved little more than a conveyor belt for the repressive communist regime’s propaganda. Talking to a North Korean Army General, she relayed how “he said to us, ‘make it clear to everyone in the United States, if there is another nuclear test, the person responsible is George Bush,’ because he said, ‘the Bush administration is backing North Korea into a corner with its pressures and its sanctions.'”

In a second segment, Sawyer was taken to a school which she favorably described as “a world away from the unruly individualism of any American school.” She gushed: “Ask them about their country, and they can’t say enough.” A teenage girl declared, in English: “We are the happiest children in the world.” Sawyer ended her piece with video of her and the class singing “Do-Re-Mi” from the Sound of Music. Far from being embarrassed by Sawyer’s obsequious approach, anchor Charles Gibson proposed: “A fascinating glimpse of North Korea.”

Watch the video clip of Sawyer’s original October segment with the North Korean school children (1:09): Real (1.9 MB) or Windows Media (2.7 MB)

For the complete NewsBusters report, go to newsbusters.org/node/9553.

Questions

NOTE:  North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has been starving and persecuting his own people for years. Read about it at the Council on Foreign Relations website at CFR.org and the Human Rights Watch website at hrw.org.

a)  Obviously dictator Kim Jong-il ensured that the ABC news crew would see and hear only what he wanted them to.  Do you think that ABC’s Diane Sawyer believed she was presenting an accurate picture of North Korea for her viewers?  Explain your answer. 

b)  Define credibility.

c)  What does your answer to question a) say about Ms. Sawyer’s credibility?


Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the answers.
























Answer(s)

a)  Opinion question.  Answers vary.

b) credibility – the quality of being believed or accepted as true, real, or honest (from Merriam-Webster’s learnersdictionary.com)

c)  Opinion question.  Answers vary.