A social media backlash has started over the glamorizing of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s sister, who became the first member of the north’s ruling family to visit the south in 65 years during the Winter Olympics.
CNN bore the brunt of the attacks. The news network published a story claiming Kim Yo Jong was “stealing the show at the Winter Olympics.” But other news organizations also praised Kim Yo Jong, who maintained a placid and demure smile during most of her public appearances, and seemed to charm her hosts.
The documented brutality of the North Korean regime was the focus of the online complaints, with most commenters accusing media of overlooking the human rights violations in North Korea during their coverage of the visit. Kim Yo Jong departed South Korea today, but has already issued an invitation to South Korean leaders to visit Pyongyang for talks on the peninsula’s future.
Other news organizations have been equally effusive in coverage.
Alyssa Farah, a spokeswoman for Vice President Mike Pence, who leads the US delegation to the Winter Olympics, also complained about the soft coverage. She recalled the death of Otto Warmbier, a US college student who died last year after being held prisoner for more than a year and a half in North Korea.
“Speaking of stealing, Otto Warmbier was tortured & killed at the hands of the Kim regime after being accused of stealing a poster,” she wrote, referencing the CNN story’s headline. “Let’s not whitewash North Korea’s record.”