Chris Neary is a producer for On the Media.
Thursday, December 29, 2011 - 01:54 PM
This week we re-ran a 2010 interview between Bob and B.R. Myers about the near omnipotence of North Korea's propaganda machine. Citizens, according to Myers, had little access to international news under Kim Jong-il. Unsurprisingly, the tradition continues under his son -- but here's a case where government censorship appears pointless and reflexive.
In a photo of Kim Jong-il's state funeral (above) released earlier this week by the North Korean government, a small group of men who had stood at the lower left corner of the shot were erased. A comparison with another photo taken from roughly the same spot taken by a Japanese photo agency revealed the editing. Here's a side-by-side comparison from the The New York Times Lens Blog - which went to some lengths to explain the details of the change. It's very hard to imagine what the propaganda value of removing the visually untidy group of men might be.
The Lens Blog suggests decades of censorship may have been internalized by North Korea's photo editors: "Perhaps it was a simple matter of one person gilding the lily."
ESPN's Paul Lukas notes on his Uni Watch website that one of his readers spotted a small child wearing a Yankees cap at the funeral. Depending on how you feel about the Yankees, this is something of a ray of hope.