13 Weird Headlines From North Korea’s State-Run News Agency

Clickbait for lovers of thick woodland, soy-based dishes, and peerlessly great persons.

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North Korea’s state-run news, the Korean Central News Agency, is one of the few places for what passes for news in the so-called Hermit Kingdom. Every day, the KCNA posts its top stories, and much of it is predictable: harsh invective against South Korea and its “imperialist” backers in the United States, mixed in with effusive praise of leader Kim Jong Un and the previous Kims. (The younger Kim’s recent “discomfort”—thought to be gout—is conspicuously absent from its coverage.) This is an example of what’s considered front-page news:

The KCNA’s tone is singularly weird: an odd mix of stiffly-worded propaganda and attempts at hard-hitting, American-style political rhetoric. In its mission to portray North Korea as a prosperous, powerful, and widely-admired nation, the KCNA struggles mightily to write clickworthy headlines . Here are some of its best attempts from Juche 103 (that’s 2014 in the North Korean calendar):

“Kim Jong Un Gives Field Guidance to Pyongyang Hosiery Factory”

“Feats Made by Great Persons to Turn DPRK into Thick Woodland”

“Soy-based Dishes Popular at Cooking Festival”

“Exploits of Peerlessly Great Persons Highly Praised”

“US Troops Had Better Quit South Korea in Good Time”

“Congratulatory Group of Koreans in Japan Visits Various Places”

“Pyongyang in Ecstasy of Joy at Asian Games News”

“Korean in U.S. Admires Reality of DPRK”

“Korean Organization in Germany Slams S. Korean Authorities’ Sycophantic Treachery”

“U.S. Periodically Renders Situation of Korean Peninsula Strained”

“Dancing Parties of Youth and Students Held”

“Kim Il Sung, Great Man Always Living in Hearts of World Progressives”

“Syrian President Supports Korean People in Their Struggle for National Reunification”

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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