Gareth Morgan and North Korea


Having passed successfully through the demilitarised zone Gareth explains to the world’s media why the West’s “beat-up” view of is completely wrong.

Gareth and Jo and their group were free to set their own route through North Korea, witnessing at first hand the lives of ordinary North Koreans.

What they found surprised them – a people who were poor, yes, but wonderfully engaged, well-dressed, fully employed and well informed. In Gareth’s view, what North Korea has achieved economically despite its lack of access to international money has been magnificent.


Surely this must mark the point at which the media stop taking Mr Morgan as a serious commentator on, well anything.

North Korea used to have the same level of wealth as South Korea. Their economic achievements are not magnificent, but poverty of around US$1,800 per capita. And let us not even talk about the three million who died of starvation in this magnificent economy.

Liberty Scott points out:

So the West needs to “rethink” North Korea now, says Gareth.  It wasn’t just a motorcycle trip. His head has gone soft and he has taken in all the lies and thinks they are awfully nice folk.
The thing is, the guides are.  The people you see are nice, as they are privileged members of the elite painstakingly trying to make sure their country is seen in a good light.  
You don’t need to try to demonise north Korea.  He claims it isn’t a great big prison camp, but who gets to leave Gareth? Who gets passports?  What about the domestic passport system that ensures no one can leave their village or town unless they belong the elite? 
He talks of how everything is tidy and clean and everyone has a job. The Potemkin world he got to see. Escorted the whole way, he claims everything he saw was real, and told was real. 
Scott draws an analogy:
Imagine if he had travelled through Pol Pot’s Cambodia and did this, or Nazi Germany in 1938 talking about how misunderstood the proud German people were and they only want more living space and to be reunified with Germans in Czechoslovakia, and it isn’t a prison camp, the stories about the Jews are lies, demonising them.
Well Gareth – you kind of did that.
Matt Nolan writes:
Praising the economic policies of North Korea, the same North Korea that through central planning and mismanagement had starved a large number of its people throughout the 1990s, the same North Korea with an epidemic of meth addiction, the same North Korea that is 163rd on GDP per capita (5.9% of NZ levels), and the same North Korea that openly and massively restricts individual freedoms (disrespecting the heterogeneity of individuals) and constantly threatens war with the South.
And Eric Crampton weighs in:
Even if Morgan was away from his handlers, everyone is a handler. That’s the point of a totalitarian regime. Any disclosure can get you and your family sent to a concentration camp because somebody else will have purchased an indulgence by dobbing you in. And the safest course is making yourself believe the things you have to say.Compare Gareth Morgan’s visit with a couple other recent Western visits. Here’s Neil Woodburn’s travelogue. Here’s what Curtis Melvin did while visiting North Korea, and subsequently. Melvin’s mapping project would let Gareth Morgan check to see which prison camps he missed along his tour.

As I said at the beginning, this just removes what remaining credibility he had.

Hat Tip: Not PC



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