The most obvious explanation is hatred for the Trump administration. North Korea is being celebrated as a charter member of the international #Resistance — a regime unwilling to sit down for Trump’s militaristic bluster. And so Pence was ripped up and down for his decision to invite Warmbier’s parents to the Olympics, and he received a heavy dose of scorn for his refusal to stand for the United Korean flag — a flag that represents mockery of the notion of peaceful reunification, given that the North Korean regime continues to aim its weaponry at the heart of Seoul. The same folks who praised Colin Kaepernick for kneeling for the American national anthem fulminated against Pence for staying seated to avoid honoring the North Korean regime.
There’s another reason beyond Trump hatred, though, that the media fawned over North Korea this week. They have a century-long history of fawning over leftist dictators. Walter Duranty famously served as Moscow Bureau Chief of the New York Times and won a Pulitzer Prize in 1932 for reporting on the joys of Stalin’s USSR, while fully denying the starvation of millions in the Ukraine. Lincoln Steffens, then of McClure’s, similarly gushed about Stalin: “I have seen the future, and it works,” he said.
Such sycophancy wasn’t limited to the USSR. The media’s early coverage of Mussolini and Hitler was quite flattering.