TribLIVE

| USWorld


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Viral story about execution in North Korea lacks credibility

About The Tribune-Review
The Tribune-Review can be reached via e-mail or at 412-321-6460.
Contact Us | Video | Photo Reprints

Daily Photo Galleries


By The Washington Post

Published: Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Friday's viral Internet story claims that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had his uncle executed last month by stripping him naked and feeding him to 120 hungry dogs. The story since late Thursday has been sweeping through nearly every corner of the American media. The only problem: It's probably not true.

It was a surprise last month when South Korean intelligence revealed that Kim had purged his uncle, Jang Song Thaek, which North Korea confirmed a couple of days later with a long screed in its state media. The highly public nature of the purge, which ended with Pyongyang announcing Jang's execution, was totally unprecedented and legitimately shocking, a high bar for North Korea news.

There are five reasons that this story just does not seem particularly plausible:

• Consider the source. The story originated in a Hong Kong newspaper called Wen Wei Po, which makes the claim without citing a source. Out of Hong Kong's 21 newspapers, Wen Wei Po ranks 19th for credibility.

• The rest of the Chinese media have not touched this story in the almost-month since it came out.

• South Korea's media have not touched the story. Some of those outlets can be eager to pick up stories or rumors that portray North Korea in a negative light.

• The time lapse: This story has been around for almost a month, and it's not been anywhere near confirmed.

• The predominant story of what happened is much more plausible. Far more credible outlets with far more credible sourcing have consistently described Jang as having been executed by a firing squad.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read World

  1. Mexico clears way for foreign investors in shale oil drilling
  2. Russia’s push into Ukraine leads NATO to increase its Baltics presence
  3. U.S. drone strike in Yemen kills suspected al-Qaida militants
  4. Holocaust survivors taxed, student finds in search of Amsterdam city archives
  5. South Korean ferry captain arrested; crew’s actions faulted in sinking
  6. Third mate unfamiliar with waters where South Korean ferry sank
  7. Pontiff seeks to bring faith to ‘ends of Earth’
  8. Fiat and Chrysler to build Jeep models in China
  9. French journalists freed from captivity in Syria
  10. 58 killed in attack on U.N. peacekeeping base in South Sudan
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.