It looks as if Lester Holt, the NBC Nightly News anchor, took the bait planted by Kim Jong-un’s regime and ran with it during his visit to North Korea on Monday. He returned early from the trip after his reports got “scathing reviews” when people back home surmised that he’d been fooled by North Korea’s propaganda.
Kim Jong-un had a ski resort built a few years back, and according to Fox News, this was a “resort, built to create the appearance of a prosperous nation,” but it became a ghost town during the peak season for skiing last year. With Holt’s visit to North Korea, it appears the Korean propagandists got their game on and staged an up-and-running ski resort with tons of skiers – all looking so happy to be there and dressed identically.
It appears that ahead of Holt’s arrival to the Masikryong ski resort on Monday, the skiers were bused-in and planted by the government. According to Fox, the skiers were wearing “identical outfits,” something “Holt did not appear to realize.” But, the people at home did take notice during his “cheery” satellite reports that called North Korea’s ghost town of a ski resort a “prosperous” and thriving venue.
Holt stood at the ski resort with many skiers bustling in the background and reported how this resort is a “source of immense pride for a country trying to present a new and modern face to the world.” Adding even more embarrassment for NBC, Holt’s reporting on North Korea was overseen by NBC News President Noah Oppenheim, who was with Holt in North Korea as he appeared to fall for the propaganda put in place for NBC’s visit.
The Peacock network is tasked with covering 2018 Winter Olympics, and this visit to North Korea was a precursor to their coverage that will take place in neighboring South Korea. Holt’s apparent snafu has cast a shadow of doubt on whether or not the network is up to this task, according to Fox.
According to another article from Fox News, “Holt was criticized in particular for saying he was treated ‘with respect’ by the regime when he reported from a ski slope seemingly happy North Koreans were enjoying a wintry day.” That ski slope scene is one of the scenes that many pointed out as “staged.” The Federalist suggests that Holt used his pre-Olympic coverage to “broadcast North Korea propaganda.”
As for the folks at home who caught the brand new and identical ski outfits on the people behind Holt in his news coverage, they had a field day on the social media sites. From the average Joe on the street to President Trump’s nominee for U.S. Ambassador to Germany, people were quick to point out the error. That ambassador nominee is Richard Grenell, and he hopped on Twitter to send Lester Holt a “tip.”
“Pro tip for @LesterHoltNBC: when everyone is wearing matching jackets it is a staged event.”
Other folks on social media had their say as well, as seen below in a few of the examples of what is posted online today.