Never in North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un's wildest dreams could he ever have imagined having such an effective propaganda operation--a sycophantic machine spitting nothing but positive press for his murderous regime.
And never in his wildest dreams could he have imagined that this propaganda would come from the media of one of his most hated adversaries.
Yet American media outlets seem to be competing for Olympic gold in providing the Kim regime with the most glowing coverage.
NBC took an early lead by sending Nightly News anchor Lester Holt to North Korea in January for a series of puff pieces, including an especially egregious one at a North Korean ski resort:
Once the Olympics started on Friday, though, the competition really heated up, with media outlets across America racing to provide the most fawning coverage of Kim Jong-Un's sister, Kim Yo-Jong.
If "diplomatic dance" were an event at the Winter Olympics, Kim Jong Un's younger sister would be favored to win gold.
With a smile, a handshake and a warm message in South Korea's presidential guest book, Kim Yo Jong has struck a chord with the public just one day into the PyeongChang Games.
"I hope Pyongyang and Seoul get closer in our people's hearts and move forward the future of prosperous unification," she said in her guest book message, referring to the capitals of North and South Korea.
Seen by some as her brother's answer to American first daughter Ivanka Trump, Kim, 30, is not only a powerful member of Kim Jong Un's kitchen cabinet but also a foil to the perception of North Korea as antiquated and militaristic.
Kim Yo Jong, it should be noted, is the head of the Workers Party of North Korea's Propaganda and Agitation Department, meaning that even she herself might not be able to match The New York Times shameless shilling:
When the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, decided to send a large delegation to the Winter Olympics in South Korea this month, the world feared he might steal the show.
If that was indeed his intention, he could not have chosen a better emissary than the one he sent: his only sister, Kim Yo-Jong, whom news outlets in the South instantly called “North Korea’s Ivanka,” likening her influence to that of Ivanka Trump on her father, President Trump.
Much as Ms. Trump has been when traveling with her father, Ms. Kim was closely followed by the news media during her three-day visit to Seoul and to Pyeongchang, which is hosting the Olympics. She flew back to North Korea on Sunday night.
Flashing a sphinx-like smile and without ever speaking in public, Ms. Kim managed to outflank Mr. Trump’s envoy to the Olympics, Vice President Mike Pence, in the game of diplomatic image-making.
Not to be outdone, Reuters declared that "North Korea has emerged as the early favorite to grab one of the Winter Olympics’ most important medals: the diplomatic gold."
“North Korea clearly appears to be winning the gold,” said Kim Sung-han, who served as Korea’s vice foreign minister in 2012-2013 and who now teaches at Seoul’s Korea University.
“Its delegation and athletes are getting all the spotlight, and Kim Jong Un’s sister is showing elegant smiles before the South Korean public and the world. Even for a moment, it appears to be a normal state.”
If North Korea won the diplomatic gold, then U.S. Vice President Mike Pence came in dead last, according to liberal site ThinkProgress.
"The vice president returned to the U.S. on Saturday having made no effort to ease the tensions between the U.S. and North Korea," ThinkProgress noted. "In fact, it seems like every move he made was designed to heighten hostilities."
New Republic editor Jeet Heer was even more, ahem, direct:
CNN couldn't let ThinkProgress steal its thunder by unfavorably comparing Pence with Kim Yo-Jong, so it re-entered propaganda medal contention with this doozy:
US Vice President Mike Pence's trip to South Korea for the PyeongChang Winter Olympics has been called "a missed opportunity" by a senior diplomatic source close to North Korea.
When asked about Pence's remarks to the Washington Post of a possible diplomatic opening between the two countries, the source said North Korea remains skeptical given that he appears to have spoken on his own, without co-ordination from the White House and State Department.
The senior diplomatic source said Pence "degraded the image of the United States as a superpower" by meeting with North Korean defectors along with Otto Warmbier's father, and by speaking strongly against North Korea on multiple occasions.
Speaking of Fred Warmbier, POLITICO all but shamed him for raining on North Korea's parade by reminding everyone that, you know, North Korea killed his son.
When the press wasn't shaming victims of the Kim regime or basking in the radiant glow of the North Korean Ivanka, it was doing its best to pretend that the North Korean cheerleaders aren't slaves who will be viciously beaten and possibly killed if they ever for a moment stop cheering on the North's athletes:
Clad in coordinated outfits of red with white and blue accents, North Korea's throng of more than 200 cheerleaders are stealing the spotlight at the 23rd Winter Olympic Games in South Korea as they chant, sway and dance in unison.
The Wall Street Journal was positively euphoric:
The first night of Olympic short-track speedskating in this skating-mad country was always going to be crazy. Then the North Korean cheerleaders showed up.
The surprise came when the South Koreans on the ice were upstaged from the stands by over 100 of their neighbors from over the border, the North Korean cheer squad.
[A] dozen rows of young North Korean women performed choreographed chants, sang patriotic songs and waved flags of a unified Korea. They executed seamless wardrobe changes. They led the crowd of 12,000 in rhythmic clapping. And they generally provided a kind of entertainment that no one here thought they had bought a ticket for.
Similarly captivated were prominent members of the media such as NBC's Carl Quintanilla and CBC's Kim Brunhuber, who watched the North Korean cheerleaders in person:
This weekend's shameful display had many Americans shaking their heads at how their media could be such a willing propaganda tool for a maniacal, genocidal despot like Kim Jong-Un, but really (and sadly), this is nothing new: