You know it’s a slow news week when Dennis Rodman, of all people, is grabbing headlines. You know it’s a really really really slow news week when people are debating whether he somehow legitimized Kim Jong Un and the North Korean regime by watching basketball with the dictator on his recent visit. Yesterday, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos interviewed the former basketball great known as “The Worm” and made headlines of his own for exposing Rodman’s ignorance regarding North Korean atrocities and a history of human rights violations.
Highlighting the ridiculousness of the whole story, ABC’s intelligence analyst Col. Stephen Ganyard (Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State) opened the “This Week” Rodman discussion by saying, “There is nobody at the CIA who could tell you more personally about Kim Jong Un than Dennis Rodman and itself is scary.”
And today, the story is everywhere. Rodman goes to North Korea.
- Dennis Rodman: Kim Jong Un wants President Obama to Call Him (ABC NEWS)
- Dennis Rodman urges Barack Obama to call his new BFF Kim Jong Un (LA TIMES)
- Dennis Rodman’s Take On The North Korean Regime (NPR)
- Watch Dennis Rodman Try to Broker Peace with North Korea (LA TIMES)
The theme is universal to nearly every single one of these stories; and those listed above were just the best headlines. They’re hardly alone in covering this as a genuine news story. 1) Rodman just did what no American diplomat has been able (or willing) to do. 2) Rodman’s surprisingly naive about the North Korean regime’s history of egregious offenses. 3) Did Rodman somehow stumble into playing the role of peace broker with the rogue regime?
My question, are you frigging kidding me? Is this a bad dream we’re all going to wake up from when the doorbell rings? Rodman the diplomat? Ha, maybe if you’ve watched Borat a few too many times.
First off. We have no diplomatic ties to North Korea for a reason. The fact that he was granted “unprecedented access” only speaks to the freakishly frightening nature of a regime sitting on a stockpile of nuclear weapons. Second, who among us is really all that surprised to find out Dennis Rodman failed to do his homework before embarking on this trip? No one.
Oh, you are? Okay, you’re a moron.
The dude’s famous for fifty things not related to basketball – and as a basketball player he was good enough to be inducted in the Hall of Fame. But none of them – and I mean none of them – have ever had anything to do with diplomacy, human rights, or even sharing on the schoolyard playground. The guy’s half train-wreck; half freak-show. And now seemingly reasonable people are asking if his trip to visit an equally misguided regime’s new leader somehow legitimized a country the American government only secretly has quasi-diplomatic ties to?
The craziness has no bounds…
The buzz about the Rodman trip even elicited a response from the White House.
“The United States has channels of communications directly with the DPRK and those are the channels we choose to employ,” press secretary Jay Carney said.
Rodman said following a two-day trip to North Korea that Kim had one message for Obama: Call him. The basketball player said on “This Week” that Kim did not want to “do war” and that he and Obama should bond over their love of basketball.
Carney warned that “instead of spending money on celebrity sporting events to entertain the elites of that country, the North Korean regime should focus on the wellbeing of its own people, who have been starved, imprisoned and denied their human rights.”
“We have urged the North Korean leadership to heed President Obama’s call to choose the path of peace and come into compliance with its international obligations,” he said. “North Korea’s action’s, however, directly violate United Nations Security Council resolutions and threaten international peace and security.”
I am truly at a loss. I’m not at all surprised by Rodman’s role in this. His erratic behavior is as much a part of his celebrity as anything else. What blows my mind is how the press is handling this story. Think about this. If you heard a report two weeks ago that Dennis Rodman – former basketball star and Hall-of-Famer – was busted knocking over a 7-Eleven, would you have even batted an eye?
Didn’t think so.
And now “we’re” talking about that same Dennis Rodman opening up the door to diplomacy with North Korea?