UPDATE: And as we suspected might be the case, the video was too good to be true. Well, specifically the translation is fake, provided by British travel writer Alun Hill, who admitted in an interview he does not in fact speak Korean. However, Hill says the video itself is legitimate, provided to him by the North Korean Central News Agency, who told Hill the video chronicles the "failure of European democracy." Hill originally published the video as a comedy piece on his YouTube page. But it first received attention when it was run by the site Live Leak purporting to be a legitimate piece of video.
Still, we here at Yahoo News were highly skeptical to the potential authenticity of this video, which is why we made five references to the video potentially being fake throughout the piece. Six, if you include the use of "alleged" in our headline. We also concluded the piece by reaching out to Yahoo readers who could potentially provide translation services, or help us get closer to the story's origins. Like many other news organizations, we've been burned in the past by fake reports originating from international "sources." But we're also doing our best to be transparent in those cases, giving an honest account of how we move forward in such cases and making use of our resources to debunk a story when the facts don't add up. The original story follows below.
A new video has been posted to the Live Leak site that claims to be a North Korean propaganda video showing a dystopian American society.
It’s unclear if the translation is accurate, and whether the video did in fact originate in North Korea. But it's tempting and easy to believe the video is the real deal. After all, it was only last month that the North Korean government released a truly strange propaganda video that depicted one of its citizens having a dream in which the U.S. is attacked by Korean missiles—set to the 1980s' charity song sensation, "We Are the World."
But if true, the video is hilarious in its attempt to create an imaginary America where the population lives off of snow and has eaten the entire population of birds. Yes, that’s right, the video repeatedly claims that there are no birds in America because the people have been forced to eat all of them.
“Drinking coffee made from snow, living in tents and buying guns to kill each other, especially children,” the video intones. “You’ll see there are no birds. They have been eaten by the people who live in these tents and corridors.”
In one of the stranger moments, the video shows a person who supposedly lives in one of these tents. “The American Red Cross supplies curtains for walls for the tents with material from North Korea,” the translator explains.
And in another, a bearded, apparently homeless man waits in line for food from a street truck vendor. “This man, a former Republican candidate from Oregon, is having to get coffee made of snow from trucks,” our narrator grimly intones.
“People pass by, not caring, for they are in the same situation.”
The line that has generated the snarkiest responses so far comes at the video's conclusion: “This is how they live in America: the poor, the lonely, the homosexual.”
So, what do you think? Is this propaganda video for real or is it too weird even for the North Korean government?