An NBC News host was reportedly duped by North Korean propaganda after he delivered an upbeat news report from a ghost town in the secretive state that had been transformed into a ’busy’ ski resort.
Lester Holt reported from the Masikryong resort on Monday, a facility that was personally ordered by Kim Jong Un and is typically empty.
But as Holt delivered the TV report, he failed to notice that the North Korean government appeared to have drafted in skiers who wore identical outfits in an attempt to give the impression of a busy and progressive ski resort.
During the report, Holt claimed that the the resort is a ‘source of immense pride for a country trying to present a new and modern face to the world’.
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) January 22, 2018
The apparent gaffe was even noticed by Richard Grenell, President Trump’s nominee for U.S. Ambassador to Germany.
‘Pro tip for @LesterHoltNBC: when everyone is wearing matching jackets it is a staged event’, he wrote on Twitter.
The controversial report came as part of Holt’s visit to North Korea only weeks before the 2018 Winter Olympics are scheduled to be held in PyeongChang, South Korea.
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) January 22, 2018
Throughout the trip, critics slammed Holt’s coverage for being sycophantic, with The New York Times accusing him of filming ‘propaganda’.
‘Yes, NBC is eager to promote next month’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. But that hardly required anyone to travel north of the DMZ to film propaganda for a regime that enslaves 25 million people — and holds another 50 million southerners as quasi-hostages, under constant (if low-grade) threat of war’, a damning editorial claimed.
Holt is yet to directly respond to the criticism.