As a subscriber to the Chicago Tribune, I read a few paragraphs about the exchange of trains between North Korea and South Korea. Observing that the paragraphs came from the New York Times News Service, I clicked over there to read the full story, and wondered once again (as I turned to the funnies) why anyone pays good money for food someone else already chewed.

But if you wonder why the two Koreas are so interested in unifying — when we all “know” that North Korea is nothing but a prison camp run by maniacs — you’ll have to leave the ever-shrinking funhouse mirror of the MSM. Try University of Chicago professor Bruce Cumings’s Korea’s Place in the Sun: A Modern History , especially the chapter about North Korea and the way in which its leaders have poured a large dose of traditional Korean corporatism, communalism, Confucianism, and isolationism into the mostly empty vessel of Marxism-Leninism.

Cumings is far from being an apologist, and his sidebars on the media’s relentlessly ignorant and stupid reporting on Korea made me squirm. Until I had relatives over there, that reporting was my only source of information too.