Inspired by the principles of Malcolm X / Malik El-Hajj Shabazz. A 'Third Worldist' perspective focusing on the increasing pace of south-south co-operation which is challenging and defeating neo-colonial hegemony, and the struggles of those oppressed by neo-colonialism and white supremacy (racism) who fight for their social, political and cultural freedom 'by any means necessary'
Last week, multiple news sources, including NBC News, Fox News, and, yes, Business Insider, picked up a story in the Singaporean newspaper Strait Times that said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had his uncle Jang Song-taek executed by feeding him to 120 ravenous dogs.
Reports of North Korean excesses are always worth being extra-skeptical of — there are few Western reporters in the country and most of the rumors that filter out come through South Korean intelligence sources, who very much have their own axe to grind. This story proves even less trustworthy than most, however.
Trevor Powell, an employee at an investment research firm who grew up in Taiwan, went back to check the Wen Wei Po story, and noticed something unusual. Writing on his blog, Powell describes how he noticed that the dogs detail of the Wen Wei Po story appears to be sourced to a "tweet" on the Tencent Weibo microblogging platform. You can see the original Wen Wei Po story here (the tweet is included as an image) and the original tweet here. It's translated below with Google:
The Tencent account is held by someone with the user name Pyongyang Choi Seongho, who claims to be an editor at a North Korean newspaper currently studying in Beijing. They have almost 40,000 followers, but are not verified.
Could Western media really have been duped by a satirical tweet? I sent this theory to David Bandurski, a project researcher at Hong Kong University's China Media Project. While Bandurski stopped short of saying the account was definitely satirical, he didn't find the account to be believable. "Unless a reliable source at Tencent can confirm their identity," Bandurski wrote, "this is highly suspect."
Frustratingly, this still doesn't mean that we can rule the 120-dogs execution method a complete lie — it's not completely clear that the Tencent Weibo account was the origin of the rumor, unfortunately. But it does show just how a flimsy Internet rumor about North Korea can end up making headlines around the world with very little evidence.