Kim Jong Un Hones His Signature; Iran Sides with Santorum on Homeschooling

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Kim Jong Un Hones His Signature; Iran Sides with Santorum on Homeschooling
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Kim Jong Un Hones His Signature; Iran Sides with Santorum on Homeschooling

From Cubans hawking cigar products to Egypt's corrupting state media to the vaunted penmanship of North Korea's "dear respected leader," today's propaganda report keeps you informed on the latest in state-sponsored agitprop. We begin in Iran!

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Iran Sides with Santorum on Homeschooling 

Rick Santorum may have already pledged to bomb Iran, but at least he and the Persian nation agree that homeschooling beats public schooling. In a nutty opinion column on Iran's state-run Press TV website, a columnist attacks the scourge that is America's public school system in wake of the Ohio school shootings. "If Your Children Attend Public Schools They Could End Up Dead," reads one of the column's bullet points. "Sadly, the school shooting that just happened in  Ohio  reminds us all once again that this is a matter of life and death." 

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The column appears on the website's United States news section, which serves up a daily dose of gloomy U.S. stories about high gas prices, Occupy Wall Street protests and indebted college students to give the impression America is a rotten land of sin and poverty. The most amusing/awful assault on public schools is most definitely point 8: "Teachers Are Having Sex With The Students." As Iran's expert education correspondent explains, "It seems like almost every single day there is another news story about teachers having sex with public school students." Case closed. 

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Cuban State News Is Co-opted by the Cigar and Rum Industry

For the second day in a row, the lead story on the Cuban News Agency homepage is a defacto state-sponsored advertisement for either a rum or cigar company. Slow news week, Cuba? 

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On Thursday, the lead story (see right) celebrated the launch of a new line of light rums by rummaker Santiago de Cuba. Apparently it's the 150th anniversary of Cuban light rums, so the company is rolling out rums stored for 25 years that "blend the eldest mixtures."

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To fill the Friday news hole, the state-news agency published a lead story on the rollout of two new vitola cigars by the "premium Romeo y Julieta cigar brand." We don't doubt the century-old company makes great cigars, it's just a little odd it's the most important story in Cuba right now. How about the new Hepatitis B vaccine? Maybe the ratification of a new economic treaty with Algeria?

Egypt's Ruling Generals Hijack State TV 

Mubarak may be history, but his legacy of propaganda and totalitarianism is alive and well. In a sprawling feature in this week's issue of Time, Abigail Hausloughner tracks Egypt's ruling generals' co-option of state media. In a country in which 34 percent of individuals are illiterate, state TV, which is waging a vilification campaign against youth activists, "may be one of the most significant obstacles" to democratic reform. "Youth-led protests against military rule are labeled dangerous and destabilizing events," she writes. "News reports highlighting thuggery, crime, and a faltering economy, while placing blame squarely on protesters and 'foreign' agents, play a fundamental role in hindering Egypt's path to a free and transparent democracy." Read the whole Time feature here.

Kim Jong Un Hones His Signature

The charm campaign to get North Koreans to love Kim Jong Un just as much as his deceased father marches on. In a flattering bit of propagandizing, not only does this Korean Central News Agency story promote the "dear respected" leader's John Hancock, but also, it  notes that he "acknowledges letters from ordinary people." It turns out that acknowledging, in this instance, merely means scribbling over their  fabricated heartfelt letters. Betraying an inferiority complex, the story notes that Jong Un "is identical to [his father] in idea and leadership traits."

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