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North Korea's propaganda machine

From Mike Chinoy, CNN Senior Asia Correspondent

One sign hails Kim as the 'Sunshine of the 21st century'.
One sign hails Kim as the 'Sunshine of the 21st century'.

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A look at how the North Korean propaganda machine portrays leader Kim Jong Il as the 'sunshine of the 21st century' and offers unfavorable views of the United States.
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PANMUNJOM, South Korea (CNN) -- The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on the Korean border is usually the closest you can get to North Korea.

On the other side exists a regimented, secretive society whose all-pervasive propaganda machine offers intriguing clues as to how the regime of Kim Jong Il operates.

The main themes of North Korean propaganda are visible at the DMZ.

"Our general is number one," says a sign in North Korean territory.

Other signs describe Kim as the "Sunshine of the 21st century" while another one reads, "Oppose America."

On state-run television, anti-Americanism has featured prominently in recent days. There have been mass rallies praising the North Korean leader and denouncing the Bush administration.

And there have been repeated broadcasts of reports about exhibitions highlighting alleged U.S. atrocities during the 1950-53 Korean War.

A television narrator says by placing North Korea on Bush's "axis of evil", the U.S. is making the Stalinist state its next target after Iraq. The North Korean people must be ready to fight back, the narration says.

Kim Jong Il, of course, dominates the news.

Usually he's shown visiting his key power base -- units of the armed forces who are portrayed as loved by the masses and provided with the best of everything.

In another news, Kim visits a goat farm that supplies the military with food -- the images of plenty, contrasted with video designed to show that in the West people are hungry and miserable.

Indeed, North Korea is depicted as such a happy place that people even have time to visit flower shows.

The flower they're admiring is called -- no surprise -- the "Kim Jongilia."

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