As I watched Laura Ling and Euna Lee deplane yesterday in a private hanger in Burbank, California; I had several thoughts running through my mind.
The first thought I had as a practicing Public Relations professional, is “Wow! That was great staging.” However, the journalist and photographer in me was saying that I wish I was there to get that story. The event reminded me of the hostages coming off the plane after being released from Iran.
I am probably not the first American journalist that is happy to see that two fellow reporters out of harms way.
What gets me and has always gotten me is the fact that the North Korean government has always jumped to conclusions on topics very similar to this. The charge of entering the country illegally and attempting to start a smear campaign. I think the punishment was out of line and 12 years at hard labor is just mind blowing. On the other side of the coin with the North Koreans trying to charge them with starting a smear campaign, so I ask, “Where is the proof?”
Lastly, former President Bill Clinton making this humanitarian trip over there to get these journalists is something to be commended. I think the North Koreans knew when we sent the former president over, that the United States meant business.
The moral of the story here is that I am proud to be an American, otherwise; I’d be in the same position as Ling and Lee.