NBC's Lester Holt: I've Been 'Treated With Respect' in North Korea

Lester Holt / Getty
January 23, 2018

"NBC Nightly News" anchor Lester Holt recently appeared in a series of reports on his trip to North Korea that social media users criticized as "propaganda" for the North Korean government.

In a segment that aired Monday on NBC's "Today" show, Holt broadcasted from Masikryong ski resort, which he called a "very modern" ski slope and "a part of North Korea that most Americans don't see, and certainly a part they would like us to see."

Holt said that he and his fellow travelers had to undergo a probing search upon entering the country, but afterward were treated well.

"We have been treated with respect here; we have been invited and are guests of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs," Holt said. "We stayed in a guest house outside of Pyongyang last night."

The Daily Mail reported last year that the Masikryong ski resort is actually a massive propaganda tool, created by North Korean leader Kim Jung Un to give the false impression that North Korea has a ski tourism industry that rivals South Korea.

In another video tweeted by NBC, Holt put positive spin on the fact that most North Koreans lacked cars and had to walk long distances to reach the cities.

"On the long drive from east of the capital, people largely walk or they take bicycles, apparently sometimes over long distances," he reported from Pyongyang.

"So one of the early impressions I've had here is how hardy the North Korean people are," Holt said. "They appear to be hard workers."

Holt's carefully-worded comments came after New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristof posted pictures of amusement parks and pizzarias when he visited the impoverished country last year, with captions saying what "fun" the North Korean people were having.

Human rights groups have consistently ranked the human rights situation in North Korea among the worst in the world.

Published under: Lester Holt , North Korea