These sources have minimal bias and use very few loaded words (wording that attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes). The reporting is factual and usually sourced. These are the most credible media sources. See all Least Biased Sources.
- Overall, we rate 38 North Least Biased based on the use of minimally loaded words and straightforward reporting. We also rate them Mixed for factual reporting due to a lack of financial transparency.
Factual Reporting: MIXED
World Press Freedom Rank: USA 45/180
38 North was launched in 2010 by Joel Wit and Jenny Town. 38 North’s objective is to provide ”research, analysis and commentary on topics such as military, economic and political issues related to North Korea.” 38 North is based in Washington, D.C.
Funded by / Ownership
As of June 1, 2018, 38 North joined The Henry L. Stimson Center’s East Asia Program. It was originally funded by the South Korean Government through the U.S. John Hopkins University’s Korea Institute for International Economic Policy, or KIEP. According to a Business Insider article “The institute USKI had received about $1.8 million annually from the South Korean Government”. 38 North was an adjunct of the U.S.-Korea Institute (USKI). Boston.com reports the South Korean government has terminated funding of the U.S.-Korea Institute (USKI) through KIEP. South Korea’s reason for closure has been stated as a “lack of transparency and sloppy management” as reported in South Korean papers. Further, the USKI director Jae H. Ku, Ph.D is known for conservative views, which may have been a factor. This lack of transparency prompted the South Korean Government to cut its funding. According to a Business Insider article, this lack of funding will not affect the website as 38 North has “alternative sources of funding.” On April 11, 2018 Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) announced that “In May, the U.S.-Korea Institute (USKI) at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) will no longer be in operation and SAIS also stated the reason for closure of the U.S.-Korea Institute(USKI) is due to the loss of funding from a major supporter.” The Washington Post reports The South Korean government has funded the US Korea institute (USKI) with about $19 million over 12 years, through the state-run KIEP. At present we do not have information regarding the “alternative sources of funding” that 38 North claims.
Analysis / Bias
In review, 38 North frequently publishes satellite imagery of North Korea to show the locations and development of secret facilities and North Korean military actions. They also publish analysis of North Korea’s Kim Jong Un’s messages: “Kim Jong Un’s 2019 New Year’s Address: Dropping a Strategic Bombshell” and another article “Way Too Much to Do About Nothing”, which contains this quote “I thus interpret Kim’s threat of “finding a new way” not as a hint at more nuclear tests, but rather as a message to Donald Trump: You are not our only option for security and economic development. If you refuse to be cooperative, we will ignore you and turn to China. Oh, and we will take South Korea along.” When it comes to sourcing they usually utilize credible sources such as the New York Times, CNN and the Center for a New American Security.
38 North uses minimal loaded language in their headlines as well as within articles such as this: Parade Drills Continue, No Signs of Missile Launchers Yet. This article is sourced directly to current satellite images of the parade staging areas. In general, 38 North reports news and analysis with minimal bias.
Overall, we rate 38 North Least Biased based on the use of minimally loaded words and straightforward reporting. We also rate them Mixed for factual reporting due to a lack of financial transparency. (M. Huitsing 1/4/2019)