- Australian newspaper mX called North Korea, "Naughty Korea"
- North Korea responded to the label with a 14-paragraph article in KCNA
- North Korea denounces the paper as "naughty" among other adjectives
An Australian newspaper found itself the focus of a 14-paragraph denouncement in the state-run North Korean media agency, KCNA.
The North Korean news agency lashed out at mX, a free commuter paper in three Australian cities, calling it sordid, foolish, bullying, degrading, incompetent, pitiful and rogue -- among other things.
So how did a paper that focuses on "fun news, sport and entertainment" earn the verbal wrath of Pyongyang?
Last week, the paper published the Olympics medal standing and differentiated between South Korea and North Korea by calling them respectively "Nice Korea" and "Naughty Korea."
That moniker didn't sit well with North Korean officials.
KCNA called the paper's "sordid" behavior a "bullying act little short of insulting the Olympic spirit of solidarity, friendship and progress and politicizing sports." It slammed the "Brisbane Metro" as "hardly known in the world."
It was right about that.
There is no paper by the name of Brisbane Metro. KCNA incorrectly identified the paper as the Brisbane Metro instead of mX.
The three editors of mX, who are based in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, released a joint statement, saying they thought the medal chart "would be a humorous, but harmless way of differentiating between the two, and a reflection on how much of the western world views the two countries."
The paper is known for its irreverent take, such as a Wednesday piece on who started the phrase OMG (hint: it's not Paris Hilton) and invites for readers to send a vent of the day.
The paper's medal table with the two Koreas made its way through social media, Twitter and Reddit.
"The mX tally received an enormous response online throughout the world and the overwhelming majority of readers and the social and print media community saw it for what was intended - nothing more than a bit of light-heartedness,'' said its editors.
And then, it reached North Korea.
KCNA's lengthy statement described the paper of trying to make "its existence known to the world by joining other media in reporting the Olympic news."
"Many people were unanimous in denouncing the small paper for defaming the mental and moral aspects of the players of the DPRK who earned recognition from several appreciative world famous media," KCNA wrote.
The Korean media agency continued: "The Australian paper cooked up the way of moneymaking, challenging the authority of the dignified sovereign state."
After North Korea's massive smack talk, mX embraced the controversy Wednesday by publishing a front page story in its Sydney edition, with the headline, "Pyongyang goes ballistic over mX tally" with a picture of a clapping and grinning Kim Jong Un, the North Korean leader.
"North Korea's political leadership is no stranger to global criticism and it would be difficult for anyone to fail to see the comment was aimed directly at that record," said the editors of mX in a statement.
North Korean officials returned the insult by chiding mX as "the naughty paper."
"The Brisbane Metro will remain as a symbol of rogue paper for its misdeed to be cursed long in Olympic history," according to KCNA. "The infamy is the self-product of the naughty paper Brisbane Metro which dared challenge the spirit of Olympic, common desire and unanimous will of mankind."
mX appears to embrace its new label, by using a new hashtag #Naughtymx.