[EDITORIALS]Let Kim Be Kim on Television

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[EDITORIALS]Let Kim Be Kim on Television

President Kim Dae-jung will hold another "Conversation with the People" on March 1. This is the fourth such event and the first in a year. Holding face-to-face conversations with the people amid difficulties and confusion in the country and abroad is indeed meaningful in regaining the people's trust in the president himself and in his policies. We hope it will be an opportunity for the people to express their grudges and hopes and for the head of state to sincerely explain and answer questions through interactive communication.

However, the previous three conversations did not nearly measure up to the people's expectations, and some are skeptical that the upcoming conversation may also be just an event for the sake of an event. A deliberate performance is most worrisome. Although adults and children from all sectors of society were present at past conversations, the entire process from the selection of the participants to the programming seemed too deliberate. The questions and answers also gave the impression they were choreographed. It was frustrating not to hear any sharp criticism or questions on controversial issues or of real interest. The president's responses did not reveal any sign of serious thinking and flowed too smoothly as if being read from a prepared script. People who had hoped for a sincere and honest conversation between the president and ordinary people were disappointed, and there were cynical remarks about a stage-managed affair.

Some form of performance is inevitable given the weight of the president's position. Nonetheless, putting together even the most trivial lines does not fall into the original purpose of the conversations and loses the excitement of a live TV show. It cannot be convincing. It is no different from a promotional event disguised as a "conversation." If this trend continues, it is indeed a waste to have all three major television networks broadcast it simultaneously.

Mr. Kim's eloquence is well-known. He is not only very adroit at public speeches but also at discussions. If the program were run without a set script, Mr. Kim's distinctively sincere and honest feelings and eloquence would be fully displayed and satisfying. It is only fair that the president also makes mistakes and is not knowledgeable in some matters. Showing his true humanity as someone who can make mistakes may in fact be a shortcut to reaching out to the people. A political conversation without a script could develop into a refined political show.
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