[EDITORIALS]Slurs on the Press Are a Risky TacticThe view of the media held by the ruling party has exceeded the danger level. Ruling party leadership grumbling about the media is not new, but the future of the nation as well as the media is in doubt now that 386 lawmakers, including first-termers, are joining the bandwagon and going even further in criticizing the media.
Discussion at a May 31 workshop to discuss the short-lived appointment of Justice Minister Ahn Dong-su and calls for reform within the ruling party starkly showed the level of understanding the Millennium Democratic Party has of the media. "The media is looking down on politics," at least has some charm. But, "Recently, the media is attempting to make the president a lame duck," or "JoongAng, Chosun and Donga are reporting party affairs as if it is a serious problem when it's not even a power struggle," show an overt antagonism toward the media. Stating that support for the party has dropped because it has failed to "seize" the media is chilling.
Legislators are to speak for the people they represent. To brand the media as conspiratorial when they report words that politicians speak or what constituents are telling their representatives is an irresponsible attitude for lawmakers in the ruling party.
The statement made by Kim Joong-kwon, chairman of the ruling party, yesterday also seems to be based on a similar view of the media. At a meeting with 386 lawmakers of his party, he said, "Public sentiment is not bad, but public opinion is." It might be just a statement made by a leader in order to encourage his lawmakers, who are in a state of despair. But he repeated it, and it may mean he believes that the ruling party is in dire straits because the media is manipulating public opinion. If that were true, readers would reject the manipulators. If the ruling party still cannot correctly grasp public opinion and so dump the responsibility for its problems on the media, it should understand that its attempt to shift the blame is a quick way to self-destruction.
The ruling party should not be blinded by anachronistic and anti-democratic solutions to "media problem," but concentrate its efforts on presenting government reform measures that the media, public opinion and people can support.