[FOUNTAIN]Hunting: a Political Game

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[FOUNTAIN]Hunting: a Political Game

Hunting dogs are used by humans to catch game and other animals. The history of using dogs in hunting goes back to ancient times, after humans recognized that dogs could be trained, were fleet of foot and had extremely keen noses. A painting of hunters running with dogs has even been found on the wall of an Egyptian tomb dating to about 6000 B.C.

There are three kinds of hunting dogs. The first is the pointing dog. This dog locates the game using its nose. If a pointing dog discovers game, it will stop and raise one leg or lie flat on the ground to point it out. Pointers and setters are such dogs.

A second type is the retriever. As soon as the hunter fires, this dog quickly runs to retrieve fallen birds. Labradors fall into this category.

The third type is the flushing dog, such as the spaniel, which scares birds out from the vegetation when the hunter is ready to shoot. All these dogs makes the life of a hunter a lot easier.

An article published recently by the newspaper of the Korea Broadcasting System's labor union caught our attention when it compared the state-run broadcasters (including KBS) to hunting dogs. The article described recent disputes among newspapers and the state-run broadcasters - and among newspapers themselves - sparked by the government's announcement of a tax investigation into the media. It called the dispute "an ugly war between the conservative media and the hunting dogs of the government."

The so-called "big three" newspapers - Chosun Ilbo, JoongAng Ilbo and Dong-a Ilbo - have launched tenacious attacks on what they call policy failures by the Kim Dae-jung administration. While the attention of the big three was distracted by the protracted drought and severe damages to rural areas, the government lost no time to counterattack by launching the media tax investigation, in what is alleged to be an attempt to silence the criticism. After the administration launched its investigation, the government-friendly, state-run media began to voice loud support for the administration, bringing an extra pair of fists to the melee.

The article likened the tax evasion inspection of the media to hunting. The government, or hunter, uses the National Tax Service and the Fair Trade Commission as guns and the state-run broadcasting stations and certain small newspapers as hunting dogs. The "big three" newspapers are the game.

"The public is now tired and weary," the author sighed. "They seem to have no interest in the people's right to know the truth. Whether it is media oppression or media reform, in reality it is just more mud-spattered sport." As is hunting.

The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.

by Bae Myung-bok

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