&#91EDITORIALS&#93The media is not to blame

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[EDITORIALS]The media is not to blame

The presidential transition team is blaming the press for churning out reports damaging to the Korean economy. President-elect Roh Moo-hyun on Saturday said that a few members of the press were pushing Korea toward an economic slump with their gloomy economic forecasts. Yesterday, Mr. Roh's transition team said some members of the press were fanning economic crisis fears, hinting a conspiracy theory by saying the media was laying blame for the faltering economy at the feet of the new administration.

These perceptions do not dovetail with the reality of the Korean economy. Although Korea Inc. is not about to be whipped into an economic crisis, the possibility of a second crisis remains. Saber-rattling between the United States and Iraq, the North Korean nuclear issue, a rise in oil prices and a general slump in the economy have coincided. The implication of Hyundai Business Group's sending a massive amount of cash to North Korea has dented South Korea's sovereignty ratings. Compounding the situation are the half-tailored policies and reforms announced by Roh's transition team.

The result has been a fall in the Korean stock market, a tightening of household spending and a reluctance by companies to make capital investments. In other words, it is not the press. Read these words, members of the transition team: Who would ever want to be the one to shoot down the nation's economy to which, needless to say, one's personal finances are directly linked.

Pointing the finger at the press is a familiar ploy. The nation has been made victim of chaos because government officials failed to grasp the economic reality. We cannot solve the nation's economic problems by avoiding responsibility. The transition team in particular should not shrink from getting to the core of what has gone wrong. Accusing the press sends the wrong message. They should recruit top economists to come up with policies that allows the market to function in a free competitive way. That is the only way to win over businesses racked with doubt, the wavering public and cautious investors, both foreign and domestic.
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