[EDITORIALS]More bad election projectionsThe National Assembly election forecasts by the three major broadcasting networks were off the mark. Some of the TV viewers who watched the broadcasts anxiously watched one candidate accepting defeat at one point, and then suddenly making a much more enthusiastic victory speech later in the night. Of the 196 electoral districts for which the Korean Broadcasting System and Seoul Broadcasting System predicted a specific candidate as a winner, six were wrong. Out of 206 districts for which the race was forecasted by the Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation, seven were wrong. The networks were accurate in projecting the overall post-election political landscape, but that is not an excuse for the mental shock that some of the candidates must have endured and the confusion the viewers went through.
The impeachment of the president, the rise in popularity of Park Geun-hye, and the gaffe by Chung Dong-young when he suggested that elderly voters should stay home and rest, all have changed the direction of the wind of the election. With so many variables, the accuracy of the election forecast was bound to suffer. Nevertheless, networks weren’t shy about announcing some losing candidates as sure winners. We cannot help but think that this was all part of a contest just to lure more viewers.
Recently, the media has been facing a drop in confidence among Koreans. If the Korean press does not check everything that it publishes, it will face more distrust by the public. For the networks, which wield great influence, to commit such grave errors at such a crucial time is irresponsible. In the 2000 Assembly elections, the networks made the grave mistake of failing to predict the legislative lineup correctly. Unlike local elections, National Assembly elections have many more uncertainties. Networks must develop more accurate projection methods in order not to taint the reputation of the press as a whole.
At the same time, we ask the government offices concerned to allow the press to report the results of their public opinion polls during the election campaign. With continuous poll coverage of public opinion, viewers would not have had to rely solely on the networks, and the margin of error could have been reduced. These mistakes by the networks have to stop.