[EDITORIALS]Untruths from ministersKorea’s Fair Trade Commission head Kwon Oh-seung has said newspaper stories and editorials are distorted by pressure from the papers’ advertisers.
His comment was made during the National Assembly’s inspections on government bodies on Wednesday.
“Most journalists agree with our policies and support them, but their stories and editorials are saying different things,” he said. “They say it is because of advertising revenue.”
He is indicating that the press writes stories and editorials in favor of companies because of advertising revenue that comes from the corporations.
Mr. Kwon later tried to step back from his initial comment, saying “it was inappropriate to mention advertising,” but still argued, “The press is not reflecting various opinions on important issues in a balanced way.”
Mr. Kwon’s comments are not only inappropriate but also inaccurate.
What kind of press in Korea distorts the truth in order to get more ad revenue? Mr. Kwon should present detailed and exact evidence when he says there is such a case, instead of lumping allof the press together. If not, his remarks are nothing but an intentional insult and contempt of the press, which stems from his ignorance and prejudice toward the nature of the press.
Mr. Kwon cited, as a case of inaccurate press coverage, that no media covered his latest speech. Is he saying that if the media reports his story then the media is accurate, and if not, it becomes inaccurate?
One of the important functions of the press is to select what is newsworthy over what is not. The judgment of what is newsworthy is entirely up to the press and the final judges are the readers. Calling a press that did not report his argument a distorter of truth and contending that it was because of ad revenue is indeed a vivid example of distorting the truth.
Not long ago, Construction Minister Choo Byung-jik came up with the ridiculous comment that “the press is intentionally criticizing the government’s real estate policies because of advertising revenue from construction companies.”
Now, seeing the Fair Trade Commission chief who has been an academic throughout his life expressing his ridiculously distorted ideas about the press, it seems a hostile attitude and prejudice against the press has become a prerequisite virtue to become a top civil servant in the incumbent administration.