KBS unions blamed for biased stories about Moon

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KBS unions blamed for biased stories about Moon

The ruling Saenuri Party continued its drumbeat of criticism against state-run Korea Broadcasting System yesterday for what it called biased reporting that led to Moon Chang-keuk abandoning his nomination for prime minister Tuesday.

Saenuri Rep. Cho Hae-jin was at the forefront of the attack during a party meeting yesterday at the National Assembly, calling the broadcaster’s coverage of Moon “distorted.”

“It is a systematic problem when an important government decision is swayed by the public opinion, which in the case of Moon was formed by distorted media reporting,” said the 51-year-old lawmaker.

He blamed the biased reporting on an anarchic state of management of the country’s major broadcaster, referring to the absence of a president at the broadcaster, and the power of the company’s labor unions.

“Taking advantage of the absence of the chief manager, some journalists and unions went after Moon with a political agenda in place,” Cho said. KBS “discarded its obligation and principles as a public media company,” he said.

It is a widely accepted consensus that an exclusive report by KBS on remarks by Moon about Japanese colonization in a 2011 speech to fellow church members eventually led to his abandoning the nomination on Tuesday.

KBS exclusively reported on June 10, a day after Moon was selected by President Park Geun-hye to become the second prime minister in her administration, that the former journalist said Japan’s 36-year colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula and the subsequent division into North and South through the 1950-1953 Korean War were all part of God’s plan.

KBS’s edited version of the remarks made it sound like Moon approved of God’s plan for Japanese colonization. Unedited versions made it clear he was trying to say that God’s plan was to make Koreans stronger through the ordeal.

The main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) went so far as to openly condemn Moon as a “pro-Japanese traitor.”

Moon explained before his withdrawal that he was attempting to convey a message to his church members that the country’s current success is because God paved a way for it.

KBS President Gil Hwan-young was forced to step down earlier this month after criticism that he interfered in the reporting of the Sewol ferry’s sinking and made coverage pro-government. Two KBS labor unions went on a one-week strike in late May until the KBS board of directors passed a motion to formally request President Park to sack Gil.

BY KANG JIN-KYU [jkkang2@joongang.co.kr]

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