Swayed by YouTubersIt is sad to see the supermajority ruling party commanding 170 seats out of the 300-member legislature easily fall prey to die-hard leftist YouTubers and their fans. After ruling Democratic Party (DP) Chairman Song Young-gil and floor leader Yun Ho-jung agreed to yield the chair seat of the crucial Legislation and Judiciary Committee of the National Assembly to the opposition People Power Party (PPP), a political YouTube channel operated by the ringleader of rallies in support of former Justice Minister Cho Kuk disclosed their phone numbers after criticizing the move as a surrender ahead of the next presidential election in March. The two DP lawmakers were bombarded with texts as a result. Lee Jae-myung, Gyeonggi Governor running for presidency, wrote on Facebook that his phone was also subject to a barrage of text messages.
The act is a serious offensive to political party activities in a democratic system. Any lawmaker should be enraged over the challenge to their constitutional power. But some DP lawmakers sided with the YouTube channel and refused to agree to the decision by their leadership. Choo Mi-ae, former justice minister running for president, demanded the party leadership withdraw the “bad exchange.”
Leftist political show host Kim Ou-joon on his YouTube channel fumed over the Supreme Court’s ruling, sentencing South Gyeongsang Governor Kim Kyoung-soo to two years in prison for getting involved in an online rigging scheme ahead of the 2017 presidential election. “Even if I commit a crime, he is not someone to do any wrong,” Kim insisted. YouTubers have been grinding out vulgar stories and speculation amidst the heat in the presidential race.
Even as YouTube channels emerge as a new media means for the election, it is a pity that lawmakers are being swayed by show hosts. There has been much concern about the rising power of political YouTubers. People can become narrower and more extreme as a result of their intellectual brainwashing. Chin Choong-kwon, a political critic and former professor of Dongyang University, pointed out that since the public do not try to find out if what they hear is true or not, lies become stronger. The reckless exposure streak by YouTubers has been aggravating the mudslinging. The DP must stop it. Instead of banging on traditional media, it must address the grave act of the challenge to democracy.