Fringe media goes too far

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Fringe media goes too far

A YouTube channel called Citizen Press The Tamsa TV has gone too far. The YouTubers under police investigation for stalking Justice Minister Han Dong-hoon held a live show in front of Han’s apartment without permission. They banged on the door and fidgeted with the door lock when no one answered. The apartment and unit number were exposed during the livestream. One anonymous writer in the live chat room accused Han of receiving the handsome apartment from a big company.

The members moved to the police to stage a live show demanding the police stop an investigation into them. They were joined by their so-called supporters to hold a rally in front of the police station for three hours. Some of the police officers’ names and faces were revealed on the broadcast. The more violent they became, the more donations they earned. Yet the channel claims to be civilian media fighting for the truth on the side of civilians.

But their twisted motive has been reflected in one comment. “Han should know what it feels like to be raided and searched,” said one upon arriving at his home. While releasing the names of the victims of Itaewon crowd crush on Nov. 14, they casually showcased “mukbang” — livestreaming of eating tteokbokki in this case — claiming that they must work for ads as they were “facing an expensive lawsuit.”

Under the pretext of investigative reporting, they are taking revenge and making money out of selling sensational items. They liken legitimate police actions to their illegal trespassing and draw attention through fake news to monetize public rage. Their report about a drinking binge at the tip of a cellist, turned out to be entirely fabricated.

Yet mainstream politicians are dancing to their obnoxious tune. Journalist-turned-lawmaker Democratic Party (DP) Rep. Kim Eui-kyeom and other members have used their fake news for their political attacks. Kim, a former reporter who should have known better to check the facts, ended up spreading fake news.

The basics of journalism is to thoroughly verify the facts before reporting them. Investigative reporting is the act of knitting together pieces of facts to complete a clearer picture. But the YouTube channel and the opposition party have been feeding fake news to serve their preset conclusions. Pseudo-media outlets have been prospering based on algorithm studies of social media preferences.

Religion overruled science until the 16th century. People arguing that the earth was round and revolving around the sun were persecuted. Fake news and conspiracy theories can also be malicious and damaging. They believe what they wish to believe and refuse to see the truth. The blind reckless faith can endanger democracy.
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