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[Opinion] Standards and Tastes

Posted May. 08, 2003 22:11,   


In Chosun Dynasty era, it was Seungji`s job to deliver the king`s messages to people. In the present time it is called Chong Wae Dae spokesperson, but at that time he was called messenger of the king. Although there must be differences between the two in terms of authority, the nature of the spokesperson job seems quite similar. Yet, it is said that Seungji wielded a great influence. He not only delivered the highness` messages, but also made such important decisions about whether to brief reports or complaints made by high-ranking officials. He also summarized reports for briefing. Even playing a role of adviser for the highness at times, he was indeed a man of great influence.

Chong Wae Dae spokesperson pales in comparison. Song Gyung-hee, the Roh government`s first spokesperson who had to resign two days ago after serving 72 days, said, “In hindsight, I realizes that I know little about politics. I was tailored to suit their standards and forced to serve their tastes.” Song was Chong Wae Dae spokesperson and she should have known some basics about politics. Then we can say that she was unprofessional to some extent. When it comes to politics itself, however, it makes little sense. Why a spokesperson needs to be politically savvy? Besides, what is the ` standards and tastes` all about?

Who are they and what did she mean by their tastes? It sounds like she did not have the so-called identical code with the president and his aides. Then, what on the earth is that code and why is it so hard to have the identical code? “I cannot accept this system in which the spokesperson assumes all the responsibilities for problems,” Song complained. Listening to her, the problem seems to lie in the ‘spokesperson briefing’ system rather than the code. Then, Chong Wae Dae should have done something about the system instead of doing something about the spokesperson.

The most troubling part is that reporters are supposed to write down the words of the spokesperson who knows little about the ‘standards and tastes’. Then, the stories deliver to the public, leading to a growing gap between the code of the government and that of the public instead of satisfying the people`s needs to know. What is important is not deciding where to open the integrated briefing room. As long as Chong Wae Dae imposes their own standards and tastes on a spokesperson, the talks about a mutually-beneficial tense relationship with the press will most likely end up being an illusion. The incoming spokesperson is known to be a man who understands well what is inside the president`s mind. Then, it remains to be seen how well he will meet the standards and tastes.