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[Editorial] Kim Dae-eop and Negative Campaigning

Posted July. 26, 2007 03:32,   


The Seoul High Court ruled on July 24 that Kim Dae-eop, who raised a question that a presidential candidate in 1998 and 2002, Lee Hoe-chang’s son dodged mandatory military service, should reimburse the investigators of the case 10 million won. The court found that Kim Dae-eop’s bogus information led to damage to the investigators’ reputation. Kim already served his prison term of 13 months on charges of false accusations after he was found guilty in February 2004. He also lost two other related cases in 2005 and was ordered to reimburse heavy amounts of money. It was a case of severe consequence for a negative campaigner.

All the other facts related to the biased report of Korean Broadcasting System, which led to the slander of opponents along with Kim, were revealed too. Sungkyunkwan University’s visiting professor Kim In-gyu, who served as the director of KBS news during 1997 and 1998, identified reports of KBS on election campaigns during the 2002 presidential election season as typical biased reports in his thesis for a doctorate released yesterday. According to the thesis, from July to October 2002, when the election campaigning was fierce, the KBS 9 o’clock News made Kim Dae-eop’s arguments look as if true by covering suspicions on the military dodging of then-candidate Lee Hoi-chang’s son 101 times and quoting Kim Dae-eop’s words or sentences, saying, ‘Involvement in covering up of military dodging’ and ‘there is physical evidence that Lee was involved in the cover-up.’ Professor Kim was the Media Director of KBS during the 2002 election.

The paper also reaffirms that pro-ruling party’s negative campaigning group, including Kim Dae-eop and the pro-ruling party media made a decisive contribution to then-candidate Roh’s presidential victory during the 2002 election campaign. Besides the military dodging case, then-lawmaker Seol Hun of the Democratic Party raised the scandal of Lee camp’s receiving an illegitimate 200,000-dollar gift, and then-lawmaker, Jeon Kab-gil raised the scandal of Lee’s wife’s receiving an illegitimate 100 million won gift. Both scandals led to political gains to then-candidate Roh until they turned out to be false.

During this election season, the KBS is once again accused of being biased. The Grand National Party argues that KBS reported suspicions related to GNP candidate, Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye 178 times from June 11 till July 10. The background and a man behind the scene for mudslinging are always revealed later, though it takes time.

Negative campaigning distorts election results by clouding people’s judgments. It is indeed an enemy of democracy. This is the clear reason why we cannot afford another Kim Dae-eop or his kind.