MEDIA MONITORING WEEK : PART II.

THE STORY DEVELOPS.

WHAT’S GOING ON?

The week unfolds and Korean public’s rage continues to flare as prosecution digs deeper into the Choi-gate scandal. These past two days alone have seen to the reveal of recorded phone calls between Choi Soon-sil and government officials and the arrest of Cha Eun-taek, an artistic director and a key figure to the political mess. Important government jobs are left empty as opposing political parties argue over how to deal with the occupational vacancies and their disgraced president.

News organisations seem to be shifting their focus wider, in light of the stunning conclusion to the U.S. presidential election.

JoongAng Daily

  • In a different tangent from previous news coverage that sought to criticise President Park Geun-hye and Choi Soon-sil, JoongAng Daily’s recent publishings pan out their focus to South Korea’s current economic situation.
  • A recent news story reported on an emergency meeting held this Monday by Finance Minister nominee Yim Jong-yong, who considers Korea’s foreign exchange transactions to be on the verge of a crisis due to recent concerns paralysing the government. This article takes an interesting angle, as it doesn’t give the current political scandal the sole blame for recent economic instabilities. Instead, it identifies multiple other causes: the uncertainties of the American presidential election, increasing debt and slow exports. The article efficiently utilises line graphs, bar graphs and other forms of statistics in addition to quoted statements from government officials and economic researchers. This reflects JoongAng Ilbo’s (the original newspaper from which JoongAng Daily is a translated derivative) professional reputation and its audience of well-read and educated readers.
  • Shortly after, JoongAng Daily published a column written by the business news editor of JoongAng Ilbo that dismisses the need for a president and prime minister in the face of economic threats. “Because of the delayed confirmation, the deputy prime minister in charge of the economy is either two or none,” the article states, criticising the fruitless squabble between ruling and opposition political parties in the effort to agree on the right people to replace the president and prime minister. This opinion differs greatly from the mass general public that continue to rally for President Park Geun-hye’s resignation.

Washington Post

  • Washington Post takes a macro perspective to Donald Trump’s electoral victory and the forthcoming consequences for Asian countries, though it’s bias is evident.
  • An article published on the 9th pans its focus outward to capture the reactions to the conclusion of the U.S. presidential election. Washington Post chose to report South Korea’s reaction first, as they are the only country reported to have received contact from Donald Trump so far. Despite this prioritisation apparent in article arrangement, the section dedicated to South Korea takes a wary tone. The article’s diction utilises words like “unidentified” to describe the sources behind the reported phone call between Trump and Park Geun-hye and the article continues to say the two “talked by phone but hasn’t [haven’t] provided specifics on their conversation”, which isn’t particularly relieving to hear. The section ends by revisiting Trump’s negative attitude towards economic and diplomatic ties between the U.S. and South Korea – an ominous note to end with.
  • A brief-style feature posted the following day touches upon new concerns that come hand in hand with a new U.S. leader – how will new president-elect Donald Trump deal with North Korea’s nuclear and long-range missile development? Again, this article reminds readers that Trump has openly questioned the value of a security alliance with South Korea. This wary attitude towards Donald Trump is evident on Washington Post’s home page online, with a majority of the features at the top of the page are Trump-related and practically all of the opinion pieces featured take an anti-Trump approach.

VOX

  • American news and opinion website Vox published an article with the same content as the Washington Post features, except in a different perspective. Check out the title: “Trump just completely reversed his policy on South Korea – only 2 days after being elected”. The hyperbolic word “completely” and the emphasis on the number of days since the presidential election results deliver the title in a surprised and exaggerated manner. In addition, the diction used here is significantly different to the diction employed in the Washington Post articles; rather than an “unidentified” source, Vox reports the phone call’s contents to have come from a “statement from her [Park Geun-hye’s] office”. The second to last paragraph of the article also takes on a positive, hopeful tone, claiming the phone call between Trump and Park is “one of his first as president-elect”. However, Vox has been criticised multiple times for publishing articles with factual errors and for deliberately leaving out opposing perspectives.
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