As if by a coordinated decision, on June 19 the Chosun Ilbo, JoongAng Ilbo, and DongA Ilbo all ran articles criticizing the country’s netizens and portal sites. Specifically they were criticizing the campaign to boycott their advertisers. Red baiting with words like “terror” and “leftist” has reappeared in their pages, and there are demands for legal punishment and a crackdown. The Chosun Ilbo has sent a warning letter to various internet sites calling the boycott illegal. This is a blast-from-the-past “opinion herding” move that attempts to strangle the Internet.
It is quite pathetic. Even if they were to be in desperate straights because of less advertising, they still should not be treating people like criminals and threatening them. The reason netizens and citizens online and offline are criticizing these newspapers is because they think that instead of acting as news media the papers are distorting the truth and being misleading. This is a criticism and action for goals that are in the best interest of the public, and it is a media consumer movement of sorts.
These newspapers need to listen to the criticism and take the opportunity to look at themselves and examine their own shortcomings. How are you any different from organized thugs if you start wielding your fist because there is less in your rice bowl to eat from? These papers look cowardly for the way they changed their tone in covering the candlelight protests as they grew in scale, only to jump on what seemed like a good opportunity to mount a counterattack.