A former journalist? Nope

2023. 9. 25. 19:50
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Rep. Kim Eui-kyeom, a Democratic Party (DP) lawmaker, has spread fake news again.

Rep. Kim Eui-kyeom, a Democratic Party (DP) lawmaker, has spread fake news again. This time, he claimed that the judge — who on Tuesday will decide whether to issue an arrest warrant for DP leader Lee Jae-myung on corruption charges — was a classmate of Justice Minister Han Dong-hoon when they studied at Seoul National University School of Law. That was a lie.

Appearing on KBS Radio on Sunday, Kim said, “There are three judges handling arrest warrants for criminal suspects. But a judge deemed the most advantageous to the government has been chosen.” The lawmaker wondered why the judge studied with Han at the same school in the same year. But the Justice Ministry denied the claims. It said the judge and Justice Minister Han were not classmates because they entered the college in a different year.

After his claim proved to be false, Kim — a former reporter at the Hankyoreh — admitted to “a loophole in my news gathering.” The former journalist even skipped the critical process of fact-checking while attacking the court for “lacking public trust in issuing arrest warrants” for opposition lawmakers.

Kim habitually raised suspicions without checking facts to disgrace the press where he once worked. For instance, he claimed President Yoon Suk Yeol and Han went binge drinking at a bar in southern Seoul until early morning. Even though the source, a cellist, admitted to lying, Kim did not apologize. Instead, he said he would raise the same suspicion again. Given a critical lack of proof of his claims, the legislator must not use the phrase — “news gathering” — once again.

Kim has not only defamed the integrity of the press and but also the reputation of the DP, which took power several times by championing the sacred values of democracy. When he was a spokesperson of the DP, Kim had to apologize for his ill-intended relay of the EU ambassador’s comment. The lawmaker said that the ambassador had pointed to the “limits of the Yoon administration in dealing with North Korea” while the liberal Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun administrations could find “a breakthrough amid tense inter-Korean relations.” The lawmaker critically damaged the integrity of the country only to attack the conservative administration.

An opposition party can — and must — check the sitting power and the governing party. But the lawmaker’s behavior certainly went overboard in order to seek political gains by inciting supporters of the party. Kim is not alone in attacking the government no matter what, as clearly seen in the cases of former DP lawmakers Choi Kang-wook and Kim Nam-kook, who made preposterous remarks during legislative sessions. The DP must stop such substandard lawmakers from shaming the liberal party.

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