Korean political satire show catches global attention
By Kim Do-yeun
The popular Korean talk show "Naneun Ggomsuda" has caught the attention of the international press with an article published in the International Herald Tribune, the global edition of The New York Times, on Nov. 2.
The article highlighted the weekly podcast show as a much-needed and welcomed political satire program in the rising antagonism against the conservative government of President Lee Myung-bak, especially among young Koreans.
However, the major national newspapers and media outlets, largely supportive of the government, have scorned the show as slanderous and shallow.
Launched in late April of this year, the show is led by Kim Ou-joon, who also runs a Website, Ddanzi Ilbo, dedicated to political parody. The three other members of the show are former politician Chung Bong-ju, journalist Choo Chin-woo and former radio commentator Kim Yong-min.
The four men engage their audience with quips punctuated with expletives, poking fun at the President and the ruling party. President Lee is sarcastically referred to as "Gaka,” or “ His Highness," in the show.
Leaders of the governing and opposition parties have also been guests on the show.
An opinions piece on Nov. 2 in the Chosun Ilbo, one of the three major national newspapers, called the show a "monster" fed and nourished by opposition party members too eager to participate in bashing the governing party.
It also criticized the show for disregarding the boundaries of fact and fiction. The show has been sued for spreading rumors that a candidate of the ruling party in the recent Seoul mayoral elections spent 100 million won on a membership to a luxury skin care clinic.
The show admits that some of their quips may not necessarily be based on proven facts, but it emphasizes the point that they are giving a voice and an outlet for things that the mainstream media is reluctant to report.
The phenomenal popularity of the podcast show, which boasts millions of downloads, is evidence that for many Koreans lately disillusioned by their government, the captious commentary on politicians and the current state of affairs strikes a chord with the frustration amidst difficult employment and rising living costs.
The writer is a Korea Times email@example.com