The Korean media has proven itself to be a powerful, integral part of elections, not only by reporting but also by choosing to focus on certain issues. So far it has primarily focused on informing who the candidates are, the polls, and how these candidates are carrying out their campaigns .
However, the media has also succeeded in implanting a general yet distinctive idea of who these two men are. We know that Roh is a progressive with intentions of getting rid of old politics for one of reconciliation between all classes and regions. On the other hand, Lee is perceived by the public as the conservative and elite standard-bearer, who aims at creating a politics free of corruption.
Yet, though people are aware of the political standing of these candidates, their knowledge of their campaigns remains limited as the campaigns in themselves seem rather superficial. When it comes to each candidate"s policies on concrete and imminent issues such as, say, the diplomatic issue in dealing with North Korea"s nuclear weapons program, the two camps really don"t seem have much to say. Everyone knows that both candidates feel the need to stop North"s weapons development. But when it comes to how they will specifically do so, there isn"t much that is known.
Perhaps the media should be blamed for diverting our attention away from more specific and concrete policy plans to the events surrounding these candidates.
The scheduled televised debate forums should review who be responsible for the yet unclear and sketchy reform plans of Roh and Lee at least partially fostered by the media. For the candidates can finally speak for themselves in front of the Korean viewers instead of being quoted or paraphrased as they have been done so far in the printed press. One thing is clear. That the forum should not end with the usual verbal squabbles, or a race of statistics and common knowledge. By the time the forum ends, the people need to see a clear and tangible picture of the plans the candidates have drawn for our future. For, What we want to see are more than promoted images and shades of the candidates" political campaigns.