Journalist says K-pop company threatened lawsuit if coverage was negative, K-pop fans bizarrely defend company

A few days ago, journalist Jae-Ha Kim tweeted out something that happened to her that I felt was rather uncontroversial.

Honestly, the only reaction all this deserves is something like, “Wow, that’s fucking ridiculous.” Essentially a company ordered her to write a puff piece for their idol via an interview and article, and she turned them down because she’s not a joke of a journalist.

I had assumed most K-pop fans would understand why she refused and why she wanted to make it public considering how much they complain about shady journalism practices, but no, most were quite upset.

Just a sampling, really.

I legitimately don’t understand how anybody can question what she did. The moment what you write is controlled by the company, it’s no longer journalism, it’s just public relations. They’re related fields but definitely not the same, which is something many K-pop stans don’t seem to understand at all.

The most common refrain is questioning why a journalist being granted an interview would write something negative, but I can only imagine those people lack any imagination (or understanding that maybe her opinion simply ends up that way). Let’s say that during the course of an interview, the interviewee provides a controversial opinion or does something disgusting or says something hateful, do you believe it’s right that the journalist has to censor that? That’s not reporting, that’s whitewashing reality. Talented interviewers frequently extract illuminating insight from an interviewee that isn’t rehearsed or coached, and sometimes that look behind the curtain is ugly (though it trends flowers and rainbows anyway), and K-pop fans are saying if that happens the journalist should squash that information FOR THE FUCKING SAKE OF JOURNALISM. That it supposedly should be a no-brainer for a journalist to sign away their freedom of press so that a company can suppress negativity even if it’s absolutely truthful is ridiculous, and that doesn’t even broach the subject of how the definition of what constitutes negative is subjective and basically just means any reporting the company doesn’t like. It’s a hilarious demand and the publicist apologized for a reason.

In the wider picture, it shows just how trapped in the K-pop bubble many fans are, and also how ingrained the habit of blindly defending oppar/unnir is, like it’s some kind of Pavlovian reaction at this point. Suppose it shouldn’t surprise then that many will co-sign on otherwise terrible laws as long as there’s a chance it could protect their bias, right? Like can you imagine if journalists agreeing to censor negative realities were applied to arenas outside of goddamn pop music? What an absolute disaster. So much for speaking truth to power, might as well just end journalism and have everybody run public relations for politicians and oil companies.

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The whole situation with Jae Ha Kim’s tweet getting blown up is comically depressing. A quick look at her resume would show she definitely has bonafide credentials, and yet many K-pop fans are lecturing her about integrity solely based on their fear that she hypothetically could’ve written something negative about their fave. I mean, come on. Ironically, the only way she would’ve surrendered her integrity is if she were to agree to the terms she was presented, since that would potentially require her to conceal a newsworthy truth just because the company might not like it.

So that she refused to participate in a corporate charade deserves to be lauded, not criticized, and the fact that many in the K-pop fandom choose to do the latter is ironically the only thing that actually deserves to be criticized.

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IATFB
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