Geoff Lichy

creator + jack of all trades

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Category: Journalism

Who’s in Charge of South Korea? “Choi-Gate” Scandal Rocks the Country

An internet conspiracy theory said that South Korean President Park Geun-hye is under the control of a secret society (called the Eight Goddesses or the Fairy Eight). The alleged society is essentially a council of eight Korean billionaires who run the South Korean government from behind the scenes, using President Park as a mouthpiece.

And now, it’s come to light that there’s a potential truth to this.

October 2016’s “Choi-gate” scandal involves President Park and her close associate Choi Soon-sil. Park Geun-hye has been accused of repeatedly leaking official government documents to her long-time friend, who often advised the President on what to do and say. Sensitive government documents were found on a computer owned by Soon-sil, who is not a government employee and doesn’t hold public office. Choi’s influence on Park has been present for decades, leading some to wonder who really has the power of President. Some sources say Choi organized secret meetings to run state affairs, handing out state documents to an unspecified number of people. After weeks of speculation and denial, the President made a public apology where she admitted having a connection to Choi Soon-sil.

It’s also alleged that Choi Soon-sil abused her friendship with the president for personal and financial gain. Some people accused Choi of “strong-arming” companies into giving massive donations to two non-profit organizations – which she has links to. The donations may have been misused. A university official resigned after allegations that Choi Soon-sil pressured them into giving special treatment to her daughter Chung Yoo-ra.

Rodong Sinmun, North Korea’s most read national newspaper, responded to the recent scandals by saying “The current government faces de-facto collapse… Park Geun-hye and her party face the worst political crisis ever.”

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38 injured on September 17th from attacks

tl;dr

  • 2 bombs in NY, 29 injured
  • 3-4 bombs in NJ, no injuries
  • 9 stabbed/slashed in MN

No casualties have been reported.

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Who owns the media?

I’ve been wondering about possible increases in conflicts of interest within the news media. More collusion, etc. So I decided to dig into who owns what. “In 1983, 90% of US media was controlled by fifty companies; today, 90% is controlled by just seven companies.” (Wikipedia)

US distrust in the media remains high, and we might have good reason for that. 60% of Americans “have little or no trust in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly.” (Gallup 2012) (Gallup 2015) Confidence in newspapers has continued to drop, now with only 20%  of Americans “who are confident in newspapers as a U.S. institution.”

“Americans’ orientation to news is changing, with a growing emphasis on identifying more closely with a favorite media organization.” (Gallup 2016) People are turning more to social media and specific sources to get news. This could lead to widespread echo chambers, where other opinions are not considered or even tolerated.

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The Billionaires For and Against Gawker Media

Within the past week or so, it’s been revealed that billionaires are involved with the lawsuit between Gawker and Hulk Hogan (real name Terry Bollea). Peter Thiel, co-founder of Paypal, has been helping fund Hogan’s fight against Gawker.

Background details

In 2013 Gawker published a clip of a 2006 sex tape between Hogan and the wife of Todd “Bubba the Love Sponge” Clem, one of Hogan’s close friends. Clem secretly filmed an approved encounter between the two, which was an alleged violation of Florida law. Gawker says it received a DVD-R of the footage from an “anonymous source” who “wanted no payment.” An unidentified source told one media outlet that a disgruntled ex-employee of Todd Clem sent in the DVD.

After the Gawker article went live, they refused to take it down, despite a request from Hogan’s lawyer. He sued. In March 2016 a Florida jury awarded him $140 million for invasion of privacy. Currently, Gawker is appealing the lawsuit for their own reasons.

In May 2016 it was revealed that Peter Thiel is helping to fund Hogan’s legal defense. Thiel was outed as a gay man by Gawker in 2007; the article author later claimed it was “homophobic” for Thiel to stay in the closet. Thiel was understandably upset and Gawker continued to fire insults at him for it. And now, in 2016, he’s getting revenge on the media company through the Hulk Hogan lawsuit.

There are conflicting opinions. Is this good or bad?

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