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Monday,December 16,2019
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Talmudic Wisdom

nder Talmudic law, if a jury finds a defendant guilty unanimously, the proceedings, paradoxically, end in a mistrial. The reason is that if all the jurors are against him, it is probable that an eloquent prosecutor has misled the jurors, causing a possibly innocent person to be found guilty. Therefore, in order to avoid this possible mistake, the court tries him again and again until at least one juror objects so that the accused man has someone to speak on his behalf.
The wisdom passed down in the Jewish community teaches what we have to take into account when judging a person or an organization. Two articles in the 322nd edition got me thinking about this wisdom. In the October issue of The Dongguk Post, there were two "problematic"?articles on the anti-Chosun Ilbo movement. The two articles harped on the paper's demerits with one voice but, to my disappointment, never mentioned merits that the paper might have.
The two articles claimed that blocking the Chosun Ilbo was the first step that our society had to take to reform Korean journalism. I know that there are some people who have a bad opinion about the paper. And I agree that their voices should be heard and their stories should be shared with others. However, that the editors had allotted two articles in tandem espousing the same opinion made me feel that it was too biased and unfair.
It is always easy for one person to demonize another by exaggerating his small peccadilloes, and to make himself look better than he is by embellishing his small achievements. So listeners should be very careful when judging a person or an organization. As a matter of fact, according to my own research, the criticisms that were leveled against the Chosun Ilbo apply to all daily newspapers in Korea.
Under the Park Jeong Hee dictatorship, every newspaper suffered censorship and, consequently, had no choice but to be pro-dictatorship. Moreover, regardless of their intention, Korean newspapers often give false information. That is why there is a movement to revamp Korean journalism on the whole, not just the Chosun Ilbo. Therefore, when I read the two articles, they reminded me of a witch-hunt, where killing innocent people occurs under the banner of social purgation.
If The Dongguk Post does not want to join in a witch-hunt, it has to apply a little Talmudic wisdom. It may be true that reducing the influence of the Chosun Ilbo is the first step to be taken to reform Korean journalism. But what if it is wrong? The newspaper's "life" is at stake. We have to be careful about such an action. Thus, the last edition should have allowed an article for another opinion about the anti-Chosun Ilbo movement, instead of including two similar opinions, so that the readership could have had a chance to compare opposing views and be better informed about the issue.

   The writer is a senior student in the Dept. of History at DU.

Jong Sok-hun  thestyx@korea.com

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