On the morning of May 13th, Tiger JK was doing his regular twitter updates, including the ones below. Referring to the current practice of celebrities and media building gossip on the past lives of others, a practice common in international media, JK wrote the following: “If you’re interested in getting attention by selling your past, sell your own past only. Don’t sell others wholesale. Don’t giggle and mess with others’ painful past. Are you regretting your wrong doings? Or are you together merrily pampering, praising each others for successfully distorting and hiding of the facts of the past?*”*[Korean literal translation= are you brushing off each others dirt in the bathtub?]
As the morning passed, the comment was like any of JK’s regular tweets. One reader cited it as JK’s routine monologues, “I found nothing wrong with JK’s message, because I don’t agree with people going on air or newspaper gossip pages talking nonsense about other people. Look at the so-called memoirs by people like Keith Richards, who built buzz for his book by writing about Mick Jagger’s equipment ‘tiny,” and hip-hop vixens building fame off celebs they were seen with.”
However, in the late afternoon, a “reporter” from the news outlet, Money Today, took JK’s tweets and wrote a falsified story claiming his comments were directly meant for actress, Park TamHee. The actress appeared on the KBS2 TV show “Happy Together,” the night before and mentioned she was once a lead vocal of Uptown. A photo of her and the group was shown, which then still included Yoon MiRae (the actual lead vocalist).
The article quickly spread to other media outlets, insinuating portrayals of JK as an “aggressive bully” and Park TamHee as the innocent victim. As a result, JK became one of the top searched names on Korea’s #1 search engine, Naver.com.
So how exactly did this reporter concoct this story? Media critics cite that the reporter may have made his implications from the following words included in JK’s tweets:
Clue 1.- JK’s tweets included the word, “탐익”(TAMIK= Korean word “indulging.” Sounds similar to the actress’ name)
Clue 2 – JK’s tweets included the word “together merrily ….,” similar to the show’s name)
Clue 3- JK’s tweets included the word “brushing off each other’s dirt….” The TV shows’ format includes the personalities sitting and talking inside a sauna room, where they are taking a break from washing and brushing off each others dirt.
In an exclusive comment to DrunkenCamp, JK reflected on the clues, “When I wrote my tweets, I wasn’t even thinking in that direction. When I saw the story, I was shocked. These guys were playing mindreader, assuming new meaning from my words.”
To no surprise, Antis filled the article’s comment box flying insults at JK. Seemingly having seen the virulent spread of the article, JK responded on his twitter to the reporter, “Hey, if you want to write a story, do it correctly. It wasn’t about Park Tam Hee. It was about the Happy Together PDs and writers [*not actually, see JK's comments below]… Actually, it was aimed at people like you, hiding under the cloak of an intern reporter, printing out such trash. If you wish to print what I say, print what I just told you.”
Money Today later released a clarification with headlines, “Tiger JK did not diss Park TamHee. Tiger JK disses the Happy Together TV show.” The article further portrayed JK as an overreacting husband. However, reporters failed to see the actual message–JK was criticizing them.
“I mentioned Happy Together as a play on sensational headlines used by journalists,” JK reveals to us. “It wasn’t actually towards the show. The main point of the post was to criticize how some journalists will write such stories and then hide behind the claim that an intern writer wrote it. They do it to avoid responsibility.”
At the end of the day, JK wrote a message to the reporter who produced the story, “Hey Reporter! You’re not a speculator. Please check the facts before writing your news article. If you prefer guesswork, you can open a psychic office and get paid. Dear mind-reader armed with a magical pen, If you insist on continuing, paraphrase me on your news article simultaneously as I speak. Mr. Reporter! Let us two get famous together by making the best use of reporting to promote news that helps needy people.”
“I reacted the way I did because I’ve seen this happen before,” JK says to us. “Reporters will take something and spin it in a way to create gossip. This isn’t news to me. Some people will stay quiet and try to ride out something like this, but I couldn’t. I wanted to expose how the media does this.”
The next morning, the story seemed to die down in sensation, until JK posted about the Friday, the 13th superstition.
“Hi everyone. I’m an overprotective fool who loves his wife a lot. How was your Friday the 13th? I’m now a believer in Friday the 13th. Hehehe.”
The press again was quick to pick up JK’s post, now spinning it as “Controversial Remarks Lead to Tiger JK Becoming a Believer of Friday The 13th.” JK’s original tweets were also reprinted, focusing on his “criticisms” of Park TamHee and Happy Together. While JK was now portrayed as overly superstitious, JK’s press observations were still swept under the rug.
Seeing a trend in the media’s coverage of his tweets, JK used his spotlight to promote the lives of his fans, “I think the media has its benefits. Since I’m in the spotlight right now, tell me what’s going on in your lives, and I will help let people know.”
Fans were treated to a moment of fame on his page as JK highlighted their ups and downs.
“I started a new towel design company!”
“Today is my cousin’s wedding!”
“We won our taekwondo match yesterday!”
“Seeing my wife smile so often has made me understand women better.”
JK was not shy to add his own current accomplishments:
“I’m a spokesperson for anti-child abuse.”
“I’m one of the founder’s of The Creator’s Project.”
Money Today responded again. However, rather than report about his tweets about his fans, the reporter selectively chose JK’s tweet to fit their taste. The reporter took the tweet about promoting his fans news, spun it as JK mocking the media, and proceeded to quote all of his tweets that attacked the media.
An Ironic Twist
Word of the new article reached JK, who was shocked by its selective editing. In an effort to expose the media’s attempt to vilify him, he posted the link to the last article on his twitter, stating, “This is what they mean by promoting good things.”
His followers quickly caught on to the pattern as well. This time, his twitter worked in his favor.
“Thank God for Twitter,” he says to us. “Even though that’s where this started, it’s where I got my voice heard. People started understanding what I was saying.”
Within the next few hours, the comments on the Money Today website had a sudden twist. This time people were crying in favor of JK and criticized the media for trying to discredit him.
Despite the numerous articles that duplicated Money Today’s claims, the real message to the media in JK’s tweets to was very simple: Tell it like it is. Journalists and media personalities should not manipulate stories relying upon incorrectly selling of past lives, particularly if it rides on the pasts of others. Journalists should use facts and facts alone as the basis of their reports, rather than use speculative reporting. Finally, be prepared to take responsibility for your writing.