MBC News has seen a rating increase after its very public feud with President Yoon Suk Yeol.
According to news reports, ratings for MBC’s news shows surpassed SBS‘s news shows to become the second most-watched news channel, behind KBS. MBC News, which often languished far behind both KBS and SBS in third place, has seen its viewers almost double since President Yoon took office.
Since August, MBC has seen its viewership jump from July’s 398,000 to 575,000 in November. The jump in viewership is even more significant considering MBC’s public feud with President Yoo.
The news channel was caught in the ruling conservative party’s crosshairs when it became the first news station to release a video clip of President Yoo seemingly using choice language to describe American lawmakers. It is alleged that the President wasn’t aware that his mic was still on.
The incident was considered a major political gaffe and an affront to Korea’s efforts to improve its standing in the international political arena. President Yoo has since denied he was referring to American lawmakers and instead has claimed he was referring to Korean politicians — a move that received a new wave of backlash.
Since MBC’s reporting, the ruling conservative party has declared war against the broadcasting network. According to news reports, MBC has been hit with tax audits that many believe was levied in retaliation. Also, members of the ruling pary have openly labeled the station as “Fake news” and publicly advised the network’s advertisers to pull their ads.
The tension between MBC and the government hit a new escalation when the President banned MBC reporters from boarding and reporting from inside the Presidential Jet during President Yoon’s recent trip to South East Asia. The move has been criticized as a dangerous affront to the freedom of the press by international press agencies. President Yoon recently defended the decision citing his constitutional duty in a statement that all but labeled MBC as a threat to national security.
In response, MBC has received an outpour of support, both domestically and abroad, which is reflected by the news outlet’s ratings.