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[Newsmaker] Yoon Chang-jung, a veteran of controversy

Yoon Chang-jung
Yoon Chang-jung
Even before his dismissal amid allegations of sexual assault last week, former Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Yoon Chang-jung was a controversial figure for his unreserved and often vulgar political comments.

Yoon was a veteran journalist before being picked by President Park Geun-hye last year as the spokesman of her presidential transition committee.

Yoon began his career as a reporter at the Korea Times in 1981, and spent much of the 1980s and the 1990s covering politics at a number of local vernacular newspapers.

In more recent years, Yoon gained public attention running his own website through which he publicized his outspoken political views, often honing in on specific politicians.

Yoon’s involvement in the Park Geun-hye administration has been controversial from the very start.

His appointment as a spokesman for the presidential transition committee on Dec. 24 was heavily criticized by the progressive parties for his rightwing tendencies and outspoken criticism of the progressive bloc.

In the run up to last year’s presidential election, Yoon caused controversy when he referred to conservative figures who supported Rep. Moon Jae-in of the Democratic Party as “political prostitutes” and opposition supporters as “anti-Korean forces.”

As such, opposition parties repeatedly called for his dismissal saying that Yoon was contradictory to the president’s plans to achieve “grand unity” within Korean society, which was echoed by some ruling party lawmakers.

While he was serving as the transition team’s spokesman, the opposition parties designated Yoon as the symbol of the president’s “reticent leadership,” and the first mistake in her personnel appointments.

For much of her time as the president-elect, Park chose to remain away from the public eye and maintained the decision-making processes regarding personnel appointments tightly under wraps.

In addition to his more recent actions, questions have also been raised about Yoon’s career as a journalist.

According to former Democratic Party floor leader Park Jie-won, Yoon gained the position of an editorial writer for a local business daily in 1999 by claiming ties to late former President Kim Dae-jung. 

By Choi He-suk (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)
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