A substantial proportion of younger Koreans believe online rumors of impending doom as a result of the Korea-U.S. free-trade agreement and other conspiracy theories, a straw poll suggests. Some 49 percent in their 20s through 40s believe Korea will become an economic colony of the U.S. if the FTA takes effect.
The phone poll of 500 people in their 20s, 30s and 40s across the country was conducted on Wednesday by Media Research for the Chosun Ilbo.
A whopping 48 percent said they believe that Korea will not be able to prevent imports of American beef even if people here contract the human form of mad cow disease after eating infected American beef.
A majority, or 54.7 percent, of those in their 30s believe mad cow disease is rampant in the U.S., with 69.1 percent of women in that age group expressing worries about an outbreak of Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease.
Over 35 percent also believe that a scandal surrounding singer Seo Taiji's divorce from actress Lee Ji-ah was cooked up by Cheong Wa Dae and the National Intelligence Service to divert public attention from the case of a boiler room operation involving President Lee Myung-bak, which has dogged the president's steps and resurfaced around the same time.
Asked which political tweets they trust, 83.2 percent named software tycoon Ahn Cheol-soo. Next came TV celebrity Kim Je-dong (71.8 percent), novelist Lee Oi-soo (65.3 percent), actress Kim Yeo-jin (47.8 percent), former ruling Grand National Party chairwoman Park Geun-hye (46.5 percent), and President Lee (24.5 percent).
Respondents were selected through random digit dialing.
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"Many Young People Believe Online Rumors"
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