Op-ed: Trump, BTS, & the state of K-pop journalism

Trump BTS

A few minutes before I planned to go to bed last night, I noticed something funny trending on my twitter feed: fans of the K-pop boy band BTS appeared to be getting riled up over a tweet the US presidential candidate Donald Trump allegedly shared in August, where he complimented the boy band and mistakenly called them Chinese.

But it wasn’t the Orientalist racism that sparked the outrage. It was the fact that this tweet had never been tweeted, and one of the most well-known K-pop news outlet wrote an article about it. I searched Twitter, spending a whole three minutes using the site’s Advanced Search function and couldn’t find anything except for a tweet that was clearly photoshopped. Trump, who is extremely outspoken on Twitter, hasn’t deleted any of his past faux pas, so it seems unlikely that he would have deleted (or ever tweeted in the first place, really) anything on his Twitter feed dealing with K-pop or BTS. But this website didn’t take those few moments to determine that and instead ran it as news, which many fans took as fact.

To reiterate the fact: Donald Trump has never, to my knowledge and the best of my research ability, ever tweeted about K-pop or BTS. 

After getting frustrated at the fact that a website that presents itself as a reliable news source didn’t even do the basic minimum fact-checking on what was clearly a click-bait timely news peg, I went to bed. While I slept, the article was later deleted from the site. A quick perusal of the news outlet’s social media revealed that no apology or clarification was issued regarding the original publication. Another website with a less-than-stellar track record at reporting K-pop-related stories also wrote about the tweet, but instead more fully expressed how the tweet was clearly inauthentic.


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As KultScene is not a news site and is based around the opinions of several writers who feel the urge to discuss their favorite topic, Hallyu, I typically wouldn’t address anything about the mistakes of other websites. But this morning, a reputable Korean newspaper picked up the article by the US-based K-pop “news” source and published a piece on their website about it. As a well-respected site with a credible reputation, this is extremely unfortunate. Despite fans tweeting to the outlet that the original source was faked, it has yet to be updated or corrected as of 10:00 p.m. EST on Oct. 27.

Clearly, the Korean outlet didn’t check facts itself, which is problematic for its own sake, but the article was written on the word of an allegedly reputable source. Since the modern state of journalism is an aggregate-heavy environment, it is probable that the Korean outlet expected that a reliable K-pop news outlet based in the US would do proper legwork to research claims that may possibly relate to the US election.

Journalism has always been about telling stories based on facts and research. The outlet that wrote the original piece about the alleged tweet has a track record of regurgitating information without doing research or — even worse — releasing information obtained off-the-record. I personally was unsurprised by the website’s article, since it’s clear they hire writers based on speediness and translating skills rather than any journalistic capabilities. When output and hitcount becomes King, basic steps of newsgathering, like fact-checking, will be disregarded.

The sad thing is that just about every US-based K-pop news source struggles from this. Aside from a handful of outlets, most of which have few reporters but rely on Korean news sources or international wires, none are truly able to be dedicated to Hallyu media and maintain a journalistic edge. Outside of Korea, newsgathering is nearly impossible and there just isn’t a large enough audience to support multiple news sites. Instead, websites depend on keeping their numbers up by spending the least amount of resources possible on the most amount of content.

Until K-pop journalism becomes a more viable, economical field, we’ll continue to see misreporting like this.

What do you think about the situation? Share your opinions in the comment section below. Be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Win BTS’ “The Most Beautiful Moment In Life: Forever Young” Album for Our 2nd Anniversary [GIVEAWAY]

BTS The Most Beautiful Moment In Life Young Forever KultScene Giveaway

In 2014, a few friends put their heads together and thought up what we now know as KultScene. To celebrate our second anniversary on May 19, we’ve put together a celebratory slew of giveaways to thank our readers for sticking with us. And by slew, we mean seven giveaways; one per day leading up to our anniversary! We launched our first giveaway yesterday, so now it’s time for the second.

BTS just dropped their latest album ”The Most Beautiful Moment In Life: Young Forever” on May 2. And if you still haven’t purchased it, don’t worry, KultScene’s got you! We’re giving away one copy of the album to one lucky reader.

From Tumblr

So what are you waiting for? Entering is easy, just follow the plugin below. This giveaway is open to anyone, anywhere in the world! The giveaway ends on May 17 at midnight EST and the winner will be chosen randomly and will be announced on through our Facebook and Twitter, so make sure to check back.

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Best BTS SoundCloud Songs

[Disclaimer: Some of the content below contains profanity.]

SoundCloud is a music platform that allows anyone to upload their music and share it with others. It’s a great platform to discover new artists and you can record music with your computer and upload it for all to hear. It’s also good for listening to well established artists too. BTS is, without a doubt, a very talented group. The majority, if not all, of the members have a hand in the writing of their songs, and some of them have even ventured into producing music. But before these seven talented guys became a huge success, they were writing and recording demos. Luckily for us, some of those have made it onto their SoundCloud. With a total of 21 tracks on the site, BTS gives fans a little bit of everything. Singing, rapping, singing and rapping, great beats, and catchy tunes. The following highlights a few tracks from BTS’ SoundCloud that you should listen to. If you’ve got a SoundCloud of your own that you’d like to improve awareness of, you can use a service such as upyourplays to do this and bring some more ears to your music.

1. Beautiful

Beautiful displays the rapping and singing skills that BTS as a group holds. The sound and music is light and enticing. The boys’ younger, more raw vocals truly showcase the base for their talent. The rapping isn’t too harsh, which parallels the soft vocals throughout the song.

2. Born Singer

Born Singer is another of the singing/rapping tracks on BTS’ SoundCloud. Similar to Beautiful, Born Singer, again, highlights the groups’ individual skills and skills as a cohesive group. The rapping is much more intense and hard hitting, whereas the singing is softer and more delicate.

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3. Monterlude

The next song only showcases Rap Monster’s skills. But instead of highlighting his impressive rapping, Monterlude introduces fans to Rap Monster the vocalist. Now, he does not have the strongest vocals in the group, but the way he delivers the lyrics to Monterlude perfectly embodies the emotion of the song.

4. All I Do Is Win

We have to give Suga some love, his solo rap track All I Do Is Win displays his quick rap with an attractive beat. The song may be short but it perfectly embodies Suga as a rapper. He is hard hitting, fierce, and confident in his delivery.

5. Rap Monster

Similar to Suga’s solo is one of Rap Monster’s many solos on their SoundCloud, Rap Monster. The song personifies the young rapper. The beat is the first thing we hear and it immediately grabs you for the entirety of the song. Rap Monster’s delivery, at first, is steady and crisp. As the short solo continues, he quickly increases his words per beat for a portion of the song, which perfectly shows off his impressive rap skills.

6. ????

Rap Monster, Suga, and Jin are the perfect combo to pull off this style of song. Jin’s soft vocals perfectly match the high pitched piano, while Rap Monster and Suga’s deep and raspy voices beautifully create contrast and add another layer to the already good song.

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7. Too Much

The beginning of Too Much is something completely different than what you might expect from someone who calls himself ‘Rap Monster.’ Sampling Drake’s song by the same name, the introduction immediately grabs you with the hollow piano and Rap Monster’s raw vocals at the chorus. He goes between his impressive singing and flawless rapping throughout the song. Too Much is a beautiful song that impressively showcases the leader’s multiple talents.

What are your favorite tracks from BTS’ SoundCloud? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.