"Biden" vs "Nallimyeon": Gaslighting Works for Some

For around a quarter of the South Korean public, a clearly audible word is no barrier to believing what they want.

"Biden" vs "Nallimyeon": Gaslighting Works for Some

Photo: Presidential Senior Secretary of Public Relations Kim Eun-hye insists that Yoon Suk-yeol did not say "Biden", as in "Biden will be fucking humiliated" in a hot mic moment. Credit: Office of the President.

Unsurprisingly, President Yoon Suk-yeol 윤석열 대통령’s embarrassing hot mic moment in New York did not play well with the South Korean public. (See previous coverage, “Diplomatic Disaster Part III.”)

According to a September 28 poll by Jowon C&I 조원씨엔아이, 70.8% said Yoon needed to apologize for the gaffe. In a September 30 poll by Media Tomato 미디어토마토, 54.1% gave a failing grade (between 0 and 25 out of 100) for Yoon’s tour. Similarly, in the Gallup Korea 한국갤럽 poll for September Week 4, 54% said Yoon’s trip to the UK, the US and Canada “did not help South Korea’s national interest.”

Despite the clearly audible recording, the Office of the President 대통령실 has persisted in brazen gaslighting, claiming that Yoon did not say “Biden” but “nallimyeon 날리면” or “lop off,” and “Congress” was referring to South Korea’s National Assembly. Most Koreans dismissed the explanation, which makes little sense contextually and grammatically.

According to a poll conducted from September 26 to 27 by UPI News and Next Week Research, 61.2% said Yoon said “Biden,” not “nallimyeon.” In an entertaining segment, radio news host Kim Eo-jun 김어준 re-played previous instances of Yoon saying the two words, and compared them to Yoon’s hot mic moment in New York.

But some persist in defying their own ears in their defense of Yoon. In the UPI News poll, 26.9% remained impervious to recorded evidence, and said Yoon’s word was “nallimyeon.” Relatedly, 27.9% said in the Jowon C&I poll that Yoon did not need to apologize for the gaffe.

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