It’s the rare scandal that links air rage, corruption and the fate of the world’s 14th-biggest economy. The Heather Cho kerfuffle dominating South Korean news media offers all this and perhaps more: a chance to right a political system that’s veered off course.

The news media pounced on the delicious tale of Cho’s freakout, on a Dec. 5 New York-to-Seoul flight, over the manner in which she was served her macadamia nuts. Cho figured her status as daughter of Korean Air’s chairman entitled her to demand that Flight 86 return to the gate to toss off a crew member who didn’t pay her sufficient homage.

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