‘Right to Life’ versus right to an opinion

An interesting ruling by the Press Council after Right to Life New Zealand complained that a column in The New Zealand Herald by Lizzie Marvelly on abortion breached a Press Council Principle  on Accuracy, Fairness and Balance.

I agree that Marvelly has a right to express her opinion. ‘Right to Life’ is confusing facts with differing opinions.


Overview

  1. Right to Life New Zealand complained that a column in The New Zealand Herald by Lizzie Marvelly, “It’s her body, it should be her choice”, breached Press Council Principle 1, Accuracy, Fairness and Balance.

Background

2. On May 28 The New Zealand Herald published a column by Lizzie Marvelly, “It’s her body, it should be her choice”, which presented her views on abortion.

3. Abortion is technically an offence in New Zealand under the Crimes Act (1961). The article outlined the process women have to go through as a result to get an abortion, including referral by a GP or Family Planning, and consultations with two certifying doctors.

4. Ms Marvelly wrote that although we are protective of individual freedoms, in the eyes of the law the decision as to whether an abortion can go ahead is not made by women by the doctors who care for them.

5. In practice, she said, the most commonly used justification is that continuing a pregnancy would cause serious danger to the mental health of the woman.

6. “In our modern, developed world, to have to claim mental suffering to two consultants in order to obtain an abortion is frankly paternalistic and patronising,” she said.

7. Ms Marvelly argued that a woman should not have to speak to a counsellor or wait for an enforced period between appointments to think about her decision, particularly when she may have to travel great distances.

8. She said women in New Zealand should have access to abortion services regardless of where they live.

9. She maintained it was a basic medical procedure, safer than childbirth itself, but stigmatised even today.

10. The column also outlined the current situation with regard to abortion in other countries, specifically the United States and Britain, and criticised the actions of groups which publish emotionally charged newspaper ads, erect “condescending” billboards, create websites and crisis hotlines advertising their apparently neutral pregnancy services for women.

11. Ms Marvelly wrote that this results in an environment in which women are made to feel ashamed or judged for exercising a human right “that has been affirmed by the United Nations”.

The Complaint

12. Right to Life secretary Ken Orr complained that Lizzie Marvelly’s column breached Principle 1, Accuracy, Fairness and Balance. He also referred to Principle 4, Comment and Fact, and 5, Columns, Blogs, Opinion and Letters.

13. He said the article lacked balance because there was no comment from those opposed to abortion.

14. The main thrust of Mr Orr’s complaint appears to be what he considers are factual inaccuracies in Ms Marvelly’s column. These include:

      1. The writer said “pregnancy does not discriminate between the prepared and the utterly unsuspecting, it just happens”. Mr Orr said, “Pregnancy does not just happen, it can be prevented by avoiding sexual intercourse”.
      2. The writer claimed women have to plead grave mental suffering in order to gain an abortion. Mr Orr said that was not correct as abortion is “available on demand in New Zealand”.
      3. By saying a woman shouldn’t need to justify her decision to anyone, least of all the Crown and its agents, Mr Orr said the writer fails to recognise the human rights of the child in the womb.
      4. When the writer claimed women should have access to abortion services regardless of where they live, she failed to acknowledge that abortions are not available in some areas because doctors in those areas refuse to perform them.
      5. The writer claimed abortions were a safe medical procedure, but failed to recognise that “abortion is not safe for the child who is violently dismembered in the mother’s womb”.
      6. The writer stated that obstetricians and gynaecologists in the US are being shot, clinics bombed, and vulnerable women harassed, but failed to recognise that the violence at abortion clinics happened inside the clinic.
      7. Mr Orr said the writer’s suggestion that the pro-life movement was responsible for the crimes committed in the US was “scandalous”. The pro-life movement is “emphatically opposed to violence against women and their unborn, as well as murder of abortionists and violence against abortion clinics and staff”.
      8. Ms Marvelly’s wrote that amending the Care of Children Act 2004 making it mandatory for doctors to notify parents when under 16-year-olds seek an abortion would endanger vulnerable young women who seek an abortion as a result of incest or sexual violence and undermine the trust they have in their physicians. Mr Orr described her belief as “absurd”.
      9. He challenged the writer’s claim that the United Nations has affirmed that abortion is a human right, quoting Article 3 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights: “Everyone has the right to life”.

The Response

15. New Zealand Herald Weekends Editor Miriyana Alexander denied that the column by Lizzie Marvelly breached Press Council Principle 1.

16. She said the column is an opinion piece, clearly labelled with the writer’s name on the print and online versions. Ms Marvelly was employed to write a weekly column to share her views with readers. The newspaper did not expect everyone to agree with her, but “freedom of expression is a principle we hold dear at the Herald”.

17. The editor said she did not intend to respond to the parts of the complaint which are simply views Right To Life holds in opposition to Ms Marvelly. “It is not Right to Life’s place to tell Ms Marvelly that she should hold the same view as theirs.”

18. On the allegation that the statement “the United Nations has affirmed than an abortion is a human right” is untrue because there is no UN Convention that recognises this “human right” the editor rebutted Mr Orr’s claim. Ms Marvelly did not say there was a UN Convention, she simply said that woman were “exercising a human right that has been affirmed by the United Nations”.

19. The editor provided several links to examples of the UN’s position on abortion in which it ruled that denying women abortions was a violation of human rights.

The Decision

20. Lizzie Marvelly is a regular columnist for the New Zealand Herald and her June 28 column on abortion was clearly an opinion piece on a subject that has for many years inflamed public debate.

21. By their very nature, opinion pieces are frequently provocative, offensive or controversial in subject and tone, but they are exempt from many of the rules which apply to news reports, as long as it is clear that they are the writer’s opinion. Principles 4, Comment and Fact, and 5 Columns, Blogs, Opinion and Letters, both require that material facts on which an opinion is based should be accurate, with Principle 5 stating that with opinion pieces, balance is not essential.

22. It is clear to the Press Council that the inaccuracies Mr Orr alleges are in fact the views of the writer, which differ markedly from those held by Right to Life. Rather than attempting to prove the writer’s statements are incorrect, Mr Orr has simply countered them with the responses that his organisation routinely uses on this topic.

23. Ms Marvelly’s opinion may well be unpalatable to many, but that does not make it wrong. We agree with the editor when she says: “It is not Right to Life’s place to tell Ms Marvelly that she should hold the same view as theirs.”

24. As an opinion piece, the column was not required to provide balance and the Press Council finds no breach of Principle 1 in terms of fairness or accuracy.

25. The complaint is not upheld.

Press council versus Matt Heath

In April there was some controversy when two Radio Hauraki hosts ridiculed English cricket player Ben Stokes, then when Stokes’ mother rang up to complain they broadcast it live but told her it was off air.

One of the hosts, Matt Heath, wrote an opinion column that was published on NZ Herald: Matt Heath: When a mother sticks up for her famous son

Ben Stokes’ mum got wind of our comments and rang our studio to stick up for her 24-year-old son. I answered her call live on air thinking she was ringing up for a competition. When we found out she was ringing to make a complaint about us, we thought it would be funny to tell her she wasn’t on air so our listeners could hear someone have a go at us.

In my opinion, Ben Stokes’ mum was being an overly protective parent. She’d heard some people had made jokes about her son and wanted to stick it to us. Good on her.

But she shouldn’t have.

I reckon there is a lesson here for all us parents. Fighting your kids’ battles rarely helps.

Within reason, kids have to fight their own battles. That’s how they become resilient like we all are. You won’t always be around for them. You could get hit by a bus tomorrow. Your kids need to stand up for themselves today.

Give them love, support, advice and a safe home – but don’t ring up a radio station on air because someone called your boy “Ben Chokes”.

So Heath criticised Deborah Stokes and defended his deliberate deception on air.

But Deborah Stokes didn’t leave it at that. She lodged a complaint with the Press Council, who have upheld her complaint.

CASE NO: 2516

ADJUDICATION BY THE NEW ZEALAND PRESS COUNCIL ON THE COMPLAINT OF DEBORAH STOKES AGAINST NEW ZEALAND HERALD

FINDING: UPHELD

TO BE PUBLISHED ON 11 JULY 2016 Confidential to the parties until 11 July 2016

1. Deborah Stokes complains that a column published in the New Zealand Herald entitled “When a mother sticks up for her famous son” breaches Press Council Principles 1, Accuracy, Fairness and Balance, 2, Privacy, and 9, Subterfuge.

2. The complaint is upheld on Principle 1 with regard to fairness. One member would also uphold on Subterfuge.

The Complaint

11. Mrs Stokes’ complaint provides context to the subject of the New Zealand Herald column, namely the live broadcast of the phone call she made to Radio Hauraki. She says she asked for, and was given, two separate assurances by host Matt Heath that the discussion was off-air. It was in fact on air, broadcast live and was subsequently replayed and referred to on the radio breakfast show several times over the next few days.

12. Mrs Stokes complains that the New Zealand Herald column breached three Press Council principles.

13. Principle 9 Subterfuge: Because the column was based on an on-air broadcast that was itself obtained by subterfuge, the information in the column was obtained by the same root subterfuge, misrepresentation and dishonesty. “It goes without saying that the column cannot be justified as being in the public interest,” she says.

14. Principle 1, Fairness: Mrs Stokes claims the actions of Matt Heath in writing a column based on an act of subterfuge breached the fairness principle.

15. Principle 2, Privacy: Mrs Stokes claims it was a breach of her privacy for Heath to have referred to the matter in the column as the radio broadcast itself was also a breach of her privacy.

The Editor’s Response

19. The editor of the New Zealand Herald, Murray Kirkness, defends the newspaper’s decision to publish the column. It is important, he says, to make the distinction between the original live radio broadcast and the subsequent opinion column when considering the facts.

20. He denies that subterfuge was used in obtaining information for the column as the information was already in the public domain prior to the time of publication.

26. Mr Kirkness submits that the publication of the column did not breach any Press Council rules, and did not go any further than what was widely published nationally and internationally in other media. “I believe it would be a matter of significant concern if the media were not able to comment on matters of public controversy by reason of issues arising out of the circumstances in which a story first broke,” he says. “Once an issue is in the public domain and has become a matter of public debate it cannot be the case that it is impermissible for the media to comment on it by reason of some question mark over the manner in which the information originally surfaced.”

Discussion

27. The New Zealand Herald column published on April 11 is based on the live broadcast on Radio Hauraki on April 6; however the Press Council cannot comment on the radio broadcast as it is the subject of a separate complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority, and this adjudication deals only with the article published by the New Zealand Herald in print and online.

28. The column by Matt Heath was clearly an opinion piece; it was not a news report. Opinion pieces are by their very nature frequently provocative, offensive or controversial in subject and tone, but as long as they are clearly signposted as the writer’s opinion, they are exempt from many of the rules which apply to news reports. The Press Council’s Principle 5, Columns, Blogs, Opinion and Letters, states that “though requirements for a foundation of fact pertain, with comment and opinion, balance is not essential.”

29. In this case, however, we believe the fine line on what can be deemed fair or not fair has been crossed. Heath’s column about over-protective parents, which under normal circumstances is a perfectly acceptable subject for an opinion piece, was clearly a convenient hook to allow him to justify his actions in knowingly deceiving Mrs Stokes on his radio show.

30. In the column Heath openly admitted his dishonesty, which he said he thought would be funny, and then ridiculed Mrs Stokes for defending her son, writing that “a parental attempt to right things ended up bringing global humiliation on her son”.

31. The Press Council does not accept the editor’s argument that the New Zealand Herald article did not go any further than what was widely published nationally and internationally in other media. The difference was that the Herald published an opinion piece written by the perpetrator of the original deceit.

32. We agree with Mrs Stokes’ view that it was not fair for the newspaper to provide Matt Heath a further opportunity to justify his improper actions on his radio show. It is also unfair that he was permitted to add insult to injury by using her as an example of what not to do as a parent. Otherwise he is able to take advantage of his own misleading actions, which is unfair.

33. The complaint that the column breached Principle 1, with respect to fairness is upheld.

34. With regard to the complaints under Principle 9, Subterfuge, and Principle 2, Privacy, it is clear that rightly or wrongly, the subject of the broadcast discussion between Mrs Stokes and the Radio Hauraki hosts was very much in the public domain by the time the column appeared, so the information contained within it cannot be deemed to have been obtained by subterfuge. Mrs Stokes’ identity was by that stage also in the public domain, so her privacy cannot be deemed to have been breached by the New Zealand Herald article.

35. The complaints under Principle 2 and Principle 9 are not upheld.

However one member of the Council also wanted the complaint upheld on grounds of subterfuge and wanted his dissent noted. The column relied on an interview based on deception, and regardless of whether that interview was broadcast on radio or was simply part of the columnist’s research, the deception remains and, in his mind, was grounds for a wider uphold.

Regardless of this, the actions of Heath (and Jeremy Wells) on air were crappy, and Heath doubled down on his crap with the column.

The Herald published the full finding in Press Council upholds complaint against Matt Heath column.

 

Speaking out on family violence

Continuing on their series today NZ Herald quotes a number of people including Police Commissioner Mike Bush, Police Minister Judith Collins, Andrew Little plus a few actors.

family_violence_article_banner

Family violence: New Zealanders speak out

New Zealand has the worst rate of family and intimate-partner violence in the world. Eighty per cent of incidents go unreported — so what we know of family violence in our community is barely the tip of the iceberg.

Today is the final day of We’re Better Than This, a week-long series on family violence.

Our aim is to raise awareness, to educate, to give an insight into the victims and perpetrators. We want to encourage victims to have the strength to speak out, and abusers the courage to change their behaviour.

Take a stand – NZ is #BetterThanThis

So here’s a prompt for Your NZers to speak out.

Tony Veitch on violence

The second feature article at NZ Herald in a series on addressing family silence features Tony Veitch, who became notorious for a violent attack on his then partner ten years ago.

Veitch has fronted up saying that it was a one-off grave misjudgment that  impacted on many people’s lives.

As deplorable as what Veitch did I think he is doing the right thing speaking up about it, acknowledging his mistake, makes no excuse, and promises that he has changed and will never be ‘that person’ again.

We may all be just one brain explosion away from being ‘that person’.

If we are to better address and reduce family violence then it’s important for men like Veitch to speak up, are open about what they have done and speak about how it may be dealt with. It can be very difficult, but it’s necessary

Tony Veitch pleaded guilty in April 2009 to one charge of reckless disregard causing injury over a January 2006 assault on his former partner. He was sentenced to nine months’ supervision, 300 hours of community service and a $10,000 fine.

family_violence_article_banner

Tony Veitch: Acceptance, remorse and recovery

It is 10 years since I turned from the man I’d always wanted to be, to a man I could not control. In January 2006 I made a huge mistake, a grave misjudgment on my behalf that has impacted the lives of many people and for that I am truly sorry.

Even though it was the only time that I have ever lashed out in my life, once was too much. I should have walked away, but instead I hurt someone and I can’t ever make that go away.

I have spent hours alone and in counselling sessions considering my actions that night and wondering why I ever allowed myself to get to that point.

There is no justifiable answer. I have imagined every conceivable scenario to have avoided what I did, but in the end, they were my actions. I take responsibility for that and I will do for the rest of my life.

Poor judgment on my behalf changed so much that day and I apologise unreservedly for that.

My story is public and while that’s hard personally, maybe it is a good thing. Perhaps somewhere it might help someone else make a better decision.

Hopefully it can be a small part of the process of educating New Zealanders that family violence is not okay.

It’s a very important part of helping New Zealanders accept as a given that family violence is not ok.

Veitch goes on to detail some of the difficulties he caused others and difficulties he faced himself as a consequence, including attempting suicide.

I condemned his violent attack, but I applaud what he is doing to help address violence now.

If you’re in danger NOW:

• Phone the police on 111 or ask neighbours of friends to ring for you
• Run outside and head for where there are other people
• Scream for help so that your neighbours can hear you
• Take the children with you
• Don’t stop to get anything else
• If you are being abused, remember it’s not your fault. Violence is never okay

Where to go for help or more information:

• Women’s Refuge: Free national crisisline operates 24/7 – 0800 REFUGE or 0800 733 843 www.womensrefuge.org.nz
• ShineFree national helpline 9am- 11pm every day – 0508 744 633www.2shine.org.nz
• It’s Not Ok: Information line 0800 456 450 www.areyouok.org.nz
• Shakti: Providing specialist cultural services for African, Asian and Middle Eastern women and their children. Crisisline 24/7 0800 742 584
• Ministry of Justice: www.justice.govt.nz/family-justice/domestic-violence
• National Network of Stopping Violence: www.nnsvs.org.nz
• White Ribbon: Aiming to eliminate men’s violence towards women, focusing this year on sexual violence and the issue of consent. www.whiteribbon.org.nz

How to hide your visit

If you are reading this information on the Herald website and you’re worried that someone using the same computer will find out what you’ve been looking at, you can follow the steps at the link here to hide your visit. Each of the websites above also have a section that outlines this process.

Herald on Sunday

 

Herald against family violence

The Herald has started a series on family violence.

Family violence: Emily’s story – ‘When I see her in my dreams she gives me a hug’

family_violence_article_banner

New Zealand has the worst rate of family and intimate-partner violence in the world. A shocking 80 per cent of incidents go unreported — so what we know of family violence in our community is barely the tip of the iceberg. Today is part one of We’re Better Than This, a six-day series on family violence. Our aim is to raise awareness, to educate, to give an insight into the victims and perpetrators. We want to encourage victims to have the strength to speak out, and abusers the courage to change their behaviour.

Five years ago Emily Longley was murdered by her ex-boyfriend. Today, her father Mark writes about the terrible toll of losing his daughter — and the hope that her story can help others as the Herald launches a series on family violence.

Their editorial also addresses family violence:

Editorial: Never any excuse for a man to hit a woman

Kiwi males must take lesson on board for NZ to end disgrace of its family violence stats.

Let us not soften the language we use about a man who hits a woman. It has been called domestic violence or partner violence. Our in-depth examination of the problem today and through next week is labelled “family violence” because an entire family suffers when a parent resorts to violence to control a partner or children. But at its most serious level, this problem is men. Not all men, not even most men, and, as some men always point out, not just men. Women can, and do, resort to violence too.

But this subject is too important to be blurred and broadened for the sake of gender neutrality. New Zealand has one of the worst family violence rates in the world and it is a fair bet women are not responsible for most of it, and certainly not the worst of it. We should not listen to claims of provocation, verbal or physical. If we are going to eradicate this disgrace on our society the truth needs to be implanted in every male mind that there is never an excuse for a man to hit a woman.

I’m reluctant to agree with “never an excuse”, just as I’m reluctant to say there should never be war, but it should at least be seen as a rare exception to the rule of non-violence.

But we can and must do more to make it clear that in most situations resorting to violence is simply out of bounds, it shouldn’t happen and it should be made clear that it is unacceptable behaviour.

Men in particular (a minority by sadly a fairly significant minority) are responsible for violence and especially the worst violence.

So men in general have a responsibility to do what they can – which is quite a bit more than has been done in the past – to speak up against family violence and where possible act against family violence.

From the Herald:

If you’re in danger NOW:

• Phone the police on 111 or ask neighbours of friends to ring for you
• Run outside and head for where there are other people
• Scream for help so that your neighbours can hear you
• Take the children with you
• Don’t stop to get anything else
• If you are being abused, remember it’s not your fault. Violence is never okay

Where to go for help or more information:

• Women’s Refuge: Free national crisisline operates 24/7 – 0800 REFUGE or 0800 733 843 www.womensrefuge.org.nz
• ShineFree national helpline 9am- 11pm every day – 0508 744 633www.2shine.org.nz
• It’s Not Ok: Information line 0800 456 450 www.areyouok.org.nz
• Shakti: Providing specialist cultural services for African, Asian and Middle Eastern women and their children. Crisisline 24/7 0800 742 584
• Ministry of Justice: www.justice.govt.nz/family-justice/domestic-violence
• National Network of Stopping Violence: www.nnsvs.org.nz
• White Ribbon: Aiming to eliminate men’s violence towards women, focusing this year on sexual violence and the issue of consent. www.whiteribbon.org.nz

How to hide your visit

If you are reading this information on the Herald website and you’re worried that someone using the same computer will find out what you’ve been looking at, you can follow the steps at the link here to hide your visit. Each of the websites above also have a section that outlines this process.

NZ Herald

Social trial successes despite Herald emphasis on failure

The headline of a Herald article on social trials (by Nicholas Jones) screams failure, but the cup is only 1/3 empty. There has been 11 successful trials and only 5 failures.

5 ‘social sector trials’ to be abandoned

Five experimental “social sector trials” won’t be continued after poor results.

At the sites, funding for youth services run by Police and the ministries of education, health, justice and social development was handed over to local communities.

But there was over twice as many successes as failures:

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley announced today that 11 out of 16 trials had produced good results and would now be transitioned to new “community-led models”.

“The trials brought together decision-makers at a local level, such as mayors, stakeholders and agency representatives to collaborate on how social services were funded and delivered. They were most successful where there was good co-ordination from those involved.”

Back to the problems:

But trials in five sites will be ended at June 30 – in Whakatane, Rotorua, Waikato, South Taranaki, and Wairarapa.

Those trials have been running since July 2013, but results meant continued funding could not be justified.

The Ministry of Social Development said, broadly, the problems with the scrapped trials were that in some areas other programmes were already operating that resulted in “crowding”, and when trials covered large geographic areas they had “been difficult to embed”.

It’s disappointing to see most emphasis in this article put on the smaller number of failures.

There can even be positives in the failures.

It’s good to see that the Ministry is prepared to try different things, then to continue with those that are successful and learn from and scrap the ones that haven’t been successful.

A BLiP flap flip

A BLiP flap over accusations of John Key lying quickly flipped to accusing a Newshub update of covering up the lying.

Yesterday BLiP posted Oooops! at The Standard which showed two headlines:

john-key-hasnt-spoke-to-his-lawyer-620x328

The first from NZ Herald timed and dated Tuesday 3 May 2016 12:32 pm:

Prime Minister John Key agrees lawyer’s email was ‘sloppily written”

Speaking to reporters this morning, Mr Key said he had discussed the issue with Mr Whitney, who works at Auckland based firm Antipodes Trust Group.

He is absolutely confident my version of events is correct,” he said.

The second from Newshub times and dated Thursday 5 May 2016 8:49 am:

Key hasn’t spoken to his lawyer about email yet

Prime Minister John Key hasn’t spoken to his lawyer since it emerged he lobbied Inland Revenue against changes to foreign trust rules.

In comments a number of people accepted two non-specific news reports as gospel and as proof that John Key lied.

Lanthanide explains:

On May 3rd, Key says his lawyer agrees with him that the email was sloppily written and did not reflect what actually happened.

On May 5th, Key says he hasn’t spoken to his lawyer.

Both statements cannot be true together. At least one, most likely both, must be a lie.

Neither news report, as far as they are shown at The Standard, specify timing, nor which emails they are referring to.

Assumptions that most likely both reports “must be a lie” are not supported by anything quoting what Key said.

Magisterium went against the flow…

That’s not correct.

The Tuesday article says that Key spoke to Whitney to confirm that Key’s recollection of their conversation (“not my area, contact the Ministry”) was correct.

The Thursday article says that Key had not spoken to Whitney since it became known that Whitney had emailed the Ministry to lobby about tax policy.

These two articles do not contradict each other.

[BLiP: It is impossible for someone able to type, spell correctly, apply relatively competent grammar, and use the internet to be as stupid as you are trying to appear. For this reason, its obvious you are trolling. Banned for one week.]

…and was banned.

The New Student points out:

Perhaps Magisterium has a fair point, as it seems Satherley’s story has changed somewhat. All I can find by Satherley on NewsHub is “Key doesn’t hold a grudge against lawyer” Thursday 5 May 2016, 8.49 am. The line that’s in the above picture is nowhere to be found in this version of the article. I’m not terribly bright so you should check for yourself if I have it straight.

The quote is: “I haven’t caught up with him because look, I’ve been busy,” I can’t watch/listen to any media as I’m on crummy school computer at the moment.

From this article, the last time they “caught up” is not entirely clear. So going back to the articles on the sloppy email issue, the last time seems to have been whenever that discussion (supposedly) took place. Maybe that’s why the article has since been amended.

James also says:

Blip – you do know that the headline you are mentioning is completely gone right?

Its been completely updated. So perhaps there was a issue with the original article as opposed to Key telling a lie?

BLiP flips from accepting the word od two news reports as definitive proof of Key lying to accusing Newshub of “helping John Key cover the lie up”.

Yep, Newshub is helping John Key cover the lie up. If you click on the link you will see that the URL still contains the original headline.

http://www.newshub.co.nz/politics/key-hasnt-spoken-to-his-lawyer-about-email-yet-2016050508

With the MSM now actively colluding with John Key in deceiving New Zealanders, it always helps to get a screen cap. 🙂

The Newshub article now has a different headline and opening paragraph (although the time and date are the same and the URL matches the original headline:.

Key doesn’t hold a grudge against lawyer

Prime Minister John Key has revealed he met his longstanding lawyer Ken Whitney at antenatal classes more than 20 years ago, when Mr Key’s wife Bronagh was pregnant with their first child, Stephanie.

Mr Key says he doesn’t hold a grudge against Mr Whitney, despite the fallout from the lawyer’s lobbying of Inland Revenue (IRD) against changes to foreign trust rules.

“I haven’t caught up with him because look, I’ve been busy,” he told More FM’s Si and Gary show on Thursday.

Non-quoted ‘Key hasn’t spoken to his lawyer’ has changed to a quote “I haven’t caught up with him because look, I’ve been busy.”

That may or may not be contradictory. Catching up with someone may or may not be the same as speaking to them.

The Herald article also has a changed headline and appears to have additional detail or is rearranged:

Email was ‘sloppily written’: Key

Prime Minister John Key says his lawyer has agreed that an email that used Mr Key’s name to lobby a minister against a crackdown on foreign trusts was “sloppily written”.

Mr Key said yesterday that his personal lawyer Ken Whitney had misrepresented him in an email to former Revenue Minister Todd McClay.

The email, sent in December 2014, said: “We are concerned that there appears to be a sudden change of view by the IRD in respect of their previous support for the [foreign trusts] industry.

“I have spoken to the Prime Minister about this and he advised that the Government has no plans to change the status of the foreign trust regime.”

Speaking to reporters this morning, Mr Key said he had discussed the issue with Mr Whitney, who works at Auckland-based firm Antipodes Trust Group.

“He is absolutely confident my version of events is correct,” he said.

“Maybe the email was sloppily written. I was certainly aware that we weren’t making any changes.”

Again, speaking with someone about a specific issue may or may not be the same as catching up with them.

I don’t think there is sufficient detail here to claim ‘Key lied!’ and then when the news story changes claim ‘Newshub covered up a lie!’.

News articles online are often changed, perhaps as more information comes to had, and sometimes due to feed back.

I have pointed out factual mistakes and as a result articles have been updated to be more accurate, not to cover up anything.

I would hope that an updated MSM article was more reliable than a BLiP on a blog flipping from taking vague reports as absolute evidence of a terrible lie to accusing the media of covering up lies when they change their content.

Embarrassing error

On Saturday NZ Herald reported an embarrassing error:

MediaWorks CEO Mark Weldon’s embarrassing error when announcing Hilary Barry’s departure

In what might be considered as adding salt to the wound, the head of MediaWorks has made an embarrassing gaffe in an email to staff – in which he wrongly spelled Hilary Barry’s name.

Chief executive Mark Weldon, currently overseas, sent an internal email today, following Barry’s shock resignation this week.

In the subject line was simply: “Hillary Barry” – showcasing an extra L in her first name.

Today NZ Herald must have had different editorial staff on. They reported:

Senior MediaWorks staff ready to revolt following Hillary Barry’s resignation

They have since corrected this error here but they had also repeated it on Twitter:

NZHHilaryError

That must have been a bit embarrassing.

When the news reader is the news

It’s not unusual for news readers and television presenters and especially political reporters/repeaters to appear to think their profile and influence are at least as significant as the news they share.

I think Hilary Barry was an exception, she was generally a professional, pleasant, unobtrusive news anchor. That’s before she joined Paul Henry anyway.

But the rest of New Zealand’s media has put her at the top of the news for several days now – they seem to like promoting stories about their own (with some notable exceptions where they bury awkward inside-media information).

Her resignation from MediaWorks is an NZ Herald headline today (the Herald and NZME are competitors of MediaWorks).

Source: Why Hilary really left TV3

Popular presenter’s departure from network follows string of exits of long-serving and respected colleagues.

The shock departure of TV3 star Hilary Barry is down to “the Axe-Factor” rather than lucrative offers of work elsewhere, a trusted associate says.

The camaraderie and esprit de corps of the channel’s news team kept Barry in place when she could have gone elsewhere, the source revealed.

Her departure after 23 years follows the loss of some of the channel’s longest-serving staff – and the associate says many of the reasons for Barry’s long-time loyalty have already left the broadcaster. “She has watched as key journalists, presenters and teams of people she respected and admired [have been] axed, pushed or resigned because their jobs had become untenable.”

This isn’t even news, it’s been talked about online since Barry’s resignation announcement on Friday. But David Fisher provides some more details. And he lists the notable losses from MediaWorks over the past few months.

The “Axe Factor”

  • Hilary Barry, news anchor
  • John Campbell, Campbell Live
  • Carolyn Robinson, news reader
  • Hamish McKay, sports presenter
  • Mark Jennings, head of news
  • Terrence Taylor, current affairs editor
  • John Hale, 6pm news producer
  • Pip Keane, Campbell Live producer
  • Paula Penfold, 3D journalist
  • Melanie Reid, 3D journalist

That’s a fairly damning list. CEO Mark Weldon is either doing what was required of him, or his position must be under considerable pressure.

Meanwhile Barry has to work out her notice on the Paul Henry Show. She looked quite tired and things seemed a bit tense when they went on air at 6 am.

HilaryBarryonHenry

In other news…a bit of sport from the weekend and a few bits and bobs carried over from last week.

Oh, and NZ Herald filed their story about the news reader under  ‘Entertainment’. That probably says more about the status of news in the media these days than details of Barry’s resignation.

The PM/lawyer/trust story

NZ Herald and One News are making a big thing of a story about John Key, his lawyer (who  is apparently is not a lawyer any more), the Antipodes trust company and lobbying.

One News: John Key’s lawyer’s involvement in lobbying government over tax laws revealed

John Key’s personal lawyer lobbied the Government not to change the controversial tax laws.

This is the latest twist in the Panama Papers saga – and it’s raising more questions for the Prime Minister and the role of his lawyer Ken Whitney.

Earlier this month Mr Key shrugged off the revelation that he had a cash deposit with Antipodes Trust, a company that specialises in foreign trusts. His office explained this away by saying the deposit was lodged with Mr Whitney, who had recently moved firms to the Antipodes Trust.

However, Companies House documents show that Mr Whitney has been involved with the firm since its inception more than 20 years ago.

And Official Information Act document also reveals that Mr Whitney and the Antipodes Trust were heavily involved in lobbying the Government not to change the controversial tax rules.

NZ Herald: The Antipodes email: The PM, his lawyer and foreign trusts

John Key’s personal lawyer cited a conversation with the Prime Minister when lobbying a Minister about a potential crackdown on the lucrative foreign trust industry.

Time and analysis will show whether there is anything significant or damaging to Key in this story.

There’s another interesting aspect to the story – it appears to have been provided to selected news outlets, One News, the Herald and Radio NZ, and not given to Newshub or Stuff, at least not initially.

Giving one or some media outlets news, in this case one print, one television and one radio outlet, is a technique used to get those outlets to give the news more prominence as an ‘exclusive’ .


The story came from the Greens, who clearly decided to share w tvnz, rnz & herald.

Clearly from Greens – are you saying that was shut out?

Anybody there from Greens – was shut out from story?

it seems fairly obviously it was provided first to Tvnz over tv3 like it was to Herald over stuff


So its just a queue waiting for a press release? Sad.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,578 other followers