The Press Council is Biased | The Jackal

2 Nov 2011

The Press Council is Biased

A while ago, I made a formal complaint to the Press Council concerning an article that was published in the Otago Daily Times.

However after a number of weeks passed I had to recontact the Press Council to see why they had not acted upon my complaint. They responded by saying I had to verify that I was a real person and promptly requested my car registration number and a copy of my drivers license.

I do not feel that these things were required for the Press Council to uphold their mandate, and declined to provide my personal information.

The Press Councils secretary, Mary Major then informed me that without this information, they're not willing to hear my formal complaints against the ODT or the National Business Review, a complaint the Press Council had previously informed me they would hear.

In light of there clearly being biased reporting in both of these articles, and that the Press Council appears to also be biased in their decision not to hear my formal complaints, here is the info regarding the Otago Daily Times complaint:

Complaint Details:

Formal Complaint - Otago Daily Times

Dear Press Council,

I write to lay a formal complaint concerning an article that appeared on the Otago Daily Times website on the 05/10/11 entitled Key Nats' ace; Goff sidelined.

I note that the article was edited a day after publication to now include that it is an opinion. However the article is still not factual. It states:

Labour has been criticised by some bloggers for ignoring Mr Goff in their hoardings.

I happen to read a fair amount of the New Zealand blog's and have not seen one blogger criticizing Labour for the fact that Phil Goff is not on all their hoardings at the time the ODT article was published.
A quick Google search doesn't turn up any blogger's that have commented that Phil Goff is not on all the hoardings prior to the article being published. The article is therefore not factual. The article goes on to state:

The (Labour) MPs believe Mr Goff will hamper their campaigning and want to put as much distance as possible between him and themselves during the campaign.

I do not believe that any Labour MP's have said that Phil Goff will hamper their campaigning. The article does not contain any reference to the MP's who it claims says such things. The article is therefore not factual and is unfair to Phil Goff by providing information that is not correct. The article continues:

Some of the (Labour) MPs believe Mr Goff will announce his resignation on election night, leading to the real election for Labour taking place on Sunday, when a new leader will need to be identified.

There is no reference to the Labour MP's that the article claims have said such things and I do not believe that the author is being truthful. The article is therefore unfair on the leader of the opposition and Labour MP's that it claims have made disparaging statements about Phil Goff.

The article makes numerous unfounded, unfair, unbalanced and inaccurate claims.

Contact with Publication:

Have you contacted the publication(s) or website about the matter(s) listed above? If so, in what manner and when? 
Complaint emailed to: 05-10-11
Followup: Tracey Jowett
Response: Murray Kirkness

What, if any, response have you had from the publication(s) or website?
On 7 October 2011 11:25, Murray Kirkness wrote:

Re: Formal complaint

Your emailed complaint and subsequent email have been forwarded to me.

It is not my intention to debate the political commentary in the article about which you complain. You are perfectly entitled to express your opinion on the article, but it does not entitle you to assert other opinion is not correct.

The article was written by the Otago Daily Times' political editor after appropriate research and conversations/interviews with various individuals. The opinion and the views expressed are in the context of an approaching general election. Rightly or wrongly, there appears to be a significant opinion that Mr Goff is not the best person to lead the New Zealand Labour Party. To deny this would be, with respect, to ignore the reality of the situation and the context in which the article was expressed.

Finally, we respect your right to disagree with the article, and advise that you are welcome to provide comment to be considered for publication.

Yours faithfully 
Murray Kirkness 
Editor - Otago Daily Times

to Murray Kirkness
date 10 October 2011 21:52
subject Re: Formal complaint
Dear Murray Kirkness,

Thank you for your email.

You say that "there appears to be a significant opinion that Mr Goff is not the best person to lead the New Zealand Labour Party". However it is the articles contention that the opinion comes from Labour MP's, when there is no evidence that this is the case. Therefore the article is misleading.

Thank you for your offer concerning my comment being considered for publication. I respectfully decline to provide the ODT with content.

You have said you will not debate the issue further, nor alter the article so that it meets New Zealand's publication laws. Therefore I will be forwarding the complaint and related correspondence onto the Press Council for their consideration.