Following this piece of excrement based on a so called expert ‘analyst of 1080 activist social media page DEADLINE has begun a campaign to began legal proceeding for defamation against several major new organisations who have being waging an orchestrated and obviously scripted attack against social activism especially anti 1080 activists.
But first we thought would try the media complaints process first to give the corporate media the opportunity to do the right thing. This apparently strips me, just one way the process hinders accountability, from actually taking legal action but as I plan to simply get proceeding moving I can live with that.
A full copy of my complaint afterwards is located bottom of this post. But the core point is failure to own their misreporting and print a retraction (they claim they do but in fact they simply state This article was amended on October 5 when a reference to Jeremy Kerr was removed.
However without context this amendment is a ‘claytons’ amendment and means nada to new readers unaware of the error. To stress that point a retraction is generally required to be of equal size/prominence as the initial error — that has clearly note happened here while the myth now slightly and is again insinuated in a separate newshubs dated 5/5/2018 showing the claim of the conspiracy article was showing just one aspect of the date is not quite true:
Thank you for identifying further information regarding Jeremy Kerr’s 2016 conviction . Although his offending was widely reported and understood (at least initally) as being in response to the use of 1080 (and therefore has relevance to the Article), we acknowledge that he was subsequently held to have other motivations for his offending. We do not consider this is a material inaccuracy however the reference has been removed from the Article, and that deletion has been noted in line with Principle 12.
The process turned out to be a joke and having pointed out that NZMC was ignoring it own guide line (see below) and actually missed out the biggest issue that of actual fake new reporting only corrected when I initiated this process but with out notification of the error to counter damage to reputation already done. To put this is context as investigative journalist for over twenty years I am no stranger to defamation action having faced threat of action during my reporting on the David Bain case, twice when I published by best seller State Secrets at hands of convicted gunsmith David Tipple and then via Fayrichwhite Investments and finally from the former National Security Adviser to Ronald Reagan Richard ( whom I like to simply call dick) Allen. The score sits at 4 nil in my favor to-date.
Turns out I do know a thing or too about law and publishing according to ethical and professional standard required under NZ were our laws based on the curious notion it not enough to tell the truth but it must be seen to be done with out malice or bias. I am of the belief that during the 1080 debate our corporate and main media have not done that and are crusing on belief no one can touch them as defamation proceeding is expensive and the agencies set up to offer the illusion of accountability operate heavily in favour of the industry best interest case in point here how my complaints proceeding todate.
Ruling by the New Zealand Media Council on the complaint of Ben Vigden against Newshub
Finding: No grounds to proceed
Date: October 2018
Ben Vigden complained about a Newshub article published on 8 August, 2018 and headlined 1080 Activism: Going Down the Conspiracy Wormhole.
Mr Vigden said the article suggested 1080 activists were deranged and violent and aimed to reflect those who oppose 1080 as being primarily uneducated, paranoid and delusional, when the reality is the movement is made up of a diverse cross section. The story included details designed to reinforce the idea of anti-1080 as being non-scientific, irrational, delusional and insinuates 1080 activists regularly engage in violent dangerous behaviour.
It was also unbalanced in that it did not cite any 1080 activists. Nor was there any contact with the administrators of a social media page mentioned in the article or recognised 1080 experts.
Newshub senior legal counsel Tom Turton said the article was limited to an examination of the views of only fringe anti-1080 activists and was not a detailed examination of the attitude of all, or even a majority, of anti-1080 campaigners
He added that the article did not need to report the views of mainstream opponents or report on acts of violence against anti-1080 campaigners for example.
In terms of accuracy he said the article clearly identified the source of the theories (i.e. comments posted on the Operation Ban 1080 Facebook page), how they were collected and processed and by whom.
The Facebook page comments were prompted by a question asking people what was the real underlying agenda for using 1080?
The Media Council notes that it was probably expected that a question like that on social media forum would draw a lot of flippant or facetious answers.
Nevertheless, a researcher broke down the almost 200 responses, grouped them into categories and concluded 40 per cent believed human extermination was the ultimate goal. Smaller numbers cited “control of the world through food supply” and “mining DoC land.” Newshub ran her analysis and comment as well as comment from Forest and Bird chief executive Kevin Hague. It also sought comment from the Ban 1080 Party and its Facebook page.
While 1080 is the subject of continuing debate and controversy this was an article about the responses to one question posed on a Facebook page. It did not breach Media Council principles of accuracy, fairness and balance.
Finding: No Grounds to proceed
The problem with that as you read below is the NZMC did not even deal with an admitted fault by Newhubs article in question regarding factually incorrect reporting that 1080 activists threaten to put 1080 in baby formula.
The link in fact no longer contains that error after I called them out but Newhubs refused to print a correction and own it error or that this error created a false and misleading impression – not withstanding that this not the first time that particular myth has being misreported by so called professionals
Below is my reply and their promise to discuss these issues at their October 10th meeting ..to date I have had no reply. Those who understand lawyers will get this.
ME: Received, thank you. I am sorry but your response does not address the specific questions and error of the complaint as they were first raised regarding Newshubs publishing defamatory material.I would like to now put you on notice and seek you address the following issues before DEADLINE Magazine goes to print on the grounds of your own professional negligence and the Councils professional negligence as you both failed to uphold the professional standards of the Media Complaint Council, as listed in the Council’s own guide line and as they pertain to legal defamation. criminal slander according to existing acts of legislation under New Zealand Law (Defamation Act 1992).
This includes (but is not limited too)
1. The complaint process did not addressing the issue of an acknowledge factual error by News Hub (who was responsible for threatening to put formula in baby milk product) which Newshubs in their correspondence to this author acknowledged was an error and had acknowledged had nothing to do with an anti 1080 activists.
2. It does not address the need to publicize that an error was made and Newshubs has a duty to make the public aware previous information published as news by News-hub was factually incorrect and offer equal measure of print/time to ensure the error is corrected and acknowledged as per standard professional standards here in New Zealand. This in accordance with standard professional practice (for example see 2010 38th Report of the New Zealand Press Council). For the council to not uphold standard practice now make you personally alongside the rest of the council equally guilty of complicity to defame due to your professional negligence, dereliction of policy guide lines as found in the councils own literature, now making you personally along with the rest of the current members of the council co-party in any defamation proceeding the ban 1080 or defamed organisation may care to make in the future and as individual suits or as a class action suit.
3. Also your response does address the issue that Newshub claimed the story simply looked at one angle one of many news angles explored by Neshubs. This is simply false and having offered that as a claim of defense was required by law to be able to back up their claim empirically instead of simply making a claim of defence ( with no actual empirical proof offered to support their position) that is simply hearsay.
I note the illustration below as just a sample of the evidence is our position which shows News Hubs as repeatedly published factually incorrectly news and consistently pushed a line, through reporting factually incorrect news, suggesting 1080 activists are irrational and violent going so far as to suggest the government should send in the SAS hit squad to murder 1080 activist for making death threats against the PM (this in fact is also incorrect and yet a further example of Newshubs inability to do their job with professional standard while in contrast they consistently abuse their position as media commentators to single out public citizens who dare exercise their right to free speech and protest and by doing so is clearly in breach of the media guide line policies as we can prove and will if necessary in court of law in defamation proceeding that defamed Ban 1080 (50,000 members) or defamed other 1080 organisation or individual who may care to make in the future, as individual suits, or as a class action suits.
If you don’t accept this then your rejecting legal maxims regarding what consist a ‘legitimate defence’ (argument backed by proof not simply hearsay claims). To accept statement of hear say offered with out seeking evidence to support such claims means your guilty of a gross dereliction of duty which your bound to uphold. This now makes you party to any defamation proceeding I or a group may care to launch in the future as individual or class action suits of litigation. You have being notified.
To accept on face proof a defence without the complainant having to actually prove the defense, they offered, was true (which it clearly is not) – not only is a clear an example of bias which scuse from being fit to serve on the Media Complaint Council. Especially as I point out the vein of this article was not one many angles (as News-hubs claims) but is consistent in terms of the reporting per square inch column and sound time wise in fact that demonstrates Newshubs consistent maintained an editorial policy on 1080 that was slanted and consistently factually incorrect in a manner where the editorial policy is clearly defamatory and seeks to make defamatory claims that are simply not true and not in accordance with the standard of fair and balanced reporting – For the Media Complaint council to accept Newshubs defense with out evidence of statement offered by defense make you equally guilty of complicity due to professional negligence and now make you a co-party in any defamation proceeding the ban 1080 or defamed organisation may care to make in the future and as individual suits or as a class action suit.
As noted I have no reply despite a follow up email — the next step on that basis is to find a lawyer willing to initiate legal proceedings and begin a class action law proceedings – and as noted I do believe in this one case alone their are potentially 50,000 plaintive’s.
MY COMPLAINT TO NEWS HUB AND RESPONSE .
Newhubs have replied to my complaint dated October 3rd 2018 (Hank see below my response to their rebut where their reply from their legal counsel is enclosed in full)
Thank you for your response we will continue on our complaint to the media complaint having received your rebuttal for following reasons.
1) Where you reply
will apply differently in “long-running issues where every side of an issue or argument cannot reasonably be repeated on every occasion. We consider that the 1080 debate is one of those “long-running issues”. Newshub was entitled to limit the Article to an examination of the views of only fringe anti-1080 activists”.
In the first place the spirit of fair and balance has not being applied with Newshub providing no direct referencing from actual activists (primary sources) with equivalent qualification to rebut the many allegation regarding what New hubs says anti 1080 activist believe defining these as ‘fringe’ ideas (an opinion of Newshub not defined fact) and thus it deviates from the principals of journalism of reporting a story with the facts. Instead choosing to using terminology which reflected the writers/ news hubs own views and thus set out to shape public opinion regarding what may be deemed “fringe” in breach of the fair standards principals.
The article further more is constructed in a fashion to reinforce the writer own opinion (not the facts) via failure to provide context for those “fringe ” beliefs from primary sources namely the activist themselves. Or to provide the impression the ideas presented in the article are the dominant belief of a majority of 1080 activists and not just some. This is done via the absence of context or primary documentation (the activist themselves and not just random social media page comments). Which give the reader of the article no idea to the actual knowledge, education, or qualification, behind those remarks or idea. Thus it breaches the spirit of fair and balance in a defamatory manner.
2. In the second place Newhub claims this is a “long reporting issue” and in this case where every side of an issue or argument cannot reasonably be repeated on every occasion” This author accept that remark as accurate. However in the spirit of fair and balance News hubs should still be expected to;
A) highlight that while their are “many” activist who believe alleged “fringe” theories their are many who don’t – this is not made clear in this article in manner which is proportional to the effort (beginning with the headline) to make readers aware that their are many 1080 activist who don’t believe in some or all these “fringe” theories listed in the article or in the manner and context by which this article present these ideas listed in the article. The article by failing to do this has a clear and inherent slant which seek to slander 1080 activism by presenting the “many” (a random selection of remarks picked from a sample of only 200 who represent less than .002 % of the 50,000 people on that page and thus in fact not “many” at all) in a derogatory manner and thus is defamatory.
B. If this is the position of News hubs ( “where every side of an issue or argument cannot reasonably be repeated on every occasion”‘ ) to this Media Council complaint then Newshub, having itself offered this as a defense, should also in its defense of this complaint provide the council with a series of articles that show it has as it claims as defense presented other views of the anti 1080 activism camp (other than being a “fringe” movement), and also provide proof that News hub has sought to provide equal space/time to “activists” with equivalent expertise/education/ qualification (for example lawyer Sue Grey, Biologist Jim Hilton, The Forrest & Society) to those they are using to report the views of pro 1080 activists as to what anti 1080 “activists” do believe to support that contention put forward as a defense of bias.
Other wise if it is unable to do this; then to be it only serves to reinforce the complaint view that the claim of defense is simply not true and is false.
In the context of this article it compares to asking Hitler what his views on what Jews think, based on Hitler getting to select passages from the Talmud alone, or asking follow questions of SS storm troopers, and then not bothering to ask a rabbi to rebut those interpretations of belief – because the Jewish issue is a long running issue and ‘we cant be expected to put all the sides of the argument on display’. When the actual documented fact is one side is being presented alone. One which seeks to deliberate present 1080 “activist” in derogatory and defamatory manner by misrepresent what their beliefs are or by presenting the background behind such belief/ideas which may or may not be held by some but not all or “many” 1080 activists or presents those ideas out of context for the aim making “many [as highlighted an incorrect term) 1080 activist look extreme or unhinged so is derogatory and defamatory.*1
*1 = A plaintive is not expected to provide burden of proof. Yet where a plaintive does offer proof they are required to authenticate quality of evidence behind proof offered up other wise they are simply making an hearsay opinion not documentation ff act.
DEADLINE maintains there is clear effort by Newshub (based on square inch/ per column broadcasting air time ratio) to present the idea presented in this article as the as the dominant view of 1080 (often reporting statement out of context or mixing ideas believed by some but not by all as a on size fits all formula) and not to correctly presenting the wide diversity and wide range of this movement which comes not from the “fringe” but all walks of life. Our proof of that fact is news-hub own content which clearly shows not all sides have being reported as news hubs claims in the context of reporting what 1080 activist believe or don’t.
3. The article states “Is the Department of Conservation’s (DoC) real motivation for using 1080 poison the extermination of the human race? It’s just one of many fringe theories being promoted by activists opposed to the poison, which – at least officially – is used for pest control”.
a1. The context of the statement implies not some of the activist theories are fringe but “many” are not …’and manyare not’ the context is quite clear 1080 activism ideas is “fringe” their fore ergo sum anti 1080 ‘activist’ theories are fringe.
b2. The theories are “fringe”. Again this is the opinion of the writer and goes to the heart of issue with out direct contact with not just those who consider such theories “fringe’ (whether they are many or not) but with those who an have equivalent qualification and professional training as to the primary sources cited in this article -which means it unfair unbalanced reporting.
This to be blunt again is a blatant attempt to interview the ‘crazy cat lady’; in this case via basing an entire article around secondary source (a non academic pie chart and some comments on a social media page) in which the writer randomly gets to selects material from the page without any attempt to reports those concepts in depth or with background information or by using primary sources contacted directly (from the social media page cited administrators). This failing to provide context to often complex or controversial ideas.
Instead the “activists” opponent alone are only given the chance to present what these “fringe” ideas mean and comment on their validity.
Thus the article abandons basic standards of what constitutes fair and balance in a manner consistent with professional usual practices at a level which can only contributed to as professional incompetence on the writers behalf. Or is written with the direct intention of creating a derogatory and defamatory opinion of those who do consider such idea “fringe”, for the purpose of sander.
For the simple reason that the readers are never provided with an opportunity to hear why some anti 1080 activist subscribe to some or all these “fringe” views and why some don’t accept any or all of the idea listed in this article.
3c. New hubs in their reply to this complaint subscribe those who do subscribe to the views cited in the article as “activist” but provides zero qualification to that definition to define who made these comments and what their status of activity is in regards to being an activist is.
4d. New hubs states “In terms of accuracy, the Article clearly identified the source of the theories (i.e. comments posted on the Operation Ban 1080 Facebook page), how they were collected and processed, and by whom. Thank you for identifying further information regarding Jeremy Kerr’s 2016 conviction . Although his offending was widely reported and understood (at least initally) as being in response to the use of 1080 (and therefore has relevance to the Article), we acknowledge that he was subsequently held to have other motivations for his offending. We do not consider this is a material inaccuracy however the reference has been removed from the Article, and that deletion has been noted in line with Principle 12.
New hubs acknowledges it “was widely reported and understood (at least initially) as being in response to the use of 1080 (and therefore has relevance to the Article), we acknowledge that he was subsequently held to have other motivations for his offending.”
The article by a News hubs reporter makes it clear that the issue, whether reported and understood (initially), is now not understood so clearly. This is done by the Newshub reporter himself having made an error in his reporting on an issue which cost the county 37 million so is hard a “minor’ mistake with regards to how some may now see activist as a result of that compounded error on newshubs behalf.
So while the reference has now being removed, due to its acknowledged inaccuracy the misinterpretation of the facts has subsequently being compounded and a removal is insufficient. In the term the article containing the inaccuracy for over 30 days sufficient time to reinforce the public misconception of the facts and News hubs as the acknowledged architect of that error is required to to adress the damage done to anti 1080 public reputation and give compensation in the form of public acknowledgement of their error to meet the standards of fair and balance standards.
5. Further the article states Anti-1080 activists “in recent years have been ramping up their efforts. One group loosened the wheel nuts on DoC workers’ cars, while another threatened to shoot down helicopters distributing the poison”.
A) This is inaccurate for it fails to state no conviction for either event has ever taken place and therefore their is no proof these were the crimes that 1080 activist are guilt of. In doing so breaches the standard of fair and accurate reporting
B) It fails to address that 1080 activist have being met with acts of violence and criminal behavior, which resulted in conviction, aimed at slandering their reputation or causing intimidation to make clear heated emotion are not confined to anti 1080 activist alone and thus give a slanted views of the facts which again breached the standard of fair and balance.
On Fri, 5 Oct 2018 at 15:33, Tom Turton <TomTurton@mediaworks.co.nz> wrote:
I refer to your complaint below, which has been referred to me. I oversee MediaWorks’ Standards Committee which is responsible for considering complaints that Newsub content has breached either the Broadcasting Standards Authority’s Code of Broadcasting Practice, or the NZ Media Council’s (formerly the Press Council’s) Principles. Both the BSA and the Media Council require complainants to direct their complaint to the broadcaster/publisher at first instance.
You have complained about the online article “1080 activism: Going down the conspiracy wormhole” (the Article). This content was not broadcast; therefore the Code of Broadcasting Practice cannot apply and the BSA has no jurisdiction to receive your complaint. We have treated your complaint below as a formal complaint under the Media Council’s Principles, and have considered whether the Article breached any of those Principles.
We have not identified any breach of the Media Council’s Principles.
If you are not satisfied with this conclusion, you may refer your complaint to the Media Council for consideration provided you do so promptly.
The ArticleThe Article dealt with what it clearly described as “fringetheories” and “wild claims” about the reason the Department of Conservation uses 1080. We consider that the Article’s headline captures that tone, with the reference to a “conspiracy wormhole“. We have not identified anything in the Article which characterised these fringe theories as being widely held by anti-1080 campaigners. The Article was not, and it appears was not intended to be, a detailed examination of the attitude of all, or even a majority of anti-1080 campaigners.
The framing and context of the Article affects how the Media Council’s Principles will apply. The Media Council acknowledges that the Accuracy, Fairness and Balance Principle (Principle 1) will apply differently in “long-running issues where every side of an issue or argument cannot reasonably be repeated on every occasion”. We consider that the 1080 debate is one of those “long-running issues”. Newshub was entitled to limit the Article to an examination of the views of only fringe anti-1080 activists. The Article did not need to report the views of mainstream opponents, or report on acts of violence against anti-1080 campaigners for example.
In terms of accuracy, the Article clearly identified the source of the theories (i.e. comments posted on the Operation Ban 1080 Facebook page), how they were collected and processed, and by whom. Thank you for identifying further information regarding Jeremy Kerr’s 2016 conviction . Although his offending was widely reported and understood (at least initally) as being in response to the use of 1080 (and therefore has relevance to the Article), we acknowledge that he was subsequently held to have other motivations for his offending. We do not consider this is a material inaccuracy however the reference has been removed from the Article, and that deletion has been noted in line with Principle 12.
DefamationNewshub is satisfied that the Article is not defamatory.
TOM TURTON SENIOR LEGAL COUNSEL
MOBILE 021 424 177 DDI 09 928 9219 EXTENSION 9219
———- Forwarded message ———
From: ben vidgen <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 29 Sep 2018 at 21:33
Subject: Letter of Complaint – Notice of breach of broadcasting act and intention to launch a class action civil suits against News Hubs
DEADLINE Magazine Letter of formal complaint regardingDefamatory News Hub article suggesting 1080 Activist deranged and violent (addressed to NZ Press Council & Broadcasting Complaint Authority).. A Notification of intent to file a NZ Press Council & a Broad Casting Complaint (as Newshub is multimedia organisation using both digital and on air technology to promote it stories) and file civil class action law suit following failure to correct and address the issue of complaint relating to . The article 1080 Activism: Going Down the Conspiracy Wormhole by Dan Satherley New Hub 30/08/2018The issue of complaint are as follows;
1.The article is full of numerous bias fallacies, inaccuracy and falsehoods, and gives the clear impression the view expressed represent what all 1080 activist believe it cites comments from 200 posters on a site which the article points out is liked by over 50,000 people. This means the sample upon which the article is based uses only .004% contributed to this post which environmental researcher Tina Ngata (whose qualifications as a researcher and statistician are not listed) turned into a pie chart and cannot be deemed a fair or scientific study.
This is in contrast to requirements of fair balanced and accurate coverage cited in the 1987 Broadcasting Act and the 1992 defamation act (and in the spirit of the NZ Press Council ethic and standards which will be inferred here after when citing the 1992 and 1987 legislation relating to fair balanced and accurate.
2). The article said
32 percent – “‘Agenda 21’ human extermination for the New World Order, usually involving the Illuminati”
21 percent – “Control the world through food supply”
9 percent – “Mine DoC land”6 percent – “Eugenics project to create a master human race”6 percent – “Killing all people to sell the land”5 percent – “Money-making scheme involving Govt/New World Order/Illuminati”4 percent – “Money-laundering scheme involving Govt”17 percent – “Other”.
The article does not say or list;
A) what the basis for those belief or their context behind what is;
Agenda 20 ( a UN sustainability program whose focus include population sustainability) the New World Order ( a general term such as Woodrow Wilson & Winston Churchill who used the term “new world order” to refer to a new period of history characterized by a dramatic change in world political thought and in the balance of power and used since by numerous author and commentator in a variety of context since)
the Illuminati an extinct revolutionary movement of anti catholic philosopher and scientists outlawed in the 17th century and now used instead as a euphemism for power blocks which are also known sometimes as “old money” “the old boys network” or the “1%” – 1% refer to the 1% who own over 99% of the globes resources a recognised and accepted economic reality.
or B) any of the other ideas, which we reserve the right to expand upon at a later date, listed in the article presented in the graph and article in a manner aimed to reflect those who oppose 1080 as being primarily uneducated, paranoid and delusional, when the reality is the movement is made up of a diverse cross section of society with a variety of beliefs education levels and passion as is the case with pro 1080 activist.
This is in contrast to the requirements of fair balanced and accurate coverage as defined in the 1987 Broadcasting Act and the 1992 defamation act
3. The story included details designed to reinforce the idea of anti 1080 as being non scientific, irrational, delusion and insinuates 1080 activists regularly engage in violent dangerous behavior, by using information out of context and presented in a deliberate way to mislead readers into thinking these statement were true when in fact their is no evidence to support any of these statement as factual at all.
Thus breaching the requirement for fair balanced and accurate coverage as defined in the 1987 Broadcasting Act and the 1992 defamation act.
Case in point he article states
“They genuinely believe that this is a matter of life and death for them, it kind of explains why they are reacting so extremely – which is not to justify the threats of violence, but certainly puts it in context… Anti-1080 activists in recent years have been ramping up their efforts. One group loosened the wheel nuts on DoC workers’ cars, while another threatened to shoot down helicopters distributing the poison. In 2016 a man was jailed after threatening to poison baby formula with 1080….
1080 protesters threaten to ‘bring down’ DoC helicoptersDeer illegally released into Taranaki forests in ‘1080 protest’Police investigate 1080 ‘terrorism’ letter”
4.) In fact no known 1080 activist has ever being charged for any of the crimes or action refereed to in the article so the statement is factually incorrect and defamatory. .
5). While the statement “In 2016 a man was jailed after threatening to poison baby formula with 1080” associated 1080 activist with criminal acts has nothing to do with anti 1080 and is defamatory. This article refers to the conviction of Jeremy Kerr, who was not a 1080 activist, but a producer of pesticide motivated not by ideological anti 1080 beliefs but profit.
Further police were aided in their conviction of Kerr by 1080 activists, who as a community denounced the baby formula poisoners actions and violence en-mass, when they pointed out that the die used to colour 1080 green only took place once it was ready to be released (and thus marked the source of the 1080 used in the baby formula as coming from industry insiders). Views which ultimately proved correct. A fact not raised in this article and thus in breach of th need to give fair balance accurate coverage of the 1080 activist motivation and as expected under the 1989 Broad casting act and in breach of the 1992 Defamation Act.
6). The use of numerous inaccurate and false statements (points 1-5.), easily fact checked by a professional journalist, working for organisation with extensive resources and editorial fail safes, is in breach of the requirement to publish fair balanced and accurate information as defined in the 1987 Broadcasting Act and 1992 Defamation Act. This includes, but is not limited to the defamation act requirement that defamation be defined not just by inaccuracies but a clear and provable intent to malign or slur a person, persons, organisation, character, for (with) the intent of conducting slander and damage to a character reputation and percieved credibility.