I complain therefore I am

The most complained about television show in New Zealand this year was … the news. Nine of the top 10 programmes targeted by disgruntled viewers were flagship news and current affairs offerings on TVNZ, TV3, Prime and Maori Television.

The only non-news show to make the list of shame was TV2’s reality series Neighbours At War.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, The Paul Henry Show featured high in the league table of formal complaints received by the Broadcasting Standards Authority. It was the fourth most complained about show behind One News, Seven Sharp and Campbell Live.

The controversial TV3 host attracted several gripes, which included complaints about him asking a guest scientist if she had sex with Richard Branson.

He also used the “f” word a couple of times, read out a fan’s letter about “lactating boobies” and made suggestive remarks about her.

When contacted by the Herald on Sunday, Henry was unrepentant.

“To be honest, I couldn’t care less … I’m now on holiday,” he said.

Just like we have people like Giovanni Tiso that want to boycott things he doesn’t personally like by trying to get people riled up and act like a mob, there are a handful of sad people who constantly complain about being outraged about something they see, read or hear in the media.  

One News pulled in the most complaints, mainly about accuracy and fairness. However, footage of Miley Cyrus twerking at the MTV Awards outraged a number of viewers on the grounds of good taste and decency. TV One’s Seven Sharp was also slated for carrying an item about a weightlifter parodying the American pop singer’s twerking and for comments about Australians that allegedly incited racism.

“It is the old journalistic themes of fairness, balance, accuracy and privacy that generally get people going and that is pretty much exclusively news and issue-based programmes,” said TVNZ spokeswoman Megan Richards.

3 News also came under fire on grounds of accuracy and fairness. Campbell Live was blasted for several alleged breaches of privacy and also drew a complaint about a lawnmower being used in breach of the Health and Safety Act. “The job of a journalist is to hold people to account, particularly those with power.

Well, it seems I am a journalist then.

This year, Whaleoil received two complaints.  One was upheld, and a correction was made to the original article.  The second was an incomplete complaint -just someone venting- and the complainant didn’t resubmit the complaint, so it was abandoned.

Whaleoil does take genuine complaints seriously, and they can be filed here.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

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