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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  • Wallace Westland

    I wonder how many of those complainants have complained more than once?
    There seems to be a growing number of people who are offended at the smallest of things and often seem to go out of there way to be so.

    They offend me greatly these small minded PC whiners that want everything sugar coated.

    • Dog Breath

      Regretfully we do have some miserable people living in NZ who think its their right to impose their form of morales upon all of NZ. What are the chances these same people vote Green.

  • Rod

    I must say I am often offended by the TV news, but mostly regarding what is NOT shown.

  • Sally

    WO only received 2 complaints.
    How can that be. People were complaining all the time about WO. We even had MPs standing in Parliament complaining how vile WO is.
    Just maybe there wasn’t anything actually to complain about.

  • Nebman

    My old boss had a saying every time I had a whinge about wrong doing by others that might have affected me – “What did you do about it”?

    You would think that for all the fuss and noise from the MSM about WOBH, there would be a catalog of complaints – it’s no wonder they have credibility issues. But then it’s very difficult to complain about the truth I guess…