DAVID BROWN AGAINST NEWSROOM
Case Number: 3380
Council Meeting: FEBRUARY 2023
Decision: No Grounds to Proceed
Principle: Accuracy, Fairness and Balance
Defamation/Damaging To Reputation
Newsroom published an article on 17 February 2023 headed: Yesterdaze: Now’s not the time, David. It discussed Act leader David Seymour’s reaction to the damage caused by Cyclone Gabrielle, saying he was “a man who couldn’t read the room if the room consisted solely of three letter words in very big print". David Brown complained that the story lacked accuracy, fairness and balance. The writer took statements out of context to make the Act Party look bad, he said.
He rejected Newsroom’s response that the column was satire and that “pretty much every politician (over time) comes in for a ribbing”. Mr Brown said it was not labelled as satire.
The Media Council notes that the article was marked “comment”, so it was clear that this was an opinion piece. It was obviously a piece of satirical political writing, criticising and poking fun at politicians, which is entirely appropriate as a form of political commentary. No factual inaccuracies have been shown. No principles have been breached.
Decision: There were insufficient grounds to proceed.