MARK JAMIESON AGAINST RNZ
Case Number: 3371
Council Meeting: FEBRUARY 2023
Decision: No Grounds to Proceed
Publication: Radio NZ
Accuracy, Fairness and Balance
Headlines and Captions
On 5 December 2022, RNZ published a story headed Donald Trump’s call for ‘termination’ of constitution condemned. It reported that, in a social media post, Mr Trump referred to allegations of “fraud and deception” and asked if he should be returned to power. "A Massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution. Our great ‘Founders' did not want, and would not condone, False & Fraudulent Elections!" Mr Trump said in the post.
Mark Jamieson complained under Principle 1: Accuracy, Fairness and Balance, and Principle 6: Headlines and Captions. The headline was false because Mr Trump did not call for the termination of the constitution, he said.
RNZ replied that the word ‘termination’ was a shorthand reference to Mr Trump’s statement. It was referring to Mr Trump’s published words and the headline was a reasonable abbreviation, necessary due to space constraints, of the gist of what Mr Trump was saying.
The Media Council can see no problem with the headline. In essence, Mr Trump said that a “fraud” of this type allowed for the termination of the rules and articles of the constitution, and this was reflected accurately, albeit in a brief form, in the heading. The word was one Mr Trump used and was put in quotation marks to indicate this. Read with the story, which contained the full social media post, there was nothing misleading or inaccurate.
Decision: There were insufficient grounds to proceed.