STEVEN CRANSTON AGAINST NEWSROOM
Case Number: 3331
Council Meeting: NOVEMBER 2022
Decision: No Grounds to Proceed
Principle: Accuracy, Fairness and Balance
This complaint relates to two commentaries published by Newsroom. The first published on June 18, 2022, was headlined The leaky logic of
emissions leakage in farming climate plan. The
second, published on July 2, 2022, was headlined In-depth: Time to kick our meat and dairy habit.
Steven Cranston complained that both these stories incorrectly implied that New Zealand agriculture was harming the climate. He said there was no evidence to support that. He added that farmers had been unfairly vilified on emissions for years due to Government and media refusing to provide clarity on methane’s effect on climate.
Mr Cranston also asserted New Zealand’s agriculture methane emissions were not contributing to additional warming of the atmosphere and these types of stories were doing incredible damage to our industry as they continue misleading narratives which are not supported by fact. A clear reporting bias and wrongful emphasis were evident in these stories. He challenged Newsroom to provide evidence that New Zealand agriculture was warming the climate or make a public correction.
The first article was labelled as opinion and commented critically on a farming industry report on plans which would only reduce methane emissions by 4 to 5.5 percent by 2030. The second article was also clearly a commentary and it was concerned with the wider environmental impacts of farming.
The Media Council believes that these articles were opinion pieces and were clearly presented as such. They were under no obligation to address Mr Cranston’s assertions. The Media Council does not take sides on debates about climate change. However, the complainant has not shown that material facts, on which the opinions were based, were inaccurate.
Decision: There were insufficient grounds to proceed.