- Date published:
9:00 am, August 29th, 2011 - 60 comments
Categories: hone harawira, Media - Tags: nbr
You might recall the hullabaloo around comments reportedly made by Hone Harawira regarding the death of Osama Bin-Laden. Well it turns out that he was misquoted, and the National Business Review article contained inaccuracies.
At the time, Irishbill over at the Standard wrote a great blog post raising his concerns about the misreporting and political response, and he wasn’t alone in those sentiments.
The initial NBR article created a veritable shit storm of further abusive reporting, bigoted blogs and racist comments, with many simply unable to control themselves. Somehow I don’t think we’ll be seeing any apologies for their misplaced accusations anytime soon… but here’s a small sample of the idiotic right wing blogger’s comments:
I’m going to risk Godwin’s Law and ask whether Hone would say the same thing about Hitler. I mean it would almost fit – “Hitler pursued independence for his Germanic people, his family, and his Aryan tribe”.
As to Hone? Ya toast mate – sorry but the only bastards who vote for you are the pricks who seldom piss before lunch so there is no way they are going to get out of their own way to saunter along to the polling booth.
That’s what Alf would have liked doing to Hitler, if he had been old enough at the time. Hone – we may suppose – would have paid tribute to him in his Maori way.
So just three days after Hone said he was comfortable with a terrorist worshipper like Annette Sykes standing for his party of mal-content, haters and anarchists, Hone himself is professing admiration for Osama bin Laden. Make no mistake that Hone Harawira is a racist and his party is filled with like-minded racists.
The reaction the misreporting caused didn’t end when Hone made a formal apology… in fact it got worse, which just goes to show that people who can’t speak te Reo should refrain from making racist comments based on their ignorance.
So without further ado, here’s the Press Council’s ruling:
Case Number: 2204 JAMES MORRIS AGAINST NATIONAL BUSINESS REVIEW
Council Meeting AUGUST 2011
James Morris complained that the headline and thrust of an article published by the NBR online on May 5, 2011, following comments by Independent MP Hone Harawira on the killing of Osama bin Laden, is based on a misattributed quote. The article followed an interview on TVNZ’s Te Karere. The interview was conducted in Te Reo with translations into English provided in subtitles.
The complaint is upheld.
On May 2, 2011 the Te Karere programme featured Hone Harawira commenting on the killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Mr Harawira, speaking in Maori, said bin Laden was a fighter for “the rights, the land and the freedom of his people”.
His remarks prompted controversy, and a subsequent apology from him about how he had expressed himself. His comments had been seen as support for bin Laden’s actions which was a mistake, he said.
Mr Morris complained that the headline “Bin Laden a Freedom Fighter – Harawira” and the thrust of the story ‘rest on a quote which is attributed in the story to Harawira, but was in fact made by the presenter of the Te Karere programme’.
Mr Morris quoted the following from the article: “But Mr Harawira told TVNZ’s Te Karere on Monday he acknowledged the positive aspects of his (bin Laden’s) life”.
“We have heard nothing but negative things about him from the Americans, but he fought for the self-determination of his people and for his beliefs” Mr Harawira said.
Mr Morris pointed out that this latter quote was not in fact said by Mr Harawira, but by the interviewer.
What Mr Harawira actually said (in response to the presenter’s words) was as follows: “Indeed, despite what the media have said, his family, his tribe, his people are in mourning. They mourn for the man who fought for the rights, the land, the freedom of his people. We should not damn them in death, but acknowledge the positive aspects of life”.
Mr Morris acknowledged to the editor that he was aware that the story had appeared under the NZPA byline.
Mr Morris did not get a response to his complaint to the editor of NBR and the editor did not respond to the Press Council complaint either.
The Press Council considers that the headline is acceptable. Mr Harawira did say “Despite what the media said his family, his tribe, his people are mourning, they mourn for a man who fought for the rights, the land and the freedom of his people”; it is not too far removed from that statement to call him a freedom fighter.
However, the report does attribute to Mr Harawira comments actually made by the interviewer, and that is where the NBR went wrong. Since the report was generated by NZPA it was their mistake, and the Press Council has notified NZPA who have corrected it.
If the NBR had responded to the complaint, the issue could have been sorted it out for them too.
The NBR has issued a correction to the story, but unfortunately, the item still attributes the words of the presenter to Mr Harawira, showing them as a direct quote.
This complaint illustrates how immediate action on a complaint can make a difference. In his complaint to the editor Mr Morris, a long time reader of the NBR, acknowledged the authoritative voice of the NBR and stated that loose and sensationalist reporting such as in this article “distracts from hard-earned credibility of your brand”.
The Press Council agrees. This story contained an inaccuracy that could have been corrected very quickly. Furthermore, careful consideration of the complaint when making the correction should have meant that the correction was accurate.
The complaint is upheld on the grounds of inaccuracy.
The NBR is known for sometimes going off the deep end. But which of the bloggers’ quotes are actually wrong? They all appear to be based on what Hone said – i.e. lauding bin Laden as a freedom fighter.
The Press Council found that Hone didn’t call Bin Laden a freedom fighter.
That’s the entire point.
And, if you bothered to watch the clip, you would see that for yourself.
I have watched it. And if you’d bothered to read the Press Council ruling which you purport to know about, you would see this for yourself:
So what I said was entirely valid, based on Hone’s actual words.
Exactly QSF, nothing in the Press Council report justifies this over the top post. At the most, a mere technicality.
The real story is that the Press Council agrees that Hone described Bin Laden as, in effect, a “freedom fighter”.
How the frak can Bin Laden be a “freedom fighter” when he and his core cadre was originally trained and equipped by the CIA????
You will know that there is of course controversy whether this allegation is true. For the benefit of other (I only knew this was a contested point recently) Wikipedia has a collection of opposing views here:
QSF needs to go to Blockbuster and get out Charlie Wilson’s War on DVD!
Dunno – ask Hone.
Exactly! (No matter what some people who followed may have naively thought he was).
grumpy, in what sense was Bin Laden not a freedom fighter?
He fought to remove the Soviets from Afghanistan; he fought to remove American troops from Saudi Arabia because he saw them as an occupying force that desecrated the ‘holy land’; he fought to undermine western influence in the Middle East, etc..
You may not like what he would have wanted to put in place once freedom from these outside influences was gained (and may think that what would have been put in place would not have been a ‘free society’, in the classical liberal tradition), but I find it very difficult to see how he could not be called a freedom fighter given his consistent attempts to remove these outside influences.
He was also a terrorist, of course. They’re not mutually exclusive categories.
To be honest, I don’t think of OBL as a freedom fighter. He may have been fighting to remove American troops et al from Afghanistan, but it wasn’t his country nor was he fighting for “freedom”. If anything, he was fighting to oppress people through a religious regime and take away the freedoms of other people in Afghanistan.
I know what you mean, but my point was really that the word “freedom” has so many connotations and has an aura of ‘goodness’ around it that it doesn’t necessarily deserve. Of more interest, to me, is why we want to use (or not use) these labels.
At a guess – and I might be wrong – you seem to equate ‘freedom’ with the freedom and rights of individuals. But, in the geopolitical sense, a country (and/or people) are ‘free’ to the extent that they are ‘sovereign’ (i.e., free of external control and/or oppression).
In ‘the West’, the nation state is the typical category to which this geopolitical definition applies, but a people or religious grouping equally fall into this category. In that case, it’s irrelevant whether or not Osama Bin Laden was a national of Afghanistan.
In the latter sense (geopolitical freedom), there are many ‘free’ countries (and people) within which individuals are not free, in the former sense (individual freedom).
I’m probably just splitting hairs but it does annoy me that – in political discussions – phrases are so often used in order to anoint people as beyond reproach or, conversely, to damn them as beneath contempt. I’m more interested in why people wish to apply – or not apply – a label, rather than try to determine whether or not the label is ‘justified’.
So, I guess I was just being deliberately provocative to make that point.
You could call him a crusader as it was a religious rather than political ideology he was fighting for.
Anna very few people would claim that OBL’s actions in the American invasion were strictly freedom fighting. As pointed out he was propping up an opressive regime. however when he fought against teh Russian invasion backed by american and britsh special forces he was touted as a true hero and freedom fighter.
Therefore to say in his past theere were good things to focus on and that his family and people would mourne him is completely accurate. Doesn’t mean you haev to like the guy or every thing he did.
@ Crashcart – I understand the hypocrisy of framing someone in a good/bad dichotomy and agree with you, but I was writing about how I felt about OBL. As far as I’m concerned, he wanted to oppress 50% of the Afghanistan population under a religious regime that saw women and young girls kept as second class citizens. I’m not sure if you’ve seen a fim called Osama. It is a pretty grim account of women and young girls under the Taliban regime.
@ Puddlegum – good call and I see where you’re coming from. I think, however, that OBL not being an Afghanistan national is an interesting factor in the notion of him being a freedom fighter for his country. It wasn’t his country and although you could extend it to include religious groups (as you rightly point out), he was a foreign national himself.
The Taleban were a cruel and repressive gang, I have personally talked to a refugee from Kabul whose whole family was killed by them
I am by no means defending the Teleban or the way they ran Afghanistan. I am merely pointing out that when OBL was fighting against the Russians he was considered a hero and a freedom fighter by the people of Afghanistahn. This is what Hone said. I am not a fan of either of the men, but what Hone said about OBL was the truth .
yet another vile creature happy to wallow in race hate, and blind bigotry simply for political self interest… you and your ilk will be crowing about your success in derailing any reasonable, and”grownup” discourse as we reach third world status….. well done numby nums..
queeny… so you’re a racist as well as a numb nuts tory…. eewww! people like you are the real reason new zealand is heading towards third world status….
and to make it worse, the present govt supports the sort of vile mouthings that we have been getting subject to from you, and your ilk whenever there has been a need to distract us from yet another outrage being perpetrated on the fabric of community…
hang your head in shame… you are defending blatant racism…
so you’re a racist
How on earth do you find racism in this? Please explain.
But with regards to Hone’s comments that they mourn for a man who fought for the rights, the land and the freedom of his people the Press Council DID state that it is not too far removed from that statement to call him a freedom fighter
In that respect the NBR is damned only faintly. And one is also reminded of the comments of Shane Jones. Jones said he did not have the same level of affection for bin Laden as Mr Harawira. He also scotched Mr Harawira’s claim that it was Maori custom to always pay tribute to the dead.
“In the old days, a great enemy – if he wasn’t eaten – his bones were used to make musical instruments. So this romantic notion that in the old time, Maori spent hours of their time saluting the enemy was not the case. Enemies were turned to dust and people rejoiced, because of the suffering they had caused.
The finding of misattribution is more damning. However the reaction to the NBR’s misattribution isn’t exclusively the domain of the right. Trevor Mallard has alluded to Hone’s behaviour more than once on Red Alert.
To be fair Hone does have a habit of making unbalanced and off-the-cuff trash-talk.
Perhaps if he were to attack the ideals and the policies without the personal harrassment and the gaffes, then he might be better accepted as the type of leader who can bring NZ Maori true freedom, respect and well-being
Yeah, the issue seems pretty muddy and not clear-cut.
It seems they agree with what the NBR said (except for the misattribution of a quote), just not the way they said it.
And will the NBR be compelled to give the same prominance to a corrective piece on their character assassination of Harawira?
And even if they were, would it result in the same widespread coverage as their initial piece?
The smear has had its intended effect. The NBR and others will simply be looking to their next opportunity to smear and denigrate with impunity.
“And will the NBR be compelled to give the same prominance to a corrective piece on their character assassination of Harawira?”
Quite possibly. Was listening to Media Watch on NR on Sunday morning and it spoke about a similar sort of story where the Herald published a story on page 1 about a well-known media broadcaster who was escorted by police off a plane.
The Herald has now had to published the press councils decision on full, which takes up half of page 9, and has a story on page 1 of the paper that outlines the situation and points to the text on page 9.
I’d imagine NBR will have to print the decision somewhere as well.
Guys, I wouldn’t worry. If you’re a Mana voter, you probably don’t read NBR or Whaleoil, furthermore, there would be a small percentage of the population who heard about the fuss and thought the misattributed quote actually painted Hone as a reasonable man of peace. No such thing as bad publicity when your party is scrapping for every last vote.
Their greatest foe??? That’s hyperbole of the day. Or maybe delusions of grandeur?
Either way most people on the political spectrum don’t take Harawira seriously as a politician.
@ Tangled up in blue – more fool them. He has more credibility than Act, Peter Dunne, Jim Anderton, Winston Peters and most of the Maori Party. I guess credibility is subjective, especially if you’re tangled up in blue. I agree with Alec above. Even if someone paid me, I wouldn’t read Whaleoil. I wouldn’t have people that think like that in my whare for a cup of tea, why would I go to their grubby clubhouse and read their one-eyed rantings? I don’t read the NBR either – for pretty much the same reasons. I do thank, however, Mr Morris for having the integrity to complain and have the tenacity to see this through. Mauri ora!
Actually a lot of people on the left don’t like Hone as a politician. He’s a great activist, passionate and outspoken; but as a politician he’s a liability hence why no one wants his party as part of their Govt.
Well, says you, but I’m not sure what your credentials are or how accurate your information is about Te Mana and discussions between other left wing parties. I suspect my contacts are closer than yours, but keep telling yourself what you’ve just said above – if it gives you comfort 🙂
Gives me comfort? What a strange thing to say.
I have no problem with people supporting Mana, good on the 1% of people who do.
I agree. Good on them, but I was actually making reference to your credentials/contacts in making claim on what people on the Left think of Hone and by extension, your statement that they don’t want to work with Te Mana. I think that’s a line advanced by the msm and let’s face it, the by-election proved they have little insight, influence or contacts with anyone in Te Mana. How would they know what discussions have taken place behind closed doors?
My statement about many on the left not having confidence in Hone as a politician is based on the observation that despite being the party most ideologically aligned with “left wing” (arguably of course); most of their voter support appears to have came with Hone from the Maori Party.
My statement that no one wants Mana in their Govt. comes from the fact that the the only other party with the possibility of forming a Govt., has ruled it out.
If you were just talking about Labour, why didn’t you say so? I guess the “Left wing” sounds much more impressive. If, however, as Hone H once said himself, Goff needed Te Mana’s numbers to form a coalition, I’m pretty sure there’d be a phone call.
In essence: I have serious doubts about the veracity of your original statement.
I see where you went wrong, you’re incorporating two different points.
Labour don’t want Mana in their Govt.
Many on the left don’t support Hone as a politician.
Okay – so now this is just circular, but it’s good you’ve qualified that you’re discussing Labour (rather than the “Left Wing” as a whole). As said earlier and I stand by it, I’m dubious about your contacts and information regarding talks about potential coalition partners from inside the camps. Labour didn’t want Winston Peters, but they went with him anyway. Personally, I hope Hone doesn’t go with Labour and sits in opposition, rather than rush into coalition.
“Personally, I hope Hone doesn’t go with Labour and sits in opposition, rather than rush into coalition.”
Don’t think he will have much of a choice to make………
There is an irony here that Jackal criticises reporting by the NBR, and says that NBR’s reporting was “lambasted”. Yet there’s nothing I read in the NBR’s decision which is a lambasting. What is wrong with the blog posts?
Truth in reporting is good, but I don’t think this blog post comes close to achieving it.
You’re welcome to point out where my blog post is inaccurate Pumpkin?
It’s very unusual for the Press Council to rule in favour of a complainant in cases like this. The fact that they have toned down their wording as to give NBR an easy out is not something anybody should base their argument to try and vilify NBR’s inaccurate article with.
It’s interesting to note that a similar complaint made by Bomber Bradbury against stuff.co.nz, was subsequently not upheld by the Press Council. Most likely because the initial article was not attained by Bomber and not provided by stuff. Basically stuff got off on a technicality.
Hone apologized because he was misunderstood. He tried to correct that misunderstanding. This fact seems to have escaped even the Press Council. This and the fact that Hone did not complain himself, gives no reason for dismissing the complaint. What were they thinking?
It would be a difficult question of law to rule that the NBR was responsible for the subsequent plethora of derogatory comments made against Hone Harawira because of their inaccurate article.
PS I never used the word “lambasted.” You’ve misquoted me pumpkin. You’ll need to take up your complaint with the Standard 🙂
Right, now does Hone get to sue the bastards for defamation?
I’d love to see him sue the people that made the comments on the blog. Not sure if he will or not, but he doesn’t lack for friends in the legal profession.
What comment(s) were defamatory? The Press Council ruled that the headline and description of Hone calling OBL a freedom fighter were not unacceptable.
What about the blog comments that came AFTER the NBR’s article? If I was HH, I’d drop them in court and let them rule on whether they were defamatory or not. I know Winston Peters would.
If they are just comments that Hone praised OBL as a freedom fighter, then that would not be defamatory because it is accurate (or a reasonable understanding based on his words, like the Press Council said). Plus Hone apologised, which means he accepts his comments may have offended which would inhibit his ability to complain about “robust comments” against him.
There is also a higher threshold for defamation of an MP – they are expected to have a “thicker skin” than others.
I know Winston Peters would.
Winston is about the thinnest-skinned, precious, vain, whiney person I can imagine. I think Hone is much more of a stand-up guy – he will tell you what he thinks, and I’m sure is happy to get as good as he gives.
Actually, I hope Hone does take this further – in whatever direction he goes. It’s one thing to “give as good as you get”. It’s quite another to use the Fourth Estate to assassinate someone’s character and misattribute quotes to them (which the Press Council agrees happened). I would like to see a bullying/mobbing test case against the Press in New Zealand because this is what I think is more an accurate description of what has gone on in regards to HH and the msm.
Bullying != defamation.
But yes Hone does have the right to be aggreived at the NBR and I hope he sticks it to them big time for getting it wrong. A front-page apology would be a good start.
Also, perhaps they could run a free full page Mana Party ad – I somehow doubt the NBR is Mana’s target demo but who knows what liberated souls might be reading.
I can’t help thinking that there are parallels between the misreporting of Hone’s remarks and the newly emerging doubts over the phrase used by Phil Goff when he claimed the then leader of the National Party had promised the anti-nuclear policy would be “gone by lunchtime” if his party won the election.
Wilful or careless misquoting to serve political purposes is never a good look.
If there is any truth to this claim I would be interested to know if Geoff deliberatly mis quoted or if teh staffers notes were incorrect. If he deliberatly mis quoted that is pretty severe being it was done to influence an election.
Americans backing up the party that’s most likely to get rid of New Zealand’s anti nuke legislation… you don’t say? National politicians going against the public’s wishes… astounding! Newstalk ZB talking shit… unbelievable!
There are no parallels here.
I just dont like Hone because of racist statements. Clear and simple really.
No excuse for lying about what he said though, is it?
I don’t like a lot of people for a lot of reasons but it doesn’t mean I’m allowed to publish lies about them.
I’m not defending NBR or any other media outlet, but I would hesitate to call a misattribution a “lie” without evidence of intent. The media makes mistakes on a daily basis. That does not mean they are all lies. The misuse of the term “lie”, when error / incompetence / laziness is more accurate, has resulted in the word lie being watered down to be almost meaningless now (as an accusation)..
Call it what you like, q, there is no excuse for saying someone said something they didn’t say.
You wouldn’t get away with it here ffs. Why should a well resourced MSM publication have lower standards than a commenter on a a free blog site run by volunteers?
Riddle me that, my bent-over-backwards apologetic little friend.
I didn’t say anyone should “get away with” anything. And they haven’t “got away” with it, having been hauled up by the Press Council. I was simply making the observation that not every mistake made by media outlets (which must run to many each day) is a lie. People who do make such accusations undermine the seriousness of those who do lie (true lies, if you will).
“I didn’t say anyone should “get away with” anything. And they haven’t “got away” with it”
Then you’ve wasted quite a lot of time here today, haven’t you my little apologist pal?
You’ve been very adamant that no-one should suggest lies or deceit in this case, q. So do tell, how are you so sure that this was a simple typing error?
You say “not every” mistake is deliberate. I agree, corollary included. Not all are, so some must be. Why are you so keen that no-one dare speculate on which category this case falls into?
Let’s hear it, q, who’s bullshitting who? Either you know something I don’t, or the value of your opinion is the same as everyone else’s and you can stop trying to shut down the uncomfortable avenues of discussion.
Sheesh Felix – like the NBR you too go off the deep end.
You’ve been very adamant that no-one should suggest lies or deceit in this case, q. So do tell, how are you so sure that this was a simple typing error?
If you actually read my comment, you will see that I said “I would hesitate to call a misattribution a “lie” without evidence of intent”. So I wasn’t being “very adamant” about something, nor did I say I was “sure” that it was innocent or malicious. Just that I would hesitate to call it malicious without evidence – perhaps you do not feel the need for evidence before making serious allegations, but I do.
Why are you so keen that no-one dare speculate
I didn’t express any statement of “keen-ness” either way – I simply commented what I would do (i.e. hesitate to accuse without evidence). Although I’m glad that you concede your original indictment of lying was merely speculation.
you can stop trying to shut down the uncomfortable avenues of discussion
Yes that’s right, expressing my view of what I would do in a particular situation is a clear attempt to “shut down” a discussion. I have seen many discussions shut down by this dastardly trick.
Jolly good, I’ll take that as “No, I have no idea whether it’s a lie”.
Glad we got that cleared up.
But you’re right, “adamant” was a poor choice of word. I should have said “determined”.
Right wing nutcase!!! :p
What the NBR should be doing is this.
I was defamed by the NBR a couple of years ago, as it happens. A bit of over enthusiasm from a junior reporter, no biggy. I rang the editor, he agreed that a mistake had been made and the offending article was removed from the website. For me, that was enough. I suspect Hone will settle for a correction next issue and he won’t be looking for damages.
Of course he will look for damages, he’s a pig at the trough like all the others, just possessed of a bigger snout. An obnoxious unimpressive egomaniac of a man. Electing him in the far north will put his long suffering people back twenty five years. He will achieve nothing but derisible sound bites and incite hatred because no-one will work with him.
Bleat all you want, Blue, people in the Far North couldn’t care a less what people like you think. I thought the by-election would have proved that to you?