The Press Council has rejected a complaint from a former Labour MP about its coverage of Labour’s transitional assistance package. What makes this issue especially interesting is that the former MP berated the Herald for publishign information that was different to what the Labour Party pamphlet said – even though the pamphlet was wrong.
So in fact she was complaing that the Herald told the truth, instead of running the incorrect information put out by Labour!
The Press Council has rejected a complaint against the Herald brought under fast-track procedures during the election campaign.
Rejecting a complaint about the Herald’s coverage last week of Labour’s just-announced Job Search Allowance, the council went further and praised the newspaper for not taking a party press release at face value.
How dare the naughty Herald not beleive what Helen tells them.
In an email of complaint to the editor of the Herald Tim Murphy, Ms Kirk said a fact sheet that would have been available to reporters showed that single and married people, solo parents and couples with children were all included.
But Mr Murphy said Ms Kirk had compared a discrepancy between the Herald article and the policy releases and assumed the newspaper was wrong.
Well by definition, the Prime Minister can not be wrong.
Mr Murphy said the Herald’s Press Gallery staff had complained loudly to the Prime Minister’s office about the “misleading nature of the material that was handed out”.
“Far from being worthy of a complaint to the Press Council, the Herald coverage of the Job Search Allowance was an excellent example of reporters doing their job properly – not accepting material presented by politicians at face value, and digging further for the facts for our readers,” Mr Murphy said.
In its ruling today, The council said: “Newspapers have a duty not to accept political statements or releases at face value, and the Herald acted correctly in subjecting the Job Search Allowance to scrutiny.
“It was entitled to reach the conclusions it did when reporting the initiative, even though it may not have been what the Labour Party would have wished. Without a doubt, the policy is aimed at families on two incomes. Why the press releases showed figures for single workers or solo parents who would not be eligible is something of a mystery.”
Not much of a mystery. They were hoping the media would help them con the public that Labour was promising something they were not.