The Bennett story

May 1st, 2010 at 10:39 am by David Farrar

ran a story on Thursday night that claimed had offered money to . The basis was a couple of Facebook messages.

Bennett denied she had offered any money, yet TV3 still run the story purely on the basis of the Facebook messages.

It then transpired that Natasha Fuller has also said there was no offer of any sort. Her Facebook messages to a friend (and she should choose her friends better in future, as the friend went straight to TV3) were bullshitting about an offer.

Why didn’t TV3 talk to Fuller before they ran the original story? Given the Minister had denied the allegations, that would be the sensible thing to do.

I also note that the Herald and Stuff both ran the original story with allegations, but I can’t find anywhere on their site a follow up story carrying the details that the allegation of a proposed payment is totally false.

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59 Responses to “The Bennett story”

  1. tom hunter (4,367 comments) says:

    Why didn’t TV3 talk to Fuller before they ran the original story?

    Sigh! Because:

    a) modern journalism is not about asking all possible questions to explore all angles of a story. It’s about selecting a narrative and then framing all the questions and conclusions and implications to reinforce that narrative.

    b) Because that approach means one can only be accused of telling half-truths, which is more acceptable (and less dangerous) than outright lying.

    c) Because the narrative that must be reinforced here is that Bennett is callous, cowardly and lacking in compassion. Oh and brains. As the perceived weakest link she is selected as the vehicle by which the entire National party – and the right-wing – can be so labeled.

    d) Because this approach brings nearer the possibility of a left-wing return to power, and also increases the pressure on National not to change anything in the institutions built up by the Left.

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  2. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    tom hits 4 out of the park

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  3. Captain Neurotic (206 comments) says:

    Something about ‘who guards the guards’

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  4. scrubone (3,044 comments) says:

    It’s a very serious allegation – that an MP tried to use money to silence someone.

    Clearly, they were more interested in making the allegation than checking it out.

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  5. Graeme Edgeler (3,262 comments) says:

    I also note that the Herald and Stuff both ran the original story with allegations, but I can’t find anywhere on their site a follow up story carrying the details that the allegation of a proposed payment is totally false.

    Perhaps they don’t believe it’s totally false.

    [DPF: There was a third person in the room who witnessed what was said. A former TV3 reporter. So unless the gallery thinks one of their former colleagues is willing to blatantly lie, I can't see how they can have any such belief.]

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  6. Inventory2 (10,090 comments) says:

    TV3 should give themselves several uppercuts here. It was appalling journalism, even by their standards. I hope that Paula Bennett sues their corporate arse off.

    Meanwhile, over at The Standard, Eddie insists that it’s all 3News’s fault that he/she (don’t know which Eddie it is; JM or CR) called Bennett “corrupt” (now taken down from the original), and caused him/her to say “But her attempt to bribe Natasha Fuller into silence overrides those issues, for now.” when we now know that Paula Bennett did not “attempt to bribe Natasha Fuller” at all, but that Ms Fuller was fuller shit :-)

    http://www.thestandard.org.nz/john-its-time-for-paula-to-go/

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  7. Inventory2 (10,090 comments) says:

    Oh, and meanwhile, Irish Bill continues to insist that Fuller WAS paid off:

    IrishBill
    1 May 2010 at 8:45 am

    It’s pretty clear there’s been a confidential payment made. Bennett could have said “any discussion of payment is confidential” but she didn’t she lied outright knowing confidentiality would ensure it couldn’t be proved that she lied.

    AND he expalins the banning policy

    Feral
    1 May 2010 at 9:29 am

    Not exactly up to the same standard of proof you require when you ban others is it

    Since you haven’t produced a link when asked, show no signs of doing so, and haven’t withdrawn, you’re banned for a week for bad behaviour in the debate – see the policy. ]
    Reply

    *
    IrishBill
    1 May 2010 at 9:42 am

    The threshold for getting banned by me is whether you’ve pissed me off or not. I’m glad to see from your inability to directly respond to my statement that you agree a payment is the most likely explanation.

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  8. Falafulu Fisi (2,176 comments) says:

    Now, social networking sites and Google search engine are now the tools that have replaced human journalists? Why spend years & money studying journalism, when in fact, one only needs to register with a social networking site, plus using Google to find stories to repeat? Its time that all Journalism schools be closed and all future applicants are encouraged to enroll in some useful courses that will give them real productive employment. Where is the investigative journalism?

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  9. maringi (13 comments) says:

    This rates as one of the most appalling examples of journalism in years.
    Looks to me like the Minister would be bang on for a defamation action.
    …I’ve heard whispers TV3 management are worried.

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  10. Murray (8,838 comments) says:

    TV3 wasn’t looking to report a story, they were acting as a political advocacy organisation.

    If no one else punts it to the BSA I’ll do it myself. It is beyond lazy journalism at this point.

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  11. Inventory2 (10,090 comments) says:

    Good suggestion Murray – inundate the BSa with complaints. I’m a starter, and I’m sure Eddie will be too, after taking an egging for relying on 3News to give facts ;-)

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  12. Murray (8,838 comments) says:

    I’ll smack out a form letter on Monday.

    the media can be relied on as a source of facts, thats freaken hysterical.

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  13. TripeWryter (715 comments) says:

    Sometimes with a story you have to go out on a limb. But it helps to have a few facts.

    The most elementary of questions by an editor should have elicited: Natasha, you’ve said these things on your Facebook (or where ever), are they true? If so, can we see a piece of paper that proves what you say? A copy of a cheque, perhaps? A bank statement? What about a letter? No? What about a witness? Anything … ?

    I can see why other media outlets would follow TV3; they’d be shit-scared that they might miss out on a scoop.

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  14. Murray (8,838 comments) says:

    When you are relying on a single unconfirmed source you have an “allegation” tripe. When you have not bothered to fact check it and you have an outright contridiction from an invloved party you have a “disputed allegation”.

    If you then decise NOT to check with the other party and run a story stating – as FACT – that the party making the denial did X, then it turns out that they were in fact telling the truth you are in a power of shit because you have presented an unbalanced, factually inaccurate story which has caused damage to the reputation of the party the story is about.

    Thats defamation for that party but it is also an issue for every viewer given that TV3 is bound by certain rules in regard to how they present news. “Freedom of speech” applies to editorials, not news. they need to be sent to the naughty chair for their own good.

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  15. Southern Raider (1,534 comments) says:

    Herald had this as a front page story on Friday, but today the truth is hidden on one of those minor story side boxes a few pages in.

    Herald should be made to print an apology on the front page. I’m sure the vast majority of unthinking NZ voters still aren’t aware of the correction and still believe Bennett was trying to bribe Fuller/

    End of the day
    - Bennett was bloody stupid to try and have a discussion with Fuller who is a well known Labour poodle
    - Fuller is just a self promoting skank that needs to decide if she wants to remain in the public spotlight with stupid statements and get the negative responses that come with this or melt back into the noise and live a private life

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  16. tom hunter (4,367 comments) says:

    I forgot one more:

    e) Reinforces the narrative for use in future ‘reports’, e.g. “Ms Bennett has been damaged by allegations in the past…….” (said in the most concerned, compassionate, I-only-require-competence, John Campbell voice)

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  17. Inventory2 (10,090 comments) says:

    Further to Murray’s 11.51am, here’s the link for online complaints to the BSA

    http://www.bsa.govt.nz/complain-start.php

    Guess what I’ll be doing this afternoon while the roast cooks? Words like “bias”, “lack of objectivity”, “irresponsible”, “actionable” and “defamatory” are likely to be used …

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  18. TripeWryter (715 comments) says:

    Murray:

    Did you read what I wrote?

    Perhaps I didn’t make myself clear. So I’ll do it now: TV3 made an arse of itself, made an arse of the so-called story. TV3 didn’t appear to do even the basics.

    I hope that clears the confusion.

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  19. tom hunter (4,367 comments) says:

    Actually it may be time to bring this back in a new guise:

    …Professional Facist

    TV3 spokesman Roger Beaumont said the network was thoroughly investigating the mislabelled graphic.

    “It was an absolute case of human error. The fact that it made it to air was extremely unfortunate and we apologise for any offence that may have been taken.

    “What I can assure you is that it was a completely unintentional mistake.”

    TV3 can just continue to cut and paste that apology – in order to reinforce their regret.

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  20. Inventory2 (10,090 comments) says:

    @ Southern Raider – re your “End of the day” – Bennett met with Fuller because the Privacy Commissioner reccommended that she do so. As far as your comments re Ms Fuller go however, couldn’t agree more.

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  21. Murray (8,838 comments) says:

    Its important that you mention damage Inv, quoting the usual political hack reporters – yes Gyon we know you read this – wil use those phrases about her reputation so they’ll shoot themselves in the foot.

    Back to the polytechs where you got those jouranlism certificates all of you. D- Start again.

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  22. thedavincimode (6,522 comments) says:

    Where is that frightful little twerp chauvel on all of this now?

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  23. backster (2,073 comments) says:

    It smells to me like another attempt at a dirty trick by Labour through their activist Fuller, maybe to distract from any criticism arising from the allegation in today’s TGIF that the chinese crook who wants to buy Crafer farms paid $100,000 to Labour.

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  24. Paulus (2,492 comments) says:

    Typical incompetence of TV3, but also of the other useless so called MSM.

    Sell anything – forget assessing the truth -this doesn’t sell.

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  25. Nigel (507 comments) says:

    It could be the four reasons at the top of the comments, or sounding a little less like a conspiracy theory it could simply be the newsrooms have been so gutted of talented & experienced journalists that checks & balances have gone out the door ( vicious circle as it diminishes the credibility of the news reducing the audience & so on ).
    Reminds of the saying “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity” or in this case cost cutting which has lead to stupidity.

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  26. tvb (4,193 comments) says:

    This is a very serious lapse in journalistic standards. To accuse a Minister of this raises some very fundamental questions about journalistic standards. I presume TV3 will look into this and possibly discipline the journalist concerned.

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  27. Inventory2 (10,090 comments) says:

    @ tvb – given that TV3 is the home of Duncan Garner, and given that TV3 aired the secret Kees Keizer tapes in the run-up to the 2008 election, I wouldn’t presume anything about them.

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  28. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,065 comments) says:

    Her Facebook messages to a friend (and she should choose her friends better in future, as the friend went straight to TV3) were bullshitting about an offer.

    DPF – having read the Facebook messages do you really think they were a joke, or made up? It’s possible, but they really don’t sound like it. They DO imply that Bennett DID NOT make Fuller an offer (as TV3 said), but that Bennett invited Fuller to make her an offer:

    Things went really well she wasn’t that scary… I dropped the tears a few times and she felt sorry for me – wont put me back in the media and get me hurt again and willing to talk settlement. I’ve got a tough choice to make have two days to come up with what I want as a payment I don’t want to sound greedy but its hard to put price on what iv been through

    [DPF: I think Fuller was bullshitting. Fuller herself has said she was. She made it up. I repeat Fuller herself as said she lied]

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  29. Murray (8,838 comments) says:

    Jesus are you going to run a “fake but accurate” line Danyl? Dan Rather went down in a screaming heap to a blogger for trying that.

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  30. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    What a good thread on this , really enjoyable, but Murrays right Danyl ” Jesus…”

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  31. wreck1080 (3,723 comments) says:

    Doesn’t matter if true or not. Damage is done, Bennett looks dodgy.

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  32. tom hunter (4,367 comments) says:

    “Truthiness”

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  33. 3-coil (1,200 comments) says:

    That TV3News consider Facebook a valid news source says it all really – TV3News’ credibility is totally gone. It shows just how shallow and vapid they really are. They’ve really done a Gordon Brown this time – there is no “excuse” to hide behind, their bumbling incompetence is exposed. Not ones to stop digging though…TV3News led the next night with: “shock, horror, here are the “e-mails” but they may not be accurate” – how totally f***ing thick!

    Until now, Wikipedia was the reference sarcastic source of “validation” – unbelievably the bimbos of TV3News have reached a new low. TV3News’ new motto: “it must be true, I read it on Facebook”. What a joke.

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  34. Alan Wilkinson (1,812 comments) says:

    The grovelling incompetence of the TV3 journalists involved went much further than merely failing to check there was any truth in the allegations.

    They also totally failed either to ascertain or to report the standard procedures used and required by the Privacy Commissioner during investigation and resolution of complaints. They should be sacked.

    But perhaps the real problem is that financial pressures in the mainstream media have already seen all the competent journalists sacked or gone.

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  35. Inventory2 (10,090 comments) says:

    Speaking of “It must be true; I read it on Facebook, there’s worse links to follow than this one if you want a belly laugh or three – the Rachel Glucina Tribute Page

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rachel-Glucina-Tribute-Page/115382928492794

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  36. Russell Brown (403 comments) says:

    Why didn’t TV3 talk to Fuller before they ran the original story? Given the Minister had denied the allegations, that would be the sensible thing to do.

    This seems to be a key question. Am I right in assuming the footage of Fuller at home that 3 News showed on Thursday was shot this week? What did they say to her then? What did she tell them?

    Are we clear on whether the Facebook messages were passed on by Fuller’s friend, or did a reporter friend her for the purpose? The latter would be a fairy clear invasion of privacy.

    In the interview with Richard Langston, Bennett looked nervous but relaxed notably when asked if there had been an offer of financial compensation. Perhaps, as Danyl says, she had jumped through the loophole that she hadn’t offered compensation. It’s possible. I don’t know if it’s actually likely.

    As for Fuller’s reliability, we’re left to assume that she was either lying then or is lying now. If she lied in the messages, she did so in quite some detail. It would seem unwise to put much stock in her word.

    Do we actually know whether there is a settlement? If there was, would the fact of a settlement be public, or confidential?

    And finally: Whether it had a story or not, 3 News’ work here seems very shoddy.

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  37. Alan Wilkinson (1,812 comments) says:

    They did interview Fuller for the first story. She refused to tell them anything.

    However they attempted a beat-up of Bennett for going to see Fuller claiming this was outrageous. They omitted to report that the Privacy Commissioner requires complainants and those accused to attempt to find a resolution. Disgusting.

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  38. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,065 comments) says:

    I think Fuller was bullshitting. Fuller herself has said she was. She made it up. I repeat Fuller herself as said she lied

    Fuller has definitely lied, either in her Facebook messages, or in her explanation of the Facebook message as a joke she made up. And I guess you’re always going to believe whatever version of events is more flattering to a National Minister. But consider the Facebook message: does it sound like a joke? Maybe I’m hopelessly naive but it sounds to me like a weirdly detailed, plausible and unfunny joke. So how about Fuller’s denial: if Bennett’s office pointed out to her that any settlement reached was confidential and discussing it with the media was a breach of that contract then she has every reason to lie and claim the Facebook messages were false.

    I don’t really have a problem with Bennett and Fuller reaching a confidential agreement. Fuller was wronged, if she accepts a confidential cash settlement then good on her. TV3 were pretty fucking dodgy in the way they presented the story, but the allegations at the heart of it still seem reasonable and salient.

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  39. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    The phrase “black helicopters” is also sometimes used figuratively to ridicule conspiracy theories in general.

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  40. trout (899 comments) says:

    When TV3 ran the story on the second night after assuring their audience that they would have the goods they backed off and stated that Fuller had told them she made the story up. Why did they not apologize then for defaming Paula Bennett?; or is any admission an invitation to a damages claim.
    Some bloggers here would like to give Natasha Fuller the benefit of the doubt; perhaps because this suits the Left agenda. Be assured she is a publicity seeking, opportunist, on the make. The facebook entries are those of a fantasist who genuinely wants the events described to be true.

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  41. dave (985 comments) says:

    Tarsha Fuller is dodgy. She deletes her Facebook page AGAIN, changes her image on her Facebook page to the image of her cat, just prior to deletion, lies in her last comment, slags off the minister on her FB page after arranging to meet with her.. thats not just dodgy, that’s stupid. And, she`s been stupid for quite a while it seems….

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  42. jims_whare (398 comments) says:

    Quote: ‘I don’t really have a problem with Bennett and Fuller reaching a confidential agreement. Fuller was wronged, if she accepts a confidential cash settlement then good on her. TV3 were pretty fucking dodgy in the way they presented the story, but the allegations at the heart of it still seem reasonable and salient.’

    Just because they sound like a real allegation doesn’t make them real. I read a lot of fiction books – often a ripping good yarn……..doesn’t make them real just shows the author has a gift for spinning a good story. If Ms Fuller stated that she lied on Facebook then she lied………..no matter how much you want it to be true.

    Typical leftie can’t handle the fact that Paula Bennett is a Solo come good – no longer dependent on socialist handouts…………she is the socialist’s infidel as is John Key.

    From Cradle to Grave was the socialist’s catch cry but woe betide anyone who tries to better themselves……..this implies the socialist way is wrong and that would never do.

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  43. Jd (23 comments) says:

    “IrishBill
    1 May 2010 at 10:32 am
    lol. I’ve never banned anyone for not producing a link. I ban people because I feel like it and because I can. Asking me for a link to prove my analysis of the situation and then bleating on about how I should “ban myself” (oh noez!) is the kind of desperate and dumb tactic people employ when they know they’re wrong.”

    Classic. IB actually admits to being a lying hypocritical cunt not that we didn’t know this already.

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  44. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    Now now, cunts are useful, IB isn’t.

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  45. jaba (2,089 comments) says:

    Fuller was wronged .. Danyl at 5:31 .. sat what ??????????????????????? wronged how .. she put herself up for the skanky labour Party as a hard done-by beneficiary on about a $1000 a week .. nett for doing fuck all .. give me a break .. that’s about $70,000 pa for gods sake .. wronged??????????????????????? only a shit for brained left leaning commie scum sucking mutant would believe that .. give me demerits David for that download but that’s how I see it

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  46. jaba (2,089 comments) says:

    ahh the Dim-Post .. don’t have to think too hard where that name came from .. Dim or Dumb .. similar I guess

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  47. Guy Fawkes (702 comments) says:

    TV3 is burning cash like no to-morrow.

    Sunrise was the crash and burn event of the last decade in Day Time TV.

    I refused to advertise with TV3 due to the ‘Communist’ leaning Duncan Garner being a nonsense journalist, and poor excuse for a serious contender as a human being.

    The Investors in this business have got a huge problem and that problem could see their entire shirt being lost, because they haven’t controlled Aunty ‘Chucky” Klarks acolytes at all.

    The World changed, folks got to see through the Failed Communist Experiment. Duncan Garner continues to be very cocky.

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  48. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    Question is: will Martyn Bradbury apologise for lying about it? Our poll says no, he’s too useless to do so.

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  49. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    Also, I haven’t watched TV3 News since it decided to be a Labour campaign vehicle rather than an objective news channel in the Mount Albert by-election last year.

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  50. Right of way is Way of Right (1,129 comments) says:

    Meanwhile, an overheard phone conversation from a TV3 executive went something like this.

    “Facebook? Facebook! FACEBOOK!!!! Our lead news item is based on a few FACEBOOK updates? You stupid, stupid bitch! I mean, fucking FACEBOOK? I’d expect you to backcheck Wikipedia, let alone fucking FACEBOOK! Where did you study journalism? Clown College?”

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  51. Jd (23 comments) says:

    “Question is: will Martyn Bradbury apologise for lying about it? Our poll says no, he’s too useless to do so.”

    You have to be kidding. He’s still defending the Electoral FInance Act despite even Labour disowning it. He’s the village idiot of the rabid left but without the good looks of a leper. I think he never apologises for anything out of some kind of warped principle but simple ends up looking like a two faced liar.

    He’s even still claiming he was ‘confused’ about taking money from Mathew Hooton to produce those PR videos while pretending it was out of public concern. What a sellout.

    Tim Selwyn may be a racist wingnut crim but his posts are far more thoughful and provocative than Bomber endlessly rehashed tripe.

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  52. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    Hahaha! Whenever I think of Martyn Bradbury, I think of a fat man with a crap beard in his mother’s attic, banging away incoherent slobberings on a MacBook Pro while recording more crap documentaries no one watches to continue the delusion that he’s a media don. Typical Donkey Puncher.

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  53. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    Thanks for the link to the BSA.
    done my complaint.

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  54. maringi (13 comments) says:

    Just to clear a few things up.

    The footage of Fuller’s house was old – from their previous story last year – they should have labelled it as such.
    They did not talk to Fuller prior to the story running (she refused to talk to them).

    Given that, they should have had the brains to take the Ministers categorical denial seriously.

    This is not a case of ‘poor TV3 being duped by a psycho con artist’ (which is how they are spinning it), this is TV3 facing serious legal action as a result of shoddy and highly unethical journalism.

    The truth will out. As DPF has pointed out earlier, there were a number of people at that meeting.

    I’ll certainly be making a complaint ..

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  55. maringi (13 comments) says:

    In case anyone wants to complain using the link above, the relevant sections of the Broadcasting code are 4b, 5a,b,c and 6c

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  56. CharlieBrown (889 comments) says:

    tom hunter – “d) Because this approach brings nearer the possibility of a left-wing return to power, and also increases the pressure on National not to change anything in the institutions built up by the Left.”

    I don’t think the left wing has left power… just changed faces.

    TV3 should be done for slander. And the slant the stories on the herald and stuff have just highlights the fact that NZ lacks a decent investigative newspaper.

    It is a shame that Paula bennett is even trying to sort this thing out personally. The amount of money that solo mum is receiving is f&^king disgracefull. My wife (who works fulltime) earns considerably less money before tax than what that ‘bludger’ earns after. Paula bennett should let this go through the commission, and if the privacy commission goes against her then it is a perfect way to get the public behind changing that socialist organisation.

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  57. Pete George (22,739 comments) says:

    TV3 – incompetence chasing sensation.

    Hopefully this embarrassment will jolt them back in the direction journalistic standards but I won’t hold me breath waiting for that. I don’t buy the left conspiracy claims, they don’t seem to care much what the politics is – TV1 and TV3 both wrote Labour off well before the last election and their election campaigns (coverage) were based on that.

    What really puzzles me about this debacle is why it would have rated as sensation even if money talks were correct – from what I have seen the Privacy Commission includes monetary components for settlements anyway, so right from the start TV3 were trying to frame normal practice as buying silence. Their coverage went downhill from there.

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  58. GNZ (228 comments) says:

    From what we know it is likely that it wasnt that Bennett offered her money it is just that she thought she could get it and was sure as hell going to ask when she had worked out what the best starting offer was.

    I would guess that she is trying to profit maximize anyone who was not like that would be too embarassed to try to screw the MP over or would jsut be the pawn of some organization with an alterior motive.

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  59. Murray (8,838 comments) says:

    Maybe Fuller should stop making a living out of attacking Bennet and National on the taxpayers dime and get a fucking job.

    Should be some openings at TV3… although that wouldn’t solve the first problem.

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