BSA complaints

August 15th, 2011 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Bronwyn Torrie at the Dom Post reports:

A Wellington man has been fined $50 for a “frivolous and trivial” complaint that alleged TVNZ inaccurately reported the distance of a supernova star from Earth.

An item on One News, broadcast in January, reported that a supernova discovered by a 10-year-old Canadian girl was in a galaxy 240 light years away. The correct distance is 240 million light years. …

It dismissed his “frivolous and trivial” complaint and ordered him to pay TVNZ costs of $50 as a deterrent.

“He has now been warned numerous times about lodging complaints of this nature, and it is evident that his complaints expend a significant amount of both TVNZ’s and the authority’s time and resources.”

The man, who receives the invalids benefit and pension, generated about 5 per cent of complaints received about TV One in 2009 and 2010.

I don’t know why they do not name him.

I would like the , ASA and Press Council to all publish their top 10 complainants, and what proportion of complaints those top 10 are responsible for.

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50 Responses to “BSA complaints”

  1. Mike Johnson (44 comments) says:

    It’s a pretty big error. The difference between 240 light years and 240 million is extremely pertinent and to claim the former is both slack journalism and highly misleading.

    I wonder what legal power the BSA has to fine a complainant?

    The BSA is not there to shied broadcasters from complaints, and clearly does not give any weight to complaints from this person, however justified.

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  2. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    Regardless of how many time this guys has compl;ained he WAS RIGHT. This is a simple factual error and they should have acknowledged it.

    the BSA compounded the arrogance with their BS fine.

    DPF might want everyone who complains to be named – even though will reduce complaints – but I’d rather see this system of suposed accoutnability result in some actual accoutnability.

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  3. wreck1080 (3,917 comments) says:

    @mike : are you the complainant?

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  4. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    I’m Spartacus!

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  5. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    It’s hardly the role of the BSA to correct trivial errors of this sort, although the sort of personality who indulges in this as a hobby is unlikely to be easily deterred. No doubt he also keeps many newspaper editors and talkback hosts apprised of similarly vital matters.

    @Murray – considering one has to raise a matter with the broadcaster before going to the BSA, this is just a time waster.

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  6. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    You’re an idiot mike, no one asked them to correct a mistake, trivial or otherwise, simple uphold a valid complaint.

    Socialists might be happy with gross factual errors from the media, but other people what their facts to have a higher fact content.

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  7. metcalph (1,430 comments) says:

    I’ve a feeling the complainant has posted on nz.general

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  8. berend (1,709 comments) says:

    Complaining about a scientific error now gets you fined.

    This country is going in the right direction John Key. Borrow some more, because we all love choice, responsibility and the other fluff words you so like to use.

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  9. Mike Readman (363 comments) says:

    “The man, who receives the invalids benefit and pension”

    Do they mean super? I didn’t think you could get both, you definitely shouldn’t be able to!

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  10. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Murray – No, you are.

    It was a trivial factual mistake – the kind you would see a dozen time each week in the newspaper. The function of the BSA is to uphold standards – not correct factual errors that have no impact. Maybe they should just have said “A long, long way away in space”.

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  11. ben (2,380 comments) says:

    Not too invalid to complain, then? Another success story for the welfare system. Thanks socialists!

    Clearly, BSA and TVNZ need a complaints process about the complaints process. Although the invalid would find a way to complain about it.

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  12. 3-coil (1,220 comments) says:

    So even the BSA acknowledge that it is too much to expect that TVNZ would be capable of reporting simple facts accurately!

    BSA know that the TVNZ news bimbos have no clue as to the difference between a “million” and a “billion” – after all, they’re both really really BIG numbers. “Epitome” can be pronounced “epi-toam” at TVNZ – the average TVNZ viewer is so stupid, who cares!

    TVNZ = inaccurate news delivered by ersatz “journalists” and vacant airheads. For a viewer to pick on them like this is like so unfair!

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  13. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    The function of the BSA is to uphold standards – not correct factual errors that have no impact.

    Which is why the Broadcasting Standards process requires complaints to go to the Broadcaster first, which are where most of them are dealt with.

    What should have happened here is that TVNZ should have upheld his complaint. That they’re not concerned about something like this shows just how low they set their sights.

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  14. MT_Tinman (3,187 comments) says:

    The report I read stated that TVNZ acknowledged the error but that wasn’t good enough for this tosser.

    We pay for this idiot and other nutters exactly like him to complain about the most trivial of things.

    Better ALL complaints be accompanied by a $100.00 deposit, refundable should the complaint be ruled by the investigating body worthy of investigation and serial complainers (most of the complaints according to one source) ignored completely.

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  15. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Good idea MT.

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  16. KiwiGreg (3,255 comments) says:

    Abolish the BSA would seem the correct approach here. No one is forced to watch TV or listen to the radio and if they dont like the “standards” of what is broadcast they should choose alternate media.

    This way we would all win.

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  17. metcalph (1,430 comments) says:

    If my suspicions are correct, this is the guy (or rather a sample of his style) http://bit.ly/r7Pd3I

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  18. BeaB (2,123 comments) says:

    KiwiGreg I agree. We just don’t need these tribunals pontificating to us – or encouraging the tossers who want to whinge.
    If you are offended, tell your friends or write a letter. In the end, who cares. The tribunal is only expressing the opinion of its members, no more valid than your opinion or mine.
    The best complaints procedure is the on/off switch.
    I hate all these tribunals set up at our expense to monitor our thoughts, speech and behaviour. If they all vanished tomorrow society would barely notice a ripple.

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  19. coventry (321 comments) says:

    Wellington, Sickness Benefit, has to be one Trevor Mallard.

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  20. holysheet (391 comments) says:

    all these quangos are a load of shit.
    I had a complaint against me by a former employer who complained to the advertising standards complaints board that my advertising was misleading. In the advertising I said my product was better than his and that I had data proving that was the case. He lodged a complaint. He paid an up front fee of $7000. to cover fees etc. I was expected to refund this to him if the complaint was upheld. Appeared before the authority with my lawyer. It was clear that the authority didn’t want to make a decision and ask us to go into mediation. Since the advertising had run it’s course I agreed to withdraw the advertising. This enabled the ASCB to say that the parties agreed to disagree and the complaint was withdrawn.

    I received an invoice from them for the $7000. Of course I never paid it as they had not made a decision against me.
    This decision and the “offending” advert can be found on the web. So my advert is there for all to see forever. Even though it was withdrawn by me.
    Is this stupid or what.

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  21. immigant (950 comments) says:

    Guy who got fined $50
    I don’t understand what he was fined for. His complaint is perfectly valid and factualy correct. The fact that he has no life if and can spend time on such nonsensical useless bullshit, is another question, but the guy got fined for playing within teh rules. Not fair.. not fair at all.

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  22. Brian Smaller (4,023 comments) says:

    How much does this waste of space “authority” cost us each year again? 5% of that is what this guy’s complaints cost. I would be surprised if there were more than a few dozen people who spend their waking hours watching TV to find something to complain about. Turn the fucking thing off or change channels if you are offended by something. Get rid of these quangos now.

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  23. TripeWryter (716 comments) says:

    I temped at a tribunal for a few months. The complaints by one person took up a whole wall of files, and occupied several more shelves of files in boxes out the back.

    The complainant had complained about something some years earlier. Each reply to him gave him cause to complain about comment in those replies.

    It was a case of, I guess, where someone has the time and the wit to do something because it occupies them. It had the effect of tying up countless hours of people responding to his complaints and trying to satisfy him.

    The more oxygen you gave him the more he demanded.

    I asked why he was indulged. The answer was procedure and process, which was laid down, apparently, in statute.

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  24. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    The report I read stated that TVNZ acknowledged the error but that wasn’t good enough for this tosser.

    Acknowledged the error, but declined to uphold the complaint that there story was inaccurate.

    They should have acknowledged the error and upheld the complaint.

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  25. Lance (2,655 comments) says:

    I seem to recall a cartoon once with a women on the phone to the TV station that went something like..

    Your announcer after the program “murder for fun and profit” and before “techniques for exploiting third world children” said the word “poo”

    Get a friggin grip

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  26. anonymouse (716 comments) says:

    If it is who I think it is the BSA threatened to ignore his complaints in 2005,
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/marketing/news/article.cfm?c_id=14&objectid=10334691

    and then warned they would consider awarding costs against him in 2010.
    http://www.bsa.govt.nz/decisions/show/2512

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  27. Shunda barunda (2,983 comments) says:

    Gee these unemployed atheists waste a lot of time don’t they!!

    Though shalt not mis-quote the holy texts of science or depict the scientific method in graphic form!!

    May a thousand quantum events alter your reality and doom you to an eternal suffering in a universe that has attained heat death!!

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  28. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    man, I’m totally getting worse at spelling. Their, obviously. I used to good at this stuff.

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  29. peterwn (3,273 comments) says:

    milkenmild – Another zero or two after $50 costs would soon act as a deterrent.

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  30. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    He has had. A tv piece done on him a while ago. He copplains about everything all the time. He. Is quite often correct but very trivial. Quite. A sad wee rooster. Life is a WCC flat in Newtown

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  31. brucehoult (195 comments) says:

    @peterwn … hell, why not put six zeros on the end of the $50 costs? It’s a trivial difference, after all.

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  32. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    I’m guessing that even had the broadcaster ‘upheld’ the complaint, he would still have gone to the BSA insisting that the error be corrected.

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  33. labrator (1,850 comments) says:

    We could have a child naming standards authority. Being called Donald McDonald was obviously too much trauma for this man’s fragile mind.

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  34. MT_Tinman (3,187 comments) says:

    Graeme Edgeler (2,019) Says:
    August 15th, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Acknowledged the error, but declined to uphold the complaint that there story was inaccurate.

    They should have acknowledged the error and upheld the complaint.

    There we disagree.

    The error caused no harm, nothing but mirth I suspect, to those who listened and/or cared.

    To most of us it simply didn’t matter.

    Acknowledging the error was enough.

    To accept, let alone uphold, a complaint based on the error would have given the matter weight it did not deserve as I have no doubt the BSA concluded.

    What a pity it was only a $50. fine!

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  35. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Perhaps complainants should be required to pay a reasonable fee ($100?) in all cases to use the services of the BSA. Cut out the timewasters.

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  36. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    DPF:I don’t know why they do not name him.

    He’s not the problem.

    I don’t know why the BSA is so clunky and unstreamlined in what it does, that it cannot quickly and inexpensively resolve a complaint like this.

    He is factually correct, but the subject is so arcane that it would have made no difference to 99.99% of readers’ appreciation of the issue.

    Where’s the issue? Case closed. Archived. Next, please.

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  37. Raging Glory (45 comments) says:

    The Broadcasting Standards Association has no standards.

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  38. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Perhaps they need a ‘standard’ reply for those sorts of complaints.

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  39. anonymouse (716 comments) says:

    I don’t know why they do not name him.
    The BSA have named him, the judgement is on their website, it is Fairfax that are pussy footing around the issue.
    http://www.bsa.govt.nz/decisions/show/4213

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  40. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Thanks for that. I see Donald McDonald has also been on at TVNZ for not specifying a figure of 360,000 referred to square kilometres and for not clarifying whether ‘zero degrees’ was in Fahrenheit, Celsius or Kelvin!

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  41. annie (539 comments) says:

    This error shows ignorance on a fundamental level, like so much of our media’s science reporting – you have to suspect that not a single one of the people involved in broadcasting this, and similar, items, had managed to pass year 9 science.

    Fair enough if this guy is a vexatious complainant, but it’s that issue the BSA needs to address if it wants to decline his input.

    The broadcaster also needs to be told to ease gently into the 21st century and try to get the basics right.

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  42. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    The BSA is there for complaints about balance, offensive language, bias, etc. It’s not there to correct factual errors, except where they contribute to a breach of a broadcasting standard. Sure, broadcasters shouldn’t make basic factual errors, but it does happen.

    In this case, ‘TVNZ acknowledged that the figure in the item was incorrect. It said that the correct distance was 240 million light years. However, it considered that this distance was not a material point of fact in the item, which focused on the discovery of the supernova by a 10-year-old girl. TVNZ therefore declined to uphold the complaint.’

    BTW, hereis Donald’s creed:
    THIS MAN NEEDS YOUR HELP!
    Donald MacDonald, of Newtown, Wellington, a retired scientist, initiates
    2 complaints a month or about 26 per year. Of these he expects to get
    only one complaint upheld each year. Is he down-hearted? Absolutely
    not, and encourages others to use the complaints system. His advice
    – “Use the process set out on the website http://www.bsa.govt.nz and email to
    make your complaint if you can. Fire it off while its fresh in your mind
    and note carefully the date, the time and the channel. We’re helping
    raise the standard!”

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  43. Daniel (6 comments) says:

    BAHAHA

    Definitely heard of this guy before. He has a thing for numbers. I found his “business” card (or sticker, or something) on a Wellington bus, which led me online to some numbers thing about the Moon, the Christchurch earthquake, and possibly a conspiracy theory. He also goes by the name Don Newt, and he had a public Facebook page when I looked.

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  44. scanner (340 comments) says:

    Fuck all to do, and all day to do it in, Oxygen thief. Sadly the system is set up to let dickwads like this run riot through it.

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  45. Griff (7,727 comments) says:

    Random Guess he is an Aspie
    Not mental just inclined to get obsessed by things that he finds an affront to science

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  46. plebe (271 comments) says:

    Gasp,a reviewer who wants the facts broadcasted correctly, darn next he might ask for the real figures, for polls taken on Keys real popularity,nah it wont happen because in the false world of media ,you just get garbage served up as true facts,ie as in 1984

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  47. Put it away (2,878 comments) says:

    Shunda what makes you think this nutbar’s an atheist? Is it just because he can tell fact from nonsense and thinks the difference is important, you assume he can’t be an xtian? Take a moment to think about that. I can see why you would make that association, but did you read metcalph’s link at 11:42, the loon makes an assload of new testament references. Looks like he’s one of yours. Hope you feel proud…

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  48. Put it away (2,878 comments) says:

    plebe you will see the true extent of John Key’s support on election day, and you are not going to like it one bit. But keep telling yourself that everything you don’t want to hear is a lie, if that makes you feel better between now and then.

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  49. Return To Sender (14 comments) says:

    here’s our man http://www.gadot.wellington.net.nz/darksky/pe.htm

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  50. Rick Rowling (813 comments) says:

    Complained because they might have meant below zero degrees Kelvin?

    Idiot

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