Devlin v Herald

August 26th, 2011 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

complained about three stories published by the Herald.

The first two reports appeared on the newspaper’s website and the third report was given front-page prominence.

His complaint about unethical journalism traversed several of the principles, especially a lack of accuracy, fairness and balance; misleading headlines and captions; and misleading readers by the technical manipulation of a photograph.

Parts of his various complaints are upheld. …

More importantly, the Press Council does not accept the argument raised by the newspaper that a Wikipedia definition of “air rage” allows the term to be used to mean the general frustration felt by passengers annoyed by lengthy delays.

It takes the view that “air rage” suggests aggressive behaviour, behaviour exhibiting a loss of control, and there is no evidence of such action in the article. He certainly may have made an ill-considered remark, but there is no suggestion that he became violently angry.

These two complaints about a lack of accuracy and a misleading headline are upheld.

I love how the Herald tried to use a Wikipedia definition as a defence.

Finally, the council turned to Mr Devlin’s overriding contention that he was treated unfairly because the newspaper twisted a minor story into a “front-page extravaganza”.

The council has been loath in the past to delineate the positioning that editors might give to stories, for prominence inevitably depends on transitory factors, such as the relative importance of other news items on any given day.

Furthermore, the Press Council accepts that police escorting such a public figure from a plane, especially given the previous incident, was a valid story for the newspaper to cover.

Nevertheless, the cumulative effect of the red headline, the power of “Air rage”, a particularly large photograph, the dominant position on the front page, the three-times-repeated phrasing of “making a scene and being abusive” as well as the details about previous charges, has to be weighed in terms of general fairness.

In short, was this report so sensationalised that it became “overcooked” and thus unfair to Mr Devlin?

On balance, and despite its long-standing reluctance to adjudicate on the placement of stories, the Press Council unanimously agreed that the overall coverage was indeed unfair. This aspect of his complaint is also upheld.

As they said, it is unusual for The Press Council to second guess a newspaper on an issue such as prominence. The fact they unanimously decided to rule it was unfair, suggests they thought that Devlin really had been badly treated.

Having said that, most people manage to get on and off aircraft without upsetting the air crew, and that is one sure fire way to make sure no negative stories appear about you on board planes.

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16 Responses to “Devlin v Herald”

  1. thedavincimode (6,532 comments) says:

    Does this mean he ISN’T a dickhead?

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  2. Johnboy (14,993 comments) says:

    Whenever I get on an aircraft I always make it a given not to piss off the PIC.

    Even when it was me as PIC I tried not to piss myself off.

    Devlin is a dick! :)

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  3. ben (2,396 comments) says:

    Theory: media readership and revenue is declining because fewer people believe what they read.

    Exhibit A: defining ‘air rage’ as ‘general frustration’. No, leading media outlet. No. That is patently misleading, you know it, and now we know it, and either you were lying in the original story, or you’re stupid and really believe that definition. And I can get stupid for free at The Standard.

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  4. Uncompetency (11 comments) says:

    Was he flying Onestar?

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

    thedavincimode said…
    Does this mean he ISN’T a dickhead

    No. The Herald reporter who wrote the story is the dickhead. Sensationalistic? I betcha ya.

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  6. Scott Chris (5,880 comments) says:

    Bit rich of Devlin really, who isn’t shy of partaking in a spot of sensationalism.

    What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

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  7. Johnboy (14,993 comments) says:

    Not if the Goose or the Gander is PIC Scott. :)

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  8. mikenmild (10,720 comments) says:

    Devlin might have been better advised to forget the whole thing, rather than allownig the Herald to rehash this by publishing the Press Council decision.

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  9. ben (2,396 comments) says:

    Here’s an idea. Perhaps in future the Herald could highlight the parts of stories it isn’t making up. Even better, have a filtering tool that confines text to the honest bits.

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  10. Steve (4,499 comments) says:

    Publicity junkie. Sad sad man and a cock

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  11. thedavincimode (6,532 comments) says:

    “have a filtering tool that confines text to the honest bits”

    There wouldn’t be anything left.

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  12. trout (901 comments) says:

    Fair cop. The story was a real beatup. That Devlin may or may not be a prick is not the point (pun unintended – true).

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  13. Elaycee (4,301 comments) says:

    Most people have been able to make their own minds up about Devlin.

    Even prior to this latest incident, he was seen making a right dork of himself in an Auckland street. He even admitted that he’d been a prat.

    So there can be no doubt at all – he is a total sock puppet in urgent need of an anger management course.

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  14. Longknives (4,456 comments) says:

    Martin Devlin must be New Zealand’s answer to John McClane – Always in the wrong place at the wrong time…

    Either that or he is a completely self obsessed ‘C- list’ twat….

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  15. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    I’m sure that Devlin isn’t the first ‘C-list’ self-opinionated so-called ‘celebrity’ who in a rush of blood to the head has made the serving classes the object of their barbed but less-than-rapier-like wits.

    As cringeworthy as that is, and as much as it makes the offender an embarrassment to those who raised him, or even looking like a bit of a jumped-up ‘hooray-Henry’, he still has a right to defend himself against the allegation that his behaviour was something akin to the Incredible Hulk.

    He may feel empowered to indulge in such infantile behaviour because he believes the measure of a person’s entitlement to be insulting to those who are paid less than him is somehow increased by his earning power, background, education or prominence in the media. But this is a mistaken view, which ends up making him look contemptible. And Devlin (indeed any of his ilk) should remind himself daily that ‘ordinary’ people have very long memories.
    n’est-ce que pas? :0)

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  16. ben (2,396 comments) says:

    Whether Devlin is a dick or not is completely beside the point. Being unlikable doesn’t give the media the right to make things up.

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