Is Problem Gambling Foundation promoting fictional stories?

December 24th, 2013 at 8:33 am by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

The Press Council has upheld a complaint from Lenni and Nuu Mamea about The Dominion Post’s reporting of a symposium organised by the Problem Foundation.

The August 24 article, on dompost.co.nz, featured the Mameas’ children telling a fictional story and poem about being victims in a family where the parents were problem gamblers. The children were also interviewed with parental consent.

Accompanied by a photograph of the children, the article – ‘Kids speak out against problem gambling’ – quoted from the poem and referred to the award-winning speech. It included the line, “The Mamea family has been working with the Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand (PGF) for two years, and the parents were recovering from the addictions.”

This turned out to be untrue in that the story and poem were fictional and the complainants were not problem gamblers.

So the PGF had a symposium about the effects of gambling on families, and the stories didn’t have to be true! And the prize went to a fictional account!

The full decision is here. An extract:

[The children] performed at a symposium that was promoted as featuring children sharing their personal stories about the impact of gambling on their lives. The Problem Gambling Foundation now admits it made a mistake in not verifying that the children’s performance came from their personal experience.

All media should be aware of this. The PGF uses invented stories.

Three members of the council, Clive Lind, Stephen Stewart and John Roughan, disagreed with the decision. They considered the case to be an unfortunate misunderstanding, primarily on the part of the Problem Gambling Foundation which put fictional material in front of a seminar billed as a forum “where children would share their personal stories through poetry and song about the impact gambling has had on their lives”. 

I wonder how much money the PGF gets from taxpayers and/or through levies to promote false stories?

 

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15 Responses to “Is Problem Gambling Foundation promoting fictional stories?”

  1. Alan (908 comments) says:

    isn’t the real question why were the kids even talking to the PGF ?

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  2. scrubone (2,971 comments) says:

    Am I the only person who’s wondering why, when just a couple of years ago even reasonable smacking was outrageous child abuse, now we seem to have multiple campaigns who are actually refusing to call real child abuse and neglect what it is?

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  3. david (2,482 comments) says:

    Hmmm John Roughan involved with made-up stories. Who’d a thunk it?

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  4. itstricky (1,139 comments) says:

    Stop being a troublemaker on Christmas Eve DPF:

    Is Problem Gambling Foundation promoting fictional stories?
    So the PGF had a symposium about the effects of gambling on families, and the stories didn’t have to be true
    All media should be aware of this. The PGF uses invented stories.
    I wonder how much money the PGF gets from taxpayers and/or through levies to promote false stories?

    It is *clear* in the article that the PGF did *not* know the stories were fictional.

    You’re just stirring.

    Yes, they should have checked and it’s all their fault but don’t try to imply that they did it on purpose. Community org, good cause, Christmas ‘n’ all that and you’re just on your personal crusade…

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  5. peterwn (2,933 comments) says:

    itsticky – It is an image problem, his main competitor accuses him of running a travel and fitness blog, rather than a political blog. The Avis car hire ads used to say ‘if you are number two you have to try harder’.

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  6. ChardonnayGuy (1,023 comments) says:

    Granted, they really *should* have prefaced the stories with a statement that they were fictionalised accounts and embellishments of their personal experiences, but I think you’re on shaky ground extrapolating this, David. What about the use of fictional and hypothetical scenarios in other contexts that you might agree with? And problem gambling is a bona fide mental health condition according to the American Psychiatric Association’s DSMs III-IV.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_gambling

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  7. Elaycee (4,064 comments) says:

    The PGF uses invented stories.

    Well, tickle me with a feather….. the Problem Gambling Foundation tells porkies. Goodness…

    Actually, the PGF has a habit of sensationalising selected ‘tales’ proffered by members of the public – and then trotting them out as ‘fact’. This fairy tale is merely the latest example.

    As an aside, the PGF is one organisation funded (via the Ministry of Health) by levies paid by the Industry – in 2013, total levies paid were around $33.35 million from non-casino gambling machines and around $11.34 million from casinos. All to assist the 0.3% of the NZ population that has a ‘problem’ with gambling.

    In recent years, the PGF has become increasingly political – with close links with the Gweens.

    So the use of fairy tales is not exactly without precedent.

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  8. farang (1 comment) says:

    Ahh yes, PGF, or as it should be known The Khyber Pass Branch of the Green Party – hence the propensity to just make shit up

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  9. Elaycee (4,064 comments) says:

    Oops – edit too quick for me… and the phone rang.

    The amounts (above) are based on figures tabled by the Minister (Chris Tremain) as part of the latest ‘problem gambling strategy’ and are spread over three years.

    Bugger. Don’t you hate it when that happens?

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  10. DJP6-25 (1,229 comments) says:

    How could this happen on the ‘other side of the fence’? I thought they were all so noble.

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  11. Fentex (656 comments) says:

    Granted, they really *should* have prefaced the stories with a statement that they were fictionalised accounts and embellishments of their personal experiences, but I think you’re on shaky ground extrapolating this

    He doesn’t have to extrapolate anything, the facts are damning all on their own.

    Presenting anecdote as evidence is bad enough, but when the anecdote is fiction it is also lying.

    Presuming there is a real issue of problem gambling (and I’m sure there is on some scale) these people are actively working against dealing with it by bringing efforts to do so into disrepute.

    Where there is a real problem there can be no need to tell lies about it and telling lies in any politically charged environment is stoking the fire for your opposition.

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  12. itstricky (1,139 comments) says:

    …except that they didn’t actually tell lies. They just didn’t check the truth. Just like the Dom Post reporter.

    peterwn – agree – scraping the bottom of the barrel to stir up some shitzus to get a few more of the above decrying the end of the world. They are a force against something determinental; a bit of good in a bad world. But DPF will put that below getting a few more ranters and a few extra up ticks.

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  13. Fentex (656 comments) says:

    …except that they didn’t actually tell lies. They just didn’t check the truth. Just like the Dom Post reporter.

    Checking to see if I misunderstood events I re-read the article. And this quote from the PGF regarding a response to investigation by the Press council, seems to be (if accurate) an admission of misleading…

    PGF eventually confirmed what the complainants were saying, and accepted it was an error on its part in not making clear the story was fictional.

    And I think, given the dissenting opinions expressed by Council members…

    The three dissenting council members said they considered the case to be an unfortunate misunderstanding, primarily on the part of the PGF which put fictional material in front of a seminar billed as a forum “where children would share their personal stories through poetry and song about the impact gambling has had on their lives”.

    They noted PGF had admitted it did not know these children were not writing from personal experience when it invited them.

    …that the error remains with the PGF. I think the primary problem was attempting to present stories, and/or anecdotes as evidence which is ripe for exactly these distracting problems in addressing issues.

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  14. Farmerpete (35 comments) says:

    Until you have been a victim of problem gambling you really have no idea of the emotional, financial and legal cost. Big statement…I Know!
    I am in my late 60′s now, but I was one of 6 kids in a household where gambling and drink had a hold on my father. Mum worked three jobs (no DPB) 7 days a week to keep the family together. Loses fuelled my father’s alcohol consumption and violence (real nasty, scary violence with anything that came to hand).
    My father went bust and lost other peoples Money in the process. On Saturdays you couldn’t escape the races played full blare from the radio.
    You think the TAB and the casinos don’t know that gambling is addictive and widespread? Just like the tobacco companies didn’t know nicotine was addictive.. right?
    Now we have SkyTv pimping itself out to to the TAB and helping portray sports betting as a part of sports.
    Yes, I hate horse racing and the casinos with a passion. I suppose they do employ people but so do drug dealers and other despicable types.
    The Problem Gambling Foundation ( I am not a member, and don’t know anyone who is) doesn’t need to invent stories (and if they did they are stupid) because there are thousands of them out there just waiting to be told.
    My observation over thirty years in business is that organisations such as alcohol, tobacco, and TAB type organisations generally employed a lesser calibre person, and that if you had worked for such a company (finance would be the exception) you couldn’t really compete against other well qualified candidates for top appointments.
    Everything about these organisations is suspect and second class.

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  15. itstricky (1,139 comments) says:

    And this quote from the PGF regarding a response to investigation by the Press council, seems to be (if accurate) an admission of misleading…

    No, all it says is that they did not know that the stories were fictional. Which is an error on their behalf, but they weren’t intentionally misleading. It’s their cause, they mearly thought (as the DP reporter did) this is too good to be true what a great story for our fight. DPF extrapolates… ‘Cause it’s a slow news day and he needs to ruffle a few feathers.

    Disclaimer: Story on the site may have changed since I last commented, I haven’t read the full Press Council report. I don’t speak for any of the parties. I do know a pushing-sh*-up-hill-moving-my-words-around-to-imply-something story when I see it though.

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