Coddington vs Press Council

In today’s HoS, Deborah Coddington reveals the has upheld complaints against her in regards to her North & South “Asian angst” story. Coddington actually mentioned this to a group of us a few weeks ago at the Qantas Awards, so I have been wondering when it would become public.

Deborah pretty much rejects the findings, and claims that as “the council totally ignored the main complaint – that my statistics were wrong. From this omission, I can only conclude that I was correct all along, and the complainants – as I argued – wilfully used different statistics.”

What the Council it seems focused on was emotionally laden language.

I was one of the critics of Deborah for the article. I was never against there being an article on some of the issues around Asian immigration, just that this particular article did mis-use statistics. I think I was first to blog that her claim four out of five pregnant Asian women aborted their babies was wrong, and that was the rate for Asians under 20 years old only. For all Asian women it was 37%.The decision is not online so I can’t read it to see what it does or does not say on the statistics. I was not one of the Press Council complainants incidentally. The only time I have ever considered taking an issue to the Press Council was over the Rachel Glucina/Mick Jagger HoS story – and that was because I thought there was a very important principle at stake over whether journalists can deny they are journalists to get a story. But I never got around to doing that.

Coddington certainly is whatever the opposite of contrite is, concluding:

Even the complainants should be peeved by this pathetic decision. If I’d been judged by my peers – senior, investigative journalists – I could respect their conclusions, however “damning”. Instead, I was found guilty by three lawyers, a retired diplomat, a teacher, a writer for Department of Trade and Enterprise, the editor of a rival publication and just one journalist I respect – John Gardner of the Herald. But even he should have excused himself, since two of the complainants were Herald reporters.

I’ll link to the decision once it is online.

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