Editorial bias

Received today from Russell Garbutt [email].

Have readers of the ODT online site noticed the failure of the ODT Online Editor to acknowledge that they are abridging comments or simply wiping them?

Two examples of mine recently spring to mind and the context shows where the sympathies of the ODT lies. The first was in response to a comment made by speedfreak43 who noted that the GV of Carisbrook at the time the dear old DCC masquerading as a body acting in the interests of the ratepayers was about $1.5m when the purchase price from the ORFU who really run the DCC, was $7m. This is what I wrote, which simply vanished into thin air:

“speedfreak43, I think you are pretty close to the mark with the recollection of a GV of about $1.5m for Carisbrook. That makes this story even more worth pursuing by the ODT. Here we have a previous owner in the financial doodah for $7m – interestingly because of their purchases of Auckland bars to carry out their pokie fund rort – bailed out by a Council decision to purchase at a price many times more than what is clearly a market price. All backed up by “valuations” that appear to be nothing other than part of the shonky deals done behind closed doors. All replicated almost exactly with Luggate and Jack’s Point. Bearing in mind that every $1m of spend without income that this Council does equates to 1% on the rates and you can see that these 3 property deals alone have cost Dunedin ratepayers close on 15% of rates increases. My question again – who is going to hold these Councillors accountable?”

Now why this sensitivity? The ORFU were involved in a rort and everyone knows that. Were there shonky deals done behind closed doors? Well, we have Carisbrook, Jacks Point and Luggate as examples that are in the public domain. Is it that the ODT don’t want some Councillors to be exposed for what they are? Well here my posting in another thread with the deleted portion emboldened.

“If the promoters are well aware in advance of sound issues at the stadium and have prepared accordingly, then a simple question remains unanswered. Why do patrons who shell out money to see and hear acts at the stadium rate the sound quality over the PA systems as “abhorrent”? While pondering that answer, why is it that, after we were all told that the surface was the most high-tech, durable and incredible surface ever devised that the recent soccer fixture rated the surface as being the worst they had played on? When considering the answer to that question, readers may like to consider just how much they have paid in their rates to achieve these levels of mediocrity. Perhaps Malcolm Farry and the stadium Councillors could provide some answers?”

So, the ODT had printed stories about the sound quality and the turf quality so they couldn’t take exception to that, but they didn’t want Farry and the Stadium Councillors being asked to be held accountable.

This I suggest, is a very clear indication of where the ODT’s sympathies and probable support will be for any forthcoming Council elections. Can it logically be seen in any other way?


Related Posts and Comments:
23.1.13 Editorial spin, disagrees?!
1.1.13 Journalist sums up 2012, against the ‘odds’ how does it rate ?
10.6.12 What won’t get printed on ORT’s front page (pssst, about the Albatross…….)
3.8.12 Extraordinary editorials
28.7.12 Pokie fraud: ODT fails to notice own backyard
26.6.12 Defamation
7.5.12 ODT: “the cupboard has been bare” [still is]
4.2.12 Editor pitches for rugby nursery
31.12.11 Dishonourable mention
4.10.11 Something hyped in the news
[the list goes on . . . ]

Editorial Note:
When the What if? moderators enter “abridge” in their dashboard search box up come 74 items of observation and complaint on multiple threads about comments being abridged or not published after submission to ODT Online.
Spot the trend.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Business, Concerts, Construction, CST, DCC, DCHL, Design, DVL, DVML, Economics, Events, Media, Name, ORFU, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport, Stadiums, Urban design

46 responses to “Editorial bias

  1. Hype O'Thermia

    Russell, it could have been a nudge from their legal watchdogs. Words that might have causes worries are “rorts” followed so closely by “bailed out by a Council decision” , and “shonky”.
    They are often OK about non-pejorative work-arounds that carry the same message e.g. “purchases of Auckland bars to carry out their pokie fund [rort] maximisation initiative”, “shonky deals done behind closed doors” could be “an interesting example of innovative deal-making facilitated by the convention of ‘commercial sensitivity’ “.
    I do not think that euphemism necessarily weakens an argument. The need to “decode” a less common phrase takes a fraction more time being engaged with the subject, whether they agree or disagree.

  2. Anonymous

    The Otago Daily Times could be so much more. That has been my argument and I still hope they will come to that reality before laying off valuable staff and replacing them with project managers, delegators and vacuous managers. Something quite a few desperate businesses have been led to believe will revive their fortunes. The equivalent of a cheaply manufactured sticky plaster that allows the underlying wound to fester further.

  3. Peter

    Were Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodword of ‘The Washington Post’ ‘biased’ in their pursuit of Richard Nixon with the Watergate Scandal? Well, technically yes, but they were pursuing a crook. They didn’t need to balance their reporting with the views of ‘the other side’.
    Likewise, with the ODT, we don’t actually need them to be ‘balanced’ if they were doing their job properly. Namely, protecting the interests of the wider citizenry against the machinations of the evil, greedy ones who dwell among us.

  4. Mike

    Speaking of unannounced abridgement… the little thread today about the picture of the boat ‘passing’ Dunedin. …… I pointed out that it was really a picture from Wikipedia – using it is not really a problem I’m sure there was no other pic available, pretending it was here a bit silly.

    But quietly removed from my latest post was the part where I pointed out that the image required a Creative Commons author’s attribution. …

  5. Mike

    Well when I first posted it was just a bit of a joke, the pic was obviously a piece of stock imagery from somewhere and not Dunedin in the background – the ODT posted my jokey response in full … while I was out people piled on a little …. so I did an image search – the Wikipedia image was second on my first google search, as I’m sure it was for the ODT sub who put it up.

    The egregious thing here is not using a stock photo, nor really miscaptioning it (they did say ‘supplied’ as if Paul’s publicist provided it) I just think that’s funny – my big problem is that it’s a Creative Commons image – free for the ODT to use provided they provide proper attribution, something that’s trivial to do – it was my posting later in the day to which they admitted the “error in the sub-editing process” which was abridged of its most important part, the gentle admonishment that they had neglected to provide correct attribution.

  6. Russell Garbutt

    What do you think the process was that resulted in the wrong caption. Someone got the photo from Creative Commons but someone decided that they would re-caption it and remove the obligation to attribute the source. They then responded by saying that they didn’t intend to mislead. This last bit is unbelievable! They recaptioned it. They made up words that indicated that they had sent a photographer out to sea to get this photo. They misled.

    • They misled, in a completely inane way. Given the huge photographic feeds and resources they have from Reuters and more, they didn’t have to go there (Wiki) at all. Last time I had a walk through Allied Press they explained exactly how the photographic department (illustrations) works. Except, this image bypassed the department?

      Clearly, they didn’t do final edit checks over the top of sub-editing to weed out the crap.

  7. Mike

    Oh I agree – but personally I’d put it down to an overzealous subeditor from the beginning – recaptioning it as if they’d taken the photo is a tad dishonest, and laughable after a glance at the photo.

    But as I said not doing the attribution is the really stupid part, it’s looking a gift horse in the mouth, free content for a small independant paper for the price of a simple attribution is something they should be embracing.

    Changing the subject slightly – Paul’s boat is, well, interesting, it has a mini-sub that James Bond-like can be launched through a hatch underneath – and I’m told that when he was having the boat built he asked the builder (who also builds frigates) if he could have torpedo tubes fitted – they thought about it for a bit then said that yes he could have them but they could not provide the torpedos …. (I don’t think he had them added).

  8. BillyBob


  9. “– my big problem is that it’s a Creative Commons image – free for the ODT to use provided they provide proper attribution”

    Well that depends Mike. It might be ©© NON COMMERCIAL in which case as this is a commercial paper they could be nailed…..

    Now I know the ODT refuse to pay for local images, and that even includes the front page for some bizarre reason, oh wait, locals will supply them for free (except me!!)

  10. Hype O'Thermia

    I wrote about the proposal to build a public toilet near Baldwin street. Lily123 wrote suggesting the Quarry Gardens was a suitable place, I wrote with further information. The letter was abridged……. but you can read the missing passage on What If:
    “The owner [of the Quarry Gardens] could possibly ask for reduction in “can’t do” that has blocked all initial ideas he had for development to offset his costs. It wouldn’t be the first time council has done “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch you” deals. I am sure the ODT has memories of many of these in its files.”

  11. The ODT editor excels in vacuous and blanket disregard for FACTS. We have now reached the hyper-ridiculous in newspaper bias and editorial conceit.

    It is to be hoped that, while the numbers attending the concerts were good – and the feedback for the most part positive – the financials for such events stack up.

    ### ODT Online Sat, 27 Apr 2013
    Editorial: A never-ending challenge
    Down by the foreshore, across from the university, there sits a structure which has divided the Dunedin community like none other in many a year. It is, of course, Forsyth Barr Stadium.
    It is eight years since the radical idea of replacing Carisbrook with a covered stadium emerged, and nearly two years since it opened before the Rugby World Cup. By now, teething problems should be sorted, and the stadium this year has been relatively busy.
    Some early claims by its promoters were overblown. There were extra costs and the Dunedin City Council has put millions extra into it over this first phase. Because the ”build” was such bare bones, extras have had to be provided and a debt of prodigious proportions weighs on the city. Not surprisingly, the claimed average cost of $66 a year for Dunedin city ratepayers is well short of reality.
    This newspaper has always argued that if the stadium was to go ahead the council had to cut its cloth on other projects, and had to run a much tighter operation.
    Read more

  12. amanda

    What a load of editorial tosh. Rewriting history. Still doing it. SO we can expect the ODT will not mention the councillors responsible for the stadium debacle on the run up to the election. Oh no. They must never do that. Some crafty old men and some not so crafty not so old men might lose their precious seats, and we can’t have that!

  13. amanda

    What’s responsible for the city’s massive debt? Not who. Aliens, the hand of god? elves? As far as the editor is concerned he could care less. So much for the media holding politicians to account. But thanks ODT we now know where you stand.

  14. Hype O'Thermia

    I disagree with most of you. Doesn’t this – “It is to be hoped that, …[snip]… the financials for such events stack up.” This is an enormous step forward. Have you all forgotten the certainty with which we were told the stadium WOULD be an asset, would attract more students, would attract great acts, huge audiences and vast profits on top of those from rugby?

  15. Anonymous

    The Oddity is caught in a trap of its own making. While it is perceived to support the stadium, this council’s reckless spending on vanity projects and the stakeholders’ false visions, while it continues to deny the debt and shy away from investigating the guilty and the white collar criminal, it too will suffer the same financial future of the city along with the disquiet and frustration of its ratepayers. Like the 20 or so criminals who have lined their pockets at the cost of this city’s future, its bosses will still walk away with millions while the rest of us face further uncertainty and job losses. Look no further than Delta to see how staff are cut under the guise of cost savings while its chief and bloated executive live a lifestyle few of us could comprehend in Dunedin. Plenty of others that could be the focus of investigation but while they are protected, the truth and opportunity to save Dunedin continues to slip further into the deep hole of debt. All will pay in the end, which is the mind-numbing irony of watching those striving to afford their day to day expenses continue to gamble their hopes and dreams on a few wealthy individuals who had an entertainment centre built for themselves. No a mount of spin is going to change the fact they used our homes as collateral for professional rugby.

  16. Anonymous

    What are you going to do to help pay off our wonderful Stadium – a Sausage sizzle or would it be more beneficial getting some tickets to events and helping out like the rest of us. – Its Me (ODT).

    Another of Edgar’s Soldiers runs into battle with the flint missing.

  17. Hype O'Thermia

    Oh I see – I’d thought of it like going to a movie or buying a book. But it’s not about spending my discretionary dollar on something “I” enjoy – not even supporting Red Cross, Foodbank or other causes “I” consider worthy. No, I’m now asked to go to events whether they interest me or I’d rather cut the lawn with nail scissors, to help pay off the F#d-Up-Beyond-All-Reason Stadium. An insulting request in view of the number of cogent explanations given to ItsMe of how bums on seats =/= profit because (read this slowly, pretending to be uncommonly thick) profit is what you end up with when you subtract costs from gross takings.

    Yep, it’s a hard road finding a perfect idiot.

    Hard. Not impossible eh.

  18. Anonymous

    Exactly, Hype O’Thermia. If they want their bloody stadium to succeed, it is they who have to fundraise to keep it open. It is what everyone else has to do for their project – it is called fundraising after all and there’s nothing wrong with a sausage sizzle or fourty million of them to at least meet their promises. It is insulting to the many other groups who put their time, energy and money into it. But sadly an entirely expected of the lazy and entitled rugby supporters. Buying tickets is not fundraising. There is no honour in the way funding was gained for the FORSYTH BARR stadium which is why the ODT should weigh up the consequences for continuing to support it.

  19. amanda

    Bullies usually end up blaming their victims. Now that the stadium is fiscal joke, the stadium pushers cannot accept responsibility for this so they try and foist it onto us; and we’re all supposed to happily let the DCC use our houses to prop up more debts so that powerful ‘stakeholders’ do not have egg on their faces.

    We’re supposed to happily contribute even more money so that Farry and Co can keep on telling the story that they are Genius Businessmen? Seriously? The usual song book. Smile. Shut up. Pay the money.

    That’s bullies for you. When they’re proven to be wrong, they’ll do anything to try and make it your fault that their dunderhead idea isn’t working. Watch just how little Councillors Noone, Hudson, Acklin and Co. say about their push for the stadium on the run-up to the election. Cowards, hiding behind the relatively good commonsense of fellow councillors. Amusing to watch.

  20. amanda

    Next little story will be selling off our water assets to pay for the debt that Crs Hudson, Noone, Weatherall and Co. are responsible for. Can’t see the ODT pointing out the hypocrisy (corruption) of these debt-creating councillors advocating to sell the city’s assets. Too busy looking the other way.

  21. amanda

    Since the ODT can’t find the councillors and the genius ‘businessmen’ responsible for the city’s debt they will start looking elsewhere, and yes, they will start blaming us ‘naysayers’ for the poor stadium’s fiscal ineptitude. That is why the ODT’s rewriting of history is so disturbing; not only will it lead to the incompetent being returned to council (looking at you Hudson and mates), it means the victims get the blame for the incompetence of these councillors. Gotta laugh or you will cry.

  22. amanda

    Apparently the ODT does not think assets sales is anything to be disturbed by; the assets sales protest march was not worthy of the front page. But Cull’s vendetta against local shop owners is front page material to them. I guess Easy targets are so much better to attack than the really hard ones who have power and status, aren’t they Mr Cull and co? Heaven forbid you should bring to account gormless ‘businessmen’ whose incompetence has resulted in the city’s massive debt. Far, far too hard, they might hit back harder and make you pay. Something tells me there might be an election this year.

  23. Hype O'Thermia

    Quaintly enough, the shopkeepers are legally selling legal product. Rather like liquor stores & supermarkets, aren’t they! Imagine the amount of newsprint it would take to print all the stories of alcohol-damaged people causing havoc in their families, taking up health services, damaging their bodies, brains and minds, behaving violently & acting dangerously, spending far more than they can afford………
    And then there would be the rebuttals, how moderate use of alcohol is not a problem, can be beneficial and anyway nearly all societies have used recreational drugs of some kind…. Haven’t seen ditto re legal highs.
    I still think they are far more harmful than marijuana and wish it were legally on sale, and taxed. Spread the tax base wider!

  24. amanda

    Hypocrisy, thou name is Politician. The agenda here is votes; getting behind the genuine concern of families in order to gain votes. I am sure the shop owners should reconsider selling these items, but Cull supporting it to get a return to council? So predictable. Did the ODT latch onto this story of addiction with the agenda of bringing Cull to the fore? Maybe that is too far fetched, but who knows? Using the genuine trauma of families for a politician to get re elected? Wonder how may voters lap this up and vote for Cull.

  25. Hype O'Thermia

    It’s called moral panic. Google ‘moral panic politics’, there’s some interesting material available, e.g.

    “Some critics have pointed to moral panic as an explanation for the War on Drugs. For example a Royal Society of Arts commission concluded that “the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, … is driven more by ‘moral panic’ than by a practical desire to reduce harm.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_panic

    “A moral panic is a public panic over an issue deemed to be a threat to, or shocking to, the sensibilities of “proper” society. This is often fanned by sensationalist selective reporting in the media and exaggerated accounts offered by “moral entrepreneur,” a category that includes politicians on the make and activists in search of a cause.” http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Moral_panic

    And just for (pointed) fun, regarding Phil Goff’s reaction to Lynley Hood’s sane, deeply researched investigation into Peter Ellis and the “Civic Creche” miscarriage of justice where moral panic met absence of both sanity and integrity –

    Justice Minister Phil Goff reportedly does not intend to read ‘A City Possessed’:

    I will not read that book by Hood
    I will not, will not, say it’s good
    I will just say the courts are right
    I do not want to see the light
    I will not read about that case
    I am scared of losing face
    I will not read it fast or slow
    I want to keep the status quo
    I will not read it, so I say
    I wish that book would go away
    I will not read that woman’s book
    I will not even take a look
    I will not read it, not a bit
    In case I have to act on it
    — by David Hood

  26. amanda

    Yes. So funny. Now the councillors are very quiet little bunnies, not a peep out of the Silent Vole Hudson, even Acklin is learning to keep quiet, say nothing, until we get nearer election time, then, boom, we will hear about their concerns and visions and how they Are Dunedin they Care So Much so Vote for them, anybody who dares not vote for them are Against Dunedin. A naughty naysayer, as Cr Brown would say. What a game.

    • How about this piece of BLATANT ELECTIONEERING at Channel 39

      Memorandum of Understanding signed
      April 29, 2013 – 7:59pm
      Thumbnail unavailable It is being described as the only one of its type in New Zealand. A memorandum of understanding has just been signed by Dunedin’s mayor, and the city’s students’ association president, one they say will make their relationship even closer. And with objectives that include encouraging students to vote, it could be an MoU with far reaching effects.

      Throws up.

  27. Elizabeth; Me thinks thou dost protest too much. Just because Dave Cull is making regular forays into the public eye, it doesn’t follow that it is because it is election year. Does it?

  28. Hype O'Thermia

    Nah, fair do’s he’s always been around and about, seeing as well as being seen.
    It’s the current silence from certain parties, as pointed out by Amanda, that I find more interesting. When do you ever see any name but Dave Cull’s associated with criticism of (mostly stadium) debt & other issues? It’s as if those other names were never there, never recorded as advocating for then voting for Council follies.

  29. Anonymous

    Not only was Malcolm Farry wrong about the Dalai Lama, so is Dave Cull.

  30. Hype O'Thermia

    Cull is being a total embarrassment. He’s going to some meeting out of town somewhere that he can’t avoid, yeah……. Bad manners, PLUS it looks like desperate, bend-over-for-the Chinese, brown -um- nosiness. Undignified to say the least.

  31. chirpbird

    The ODT doesn’t just re-write history – they re-write REALITY! As in article on Ron Anderson’s take on building the stadium:
    (quoting) He described the community’s attitude as “massive support, belief and passion,” which had seen the project clear every obstacle put in front of it. (ends)

    IMO it was more like the people of Dunedin standing in front of a gargantuan bulldozer. which utterly refused to stop.

  32. chirpbird

    That MOU between the Otago Uni Students Association and ..who exactly?
    Was the other party the DCC i,e the elected reps making a decision by resolution at a council meeting? Wonder if it is in the minutes.
    Or is this a somewhat ‘informal initiative’ of the Mayor? Unlikely because I doubt that a mayor would have the legal power to make such a MOU acting independently
    Of course, with the new Central City Ward being the one where the vast majority of students will have to vote in, their vote could indeed significantly affect the outcome of the election. This was not the case with they mostly lived in the North East Valley Ward..
    This raises the alarming prospect of whether it would be possible for candidates to ‘treat’ students by making any kind of ‘contract’ with the university. And treating is of course against the Electoral Act. As it amounts to bribing.

  33. Hype O'Thermia

    Massive support for anti-stadium rallies.
    Belief that it would be a cockup from beginning to end.
    Enduring passion over being ignored and rorted and seeing seeing “lines in the sand” washed away by wilful stupidity & cupidity.

    Ron Anderson’s not entirely wrong.


    Editorial: Spicing up politics Mon, 20 Jan 2014

    The editorial was doing well today until the last two paragraphs (our emphasis):

    “Concerningly, the lead-up to the botched launch of the Internet Party saw favourable articles appear on Scoop and Mr Bradbury’s blog.

    Media need to be seen as impartial and the danger seems that in the quest to be first with the news, some standards have been dropped. Journalists often flit between reporting on politicians and working for them. Anything less than a declaration of interests is unacceptable.”

    When was the last time ODT declared itself over THE STADIUM and ORFU.
    Or the National Party, or the Labour Party (depending on who writes the editorial).
    Or the Mayoralty and Dave Cull. Rhetorical.

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