TV3's 'gross abuse' of Thompson sparks wave of outrage

EMA chief executive Alasdair Thompson with Campbell Live's Mihingarangi Forbes

A formal complaint was said to have been laid with TV3 over its confrontational interview with  EMA boss Alasdair Thompson, Without a Word of a Lie understands.

The interview, done by Campbell Live reporter Mihingarangi Forbes, screened on Thursday night after Mr Thompson's comment about women's menstrual cycles created an uproar. 

Campbell Live's interview was heavily criticised by media commentator Dr Brian Edwards, who suggested Mr Thompson should lay a complaint with the Broadcasting Standards Authority.

Dr Edwards' comment received strong support from NBR readers, who spoke out about the editing used to whittle a 27-minute interview down to four minutes for the piece shown on Campbell Live.

One reader called 'liberty' wrote yesterday afternoon, "I have made a formal complaint to TV3 over this edited interview under Sections 5 and 6 of the Broadcasting Standards of Practice on the grounds of fairness and accuracy. 

"I suggest others who believe this was a gross abuse of media editing power do the same by going to the TV3 webpage and scolling down to the bottom where there is a button for complaints. Is time people stood up to this sort of gutter journalism."

Campbell Live producer Pip Keane also came under fire from NBR readers after posting a response defending TV3 against Dr Edwards' criticism.

Ms Keane said Campbell Live had been honest with viewers. 

"On a day that meant so much not just for Christchurch but for the rest of the country too, we’re hardly going to run a 27 minute interview with Alasdair Thompson. In fact, if we had you would probably have written a column about it! We had to choose the best part to put to air. That’s our job."

She said, "We don’t put the whole interview to air. We put the best bits to air. I had four spare minutes yesterday and now the whole interview is on the internet for people to watch, judge and draw their own conclusion." 

An NBR reader described Ms Keane's comment as "a discraceful attempt at self justification."

Paul Marsden wrote, "No journalism here. An appalling attempt by TV3 to jack the ratings and make money from the proceeds of the poll. I voted based on what TV3 broadcast. It was completely unbalanced. I demand my 99c back."

In a later comment Mr Marsden suggested TV3 could have been in breach of the Fair Trading Act with its poll.

Another reader said Mr Thompson "should have known better" than to give a full and frank interview with the media.

"He has put himself in an exposed position. Once you have seen the full interview you will see the that the media cannot be trusted. I cannot believe the blog from TV3 justifying their position."

Mediaworks spin doctor Rachel Lorimer said she "wasn't aware of any complaints as yet" but said she had left a message with the company's legal team and would let NBR know if she heard anything further.

"Sometimes they [complaints] come directly to us and sometimes they come to us from the BSA."

She said viewers had 20 working days from the date the interview aired to file their complaints.

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53 Comments & Questions

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Look like this sesitive complaint should not be handled by a man or a woman....otherwise, question of impartiality and/or sexuality will pop up again.

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Yes,it was edited, rather heavily to generate 'news in a negative way' - but the words were speken by that Idiot (possibly post ED). How do you defend the man, given his role as a senior representative of employers?

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I am no fan of this gentleman after his comments beleieve me but after seeing the full interview I am most uncomfortable about the journalist's ethics here.

Using a segment out of context of the whole tone of the interview seems to be deliberately misleading and seeking to deliver a predetermined outcome from the interview.

Also the journalist appeared to be personally involved in this story pushing an agenda and needled the interview subject in an attempt to goad such a reaction.

I will be making a complaint to TV3 too.

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Completely agree.

So much for unbiased, neutral "news" and this is not the 1st time TV3 have appeared (to me anyway - a SWM) to slant a news article to suit the producers particular political views / leanings.

One has to wonder if Pip Keane is somehow associated with Labour / Unions with the biased slantings they air?

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Sadly this is yet another example of the egregious quality of our media reporting. To air a piece like this, and place anyone's career and livelihood at risk, simply to jack the ratings of an otherwise appalling current affairs show is nothing short of shameful. Unfortunately it's the sort of tactic that we have become very used to in NZ.

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Agree totally. Lazy journalism is rampant across all media with no balance but plenty of sensationalism. Perhaps a desperate bid to sell more papers and ramp up viewers but selling all of us short. We don't need more help to dumb down our viewing population.

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I have lodged my complaint with TV3, via their website.
Trust everyone involved on the correct, rather than the right side of this incident has done likewise.
As chance would have it, I was polled late last week on TV personalities. I had a feeling it had a "Get Campbell" undertone.
That whole coven (oops, I nearly did an AT there) gets a brushing out.

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I have also made a complaint with TV3. They have disgraced genuine reporters everywhere.

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what an idiot

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what an idiot

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I've watched the full interview, and won't be shedding any tears for Alasdair Thompson over how he was treated by TV3. He was clearly trying to intimidate the reporter, marching right up to her face and standing over her, as if he'd taken his media training from watching Once Were Warriors. The reporter got to have the last laugh and frankly he deserved what he got. Hopefully he has learnt an important lesson on what not to do in front of a camera too.

Still, he should count himself lucky they didn't show any of the other 23 minutes -- I lost count of the times he repeated his weak justifications over and over, and over, again. He should have gone back to bed at 07:15 that morning and let the whole thing blow over.

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<quote>He was clearly trying to intimidate the reporter, marching right up to her face and standing over her, as if he'd taken his media training from watching Once Were Warriors.</quote>
Yeah, I've noticed a lot of people repeating that meme; hoping it might make it true. Watch the footage again. He did not stand over her. He stands in front of her, with his palms open, looking at her eye to eye. Yes, he's angry, but he's not standing over her, nor shouting her down, as others have suggested. The camera is low, pointing up, that's the only reason it looks possibly like he's standing over her.
And yes, he was an idiot for saying what he said in the first place, and then again for trying to defend it... especially when TV3 were apparently only looking to use the 'best bits'.

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All I have really learnt from this and watching the full interview is never ever ever do an interview. They can making anything look dark and delight in tearing down everyone and everything. No wonder kids don't trust anyone

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Talking without any supporting facts and figures during any interview will always be a mistake....no ifs or buts.

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Turning this on TV3 is at best a cheap shot and worse still a very obvious form of damage control.

Alisdair cannot un-say what was said, and mihirangi forbes cannot un record what was taped.

So what is the real issue here?

A very senior representative of employers northern acted like a fool and said some very inapropriate things (ignorning the advice of his coms/PR team I'd bet)

The reporter covered it and it was aired.

Get over over NBR and stick to reporting the facts rather than taking sides. Yet another act of shonky journalism isnt helping anything here

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Alasdair will be dealt with by the appropriate authority.
TV3 was the one taking a cheap shot and what a disgraceful, unprofessional cheap shot it was. Like Thompson, Dean will be dealt with by the appropriate authority.

Anyone boycotting Campbell Live should inform their main advertiser, Mazda.

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I will be complaining to Mazda and suggest they look carefully at who they sponsor. I will also be complaining to TV3.

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Most effective way to hurt TV3 is to boycott "Campbell Live" like I do & have done for a long time due to the poor standard of it.
Remember the way he handled Ken Ring.

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I bouycott the news as a matter of course as everything I need is online

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Boycott it. Hair hair

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Uh excuse me - the outrage is about the sexist and infatile behaviour exhibted by Alisdair, not TV3 - get it right NBR.

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NBR has got it very right and you are excused. Excused for being blind to the fact that there's another outrage other than your own and it's outrage over Pip Kean's shoddy standards in relation to TV3's interview of Alasdair Thompson.

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Hear hear. Perhaps we need some mechanism solely dedicated to clamouring for resignations from any members of the 4th Estate that happen to make a mistake in their working lives.

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Dean has admitted to choosing only to broadcast the "best bits" and anyone who has followed this story knows exactly what she was referring to. Her other mistake was her stupid reply to Brian Edwards' piece on NBR.
Dean and Forbes will expect to be treated fairly by the BSA but fairness meant nothing to them in their dealings with Thompson

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TV3 and the editors were just doing a job, as Ms Keane said, they were given only 4 min to fill. I feel that Mr Thompson as a member of EMA and as an Adult male should have shown more restraint and chosen his words carefully. You can't tell me that this is the first interview he has ever had. It is unfortunate but in this case he is the only one to blame for this outcome.

Everyone knows that the media will not let sleeping dog's lie.

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Do you mean that adult males should show more restraint that adult females or was that a slip of the keyboard?

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Newsflash : All news is edited and has been for the last 40 odd years.

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Your comment is hardly relevant.
Of course news is edited but there is a huge and legal difference between the standard practice of news editing and Pip Deans' decision to edit and air that small misrepresentative segment of the Thompson interview.

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iron my shirt, Forbes!

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Editing interviews is standard practice. Alisdair knows that. He should be sacked for incompetence in handling the media. As a senior spokesperson for the EMA, he's paid to know how to work with media. He can't cry foul now when he stuffs up. Since when do you assume a camera is off??? What an idiot.

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You seem to easily you overlook the unprofessional behaviour of the females in this scenario yet you seem expect it of the male.
As a woman business owner your sexism towards women is appalling because you seem to think they should deliver less than men.

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TV 3 have done a great job.

It's a pity TV3 can't expose a lot more other two faced individuals who are in positions of power, who also like Alasdair Thompson should clearly not be in the positions they hold.

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No, TV3 did a bad job because TV3 didn't "expose" this, Alasdair exposed himself on radio. Don't try to sanctify Campbell Live's broadcasting standards breaching interview with that argument please.

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This whole episode is hard to reconcile with our cherished traditions of freedom of speech.

Mr Thompson expressed an opinion on a question of fact, and it seems clear that many people disagree with him. But few, if any, have engaged with the facts. Instead there has been a tirade of insults – "idiot", "dinosaur", "sexist","disgraceful", etc.

Worse. many people seem to believe that people who express unpopular opinions should be summarily dismissed.

What happened to Voltaire's - "I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it"?

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1. Voltaire never said that. (check your facts)
2. He would not have agreed with you.

His position on free speech was against authoritative governments/religions, not for letting people get away with unverified nonsense without a challenge.

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I would expect the person heading the EMA on a daily basis to be careful about his or her language at all times and to be media savvy. They are key aspects of the job.

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Alisdair Thompson is a significant lobbyist and media spokeperson/commentator. Talking to the media is a key part of his responsibilities and one that he has presumably received training for.

He therefore should know the reality of preparing in advance of any media interviews; of the need to provide media "bites"; of the dangers of very lengthy responses to questions and of the journalist's right to interrupt such length, especially when it is not directly responding to the question; that he can expect to be challenged over the grounds/evidence for his assertions; that you can only go off-record if it is agreed with the journlist in advance; that he doesn't have a right to do an answer again; that he cannot instruct a camera to stop recording; that if he refuses to answer a question, the public have a right to know that he has done so.

People like Brian Edwards train people to deal specifically with these situations. In the position he holds, Alisdair Thompson should already know everything above and know how to deal with it (regardless of consecutive late nights etc). I suggest that Brian Edwards provides further training for Alisdair rather than act as an apologist for how badly he has responded to the media over the issue he created. In fact I'm sure Brian's training also includes how to ensure you don't create initial issues in the way Alisdair has done.

I've seen the full interview on the internet and found myself confused by Alisdair's long-winded, meandering initial response. And even by the end of it, I'm still not sure what substance there really is to his claims or whether in fact he just made a silly off the cuff remark that he shouldn't have.

The real issue for me re TV3 is why the reporter allowed herself to get personally involved in the interview, rather than get clarity over the issue and its substance. Frankly I thought she was far too soft with him in this regard. Imagine if it had been Brian Edwards or Ian Fraser interviewing Alisdair?

But in the end, perhaps Alisdair's emloyers should be looking beyond simply the issue he created and examine whether or not he is able to perform adequately the key part of his responsibilities that relate to dealing with the media and acting as a spokeperson for his organisation.

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is this article serious... Alisdair was clearly out of line over his comments which he made not only during this interview but also on the radio. As the head of a industry group he should have known better.

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Perhaps although I've not seen any evidence presented that disproves Thompsons' claims and it doesn't excuse the Dean/Forbes best-bits interview assassination.

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they're all equally guilty in there own different capacities...Thompson ignored the old adage of " when you're in hole;stop digging" by agreeing to an interview on Campbell.
Mihi Forbes allowed personal feelings to intrude.. but why not?

The main crime here is selective editing to give the impression that something occurred when it never did in the context it was presented.
Having said all that...it's time for Thompson to go if for no other reason than implying that John Key may be having an affair with Helen Kelly !!...how bizarre!

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The media have huge power - they edit and present a story any way they like, and do colossal damage at will and with impunity.

They answer to nobody. If found guilty by the toothless regulators they issue a patronising, formulaic non-apology and then do it all over again.

This power should be exercised responsibly but struggling third rate shows and papers descend to gutter press tactics in their desperate attempts to get ratings before the axe falls.

Ring any bells, Minging Rangi?

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Mihingarangi Forbes, you were a cheap tabloid reporter on a rag.

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Mihingarangi Forbes, you were a cheap tabloid reporter on a rag.

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Alasdair Thompson was spinning the corporate line. He did this for more than 25 minutes. But every time he was interrupted or asked a question, he lost the plot. The last five minutes were the most newsworthy because they revealed the true man - a bully.

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Hi Geoffrey. Its Hear Hear not Hair Hair unless the interview made you want to pull your hair out. Unfortunately I didnt see the interview.

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TV3 is a disgrace. None of their journos could hold down a job in the real world. They exist in a vacuum of left leaning socialistic dreams, angry that the world is not their puppet. Remember Campbells' complete fabrication regarding the person who was supposed to have stolen the military medals? The truth is not their mission, only sensationalism.

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So this is what $45 million worth of taxpayers money buys from Mediaworks.

So glad our schools, healthcare and EQC budgets go without so Forbes et al can produce this cr@p.

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Mihingarangi Forbes - in future I'll just switch you off ... more kiwi's should do this - if I want tabloid style reporting I'd by the Truth. show the entire interview TV3 I dare you!!

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I will not be watching another interview by Forbes. It's interesting that Thompson can apologise but no aplogy from TV3 has been forthcoming for its disgraceful journalism. For all of his faults, it's clear that he has some dignity.

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Alisdair acted like an idiot. Tv3 filmed him doing. It doubtlessly bosted ratings. having watched the full interview I see nothing that looks like an edit. In fact it looks like the whole interview was shown in one take.

turning this onto tv3 is a clever move, but there is no excusing a man in alisdairs position for behaving in such a dusgusting fashion

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