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Using race for click-bait at RNZ?

masonbee Politics

I would be quite interested in what people think of this. Yesterday I laid my first complaint against Radio New Zealand for what I believe was gratuitous use of race to get more clicks.

My Complaint

I believe that the news article entitled,"White man found guilty of killing unarmed black man" breached #7 of the Media Councils Principles.

Publications should not, however, place gratuitous emphasis on any such category in their reporting.

Media Council Principles

The race of the people involved was not the major point of the story in question as shown by the North American title,

"Florida car-park killing: Gunman guilty as 'stand your ground' defence fails"


And even if race had of been the major point (it is a major point) the use of white and especially black in New Zealand is loaded with different meanings than in the United States.

There are six uses of white and black in the new report, all in sentences together but four of them appear in the first two sentences of the report. The title and the first line. If you mix in the Internet you will find that those are the only two lines used to promote it.

I believe this to be gratuitous emphasis on race in order to act as click bait. I find it offensive.

Radio New Zealand's reply

I write in response to your formal complaint regarding the following item:

which was published on our website on August 25, 2019. RNZ acknowledges your concern over the content of this article, but cannot agree with the detail of your complaint. In this case the context of the story is vital. The issue of “stand your ground shootings” and prosecutions is a current issue in the USA. Some believe that a racial disparity exists in that law's enforcement. As the report detailed, three separate academic studies have concluded that white people are more successful at using stand-your-ground defences against black attackers, compared with the same situation vice-versa. It was therefore relevant to report that the person found guilty of murder was “white” and the victim “black”.

For these reasons, your formal complaint could be taken no further and was not upheld. You have a right, if you wish to exercise it, to refer this decision for review to the Media Council, at You must do so within 10 working days, otherwise the Council may not accept your referral.

We thank you for bringing this matter to our attention and for giving us the opportunity to address the points you raised.

Yours sincerely
George Bignell
Complaints Coordinator

Radio New Zealand's reply

...I really don't believe them. :)