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When half a quote isn’t better than none

By Steven | August 7, 2008

You might have spotted my star turn on One News last night. It was part of a story about National referring the taped-conversations affair (“CocktailGate”?) to the police. Might there have been a crime? Here’s the quote One News used from me, suggesting that I told them that the recording “may have broken the law”:

If you’re eavesdropping on somebody else’s conversation that you’re not part of, then you might be breaking the law if it’s clear that those people intend it to be private.

Well, true. But I went on to point out that there’s no crime if the people talking could reasonably expect to be overheard – which would probably be the case at a cocktail party. But TVNZ didn’t broadcast or mention that bit. Jessica Mutch, who conducted the interview, said she’d read my blog entries too, so she can’t have been in any doubt about my views.

But I guess that didn’t fit with the story they wanted to tell.

Topics: Media ethics | 1 Comment »

One Response to “When half a quote isn’t better than none”

  1. Steve Withers Says:
    August 14th, 2008 at 12:25 am

    An illustration of how important it to make a point in a single sentence that can’t be taken apart. Wondering how one might handle this one: “No. It was likely not illegal.”…then make tham ask why not. “It was not illegal if they thought they might be overheard.” ….always leading with “It was not illegal”….and then whatever arguments on either side. Without the first bit, the rest must not make sense… prevent them just using the rest. 😉

    Hard to do on the hoof. The TV I’ve done in Canada was always tricky in the same way.


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