During an editorial segment on KPMG Early Edition, host Rachel Smalley discussed the standing down of British Labour MP Naz Shah after accusations of anti-Semitism. Ms Smalley went on to question why criticism of Israel is often viewed as criticism of the Jewish faith, referring to comments she made during a broadcast in 2014 which were critical of Israel and the ‘abuse’ she received in response. The Authority did not uphold a complaint alleging that Ms Smalley’s reference to her previous comments was misleading – partly because she did not refer to the Authority’s finding that one of her previous statements was inaccurate – and that the item was unbalanced. The Authority found that Ms Smalley conveyed the main message of her earlier comments without repeating the original inaccuracy, so it was not misleading for her to not mention the Authority’s previous finding. In relation to balance, the Authority considered the broadcaster was not required to present alternative views taking into account the nature of the item. Regular listeners would not have expected a balanced examination of the issue but would rather have recognised that this was an editorial piece from the particular perspective of the host.
Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance
During KPMG Early Edition, the host read out an opinion piece criticising Israel’s actions in the Israel-Hamas conflict. She referred to a recent bombing of a UN school which ‘killed everyone inside’. The Authority upheld the complaint that this was inaccurate, as in fact 16 out of 3,300 people sheltering in the school were killed. It did not uphold the complaint other statements were inaccurate, as they were clearly the host’s opinion. The Authority did not make any order, as publication of this decision is sufficient to correct the error.
During the KPMG Early Edition, the female host was asked, in reference to her interview with Kim Dotcom at his mansion, ‘What room did you do him in?’ The Authority did not uphold the complaint that the comment breached standards of good taste and decency. It was in the nature of innuendo and was intended to be light-hearted and humorous rather than offensive or degrading to the host.
Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency