Moving right along, the Herald today has another article about the "so-called" (by the Herald, that is) 'ear flick dad'. You'll remember him - he was the one the Herald reported on for weeks as being a test case for the amended section 59, until it turned out that he had actually punched his child in the face. But then it's hard to teach an old rag new tricks - witness today's story, "'Not a test case, simply a child being punched'". Reasonably unequivocal, right?
A District Court judge and police say the prosecution of a man who insisted he had flicked his son's ear, only later to be convicted of punching the child in the face, was never a test case for child smacking laws.Well, let's let that one slide. After all, a judge and the police did come out and say it. Even if the only reason anyone thought it was a 'test case' was that the Herald and other media reported it that way.
The case was widely seen as a test of the anti-smacking laws because Mason publicly claimed that he had done no more than administer a flick on the ear.Woah, woah, woah. There's those weasel words again! Perhaps that's why it was widely seen as a test at the Herald offices, although I suspect that also had a little to do with circulation. Everyone else only thought this because they are gullible enough to believe what they read on the front page of New Zealand's largest daily newspaper.
The rest of the article is a bit long, so let's boil it down:
Definitely not an ear flick, then. There's no mea culpa here for the misleading reporting which led us here, just some Orwellian rejigging of the past - 'of course there was no ear flick!' - oddly combined with the repetition of those words that sold a thousand newspapers - 'anti-smacking bill, anti-smacking bill...'
"smacking legislation ... legislation ... test case ... flick to the ear ... pull to the ear ... law in relation to child discipline ... ear-flick"