In this article, Herald reporter Heather McCracken informs us that Family First NZ has been deregistered as a charity over its anti-gay beliefs. It says so in the headline, even. It says or implies so in the first, third, fourth, fifth and seventh paragraphs, which is where I stopped counting. Which is interesting and unfortunate, because that’s not actually true. It may have been a factor that was noted, but if that was the only reason it would never have happened – for evidence see the fact that the Salvation Army is still a charity. The real reason is that Family First NZ has never actually done anything charitable. It’s a political organisation. Its sole purpose is to influence politics and political decisions. But strangely, this fact is only alluded to twice, and that’s if you count this incredibly opaque phrase: “that it had held a conference and invited speakers that promoted its viewpoint, and that it invited people to join.” Two paragraphs later the vital part of the Charities Act is mentioned, but isn’t related back to FFNZ in anyway, and is immediately followed by McCroskie’s claim that their main activity is “education and research on families”.
The entire article, in fact, is basically just repeating what Bob McCroskie said. It might as well be a re-written press release. It’s both hugely biased and incredibly misleading, with even the Commission’s notification only being quoted second-hand through McCroskie’s skewed interpretation. Near the end it reports that he has asked whether any pro-gay marriage organisations have been the subject of “similar investigations” despite the fact that there ARE no pro-gay marriage organisations with charitable status. (At least, none which have any sort of pro-gay marriage work as anything even close to their main activity.) I’m not even sure what the point of the last section detailing their finances is, since that has not much at all to do with the reasons for their deregistration, though it does seem to contradict an earlier statement that they rely heavily on volunteer time when it says that their two volunteers work an average of two hours a week, which is interesting.
The hilarious thing is that this morning I saw someone describe the Herald as “our best newspaper”. I really have to question that when they’re publishing such blatantly ridiculous propaganda.
ETA: They’ve now changed the headline, but apparently don’t see that the rest of the article is an uncritical mess as well.