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Hating Alan Jones


Alan Jones hate pageWho are we going to hate now? This was the question asked by columnist Catherine Deveny in The Age after the 2007 election, when Kevin Rudd replaced John Howard as Australia's prime minister. Deveny effusively endorsed Rudd (how could she have known that this shiny-new leader would himself become the focus of a nasty coup just a few years later?) but Howard's electoral loss had left a void that needed to be filled.

'If only Tony Abbott became Liberal leader. I can't really hate Malcolm Turnbull yet, I just like laughing at him in the same way I would laugh at a dog with a bucket on its head,' she lamented.

And one could almost detect the wistfulness in her voice as she reflected on the exit from public life of such a potent hate-object as Howard: 'I have to admit thinking last week that if [he] lost ... I would drive up to Bennelong with a bunch of garlic and a stake to finish him off. But now he's been decimated I don't feel like that. I actually feel a bit sorry for him.'

Five years later, there is no shortage of people to hate, and no dearth of haters either: their numbers have been swelled by robust and easily accessible social media platforms, one of the most significant technological developments in the fomenting of public opinion and social revolution.

And so Alan Jones, who made offensive comments about Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her father, is receiving his just desserts: columnists and commentators on internet forums are vilifying him with much the same brutality as he has seen fit to dish out to people during his many years as Sydney's most influential shock jock; petitioners have effected astounding change, effectively forcing retailers to remove their adverts from Jones' show or face consumer boycotts of their products.

There is a convivial atmosphere of unity and people power in cyberspace, on the airwaves and TV screens. But there's something strange going on here, for the voices shouting down Jones are almost certainly not those of his listeners; the people most offended by his actions, it seems, are those who have never tuned in to his show. They are trying to influence a platform with which they are not engaged, and which has no impact on their lives.

And it's more than just moral rectitude that appears to be motivating this protesting vanguard: if that were the case they would have been on to Jones — and countless other opinionated public figures — long ago.

While there is no doubt that Jones provokes fury and deliberately stirs trouble, this debacle is steeped unashamedly in politics, with the outcry reinforced by various Labor politicians and dripping with as much contempt for Abbott and his party as Jones' diatribes do for the left.

The brouhaha has also pitted journalists from the right and left against one another, with no opportunity for snide repostes against rival publications left unexploited. For the impartial observer, it's like watching children engaged in an immature playground fight.

The fact that detractors have honed in so zealously on this particular tasteless comment, and forced retailers to stop advertising on a right-wing commentator's show, is disquieting.

Firstly, it seems antithetical to the democratic process that a group of people is able to so willfully cut off the oxygen from someone whose political views don't coincide with their own. It is one thing to boycott offensive programs, but quite another to strong-arm third parties into boycotting them as well. People power transforms into vigilantism when responsibility for one person's bad behaviour is transferred to all of his associates.

Secondly, it delivers a punishment that is disproportionate to the offence, and for which a precedent has now been set: when next Deveny or the equally provocative Andrew Bolt or Marieke Hardy publish vulgar comments about politicians, we will expect the masses to revolt in a similar way.

This would be unwise, of course, for democracy demands the careful balancing of liberties against responsibilities, and when examined dispassionately it should be quite obvious that Jones broke only the law of common decency when making his now infamous comment about Gillard's father.

Thirdly, it gives members of the public permission to bully the bully back — and to exonerate themselves by claiming that he is simply getting what he deserves.

Peter FitzSimons writes in The Sydney Morning Herald that this is merely an example of 'decent Australia saying enough is enough'. Australians have taken to the internet to voice their opinions of Jones, and things are looking ugly; there's nothing decent about descending to the offender's juvenile level. Better to condemn Jones' actions without resorting to the very vilification that one is decrying.

Finally, this incident has resulted in the monopolising of the headlines by a person who doesn't need publicity and a story that is really a non-story: someone says something mean about the prime minister and her constituency is outraged.

Nasty comments have been endured by most of us, and are dished out with alarming regularity and viciousness by politicians themselves. Gillard will recover from this, and so will Jones. And then who will we hate?

Catherine Marshall headshotCatherine Marshall is a Sydney-based journalist. She has written for both Fairfax and News Ltd. She has never listened to Alan Jones' radio show. 

Topic tags: Catherine Marshall, Alan Jones, Catherine Deveny, Andrew Bolt, John Howard, Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull



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Existing comments

There was a telling moment on Q & A on Monday evening. While Kate Ellis was making a point, Christopher Pyne turned his back to her and engaged in loud conversation with Lindsay Tanner. Yesterday in Fed Parlt, Tony Abbott reprieved the "shame" comment of Alan Jones and did so half a dozen times in case we missed it. What's not to like about these people and their attitude to women? And were they never told in school about manners - not good advertisements for Jesuit education? [There is another Frank responding here who is not me. Since I was first, can I use the name at the head of this reply?]

Frank(1) | 10 October 2012  

"Gillard will recover from this, and so will Jones. And then who will we hate?" The bigger question is, why the need?

Richard S. Kazimer | 10 October 2012  

Thanks, Catherine. Three problems, however. First, Ms Deveney is a comedian. We probably should regard her as such. Second, Jones is not being boycotted for “offensive comments about Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her father” – despite what Jones and 2GB would have you believe. The strategic facebook page - Destroying the Joint - was set up five weeks ago. From the various online groups it is clear there are long-held, deep-seated concerns at Jones’ activities on many levels. These include his history of fabrications, receiving secret cash payments for on-air comments, fomenting racial hatred and violence, continual misogyny, abuse of staff, ridiculing and censoring callers who challenge his facts, unbalanced treatment of political parties, crude sexist attacks on the Prime Minister, false accusations against political opponents, calls for the death of his political enemies, hypocritical exploitation of charities, the hypocrisy of calling for direct community action but complaining when the community acts directly against his excesses and, finally, his hollow apologies when cornered. Third, it is not really true that “they are trying to influence a platform with which they are not engaged, and which has no impact on their lives.” Wherever misogyny, racism, prejudice, ignorance and distortion of important issues are ernestly encouraged in Australia it affects us all.

Alan Austin | 10 October 2012  

It is not a non-story. The Australian public is not reacting to Jones's most unkind comment about the PM's father- that comment was the last straw- people are fed up with the pervasive cult of mindless belligerence and negativity revved up over decades by Guru Jones.

Vacy Vlazna | 10 October 2012  

So much to challenge in this article Catherine. Firstly, 'hate' - such a harsh word! I will admit, like you, I've never listened to Alan Jones' radio show. That does not disqualify me from protesting about his lack of journalistic ethics. For that is what this issue is about. Jones holds a position of power - in the media, in the lives of his devoted listeners. And with power comes responsibility, like it or not. All our politicians indulge in vitriol, we all say things we regret. I think with the comments by Jones about the PM's father, people threw their hands up in the air and said "enough is enough". Criticising her political doings is one thing, a personal attack designed to wound is another. And using one's power as a journalist to personally wound another is beneath a code of ethics which should be in place. He apologised because he was caught out - would he have apologised of his own free will, out of a sense of wrongdoing? We're on a slippery slope further down into the mud if we don't say "Jones was wrong big time". Robust debate - fine go ahead. Degrading another person - no way!

Pam | 10 October 2012  

I have been dismayed, both yesterday reading Michael Mullins article and today reading yours. Surely the core issue is being ignored, and that is that social media offers ordinary people the power to take part in an enormous conversation in a way that has never happened before. This conversation can lead to much needed change as it has done in North Africa and the Middle East - change that couldn't be brought about in any other way. The fact that the transition in that part of the world is still in progress doesn't mean that it is not a good thing that the Gadaffi regime, for instance, has been overthrown. And the fact that some people choose to behave like idiots on the internet is hardly surprising. They're going to behave like idiots wherever they are - that's an individual choice. I've seen people behaving idiotically right here, among the comments on Eureka Street. And of course social media does, to quite a significant extent, regulate itself. Obnoxious comments are almost invariably jumped on by other contributors to the conversation. We can't put the social media genie back in the bottle, but as individuals we CAN choose to behave decently ourselves. And we have every right to sign petitions and to boycott businesses that we believe are behaving badly.

Kate Ahearne | 10 October 2012  

The Labor Party have always been good haters.

ian | 10 October 2012  

Sorry, Catherine Marshall, I can't accept this. One doesn't have to do any more than hear bits of his show now and then to recognise the poison Jones spews into our social life and to recognise how far his values are from those of decent people. This is indeed "a platform with which we are engaged" one which does have "an impact on our lives". It doesn't really have much at all to do with politics - rather with the sense that fairness, generosity of spirit, tolerance, respect - I could go on - are beautiful qualities which mustn't be undermined. He plays up to the worst in people, to their enjoying the power of letting loose the bigotry, the selfishness, the desire to hurt (especially to hurt those whose disadvantage they have never learned to understand or feel compassion for; or to hurt those they enjoy resenting because they supposedly enjoy privileges at their expense). Jones invites people to indulge their resentment of the forces in society that restrain their impulses. He constantly teaches that a superficial grasp of important issues, and the sloganeering that goes with it, are all we need for taking our place (how complacently!) in society. These things make him a danger of the worst kind to society.

Joe Castley | 10 October 2012  

Thank you for this thoughtful and refreshingly detached commentary. What a relief it is to hear a voice that seems not to be part of the mob on either side!

Cassandra | 10 October 2012  

Well, I don't know about others, but I guess most of the 100,000 or so who signed the petition to urge advertisers to abandon Jones weren't really vilifying anyone - just suggesting they might not buy products from companies who support Jones! Sounds a bit hysterical to state otherwise.

Anne | 10 October 2012  

Refreshing to read a balanced article on this non-event. The 'social media" attracts the juvenile, it seems, where one is not required to be responsible for publicly promalgated comment. The great sadness is that our society seems to think the issue is important and is indulged in a self-righteousness at the expense of others without necessarily an individual moral code dictating the commentators' ations. The victim is really truth and educated debate. Truth is painful and we have spent years dumbing down education. And so many commentators seem to think the rules don't apply to them - the Labor handbag brigade in particular are equally disgraceful in their comments as Jones sometimes is. This is apparently forgiveable in their delusional view. Don't worry Catherine Marshall - when this is done and dusted I am sure there will be dozens of people left to hate! I manage to find a few new ones almost every day - but then, I'm almost certainly a silly old buggar.

JOHN FRAWLEY | 10 October 2012  

Yesterday in Parliament we had to listen to Mr Abbott repeatedly using the phrase "die of shame", directed at the PM and the Government. The concept that he has distanced himself from the moronic invective of Alan Jones is what is laughable. Attack dogs are not meant to be sensitive; their job is to pick up on the thing that hurts most and use it.

CATCHY PHRASE | 10 October 2012  

"...it seems antithetical to the democratic process that a group of people is able to so wilfully cut off the oxygen from someone whose political views don't coincide with their own." I would say that the backlash directed at Jones's advertisers is a way of saying to corporations - you can't have it both ways. That if you want our loyalty, then corporations need to show some loyalty to the community we believe we are a part of. By propping up Alan Jones and the like, companies who advertise with 2GB are asking us to support him too. Put simply, that door swings both ways. You can't have our loyalty without respect for our views, too. The mobilisation of voices (to mangle a metaphor) via social media amplifies those views, but primarily social media provides an opportunity for a chorus of disapproval to be heard. I think it's a most fascinating example of capitalism, media and democracy sorting out its hierarchies. Potentially, we are witnessing a case study that will be explored for years to come.

Mike | 10 October 2012  

"But there's something strange going on here...the people most offended by his actions, it seems, are those who have never tuned in to his show." "Catherine Marshall is a Sydney-based journalist...She has never listened to Alan Jones' radio show." There is indeed something strange going on here.

Frank Golding | 10 October 2012  

A balanced enough article that does point out that much of the hatred and abuse operates out of a political agenda and not the 'decent Australia having had enough!' As for the 'shame' comments - Tony Abbott has been using that line for two years - it is not based on any reference to recent events - even though he may have been wiser to have chosen something else. Ms Gillard's tone in the house yesterday was appalling as she rose to defend Slipper and dished out vitriole to Abbott. There is no end in sight - one is as bad as the other!

Cassie | 10 October 2012  

I endorse the comments made below by Joe, Kate, Pam and Alan. i do listen to 2GB occasionally in order to be aware of what is being broadcast on that station. Yesterday i heard a broadcaster later in the day. on 2GB, attacking Julia Gillard for not accepting Alan Jones' apology for his remarks re her father. The consensus certainly seemed to be that SHE was the offender.Alan Jones had done the right thing, she had not.... it was all her fault, it seemed. At this point, i switched stations. This sort of diatribe illustrates why i listen only occasionally, and why many others may not listen at all

rosemary | 10 October 2012  

It seems to be a badge of integrity to say that "I have never listened to Alan Jones' radio show". I have, admittedly to see whether I can catch him out. He has beaten me to that all by himself. A more firmly based opinion could be made if folk do sample his mischief for themselves (see Alan Austin's post above). Then hang in and catch the other rabble rousers who spray their vindictiveness for the rest of the day. I choose to exercise my boycott of his advertisers in the great tradition first exercised in Ireland in 1880. Online petitions are just a new way of letting the 2GB advertisers and Macquarie Radio Network management and their faceless board know that.

Ross Chambers | 10 October 2012  

I agree entirely that anyone – regardless of the political party to which they belong – who drags the level of public discourse to the nadir of the past week or so needs to be met with the same level of resistance and protestation. However, the difference between Deveney or Hardy and Alan Jones is that one cannot escape the eternal drip-feed of vitriol promulgated by Jones, whether or not one is a listener. For me, it is not a matter of “hating” Jones... I think he has been like a toxic wallpaper in Australian society that has slowly and constantly leaked emotive and bigoted opinion into the environment to the detriment of us all. Had only his listeners known of his views then maybe little damage would have been done. Until her appearance on a couple of TV programs recently I (and possibly others) had not even heard of her or seen Deveny in action – opinionated, rude and dreadfully disrespectful of those who disagree with her. Who on earth does she think she is? Similarly I’ve not been exposed to the utterances of Marieke Hardy, except in relation to books she has read. Here’s to a more civilized and less hypocritical public debate in the future.

Patricia R | 10 October 2012  

Surely, Tony A is your man. He is really not very nice. His taunting of the PM yesterday in Parliament was disgraceful.

Eugene | 10 October 2012  

Well done Catherine. A very balanced and correct article. My goodness I did not know so many of the readers were very left wing.

Laurie | 10 October 2012  

Alan Austin has very articularly said most of what I wanted to say - and said it well. Thanks Alan for providing some very worthwhile context to this. I'd just like to stress the point that it is naive to think that that none of us are influenced by Alan Jones' platform if we do not listen to him. Are you suggesting that the Cronulla Riots had not impact on anybody other than his listeners? This is not just some bloke up the pub talking into his beer. This is an influential person who can swing elections, peddle complete fabrications about climate change and destroy careers of people who usually have no proper recourse to his venom. He snaps his fingers and politicians jump, while many of us have difficulty seeing our local reps. This is not a campaign of hate, Catherine, this is a campaign against hate and I'm pleased to see it's having some bite.

Wendy | 10 October 2012  

You may or not be a self-described “silly old bugger” John Frawley; I would not know. I just find it amazing that in only one paragraph you have – without any evidence whatsoever – cast aspersions upon the values of millions of people who use social media responsibly (or over 100,000 in the case of the Jones’ email campaign), and also betrayed a disrespectful attitude towards women in the way you labelled the Labor ministers. Imagine using the term, “the briefcase brigade” to describe male MPs with whom one disagrees. Richard Kazimer is right when he questions the need to find someone to hate, and Pam when she affirms the need for robust debate without the degradation of another.

Patricia R | 10 October 2012  

I've only recently found Alan Jones on my computer. I now listen in regularly. It's such a relief after the relentlessly PC, humourless ABC. Jones is articulate, perceptive, has a wonderful sense of humour, puts a premium on strength of character, is surprisingly unbiased and invariably treats his callers with respect, even when he disagrees strongly with them. I don't align with all his views by any means. So what? It's also worth noting that the derided "shock jocks" seem to be way ahead of the obsequious MSM on the big issues. They figured Rudd was gone as PM days before the coup: much of the MSM (notably the ABC) couldn't bring itself to admit something important was going on until the last few hours of that fateful evening. They were exposing the Gillard/AWU scandal for weeks while the MSM (The Australian excepted) turned a scornful blind eye - only in the last day or so has the Fairfax press "discovered" the story. And while the MSM was lauding the Slipper appointment as a Gillard master stroke in November, it was the "shock jocks" who accurately prophesied how badly it would turn out, and how it demonstrated Gillard's woefully bad judgement. The shock jocks also have relentlessly exposed the true depth of the Rudd/Gillard government's incompetence. The MSM is reluctantly, slowly coming around to their point of view. Cancel your newspaper subscriptions, turn off the ABC and listen to the "shock jocks". Love 'em or hate 'em, you'll be way ahead of your PC friends on the big stories.

HH | 10 October 2012  

. "...it's like watching children engaged in an immature playground fight." So there are mature playground fights? "detractors have... forced retailers to stop advertising on a right-wing commentator's show". Nonsense. Retailers were not forced to stop advertising. They chose to do so in response to pressure from the public, consumers of their products.

Monty | 10 October 2012  

What a thought provoking article! I found something to argue against in every paragraph. So much so that I thought Catherine Marshall was being an agent provocateur.

I'm relieved to say that I agree with most of the comments made by ES readers and so do not have to try to squeeze my rebuttals into 200 words.
I myself have never listened to Alan Jones' radio show but as an ordinary citizen going about his normal business early on a weekday morning in Sydney it is almost impossible not to "hear it". Station 2 GB is played on work-sites, in the parlours of tenement houses in Chippendale, on public transport (by passengers), in taxis, in shops, etc. Hardly a week goes by without some pontification of Mr Jones making the news in the Sydney commercial news media. If he is outrageous enough to take a swipe at pet left-wing positions (PL-WP)then the ABC makes sure he is reported and a spokesperson for the particular PL-WP is given air time to respond and condemn.

Alan Jones is the voice the little Aussie Battlers (in Sydney at least) want to have. He's their Robin Hood (Or Avenging Angel) of the air waves.

Uncle Pat | 10 October 2012  

Laurie, should those with whom you disagree assume that you are “very right wing”? To do so would, I believe, be completely unacceptable, as is your assumption about those who are contributing to the current discussion.

Patricia R | 10 October 2012  

I'm concerned that the comments about Gillard’s father were described as vulgar. They were far worse than that, and as such, not a non story. There is nothing ‘strange’ going on here. The article argues for free speech – give oxygen to all views, the 'truth' will emerge. But no, we have moved way beyond the nineteenth century optimism of John Stuart Mills. The twentieth century revealed the power of the media to support hideous dictatorships. I believe the ‘vulgar’ comments (all prime ministers recognise that they are fair game for this) are still ‘safe’. Social media is addressing the extent of media power in the hands of a person who appears to have no moral constraints and is part owner of the radio station. The internet is a social reality. That it can be used to counteract unbridled misinformation and distortion of mainstream social values is a positive thing and does not create precedents for media censorship – the opposite is the case. Over the years I have occasionally listened to Jones since I accept his strong influence as an opinion leader. I can only take a few minutes – I have a physical response of revulsion towards him.

Jane | 10 October 2012  

Catherine mostly I don't agree with what you say. I'm with a number of other posters here. Regardless of political affiliations, Alan Jones' comments about Julia Gillard's father likely pushed many over the edge of tolerating this kind of thing any longer. An avenue opened up to express genuine disapproval and many ordinary people used it. Your claim he has no impact on non listeners is a bit naive to say the least. As others have said (along with me also) you don't have to listen to the Alan Jones show on any regular basis (if at all) to feel the direct effects of what he says and does and unfortunately this is because of his quite far reaching power and influence which he has exercised for far too long.

Cathy | 10 October 2012  

Thanks for the article Catherine, I have also noted much of the attached commentary. My affiliations are with labor and I regard myself as probably centre left. What Allan Jones said was appalling, was rightfully condemned and he has probably been asking for it for years but but the social media avalanche seems more aimed at him than his comments. In that way it is more like a lynch mob without an Atticus Finch to hold it accountable. Whatever we think of what people say, at the core of our civilisation is the notion that they have the right to say it. If we take that away and remove Allan Jones, who will be next. Selective moral outrage and mob rule make dangerous bedfellows

Matt Casey | 10 October 2012  

Its not a matter of 'hating Alan Jones', it's a matter of despising the man for his continual drip feed of vitriol that is poisoning our body politic.

Ginger Meggs | 10 October 2012  

I agree Alan Jones should be punished. I once saw him drop something in a supermarket and he said 'damn' and in front of a child!!

MARK KELLY | 10 October 2012  

Great article Catherine. Balanced and fair. Certainly the Left side of politics is milking Jones comments for all it is worth. And to suggest Tony Abbott was deliberately using his 'shame' comment to upset the PM yesterday! Perhaps the commentators haven't yet noticed that he has been using that comment openly long before the AJ saga!! Give the man a break. At least Peter Slipper, despite his awful situation, had the grace to admit he is 'a man of good character'. People seemed to have lost sight of that fact in the political nastiness brought on by this current ALP government.

penny | 10 October 2012  

It doesn't surprise me that the same commentators here who show little regard for the views and feelings of others on religious/ethical/moral issues, have such high regard for Alan Jones. Shock jocks basically perform a similar role right wing military coups - they put fear and hatred in the minds of the working class and intellectuals, and they expose gossip and scandal about the any movement that might favour the ordinary person and reduce the profit-making of the elite. But thankfully Australia's still a democracy - and only words are used instead of guns and tanks. Sometimes the scandals the shock jocks stir up are based on truth, but you won't get any balance or good news - and they'll press the mute button when something is said they don't like. I can see how that tactic would be attractive to people with religious views from the 1950s when the church was also using the mute button - and still does - or just throws in a little fear of hell and damnation when at a loss for intelligent discussion.

AURELIUS | 10 October 2012  

Matt, I really don't think the idea is to remove Alan Jones it's just a way of saying that words and actions do have consequences and that one has to be responsible for these things. We often hear this being exhorted especially by a certain crowd when it suits. I was listening to Christopher Pyne, Piers Akerman and others on Q&A the other day defending freedom of speech, that's all good. However, when I saw and heard Christopher Pyne ranting in parliament yesterday it did occur to me he said what he said in order to justify and maintain (like many others) his current behaviour. There is a difference between those who are in positions of power and influence and the man in the street, particularly when double standards apply.

Cathy | 10 October 2012  

As a member of the public who signed the Alan Jones petition I am surprised to be stereotyped as a zealous bully who strong-arms large corporations. When a high-profile media voice, supported financially by corporate sponsors, uses his platform to denigrate others, surely individuals like myself should be allowed to also publicly voice both our disapproval and our desire that Jones and his sponsors be accountable for the message they are preaching? My aim was certainly not to denigrate but rather call an outspoken and influential public figure to a higher standard of behaviour. I don't hate Jones, nor do I hate his sponsors, but I am disappointed by them and have chosen this way (and there aren't many others) to express my disappointment.

Jeremy T. | 10 October 2012  

Who is now governing the nation?
The people are standing back waiting
For the end of this childish display,
Patiently waiting and waiting
For the close of this ugly affray.
The reporters are having a field day
Egging on the combatants with glee,
A story, a story, is all that they think of,
Never mind if it wrecks the country.
The vileness that has emanated
from the tongues and the lips of the pollies
is abhorrent to those in the public
frustrated at their parliament's follies.
Who is tending to our country's affairs?
Surely not those who spit out their hatred
Who leave us poor folk in despair
at their blatant consuming self-interest
as they spew out their hellish hot air.

pat | 10 October 2012  

I'm just musing.
If Catherine Marshall had lived in Berlin in the 1930s, what would she say about Goebbels hateful propaganda against the Jewish population? Under any set of rules, the likes of Jones and their attendant supporters are happily engaged in 'lynch mob' propaganda cowering behind the thin veil of 'free speech'.
There's nothing "disproportionate" about Jones' so-called "punishment". He not only deserves the people's anger but he shouldn't be in the position that he is in, in the first place. Jones is simply a media bully. Jones broke more than simply the "law of common decency". He reinforces the dark side of our society, xenophobia, misogyny, racism and collective denial.
Who says that history can't be repeated? With apologists like Catherine Marshall, anything is possible.

Alex Njoo | 10 October 2012  

Interesting admission that Catherine Marshall “has never listened to Alan Jones' radio show. “
I’m the ultimate leftist inner city latte sipper so despised by him. This morning in the car, my fingers turned the dial in trance-like state from 702 to 873.
I discovered something. Yes, he’s opinionated, biased, manipulative, greedy and unethical. But I was also consumed by some of his critical insights in this case for local car industry subsidies . He gave Jones-style predictable opinions then lined up an eloquent “expert” with concurring views.
He quoted from third-party sources (AFR) about government suppression of vital information. He was convincing that this issue deserved broader publicity and consideration. I’m not sure that 702 would have the balls to say what Jones had said.
My thoughts shifted from “this guy’s a ratbag” to “if only….”
If only, he could hold all sides of politics to account equally for their cover-ups, their misdemeanours, their lack of vision and their general incompetence. If only he could use his hard hitting language and interview style and at the same time, give opposing views equal airtime.
A reformed Jones could have a lot to offer. Maybe even a job at the ABC!

Mark Ostryn | 10 October 2012  

Virtually everything one purchases has a component of the cost earmarked for promotion. I have a right, and finally a vehicle, to exercise a modicum of control over how that advertising dollar is spent. I used it for the first time against Jones and his arrogant, bombastic bullying and if a similar situation arises in the future I'll use it again whether the offender be right left or centre. Jones was the catalyst for a tsunami of disquiet over public discourse in this country and as Malcolm Turnbull observed;" It's hard not to think he's getting what he deserved".

Terry Flanagan | 10 October 2012  

Most of us don't hate Alan Jones just the diatribe he has for years inflicted upon us and the ranting of his listeners I have objected several times to things he has said to no avail and suddenly I and 99,999 made an impact through social media...... a new and powerful form of protest. It is good to know we still can make a difference

GAJ | 10 October 2012  

Congratulations on great article. Couldn't agree with you more.

N | 10 October 2012  

I warmly commend latte-sipping Mark Ostryn for his openness in actually listening to Alan Jones for a while - something so many of the "shock jock's" allegedly unbiased critics around here simply refuse to do. And I commend his honest assessment that Jones might have something to offer if he held all sides equally accountable. Mark, I've listened to Jones when I can for a few months now - I can tell you he's sailed into Premier Barry O'Farrell, Attorney-General Greg Smith and other NSW Coalition ministers on many occasions. Only this morning he was criticising the NSW Agriculture Minister Katrina Hodgkinson for neglect of the citrus industry (yes: not because she is a woman.)And a month or so ago, I heard a warm interview with Federal Attorney General Nicola Roxon - hardly a friend of right wingers. Again, there was his highly sympathetic interview with Julia Gillard just prior to the last election. Compare the range of Jones' interlocutors and subjects with those of, say, the ABC's Fran Kelly on her morning program, where she routinely talks with three other people who agree with her. Or the stacking of Q&A, where Malcolm Turnbull regularly appears as the solitary token non-lefty. No contest. Cheers.

HH | 11 October 2012  

I've never noticed Q&A to be "stacked" - always a very carefully selected balance of panellists from both sides of politics (unless I have counted wrong). But I've noticed some rightwingers constantly refuse the invitation to join the panel - perhaps because they can't control what's going to happen (no mute button, as on shock jock radio)

AURELIUS | 11 October 2012  

Good question, Catherine 'who will we hate?' What has suprised me that none of these people seemed to mind when journalists and commentators were dishing it out to Mr Howard. Maybe some of us are still coming to terms with the brutality and vindictiveness of his critics who were never silenced in the media. Think of the frightening efegy burnings and the effigy with Mr Howard our Prime Minister on his knees with his face at the backside of an effigy of President Bush and Latham's 'arse-licker'comment and the boot hurled at Mr Howard on Q&A. And as for Alan Austin's comment about Catheine Deveney being a comedian. Do you mean that she can hide behind the comedian tag to get away with her mean, spiteful nasty comments about anybody who she doesn't agree with? And Frank(1) were you as upset when that boot came hurling through the air at Howard on Q&A. Was the culprit Jesuit educated do you think?

millie | 11 October 2012  

Thank you Frank(1), Alan, Vacy, Kate, Anne, Mike, Jane, Alex Terry inter alia. You have all expressed more cogently and more eloquently what I want to reply to Catherine. PS Frank. I add the W (my surname initial) to distinguish me from the other Tony

Tony W | 11 October 2012  

Indeed, Mark Ostryn, if only..... , although I don't agree with your premise that someone like Jones will have his epiphany on his road to Antioch. In the meantime, we have Fairfax and the ABC busily being 'balanced' that further encourages the likes of News Corp, Alan Jones and the other minions, including Andrew Bolt et al to completely dominate our political psyche. If only we have The Guardian, New York Times or (even) Le Monde as our daily reading diets! Or even an Aaron Sorkin to write our TV scripts. Would programs like West Wing or Newsroom ever be made locally? I think not.

Alex Njoo | 12 October 2012  

The people power response to Alan Jones' ongoing disgraceful public behaviour is not about responding with hate - it's about people standing up for something better; true democracy, decent societal values and a more "enlightened" point of view than that which is manufactured by the 2GB hate factory.

Val | 24 October 2012  

I notice a number of comments claiming 100,000 people support this cause. That is incorrect. That number is based on a discredited petition which does not verify the identity of anyone who signs. The signatures include Donald Duck, Ronald McDonald, and Skippy. Now the admins of the petition are able to delete the obvious fake names but not the plausible sounding fake names. The destroy the joint Facebook page has just less than 0.1% of the population. They're a vocal lot but they don't represent community sentiment.

Susie | 25 October 2012  

The numbers, whatever they were, are enough to communicate a message to advertisers to withdraw their support of the Alan Jones morning show. It reminds me of Jesus throwing over the tables of the moneylenders - destroy the joint!

Sari | 26 October 2012  

The opportunity to speak out against hatred was just too good to pass up. Over the years I've written letters, called talk back, or just quietly fumed to myself that teachers, nurses, childcare workers and such receive, let's say "modest" incomes for helping to build and maintain a healthy, well-informed society, while there are other people who get paid millions of dollars a year to do just the opposite. Let us be absolutely clear about the function of broadcasters such as Mr Jones. It is to provide a two way revenue stream, from advertisers to shareholders and employees. It wouldn't exist otherwise. The nexus between the station in question and right-wing politicians is a convenient byproduct.

My particular reasons for wanting Mr Jones to be a more accurate and respectful broadcaster are as follows:

1. Social attitudes that tolerate or encourage bigotry in any form, left unchallenged, are dangerous. All anti-violence campaigns explicitly state this and seek to change attitudes as an anti-violence strategy.

2. It is socially irresponsible and against the broadcasting code of conduct for broadcasters to mislead, misinform or blatantly lie to an audience, evidenced by ACMA (finally) taking action against Mr Jones's inadequate fact checking.

3. I appreciate robust public debate but shock jocks are in another catego

Amanda | 26 October 2012  

We don't want to go down the American path of normalising outrageous bigotry and misinformation in mainstream media. It's dangerously divisive. If I'm not allowed to go to a football game and shout racist comments (for good reason), why can someone make an obscene amount of money for basically doing the same thing day in day out?

Amanda | 26 October 2012  

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Only rationality will destroy Alan Jones' joint

  • Michael Mullins
  • 09 October 2012

Social media has outsmarted 2GB's Macquarie Radio Network management and forced them to cancel advertising on Alan Jones' program. But it is unlikely that the collective rage against Jones' behaviour will be sustained, respectable, and ultimately effective, unless the passion is accompanied by reasoned argument.


Free speech beyond the pale

  • Justin Glyn
  • 08 October 2012

Free speech is fundamental to democracy because it protects public discourse and freedom of religion. But while the right to free speech must to be respected even if it causes offence, we need to question what purpose is served by Alan Jones' attack on Julia Gillard, and the French cartoons.