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My False and Inflated Outrage is better than yours – The Alan Jones Saga

October 3, 2012

My False and Inflated Outrage is better than yours – The Alan Jones Saga

Gosh what the…?

…Insult… Outrage… Apology… Apology not accepted… Hang him… But he apologized… The accused has admitted guilt, burn his whole village to the ground…

Here is a short piece of history for the last week that seems to be more important than anything in the world: more important than the war in Afghanistan; more important than the trade deficit; more important than famine and even more important than the previous vacuous issue about ‘Pussy Riot’. (Actually scratch the last one). The headline to end all headlines ‘Alan Jones’ said something nasty about the prime ministers father. Namely he said that Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s recently deceased father had died of shame from the lies that she had told.

In ordinary circumstances this is little more than Alan Jones putting his foot in his own mouth. (Actually it was both feet.) He should have known better. Even his long term allies and supporters cringed as they listened to the recording taken at a private function. Any decent person would apologize for those remarks and any decent person would accept the apology. Hold the phone. What is all this contrived outrage that is going through the media?

It has become a media circus where one commentator after the other is trying to link words made in haste to some deep conspiracy that includes the leader of the opposition. In what can best be described as stoner’s logic Jones is trained monkey doing the bidding of evil masters. As such he should be publically punished again and again and again. More than that his should lose his job and be booted of the air, never to be or heard of again.

How many people have written and commented in the media over last few days trying to make that point?

More to the point, does the demanded punishment fit the crime? Does Jones’s off the cuff stupid remark require an even more stupid amount of attention, chest beating and selective of outrage? This is after all, the slaughterhouse of public attention, where everything is now being handed over to self appointed spin doctors who have no problems condemning an enemy for crimes they themself have committed in the past. Who is Bob Carr trying kid? He was the one who accused the plaintiff of a sexual harassment case of sounding as rehearsed as a Kabuki actor. He also hires Bob Ellis (I will insult anyone I like) as his speech writer even though accused the Prime Minister of shedding ‘girly tears’ at the time of her father’s death. Give us all a break this issue is not about upsetting the Prime Minister. It is about the amount of outrage it can stir.

Jones is still paying a high price for his mistake. Many of his sponsors have suspended or ended their relationship with his 2GB radio program. Several newspapers are claiming that 2GB will lose around $500,000 a month as a result. There is even an online protest that has collected over 95,000 virtual votes demanding that action be taken against Jones.

Whether the sponsors stay away from Jones is a highly debateable point. Gerry Harvey head of the Harvey Norman retail chain is starting to have second thoughts about his knee jerk boycott saying:

“You have to ask are you part of a lynch mob?”

As for the online protest….? There is no indication of how accurate this poll is. Online protests are very easy to fake with some people making multiple votes on the same issue. I am not sure why it is even being used as evidence.

Many people suspect the real reason for the anger has less to with what was said than who said it.

In Sydney there is what is known as the ‘Jones effect’ on federal elections. It is the belief that Alan Jones is such a powerful radio identity, with such a huge audience that his opinions can in some cases determine to outcome of an election. How much of this ‘Jones effect’ is real and how much is myth remains as mystery to me. Much of what they attribute to Jones may in fact be nothing more than popular issues that Jones happened to side with at the time.

Harvey Norman may right with his ‘Lynch Mob’ analogy. The concerted effort to boycott Jones and end his career looks more like an effort to remove a government critic from the airwaves. The effort to inflate a misdemeanour into a ‘crime against humanity’ does look like petty and cheap revenge politics. And that is something that can blow up in the lynch mobs face at anytime.

Just as you thought that this situation could not get any sillier radio presenter John Laws gives an interview on the ABC 7.30 program. It is truly one of the great moments of television where he completely disarms and confounds the usually aggressive presenter Leigh Sales.

JOHN LAWS: I loved every minute.

There is one missing point from this whole Carry On comedy show. Julia Gillard has said nothing about Jones’s insult nor has she said anything about his apology. Instead, it was left to every self appointed media hack to be outraged on her behalf.

Time to go back to the real news.

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