I do not listen to Alan Jones, for reasons that should be obvious to anyone with some form of intelligence and morality, but it is impossible to avoid the headlines when he yet again courts controversy. This time, he’s in hot water for (yet again) attacking a woman in a position of power, Jacinda Ardern. But as despicable as the man may be, that comment isn’t what I want to focus on here – I want to focus on Frydenberg’s response.
When asked by the ABC whether Jones should be taken off the airwaves for his repeatedly daft comments, Frydenberg gave the usual politician’s response of repeating his Party’s lines: the Prime Minister, if you didn’t know, has said it was not acceptable. Would that the government act on half of the things they say and promise they believe it, society might actually be running well. But despite the increasing number of final warnings 2GB have given the NSW ‘shock jock’, and the supposed distaste of the government, Jones is still sitting on his high salary, riding the airwaves of Australia.
The question of should he be allowed to remain on air seems rather simple – he is not a radio presenter, he is an opinionated moron who actively denigrates and insults those he disagrees with. But again, this isn’t what I want to focus on. What I want to focus on is why the government wants to keep him where he is.
“But I do want to acknowledge, Alan Jones is also a mainstay of our media and he has been around for a long time and has a lot of followers. And you don’t want to deny that he is a very powerful advocate for the causes, including for regional Australia, that he pursues.” – Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.
There is a fairly transparent translation of the above quote. What Frydenberg is actually acknowledging is that Jones is a key media figure, a mouthpiece, for the Coalition. His earlier statement about having ‘run-ins’ with Jones is a good trick to peddle the ‘journalists are adversarial’ myth, and make it look like there is a divide, but reality doesn’t have that much smoke and mirrors. The large audiences Jones has works very much in favour of the Coalition.
Many of the causes that Jones pursues never seem to involve tackling corporate power or questioning the government’s abuse of their power – in fact, he usually condemns them for not doing enough. He spends a lot of his time attacking the opposition and any politician or public figure that doesn’t follow his loud, obnoxious ideas, which also helps boost the Coalition’s standing. Large audience, obedient attack dog attitude, funded by the rich – he’s a politician’s best friend.
Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg only criticise Jones’ comments about Ardern because to not do so would lay the charge of misogyny and blatant bullying at their feet, so rather than step in shit they clean it up and put the little plastic bag on the mantlepiece for everyone to see. We don’t like it, but it’s here to stay – and look, we made it smell like lavender!
Could you imagine the uproar if a journalist from the ABC or the Guardian made similarly derogatory attacks on a frequent basis? If they were from the ABC they would be hounded out instantly, and any ‘left’ or ‘centre’ outlets would receive a lashing to damage their credibility. But Jones is special, like Murdoch. He might be a troublemaker, but he’s their troublemaker – don’t hold your breath for any action against him.
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