Alan Jones is in a heap of strife for his tasteless and offensive attack on Julia Gillard. He’s suffering the same effects of social media that Rush Limbaugh encountered when he called a student advocate of access to contraceptives a “slut”. Limbaugh’s show has survived, but his leading advertisers are gone, and his power over the Republican Party (so extreme that anyone who criticised him was forced into a grovelling apology) has dissipated. It’s too early to say for sure, but Alan Jones may be in even more difficulty than Limbaugh. Unlike Limbaugh, whose audience and local advertisers are scattered across the US, Jones depends critically on 2GB and Sydney. That makes things simple – until Jones goes, any company that advertises on 2GB is effectively supporting him. Advertisers seem to be jumping ship fast, to the point where the station must be hurting pretty badly.
In both cases, the response to the comments might be seen as over the top, if it weren’t for the track record of getting away with such appalling stuff in the past. Leaving aside his consistent nastiness, of which the latest was just an extreme example, Jones should have lost his job for the cash-for-comment scandal and then again for his incitement of the Cronulla riots. He got away with both of those, but it looks like he might have run out of luck this time.
Of course, as a private citizen, Jones has the right to say hateful and offensive things. But we don’t have to listen to him, or contribute to his wealth by buying the products of his sponsors.
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