Boycotting hate radio

When the move to boycott Alan Jones began a week or so ago, the ‘savvy’ conventional wisdom of media experts was that advertisers might pull their ads for a while, but that they would be back as soon the fuss died down. The recent examples of Rush Limbaugh and Kyle Sandilands were cited in support of this claim. I don’t know about Sandilands (is there any info on advertisers who publicly dropped him, then returned?) but I don’t think Limbaugh’s case supports this claim, and the decision of 2GB to run Jones ad-free makes it even more problematic.

In the US, it seems that, far from returning to Limbaugh, big corporations have concluded that advertising on hate radio of any kind is a losing proposition, now that people outside the immediate audience are paying attention to what they are doing. Far from returning to Limbaugh they are pulling ads across the board, in favor of straight news shows, or away from radio altogether. The new model for hate radio is narrowcasting, as practised by Glenn Beck, who relies on his own merchandise and small advertisers. That’s commercially viable in a country as big as the US, but it ensures that Beck remains a marginal figure, with none of the influence he had in his days with Fox. Limbaugh hangs on, but he’s a much diminished figure, who no longer inspires terror, even among Republicans.

The 2GB “ad-free” strategy seems like a panic move. The obvious problem is that you are either ad-free or you are not. So, presumably they are planning on a relaunch, in which a bunch of advertisers return simultaneously, and with a fair bit of publicity. If I were the PR director of a major national company, I don’t think I’d be keen to be part of that. So, their best bet is to line a bunch of rightwing small businesspeople who are willing to take one for the team. Perhaps that will carry him long enough for some bigger companies to sneak back, but I doubt it. The boycott campaigners are seeking commitments to stay away through 2013. With no ads running anyway, making such a commitment, and getting loads of good publicity as a result, seems like a no-brainer for most companies.

148 thoughts on “Boycotting hate radio

  1. I wonder if Jones is working ad free…and…pay free. He certainly can afford to do that and he would no doubt see his continued presence as a smack across the face for his critics. But then there may well be a contract that binds them all together.

  2. The first advertiser who returns will get the full force of the campaign. Just this morining, Human Nature — not an advertiser — just doing a bit of free self-promo with Jones, got on and had a chat. The Jenna-Price destroythe joint page facebook page immediately got people making reference to it and targetting them.

    This isn’t going to stop.

  3. 2GB’s strategic moves are just one more example of the level of contempt commercial interests have for their customers. The idea that “the customer is always right” gave way to much more cynical views of how to deal with those they depend on. Serious empirical research is conducted to find out exactly how badly business can treat its customers, to save money, and still have them coming back. Contrary to the idea that great wooing of customers is required in the competition for their buck, the evidence is that you can treat them quite badly and still have them coming back for more. The high yield customer doesn’t complain. They’re the ones you want; the ones you make the most money off. Be interesting to see how the Jones saga plays out and whether it will be one more case of “the customer is always wrong”.

  4. Meanwhile, down in Melbourne, I’m still puzzled as to why Jones and similar broadcasters seem to thrive in Sydney and other parts (thanks Ron E.) but not elsewhere. I’ve even done some fieldwork and listened to 3AW a few times and have been consistently let down by its mildness. I don’t buy the usual Melbournian claim that we’re just more multicultural and culturally superior, after all….This is Bolt country. (Apologies to H.S. Thompson)
    Perhaps I’m lacking a wider understanding of media markets. Any ideas?

  5. Im quite sure that Jones audience are mostly not the target audience for Mercedes and other high end advertisers. They market with Jones to create brand recognition and envy for their products, which makes them more appealing to high income earners. Exclusivity breeds desire. The social status reinforcement and kudos they once gained by being associated with Jones has dried up or exists elsewhere nowadays.

  6. Has been a good week on this front. The hilarious irony of the right-wing press (News Ltd et al) bitterly decrying concerted consumer campaigns that have the temerity to target one of their own. Of course we must remember that rational consumers in a vibrant free market are to be encouraged, unless they’re ‘trolls’ abusing the social media to target real Australians and their poor hard done media corporations!

    A positive sign for the future, the hatemongers of the tabloid media are slowly but surely losing their power.

  7. It will be interesting to see if the Mercedes executive, labelled a “gutless wonder” in a tirade by Mr Jones on air, feels aggrieved enough to seek legal advice. I suppose, in his defence, Mr Jones could always argue that he was referring to the car?

  8. Yep, good to see hate radio losing its power. I dislike all talkback radio, though I guess it’s just the radio equivalent of blogging in a way. Then again, to blog you at least have to be literate. That in itself would explain why the tone of blogging in general is a bit higher than talkback radio.

  9. This phenomena is an interesting twist on market power. With branding being so popular it is strange that the PR types didn’t see this coming. The apathy of people and the ability of Alan Jones to get away with so much no doubt led to this inability to see the Convoy of No Confidence coming. However Prof Q I think you are right – there will be little imperative to head back to Alan Jones, as upsetting his small audience is nothing compared to long term damage to the brand in the wider community. People may not change but if they do it will be long term and affect future profits long into the future. It would be a brave company to take the gamble. Banks, Insurance companies, grocery chains would take a long time to recover if people shift their business as once new customer habits and allegiances form they are hard to break.

    We see that he is just a naughty boy after all.

  10. It was interesting to see that Slater & Gordon, the most famous “Labor law firm” (whose most famous alumnus is the Prime Minister, but there have been plenty of Labor pollies – nearly all on the Left – who have worked there) pulled their ads from Jones.

    That is, it was interesting that they advertised with him in the first place. It is plausible that the kinds of people who get legal representation from Slaters also listen to Jones, and business is business, but still.

  11. As recently as May 2012, Alan Jones’ breakfast show rated very highly – in terms of market share.

    I understand, ratings are an input in the decisions making process by private and public organisations, particularly advertising consultants and advertising executives when allocating advertising budgets.

    It seems to me, the latest Alan Jones episode is yet another example of ratings not being a sufficient statistic for decision making.

    Other examples are the ratings of financial securities, various performance ratings that lead to bonuses or other actions. An example in the making is performance based payments for teachers.

    These examples are special cases of management by ‘key performance indicators’. This management method has become very popular over the past decade or two. Not surprisingly, I suggest, because it is easy for managers; no professional knowledge and judgement is required and the impression of quantitative objectivity is created. The latter is convenient for the various levels of middle-management to protect their own jobs without ever having to pass a test on statistics, or learn to make a distinction between quantification and measurement, or study the literature on incentive compatible mechanism (which is so obviously biased against post-modern deconstruction of text, indeed it may look like a conspiracy against text and critical text analysis).

    Approximately 17% market share for the Alan Jones breakfast radio show is the highest market share among all other ‘competitors’ in the sample survey of the industry. But for the advertiser, the biggest market share is approximately 83% – the ABC component of about 14% = about 69%, provided by all others.

    Time will tell whether the advertising executives learn faster than the public and private enterprise executives who still chase ratings of financial securities.

  12. @Ernestine Gross

    I agree with all statements and inferences (that I understand) in your post above. I don’t understand the following text;

    “to make a distinction between quantification and measurement, or study the literature on incentive compatible mechanism (which is so obviously biased against post-modern deconstruction of text, indeed it may look like a conspiracy against text and critical text analysis)”

    What is the distinction between quantification and measurement and why is the distinction important?

    What is “incentive compatible mechanism” and why does the statement in parenthesis (ironically?) illuminate it?

    I ask these questions in all seriousness due to my point-specific ignorance. But overall, yes, I agree with the implied critique of managerialist ratings and KPIs.

  13. If I may, quantification and measurement. Government and businesses where KPIs are a popular management tool don’t seem to understand that this tool was once the widely used approach to managing the Soviet Empire. Before even the collapse it had fallen into disfavor. The problem is that it is very easy to quantify, that is generate meaningless numbers which KPIs typically are, and perverse incentives create nonsense numbers in government and business just as they did in the Soviet Empire. The example from the Soviet Union, you measure nail production by numbers of nails suddenly all the nails produced are pins. If the KPI is tonnes of nails they are then all the type of spike you would drive into a railway sleeper. So quantification is easy, producing meaningful accurate measurement of something worth measuring, not so easy.

  14. Sad that thinking is now long out of fashion in business and government having been replaced by the elaborate rituals of the the managerial class (KPIs). But here I am failing a kpi by creating too many posts. Maybe I will be fired (banned)?

  15. Alan Jones makes a crass joke at what he thought was a closed function. It was a lousy joke at the expense of a dead man and the PM. He shouldn’t have made it irrespective of the occassion. He realises this and has apologised several times for what was clearly a case of very poor judgement. He could have done a better job of the initial apology but that really ought to have been the end of the matter. The hyperbolic response from the left is going to become counter productive. Heck I even tuned into Alan Jones this morning on 2GB myself to see what he had to say. I only listened for about ten minutes but in that time he apologised to the PM again. I’m starting to feel sympathetic towards him. I’m starting to feel that the campaign is just vitriol. Keep it up and Jones starts to become the victim. Or even worse a sort of hero for toughing it out.

    The Mercedes guy got called gutless because he had cancelled the advertising contract with 2GB a few days prior to the bad joke incident but then tried to pretend he cancelled because of the bad joke incident. I don’t know if that is gutless but it is dishonest.

  16. This isn’t just about the Parrot’s patricide remarks.

    Many persons, and not just leftists, are appalled by the Parrot’s serial crimes against civility. As noted above, an entire city — Melbourne — when exposed to him by Murdoch’s Channel 10, recoiled in disbelief and nausea at his vulgar insinuations. Melburnians boycotted the repellant twerp decades ago. I’m pleased to see that the rest of the nation has finally caught up with Melbourne.

    Better late than never.

  17. @TerjeP

    It appears there are a few realities to choose from.

    According to a story on at the top of the page right now, a corporate deal was cancelled in mid September but the instruction to dealers to cease advertising post-dated the Jones comments.

  18. the Alan Jones breakfast slot had a 17.1 per cent audience share, but how many listen to morning radio? how many take it seriously?

  19. Jim – I listen to morning radio in the car driving to the office. Although sometimes I listen to podcasts on the iPhone instead. Usually if the radio is on in the morning it is ABC Radio National with Fran Kelly. I usually don’t take it to seriously.

    p.s. Clearly some people take Alan Jones very seriously. The whole campaign to shut down 2GB seems to take him incredibly seriously. Why not just turn off the radio if he bugs you or else change station. It isn’t that hard.

  20. TerjeP – I am not sure why Alan Jones apologised to the PM on his radio show today but do wonder if it was like the original insulting apology for getting found out. If he was serious about an apology he would write to the PM saying “I’m sorry that I was such a fool and spoke so wrongly about your father”. There, not so hard.

    Instead he demands that she take his phone calls and respond to his remarks to his listeners as if he is the one running the country and she has nothing better to do than listen to his drivel all day.

    If turning off the station would make Alan Jones go away people would do this. However he bobs up everywhere. No-one I know has suggested that 2GB should be closed down but many people I know think that he should be held accountable in the only way that he understands. It does seem to be working.

  21. @TerjeP

    The whole campaign to shut down 2GB seems to take him incredibly seriously. Why not just turn off the radio if he bugs you or else change station. It isn’t that hard.

    Self evidently, our unwillingness to pay him any heed hasn’t worked. He continues to foul public space in part with our support, since it’s not listeners he primarily needs, but advertisers. Listeners are his product.

    As the saying goes, if you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting

    As this episode shows, going after his food source — the flow of funds to keep his mouth open and the effluent flowing — was key. This is apparently costing Singo and Carnegie $80,000 per day — perhaps 25% of MRN revenue if it lasts a year. It will be interesting to test that friendship.

    You more than most ought to grasp that consumers are a part of “the market” and are using the power of markets to bring him to book. Turnbull said as much today.

    In an interesting counterpoint, I was listening to Chris Smith(?) this afternoon on 2GB and he was complaining about some low-Rent show on TV Reinhart called “Can of Worms”. Apparently, in the show there were some pretty offensive references to Alan Jones. (Yes, if they were as reported they were repulsive, even though I find Jones repulsive).

    Some chap from a website called “cando” came on wanting to lobby the shareholders to axe the show and force an apology. Now personally, I say good luck to them but it does seem a tad hypocritical on the one hand for them to invoite people to use the dial in realtion to Jones if they don’t like it and seek to have Channel 10 axes the when they don’t like it.

  22. Jill – how do you know he hasn’t written to the PM?

    As for the campaign working I don’t know what the metric is. If you mean to extract an apology well that was achieved pretty quickly as criticism came from all quarters. What is the measure of success for this campaign? And what collateral damage is the left prepared to sustain in the process?

  23. Fran – boycott all you like. I haven’t questioned the morality of that method. Although the legality is still unclear to me. And I don’t find it very endearing. Beyond a certain point it seems counter productive.

  24. This has become so overblown that I’m feeling the glimmerings of sympathy for Jones myself.

    We can all boycott. Amongst other measures, I’ve cut $40,000+ from my weekly spend at Woolies (this got them on the phone!), & the four to six computers + software I get each year from Harvey Norman will be now be supplied by someone else.
    Neither of them will miss my business, nor will I be inconvenienced by shopping elsewhere.
    I’ve never heard Alan Jones, & never paid much attention to him until just recently (it seems he isn’t the coach of the Australian football team any longer, however it is the same man).

    This whole business has held the mirror up to the left, & the reflection has been quite ugly. Exposed is the homophobia, hypocrisy & selective outrage of the screeching class.
    Jones is hardly the only person to make such offensive statements.
    However he did not make them on air, but in a private capacity, saying nothing more than I’ve heard probably a dozen other people say.

    The comment is disgusting, offensive, and sick. (not to mention inaccuate – JG’s father would actually have been proud of his daughter’s conduct!)

    Jones makes an off the cuff comment, behind closed doors, to a bunch of uni students, and it is treated like the Hiroshima blast. It took more than a week after the comment for the news to break (this will be because the comment wasn’t that obvious, and the reporter who broke the story took that long to sift through his clandestine recording – even then the quality of the recording is akin to that of a front-line despatch from a war correspondent)

    Then because a wet behind the ears uni student puts up an online petition (signed by, among others, Superman, Batman, Napoleon Bonaparte, Rasputin and Wyatt Earp) a heap of big tough corporations wet their pants, over people who’ve likely never listened to Jones, and never will.

    That there has never been similar outrage over some of the comments made live on air on the ABCTV show QandA, (for example) reveals the vomit inducing hypocrisy of those who now affect outrage over Jones’ comment.

    Jones made one correct statement: That this is cyber bullying, which he’s able to withstand, but is tough on the smaller businesses who bought advertising, they are just ordinary Aussies trying to make a go of it, and should not be subject to such treatment.

    There’ll be unintended consequences reveal themself at some point. We’ll wait to see what they are.

  25. Why would a company drop Alan Jones? It makes little business sense.

    The facts are that he was a disliked person by many sections before the comments. Presumably these sections didn’t listen too him before the comments. Presumably advertisers weren’t looking to attract these non-listening sections. Therefore the advertisers will be offending Jones “fans”, who they were seeking as customers, whilst making happy those they were not. It’s commercially stupid if one seriously thinks about it.

    The problem with this type of campaign is that people will always investigate those that instigate them. That means a persons past and present actions and associates. A good astro turf campaign is unbelivably hard to pull off successfully.

  26. @Steve at the Pub

    Sadly I have to agree with some of what you say. In life we hear the reason, often, but the real reason rarely. Jones is having done to him what the mob can do because the mob can at times do it.

    I’m still of the view that the outrage is out of all proportion to Jones’ semi-private peccadillo. That said, I’d love to see him (figuratively) lynched. So I’ve signed the petition, I’m maintaining the rage, and I’m on call, ready to pick up torch and pitch-fork and march on the castle

  27. @Steve at the Pub For someone who has never heard Jones you seem to have a lot to say on the matter (or more correctly be able to recycle distortions and untruths put forward by the Piers Ackermans of the world)

  28. OK, now that the Keyboard Kommandos of the Mum’s Basement Survivalist Militia have openly swung their support behind Alan Jones, it’s time to let it rip.

    Let’s see which side of this confrontation is more adept at making Jones’ sponsors blink.

    BTW, this boycott is in the best American Revolutionary tradition. In 1765, Americans boycotted businesses that used the reviled stamps mandated by the hated Stamp Act.

    In the end, this act of consumer resistance so disrupted the business model of leading merchants, their pleas persuaded George III’s ministry to repeal the Stamp Act.

    Or, as Lenin observed, commercial necessity induces the last capitalist to sell the rope that hangs the second last capitalist.

  29. @Steve at the Pub

    Just focusing on the substantive …

    Jones makes an off the cuff comment a comment in keping with the line in abuse of anyone he doesn’t like that he has made over the laste coupke of decades} …

    this is cyber bullying

    No it isn’t. It’s consumers gving feedback. Cyberbullying is when you try to intimidate a human being using the web. Corporations and companies are not human beings. Alan Jones claims he is not being bullied. Personally, in his case I don’t care. The Golden Rule applies. As Turnbull added, he is getting a taste of his own medicine.

    tough on the smaller businesses who bought advertising

    If you are paying to pollute (in this case) the airwaves, you can’t be surprised if people don’t want to pay you.

  30. @TerjeP

    Beyond a certain point it seems counter productive.

    It seems much more productive than everything that has been done so far. Admittedly, the bar is pretty low. So far what we’ve done pre-boycott has had zero effectiveness. Now we are, reportedly, costing MRN about $80k per day — or about 25% of revenue. Objectively, there’s no basis for it to seem “counter-productive”.

    It’s not clear yet that we will succeed in having Jones removed from the air and his connections with 2GB severed. Yet even if we fail, we are no worse off than we were before, and arguably somewhat better off, since we will have least imposed a sanction that is meaningful to him and others who might be tempted to go the Jones approach to public commentary. We have set a precedent.

    I beleive your sympathy for Jones culturally has pushed your inference-making competence to one side.

  31. Ahh, Fran, who hasn’t seen someone able to make their own decisions in life whom she hasn’t desired to manacle & send to the gulag.

    Your attempt at mob rule won’t work Fran. The attack by the screeching class has made Jones more marketable. Those who pulled their advertising are feeling some blowback from those who do not believe in mob rule (see my #30 for some of the financial damage that is happening to those who caved in to the class of hating screechers – and oh boy are they becoming aware of it).

    An ill-considered comment by Alan Jones, is in danger of turning into a fair dinkum witch hunt.

    This will rebound most unhappily on the screeching class. The people won’t put up mob rule, especially when it is based on a triviality.

    Just to show you’re actually interested in eliminating offensive stuff from the airwaves:
    Please point to where you’ve attempted to get QandA, or at least those who’ve made similar offensive comments during broadcasts, hunted from the airwaves.

    Or are you simply part of a mob who can’t stand the thought that Alan Jones brings publicity to some of the more electorally unpalatable deeds of the ALP?

    The theory that support for the ALP is a symptom of mental illness doesn’t seem wide of the mark at times like this!

  32. @Steve at the Pub

    Ahh, Fran, who hasn’t seen someone able to make their own decisions in life whom she hasn’t desired to manacle & send to the gulag.

    Copy and paste cliche … a disappointing start …

    Your attempt at mob rule won’t work Fran.

    Usage note: “mob” from mobile vulgis the commoners (implicit, the people) in motion …

    The attack by the screeching class has made Jones more marketable {$80,000 per day less marketable}

    people won’t put up mob rule, especially when it is based on a triviality.

    That’s to be seen. Most of Jones’s devotees are over 65. Some are tradies. Let’s see how keen they really are.

    Please point to where you’ve attempted to get QandA, or at least those who’ve made similar offensive comments during broadcasts, hunted from the airwaves.

    False analogy as these are not comprable. Nobody is paying them for their comments and there is no pattern of behaviour. It hasn’t been part of a campaign to debauch public discourse for political ends. The odious Kyle Sandilands is simply your classic mad uncle. Germaine Greer on @QANDA is a fool but not on anyone’s payroll. Chris Pyne is a member of parliament and was a guest of the show. Ditto Sophie Mirabella. Piers Akerman, though deeply disturbed, was also a guest.

    I’m not against free speech. I’m against lack of accountability for speech. On QANDA, one can challenge the offenders. Jones will brook no challenge. He spends his day attempting to poison public discourse and is paid millions to do it.

    Or are you simply part of a mob who can’t stand the thought that Alan Jones brings publicity to some of the more electorally unpalatable deeds of the ALP?

    If that were the beginning and the end of Jones’s contribution I’d probably support him. Regrettably, that’s not the case. All I’ve heard from him is one long public tantrum punctuated by palpably absurd and self-serving lies and the occasional piece of abuse directed at those who disagree or even question him — such as Jacqueline Maley.

  33. What is remarkable is that Terje and SATP are willing to accept that Jones is a valid substitute for truth, especially STAP who doesn’t listen to Jones.

    This extends to the myth that corporations are people and that Jones sponsors are just mum n dad businesses battling to make an honest dollar.

  34. Put a sock in it Rog. I’m saying the Jones affair has turned into a farce.

    A (disgusting) remark made in private has been latched onto by a cohort that wants to muzzle Jones for political reasons & nothing else.

    It is not about responding to offensive speech. It is about a nakedly political campaign to whack (& hopefully silence) an effective critic of the ALP. Many of those affecting outrage over Jones’ comments have been responsible for similar stuff, or far better broadcast stuff, and furthermore have remained silent through no end of other tasteless remarks about the same topic, and tasteless & worse about other public figures. They are hypocrites.

    What Jones says on air is irrelevant. This is not about anything he said on air, it is about him being anti-ALP. What the heck has the fact that he doesn’t broadcast in my part of the world have to do with it? How many hours each day do you spend listening to his programme? Or do you restrict yourself to sound bites replayed on the news and reading third party commentary?

    I’m all for boycotts of broadcasters who say offensive things, I abhor however, the secondary boycotting of those who merely advertise on the airwaves.

    I’m not interested in being part of a political witch hunt. The ALP is big enough & ugly enough to look after itself. Jones must be very effective.

  35. People with adequate money are free to buy or not buy particular legal products or to patronise or not patronise particular businesses. People are free to advocate in a legal manner the purchase or the non-purchase of any legal products or the patronisation or non-patronisation of any legal business. People are free to use their own minds to determine whether they will be influenced or not influenced by others advocating purchase or non-purchase, patronisation or non-patronisation. What aspect of these ordinary social and economic freedoms are people objecting to?

    So far as I am aware, the consumer boycott is a legitimate political and economic tactic provided existing laws are not broken in its promulgation and execution. Those who decry mass action like consumer boycotts are those who dislike the mass of ordinary people having any power at all. They prefer power to be concentrated in the hands of rich people and the big corporations.

  36. @Steve at the Pub

    Simple question Steve — how is the application of taxpayer money to projects you find offensive ethically distinguished from use of money you have paid some company which has been funnelled to some project you find offensive?

    bear in mind that both in the case of tax and money paid to companies for services or goods you get, presumably, some value?

    In the case of taxpayer moneys you get a chance, in theory at least, to vote for people who will redirect the moneys some place less offensive. In the case of companies though the only “vote” you get is the secondary boycott.

  37. @Steve at the Pub Again you misrepresent the situation. Yes agreed that Jones comments were disgusting but what was more disgusting was the lack of condemnation from his peers ie young Libs, Libs who were at the dinner and those that who were not. This Libs condemnation was only made after a public outcry, an outcry that you label as “witch hunt”

    Jones has made many comments on many occasions, his role in the Cronulla riots was to incite, and does so with the apparent blessing of the conservatives. He is a liberal party man, has stood for preselection and frequently consults with them on strategy on a one to one basis. Howard admitted that he used to run policy past Jones before putting it out to the public. So any counter argument that Jones should not be seen as a political target is farcical.

    Similarly farcical is the argument that Jones not be subject to the same pressure that he has successfully employed, that of threat of boycott and/or public disgrace.

  38. two things

    Jones’s comments was NOT attempted humour they were entirely serious.

    It was NOT a private airing. It was a political function where anyone could go if they paid.

    It is somewhat amusing to see people criticise consumers for wishing to make consumer sovereignty more than a theoretical concept.

  39. Ikonoklast – I’m not saying people shouldn’t boycott. Go right ahead if that is how you feel. But I think it will be counter productive. Fran asks what possible down side there is. For her personally probably none. But for some of those now coordinating this action, and the organisations they are connected with, I suspect there will be blowback via public opinion. But go right ahead and join the fray if it warms your heart. Let’s see where it leads. Hopefully JQ will post regular updates from now until Easter.

  40. @Steve at the Pub

    @ 42 you write: “It is not about responding to offensive speech. It is about a nakedly political campaign to whack (& hopefully silence) an effective critic of the ALP.”

    Outrageous insults dished out by Alan Jones do not constitute a critique of anything in my book.

    It may well be the ALP is pleased with the success of Nic Lochner’s petition. I don’t know. But it would be a mistake if the ALP would assume, as you do, that the motivation of all or even a non-trivial number of people, who signed the petition, was to participate in a political campaign to whack an effective critic of the ALP.

    @30 you write: “Jones makes an off the cuff comment, behind closed doors, to a bunch of uni students”

    What was an ‘off the cuff comment’ @30 became an effective critic @40. Interesting.

    Furthermore, making the offensive, tasteless and false ‘off the cuff comment’ to uni students is, in my book, even worse than making it to a bunch of 75+year olds because it sets a very bad example to young people.

    You conveniently forgot to say the ‘bunch’ of students were Young Liberal Party people. Good on Malcolm Turnbull to send a different signal to the same bunch as well as everybody else.

  41. “A (disgusting) remark made in private has been latched onto by a cohort that wants to muzzle Jones for political reasons & nothing else.”

    As usual Steve you are wrong; it is his ‘character’, his ‘authenticity’, his ‘integrity’ (or complete lack of) that is being critiqued, not his politics, which are really not all that coherent. Although perhaps it is the ‘politics of the personal’ that guides him.

    But I’ll back off from encouraging my politically disinterested young relatives and friends – via facebook – to sign any more petitions or contact advertisers, if he behaves ‘decently’ in future. It wasn’t easy you know, getting them to bestir themselves to do this simple little thing – the young people I know are so lazy you know and they can’t be bothered following political politics. It seems to me that their agenda is to make a world in which honesty and openness are valued and hypocrisy and hatred of the ‘other’ is discouraged in both or all political parties.

    I’d also note that I think it would be so good for the man himself if he got some therapy for his psychological disorders. It is the case that people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder do not have any insight into themselves or their problems; they don’t think there is anything wrong with the way they interact with the world.

    But these are not usually ‘happy’ people in the way that most of us think of being happy. Any ‘happiness”these damaged people feel, comes from feeling superior to others and feeling powerful because they are able to manipulate others.

  42. Muzzling Jones for political purposes may well be the motive of some signatories of the petitions in question. This is an entirely legitimate objective. So long as this campaign is peaceful and does not involve physical threats, Jones apologists have no valid grounds for complaint.

    Jones is free to say what he likes within the bounds of criminal incitement and defamation. But with that freedom comes the responsibility of living with the consequences of those statements (so long as reactions to those statements are legal, as doubtless boycotts of Jones’ sponsors are. The distinction between a boycott and a blockade needs to be firmly indicated in this case.)

  43. Doubt you will be brave enough to display that last comment. You’re a little control freak. Over on Crooked Timber, having written nonsense you then think you ought to have the right to rewrite a good critique of your nonsense written on another site.

    Come on. Give me and everyone else a break.

  44. @TerjeP

    As it is largely a Sydney kerfuffle in my eyes (i mean the boycotting side of it), I am not doing anything in boycott terms. Like a lot of consumers, I will only boycott when I feel very strongly as boycotting can be personally inconvenient. I don’t argue that people boycott what I boycott although I might do so in some extreme civil liberty or public safety case.

    I boycott food products from China and have done so for at least 5 years as I perceive they may be unsafe in some cases. I don’t say anything in the supermarket if I see a person pick up a food product from China.

  45. Footnote:

    I also “boycott” all hate radio and talk back radio as I thoroughly detest it, finding it excruciatingly boring and thoroughly embarrassing to experience. The same applies to all “reality” TV shows. But that’s a personal intellectual, aesthetic and even visceral choice so it scarcely qualifies as boycotting.

  46. “A (disgusting) remark made in private”

    alan jones’ opinion notwithstanding, a fundraising dinner attended by 100 odd people does not meet any normal person’s definition of “private”.

  47. Experiment 2.
    Show some spi ne man and ba n me. You know you really want to, b ad.

    This making “suggestions” and then morphing them into edicts, the bizarre and rather cruel banning of Alice, the disemvow elling people, and other less than adult behaviour are why I lost all respect for you sometime ago.

    So do the honorable thing; make my day. B an me outright. Much better than your current manipulative pathology.

    Your blog. You can do it. Good you let punters know how you handle a little power.

    No one should be foolish enough to give you a crown, absolutely and all that.

    Fine, you’re banned.

  48. It’s interesting that Mercedes-Benz was already moving to ditch its advertising on 2GB even before Jones’s ghoulish remarks became public. The company’s statement released yesterday shows that notice of termination under the advertising contract was given on 19 September and the sponsorship contract on 1 October (i.e. within 24 hours of publication in the Sunday Telegraph). Given that, Jones’s comments on the company’s executive’s ‘gutlessness’ in the face of a social media campaign are intentionally misleading and based on a lie about the actual chain of events.

    I’m guessing there is confusion in the causal chain with many of the former advertisers’ decisions to cease buying time on Jones’s show. Few if any company executives of advertisers or their agencies would listen to Jones or take much notice of him. He delivers an audience of potentially cashed-up superannuants and other consumer demographics. The moment it became clear that any association with Jones would tarnish their valuable brands, the decision to terminate made itself. The social media campaign merely set bureaucratic processes going within companies. Letters and emails had to be responded to, and in formulating responses, attention had to be paid to what Jones actually said and says. It does not take long listening to Jones to realise how dissimilar he is to a decent human being.

  49. @TerjeP

    But for some of those now coordinating this action, and the organisations they are connected with, I suspect there will be blowback via public opinion.

    That is what is called politics. One hopefully considers carefully the worthiness of the claim and its feasibility in context, puts a position and takes responsibility for the consequences. That’s how we work things out. Some elements of “the public” will be offended. Others will be supportive. Those uncertain will have a chance to make up their minds. Everyone learns something out of the event.

    Just doing nothing because some people will probably take umbrage is no way to advance the human condition, IMO. It is absolutely certain that some people will push back if you attack entrenched privilege, but that doesn’t make entrenched privilege virtuous. Those who act as if it does, or simply say “whatcha gonna do?” are merely mouthing the conservative credo.

  50. Freelander, I used to think your comments were often amusing and sometimes insightful. But as time went by I found less in them that I found interesting. There were less things I could say that I agreed or disagreed with because I found it increasingly impossible to work out what you actually thought. From my point of view I guess there was less substance and more combativeness. Goodbye and take care.

  51. TerjeP I know that Alan Jones didn’t write a letter of apology because
    1. it would be in writing and bullies don’t like things in writing
    2. If he had put it in writing having ignored Rule 1 then he would have had to mention it and he hasn’t mentioned it at all
    3. He has no intention of apologising properly for his remarks because it was the PM’s fault that he made the error in the first place.
    4. A person who buys a chaff bag jacket is the ultimate straw man. The apology was just a distraction.

  52. It probably hasn’t helped Jones’ cause that Tony Abbott repeated the “died of shame” phrase this week in Parliament. The Jones debacle was starting to die off, and he and 2GB might have been able to limp away with not too much damage, but Abbott has given it new life.

    More subtlely, Jones’ cause may be even further damaged by Abbott’s claim that he had “completely forgotten about [the quote], of course” after it was clear to Abbott that he’d FUBARed. This has added extra fuel to the saga’s fire. No-one with a quorum of brain cells would believe that Abbott could possibly be telling the truth when he says that he’d forgotten within a week about the quote that ignited the most significant political/media furor in many months, and his attempt to do so is notably cynical and quite puerile. Certainly John Alexander, the member for Benelong who sits two rows behind Abbott in the Lower House, noticed the significance of Abbotts words moments after they were spoken – have a look at the interval from 17:10 to 17:25 on the clip here and watch the expression on Alexander’s face.

    And seriously, if Abbott really is so amnesiac then he is certainly not competent to govern a country…

    The other dichotomy of standard here is the prolific protestation of the Chatham House Rule that was allegedly (and demonstrably not) in place at the dinner where ones gave that notorious speech. Apparently it’s not OK to repeat what was said in the presence of over a hundred people with significant current and future influence in the running of the country, but it’s entirely OK to publicise and act on a private series of text conversations between two consenting adults. As much as I abhor Peter Slipper’s comments to James Ashby, they really were made in private, just as surely many other disgraceful comments are made by many other parliamentarians in their own private spheres. I don’t think that it’s possible to react so vociferously about Slipper’s revolting comments on the one hand, and then claim that Jones’ disgusting disrespect was only a private matter that is no business of the public’s.

    The Coalition leadership’s response to the Jones matter only goes to show that the conservative side of Australian politics is much more inclined to tap into and manipulate the shock-jock radio audience than it admits. And don’t both partners in the bed wriggle around when the pillow talk is broadcast to all and sundry. And the fact that it’s topped off with the lingerie of hypocrisy only makes all the more tawdry.

    If the tangled mess that is this issue was made a little plainer to the average politically-disengaged Joe and Jane Citizen I suspect that some of them might actually be moved to boycott both the media and the political arms of the right-wing establisment in this country. Alas, there’s a huge chunk of the general public that sees no problem with any of it, and likely we’ll spend the next electoral period at least in a landscape more reminiscent of the Bjelke-Petersen era than of anything we’d expect from a 21st century nation.

  53. Jill – my understanding is that the chaff bag jacket was bought by others to mock Alan Jones in a jesting way. Rather than it being bought by him to further mock the PM.

  54. @Bernard J.

    Good to see you again Bernard J. I haven’t visited Deltoid in a fair while.

    Your link above goes to this topic.

    The broader point is that while Jones’s remarks were the proximal cause of the campaign, the distal causes include:

    a) Alan Jones is a serial offender in the reckless abuse stakes up to an un-rescinded incitement to inter-communal violence
    b) Alan Jones is a de facto adviser to the LotO
    c) Alan Jones has a significant audience
    d) Now there’s social media, which as Tim Dunlop over at The Drum makes clear, changes the game.

  55. Has Jones apologised yet about the fact that he lied about the dinner organisers invoking the Chatham House Rule?

    Thought not.

  56. the ones who make money assembling “tha”polls have come face to face with an unfunded ,unsolicited trooly-rooly,honest-to-betsy Australia wide (wait for it)


  57. Yes, Freelander is one of the reasons I stopped actively commenting here. What got me was not so much his pointless antagonisms and abusive manner; it was that he just didn’t make any sense. I found that the more comments of his there were in a thread, the less productive the discussion, and the less I enjoyed the overall post.

  58. can you boycott something you never listened to in the first place?

    Jones is not a joke in the political game. Howard cultivated Jones on a weekly basis because he gave access to an audience that must have included socially conservative swinging voters. Jones may have supported Bob Carr at one stage too, but later turned on him.

    Jones’s listeners are nearly twice as likely as other Australians to vote for the Coalition.


  59. Tony Abbott’s several uses of “shame” in Parliament today (or was it yesterday?) was obviously intended as a reference to Jones’ hate speech – one would have to be obtuse to think otherwise, so the PM was justified to call him out on it.

    What puzzles me is whether he wanted to obliquely support Jones, or did he think that repeating the word would somehow devalue it, or disempower the outraged response to Jones’ use of it? In either case, I have to question his judgement – he seems incapable of controlling this sort of reflexive behavior.

    If, as seems likely, sadly, he becomes PM next year, we are in for interesting times.

  60. Jim,

    What the hate media sells is not products to an audience. They sell their audience to their advertisers.

    If sufficient numbers of people reject the platform (and make that known to the advertisers by way of boycotting), then obviously ‘yes’ you can boycott something you never listened to (or in the case of News Ltd – never read).

    Now, if only we could get momentum to do the same to News Ltd….

  61. I thought it was a joke too TerjeP.
    Interesting point that Alan Jones was channelling Tony Abbott but Tony Abbott should have known that parroting the phrase after a week of outrage by the community was always a bad idea and wouldn’t go unnoticed by other people despite his hurt denials.

  62. Can I just say Jones is a terrible dresser who probably thinks he is a good dresser.

    He was dressed appallingly in his press conference.

  63. Bernard J. :Apparently it’s not OK to repeat what was said in the presence of over a hundred people with significant current and future influence in the running of the country, but it’s entirely OK to publicise and act on a private series of text conversations between two consenting adults. As much as I abhor Peter Slipper’s comments to James Ashby, they really were made in private, just as surely many other disgraceful comments are made by many other parliamentarians in their own private spheres.

    Weren’t his texts sent from his parliamentary phone (or whatever the correct term would be)? Does this mean that they should ever really be considered private?

    I know that if I sent obscene or derogatory texts from my company phone I could fully expect to be sacked or worse for it. Shouldn’t those members of the public sector who are elected to represent us be held to the same, if not higher, standards as those in the private sector?

    Not wading into the hypocrisy of this whole thing – both sides have come out looking pretty disgusting in my view – just questioning the notion that these texts should be considered truly private.

  64. Bob Katter claims that those in the Jones boycott are “unAustralian” thereby introducing common Jones themes of racism and xenophobia.

  65. so we know the jones speech was leaked by a journalist present at the function, but is it known how slipper’s text messages became public domain? presumably, at least the following have access to the full record:- (1) slipper (2) ashby (3) their respective telco service providers (4) their respective legal service providers (5) the police (6) the court. did i miss anyone? is it known who leaked them? -a.v.

  66. rog :
    @TerjeP The boycott is costing 2GB about $400K/week – an extraordinary result.

    Impressive. As an aside I’d like to ask a question about how this process works and how me and some of my likeminded mates might exercise our consumer rights. There are sections of the ABC I object to. How do I hold them to account with one of these boycotts?

  67. @alfred venison
    My understanding is that they were tendered as evidence in Ashby’s sexual harassment case against Slipper. Since the case isn’t being conducted in camera, they entered the public domain as soon as they were discussed in court.

  68. Pr Q recommends:

    Boycotting hate radio

    I would not be too quick to write Jones off. There is an awfully big market out there for confrontational opinions. And, as I mentioned four years ago on the eve of Obama’s ascension, there is a fairly hefty “right-wing ballast” in political culture which tends to get overlooked by the Left in its periodically manic phases.

    I am no fan of Alan Jones, he could be the eponymous model for the “Ballad of a Thin Man”* None the less I don’t think Dylan really wanted to see Mr Jones rail-roaded, purged or shut-down completely. He just wanted him to STFU when within earshot.

    Jones is not a good advertisement for cultural conservatism, his nasty style negates whatever worthy substance. FWIW I lean towards the Tory anarchist style of cultural conservatism (Belloc, Chesterton, Orwell, Mencken. Waugh (A & E), Oakeshott, Conquest, Amis, Larkin, Dalrymple). You can accuse the Australian Right of many things but literary stylishness is not one of them.

    None the less I don’t favour running Jones out of town by means of ad boycotts, petitions or regulations. I know there is no right to free speech in the constitution, but it is part of the “vibe” of our culture, and one I am quite fond of. Campaigns of this sort tend to chill free speech.

    If you don’t like Jones then by all means criticise him or turn off. But there are plenty of people who do like his program and I don’t see any good reason to deprive them of their listening pleasure.

    And the use of the phrases “hate speech” and “hate radio” should be retired. They basically boil down to “speech I strongly disagree with, uttered in an irritating tone of voice”. see the use of the term “fascism” anytime in the past 40 years.

    There is plenty of pot-to-kettle hypocrisy in the stance taken by the Left on this subject. I am old enough to remember the Howard years when the PM was regularly compared to Hitler, Klu Klux Klan etc for putting forward policies that are now generally recognised as right and proper. This unseemly episode seems to have been flushed down a memory hole.

    Meanwhile most of the crew at Crooked Timber were prepared to give Eric Hobsbawn, an unrepentant Bolshevik. a free pass despite his institutional connection and ideological commitment to the most sustained and ferocious apparatus of hate in human history. Apparently hate is not hateful if it is politically correct.

    But its clear that Left-“liberals” scent blood in the water and are going in for the kill. I guess that whole classical liberal “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” deal is a dead letter.

    Political justice is just another phrase for settling old scores.

    [dirgy ballad set to honky-tonk, elements of lurching sea-shanty]

    Well, you walk into the room
    Like a camel and then you frown
    You put your eyes in your pocket
    And your nose on the ground
    There ought to be a law
    Against you comin’ around
    You should be made
    To wear earphones

    Because something is happening here
    But you don’t know what it is
    Do you, Mister Jones?

  69. Am glad to see some of you joining my boycott of tabloid Zemanak-style “hate radio”, I must admit have refused this sort of rubbish for decades, except for the occasional listen to parliament.

  70. Settle, Petal.

    We lefties aren’t running Jones out of town. We’re simply asking his sponsors to stop paying him to do what he does.

    If Jones really believed in free speech, be’d be prepared to say what he says for free. We’re simply giving Jones a chance to prove the sincerity of his convictions.

  71. Katz @ #30 said:

    We lefties aren’t running Jones out of town.

    Chill, dill.

    Left-“liberals” are becoming veritable cold storage chillers for free speech, see the moral panics whipped up over James Watson and others who I am not permitted to mention [!]. All of whom were “run out of town”.

    Why is there no campaign to rid the airwaves or subsidised venues of Catherine Deveny? Pro tempe she has said at least as many hateful things as Jones and yet her toxic drivel is given a free pass by the Left. (FWIW, I am happy to see her get as many gigs as she wants, let one hundred flowers bloom and all that.)

    Its striking fact of the post-modern age that Left-wingers, despite an ostensible commitment to the profession of liberal intellectual, seem to be illiberal and anti-intellectual when they are scratched deep enough.

  72. @Jack Strocchi

    Left-”liberals” are becoming veritable cold storage chillers for free speech,

    err no … Jones is not really exercising his “free speech”. He is speaking as the mouthpiece of business, (not because he likes them (though he plainly does) but at their express behest. It’s almost the opposite of free speech — it’s paid speech. The speech of corporations is not protected and they can, if they want, decide not to speak and pull the plug on him speaking on their behalf. Right now, Jones has one sponsor — MRN. If that sponsor withdraws, Jones will have to start exercising something like free speeech by, speaking, for the first time in about 25 years, on his own behalf and on his own dime.

    Why is there no campaign to rid the airwaves or subsidised venues of Catherine Deveny?

    A whole bunch of reasons. In no particular order:

    a) She’s like someone’s mad uncle. She shoots her mouth off as the whim takes her. Her venting has a thread of sorts, but as she makes clear, she speaks for nobody but herself.
    b) She has no influence over any significant political body or institution in the country
    c) Hardly anyone listens to her on a regular basis. That handful of us who do typically shake our heads in disbelief.
    d) She has never called for intercommunal violence based on one section of the community being subhuman; she never said half the community were “destroying the joint”; she never called for death of the Prime Minister, a minor party leader and a Mayor. She never lied about her sponsors; She never incited violence against journalists at a public rally
    e) She is not being paid for her opinion and there’s nothing about her to boycott.

    As Katz notes, free speech and free publication are not at all the same things. If Jones wants to say something on his own dime, as far as I am concerned, he can go ahead. Nobody should prevent him. But if he is speaking in part on my dime, i.e on my behalf, I’d sooner he keep his ugly trap shut.

    I disagree with reactionaries so I don’t donate to them. That’s not illiberal — it’s just simple good sense.

  73. Catherine Deveny seems rather good at undoing her own career. Little of what she says is funny or witty. There is a difference between wit and being nasty.

    Billy Connolly is a brilliant example of wit with a vulgar element. Would like to see him live but the tickets sell-out before you know he is coming.

  74. Golly, Jack. How on earth does opposition to the mendacious, vicious tripe peddled by Alan Jones become ‘anti-intellectual’? Jones regularly defames intellectuals, from scientists to philosophers, attributing base motives for anything they find or say that don’t suit his narrow range of views. Surely it is entirely proper for consumers to let firms that advertise with Jones know that by doing so their brands are depreciated; that we as consumers are less likely to buy products made by firms that support him by so advertising? Where is the illiberalism in that? If a brand you normally patronise were associated with Deveny, might you not let them know your views on the subject? Wouldn’t you want to help them keep your custom?

    BTW, I do object to Deveny being identified as some sort of icon of the left. God help us all if that is the standard by which we are to be judged.

  75. Strocchers, Pavlov’s salivating dog, drools a response learned long ago on the leash of Frank Knopfelmacher.

    Clearly, he didn’t read my earlier comment that the current campaign against Jones is an adaptation of American opposition to the 1765 Stamp Act.

    This resistance prefigured the Boston Tea Party, famously much beloved of many present day adherents of the GOP.

    These folks would take deep umbrage at having their tactics denigrated as “left-liberal”.

    Heel, Strocchers. Heel!

  76. Katz @ #44 blustered indignantly:

    Clearly, he didn’t read my earlier comment that the current campaign against Jones is an adaptation of American opposition to the 1765 Stamp Act. This resistance prefigured the Boston Tea Party, famously much beloved of many present day adherents of the GOP.

    Excuse me for my egregious oversight.

    Let me get this straight: You are saying that Tthe campaign against Jones is analogous to a revolutionary movement against imperialism? Man, have you gone off your medication again?

    The campaign against Jones is simply a case of settling old political scores. Been happening since Cain knocked Abel.

    Keep it simple, stupid.

  77. Strocchers, do you understand the distinction between means and ends?

    Your latest “contribution” suggests otherwise.

  78. Well money is all these people care about so he will be off the air by Monday then. Surely. How long can it take?

  79. Terje. Pay attention. I hope that this needs to be said only once.

    Alan Jones is a part owner of radio station 2GB. At the moment Jones and the other part owners are burning cash keeping Jones on air. I have no objection to Jones continuing to burn his cash in this manner for as long as he likes, until he is ruined financially, hopefully.

    I am with Voltaire on this. Jones is stubborn. He may well prove to be incorrigible. Clearly, most of his sponsors are more tractable. Jones may replace his tractable sponsors with incorrible sponsors. Good. I will know who they are and I and an unknown number of others will boycott their goods and services.

    So, which new would-be sponsors are willing to take the risk? Not many it seems. How long is Jones prepared to burn cash? Until it runs out I hope.

    Therefore, under those conditions I’m glad that Jones is not yet off the air.

  80. @Jack Strocchi

    Jack, I don’t exactly see how does boycotting conflicts with liberalism. It is consistent with libertarian viewpoint (i think) if it is an entity with authority (e.g. the government) which imposes a ban or regulation towards a certain behaviour that will harm “liberty”.

    However if the consumers have freedom to purchase goods and services, they should also have the freedom to not purchase a goods and services. In this case it is not the government which is imposing a ban on Jones but the consumers themselves. It is also the freedom of the businesses which if they perceive that sponsoring a broadcaster will harm their business, to pull their sponsorship.

    In a democracy, there is never such a thing of liberty for all, there is only liberty for the majority’s decision. For example, if there is enough public support to ban Jones from boardcasting, that is a democratic decision and that harms the liberty of Jones (or conflicts with the freedom of speech). What about the process of voting? Does having a government (whether a regulative or laissez faire) elect which is not of your choice conflict with liberty? I hope you libertarians see how free for all can never be achieved.

    As regards to Jones, I personally do not think much of his “die of shame” comment because it is expected from him as he had been abusive of political figures or private figures who he hates. I would much prefer to boycott him on the grounds of his racist comments and influencing violence (Cronulla riots) rather than an abusive comment to Gillard’s father (although theres not much difference strictly speaking).


    Although I don’t like to, I think Jones will survive this like Kyle Sandilands.

  81. “I would much prefer to boycott him on the grounds of his racist comments and influencing violence ”

    As I pointed out in a previous post, Al Capone was done for tax evasion. As with Capone, Jones had too much pull with (for example) the ABA under David Flint in the cash-for-comment case to suffer any consequences for these earlier offences, but if it weren’t for them, he could have passed off the latest one as an isolated lapse of judgement.

  82. @John Quiggin

    Nothing to disagree with there.

    I do agree that his previous comments is the reason why a lot of people are signing the petition. The point which I wanted to make though (maybe I haven’t explained myself properly), is that people who are signing the petition to boycott might be doing it for his previous offensive comments rather than this particular one.

    It is understandable that the other side might perceive this boycott as being a political movement because it started with an abusive comment which involved a political figures close relative. Although I understand that his comments gave the chance for a petition to boycott; it felt like to me, hypothetically speaking, that we are going to court suing someone for a charge which is more difficult to convict when the person have convicted far worse offenses.

  83. @TerjeP

    Singo and Carnegie have deep pockets. Apparently Singo has a horse running at Caulfield tomorrow. Perhaps Jones should hope for it to win.

  84. @Tom

    “when the person have convicted far worse offenses.”

    Misused of the word convicted there, should of being committed far worse offence

  85. @TerjeP
    Some people only fight fights they know they can win; such people don’t fight – or win – often. Many people prattle a lot on blogs.

  86. @TerjeP
    I’d be very surprised if Jones is off air any time soon. His loyal audience will continue to listen, and the agencies which place advertising will follow the ratings – why would ad execs give a rat’s arse about the vicious bile Jones delivers? – they’re not listening!

    And the campaign to boycott advertisers will soon peter out, and those who don’t come back will be replaced.

    It would be nice if Jones himself decided to quit, but what else would he do? No supportive partner to go home to, no loving children awaiting his thoughtful advice. Perhaps he could take up golf, or swimming laps. Woodwork? I think he’ll tough it out.

  87. Alan Jones has denied being a part of cash for comment.

    I think we can safely say now he is mad like Steve Kates. These people live in another universe.

    Facts are not a part of it.

  88. Malcolm Turnbull writes that social media has accomplished far more than the regulator ACMA. As usual Turnbull is too quick to judge; ACMA promotes self regulation.

  89. @Steve at the Pub
    “an effective critic of the ALP”
    Crazy talk. Jones preaches to the converted. He hasn’t constructed a single argument that would withstand mile examination. Witness his arithmetical problems with percentages. You’ve got nothing.

  90. @TerjeP
    And if money was all people care about then wouldn’t the The Australian have folded years ago? Clearly you should know the answer to your own question, money isn’t all they care about. Perhaps they think that they have some influence over the political debate, much more than the rest of us. Is that possible??

  91. @Jim Rose

    Is there anyone on commercial talk radio in a major Australian city who isn’t a shock jock? Is there such a thing as a left-of-centre shock jock on radio anywhere in the English-speaking world? Don’t think so.

  92. @Jim Rose

    The way the term “shock jock” is used in Australia any commentator on commercial radio is one by definition. If we used the term correctly it would be applied to interviewers on program’s like “A Current Affair” which conduct surprise interviews on people in car parks and at their front door. Commercial radio commentators invite people in for interviews and don’t sneak around their homes to surprise them.

  93. @Jim Rose

    Thanks Jim … although it seems the remainder are syndicated rather than local and often not “talk” in the sense of callers ringing in.

    I rather suspect we will never see a left-of-centre “shock jock” largely because left-of-centre audiences don’t like being talked at, talked over or talked down to and because we place a more value on reason and evidence in forming inferences than in feelings and faith.

    Of course, that probably explains why it doesn’t work in a commercial setting. Commerce demands certainty — black and white judgements — and for the host-announcer to have Voice of God status. Nuance is a killer for sales. Accordingly, it is little wonder that the audiences attracted to left-of-centre announcers are much less merchantable.

  94. Fran, no side of politics is free of bias. For example, what Americans call liberals tend to give government actors both more credit and blame for economic and other outcomes.

    If anything, a lack of education was a good predictor of having left-wing views. It was in the past when the working class was solid Labor voters.


    the big difference between safe Labor electorates with huge Green votes and equally safe Labor seats with low Green support is the proportion of university educated residents. It is good to see that Labor is still the party of the working class.

    the Greens are the heirs to the 19th century British Tory Radicals: combining strong support for centralised power with a paternalistic concern for the poor and a back-to-the-earth localism to be imposed on others but which presents no threat to their comfortable middle class lives. the Greens just mouth the prejudices of Trollope’s 19th century Tory squires: they attack further expansions of industry and commerce as impossibly vulgar because it is ‘ecologically unfair to their pheasants and wild ducks’.

  95. @Jim Rose

    Fran, no side of politics is free of bias

    True. Everyone has a perspective. Of course, if everyone is ‘biased’ then the concept of bias is problematic.

    If anything, a lack of education was a good predictor of having left-wing views.

    I suppose it depends on what you describe as ‘leftwing views’.

    It was in the past when the working class was solid Labor voters.

    The party was populist and socially conservative, so not ‘leftwing’. They smashed the miners strike with troops in 1949, remember?

    I’m going to simply laugh at your summary of the attitudes of Greens. Classic Blot.

  96. fran, the labor party used to be full of socialists. tried to nationalised the banks etc in 1949 too.

    the greens have aristocratic vision in which the knowing ones would order society for the rest of us. Environmentalism is the opportunity to combine virtue and selfishness. Always about ordering the less enlightened other people but hating it when the boot is on the other foot.

    progressives against progress are no more than nineteenth-century conservatives reloaded. environmentalism poisoned the Left’s historical optimism.

  97. @Jim Rose

    fran, the labor party used to be full of socialists. tried to nationalised the banks etc in 1949 too.

    If you form a capitalist government and use the capitalist army to smash a strike against the capitalist mine-owners, not only can you not claim to be “socialist”, you can’t even claim to be trade unionist.

    One might add, though it is superfluous here, that the ALP was, inter alia a party of White Australia and express racism, which again excludes if from claiming leftist credentials. Leftists are inter alia egalitarians, supporters of the extension of equity to all of working humanity. They were also deeply hostile to equality for women, supporters of the imperialist side in Malaya, Korea and Vietnam. Again, this is hnot something consistent with leftism.

    The ALP was a party with some communitarian populist positions on some domestic policies but it was not in any fundamental political way, to be distinguished from the Menzies-era conservatives, during the 25 years following WW2. In some states, the grouper elements never even left. Post-1970 they began adopting some more liberal communitarian positions as the imperialist position began to deteriorate in Vietnam, but this was episodic — as the later Hawke period showed and even then it didn’t amount to leftism. The Whitlam regime tacitly backed the Indonesian takeover in East Timor.

    The Hawke-Keating “reforms” were, not unreasonably from their POV, welcomed by the official conservatives and backed by them. During the early 1990s the regime backed mandatory detention for asylum seekers. By 2001 they were backing punitive rendition to Nauru and Manus, a position that marks them still.

    They are today in every meaningful sense, a party of the centre-right. They are to to the right on some policy matters of almost all centre-right parties in Europe. They are to the right of NZ’s conservatives on gay marriage and refugees (and arguable the US centre-right Democrats). They are less ambitious on climate change than even the British Tory party. The have declined to institute a broad-based resources rent tax on minerals. They support occupying other countries and their Foreign Minister supports assassinating a foreign head of state as a vehicle for “peace”.

    None of this has anything to do with leftism.

  98. I have no idea what the history of the ALP and the Greens and associated hypotheses, the subject of the discussion between Fran and Jim Rose, have to do with ‘boycotting hate radio’.

  99. Fran, your conception of the Left is not broad church.

    The Left has a long history of racism. Apartheid was found in the 1920s after a general strike of white unions led by English socialist émigrés.

    U.S. Unions supported racial discrimination and lobbied for Asian exclusion laws right from the start. An example from 1874: the U.S. Cigarmakers Union was the first to persuade manufacturers to put a union label on cigar boxes. This was to differentiate the product from those made by unorganised Chinese immigrant labour.

    Marx’s anti-Semitism is well-known from his letters over decades. Marx’s analysis of colonialism as a progressive force makes him a fellow traveller of P.T. Bauer.

    The ultimate problem of socialism is its incompatibility with democracy. Too many ideas of the Left assume that they are the face of the future, rather than just another political party that will hold power as often as not.

    On reflection, I understand why you want to put all left-wing parties to date down a memory hole: they were racists and sexist from the get-go by nature rather than by aberration.

  100. “I’d be very surprised if Jones is off air any time soon. His loyal audience will continue to listen, and the agencies which place advertising will follow the ratings. And the campaign to boycott advertisers will soon peter out, and those who don’t come back will be replaced.”

    Was I right, or was I right?

  101. @Ron E Joggles

    Too early to tell. It appears that no major brands advertised this AM, and the ads weren’t even included in the online feed. They can’t sustain the show by relying on rightwing small businesses for funding.

  102. @Jim Rose

    “The ultimate problem of socialism is its incompatibility with democracy.” – Jim Rose.

    Jim, have you worked for any democratic capitalist businesses lately? Last time I looked (and worked for them) they were authoritarian hierarchies organised on the basis of ownership and wealth. It is capitalism that is incompatible with democracy. Socialism and democracy are very compatible in, for example, worker cooperatives. Don’t make the mistake of equating Soviet communism with socialism. Soviet communism was in fact a State Capitalist Dictatorship.

    The evolution of modern China illustrates how compatible are Party dictatorship and capitalism. The US has evolved into an Oligarchic Capitalist semi-dictatatorship. Time and again we see how compatible are political dictatorship and economic dictatorship. Capitalism IS economic dictatorship.

  103. @John Quiggin

    Noting the point that the history of left-wing throught is not on topic … I will refrain from further back and forth. Stipulated — I reject @JimRose’s characterisation of the matter. It ixs the right that is the source of racism and elite power.

    On the Jones matter …

    It would be wrong to say that all the businesses returning are “small”. Suzuki Australia, Westend Mazda, Masterton Homes and Dee Why Grand Shopping Centre are probably “medium”.

    A campaign to target these businesses and others is already in progress here:

  104. Update:

    @JennaPrice Jenna Just spoke to Suzuki hq. They have pulled all advertising on Jones show. Advertising agency has let them down says boss.

  105. @Fran Barlow

    I’d count Suzuki as large, but they’ve already said it was a mistake.

    West End Mazda is trashing the Mazda brand. They might get some business from Jones fans, but at the expense of the Mazda brand as a whole. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are getting an earful from corporate HQ right now.

    The others are, as you say medium rather than small – I suspect they’ve made a bad call, particularly the shopping centre. I wonder, for example, if they have Woolies or Coles as anchor tenants.

  106. @John Quiggin

    They seem to have a Coles plus Harris Farm Markets, Westpac, St George, Bakers Delight, Bottlemart …

    I will contact these stores directly to let them know how their advertising dollar is being spent.

  107. @John Quiggin
    “Too early to tell. It appears that no major brands advertised this AM, and the ads weren’t even included in the online feed.”
    Probably stating the obvious, but I’m sure putting the ads on air but not online was exactly the targetting they wanted.

  108. This afternoon, Dee Why Grand Shopping Centre and Paul’s Warehouse have pulled their ads from the Jones show.

    Dee Why Grand commented in response to my email in part:

    Dee Why Grand Shopping Centre’s advertising contract is with the station 2GB, in which the advertising spots are spread throughout the day with no allocated times under the contract. However, we now have advised the station to restrict the centre’s advertising outside the weekday morning programme.

    I responded:

    While I congratulate you on this step back from open support of Mr Jones, I really would prefer that you entirely broke commercial dealings with 2GB until such time as Mr Jones ceases to have a beneficial interest in the position of MRN.

    I suppose we will see what happens.

  109. It seems that while 2GB thought it was worth putting their toe back into the water that the stew is still boiling. The social media campaign is showing no sign of letting up or letting the corporate world off with a lukewarm warning. The radio station may have bottomless pockets but the advertisers are wanting to sell product not provide a charitable service to 2GB. I guess we can say Ron E Joggles that you weren’t right.

  110. @John Quiggin
    “They can’t sustain the show by relying on rightwing small businesses for funding.”
    I hope you’re right! And may Alan Jones return to the anonymity he so richly deserves.

  111. So, Jones will keep some advertisers, but the supply of businesses that can rely entirely on rightwing customers/political connections is limited.

    They don’t need to. If they advertise on the Jones show they potentially win sales from some of his listeners and potentially lose sales from those participating in the boycott. They can still access the rest of the population through other media. And most of the population is neither part of the boycott nor an Alan Jones listener.

    p.s. Alan Jones is still on the air. Now apparently with more advertising flowing back.

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