The Real Story Behind the Jones Backlash

The public reaction to the cruel, stupid comments made by Alan Jones at the Sydney University Liberal party fundraiser has been astonishing; the most successful social media campaign in Australian history; over 100,000 signatures (more than Jones's audience figures some morning), over 60 major companies pulling their advertising from Jones's program and his station 2GB, constant discussion on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere.

The right, scrambling to find meaning in all this, have decided it is all part of some left wing plot to destroy Jones, and have rushed to defend him. The comments were made in jest, at a private function. He's said he was sorry. What more do we want from him? Paul Sheehan, the most coherent of the right wing columnists, ties it all together nicely in today's SMH. He describes Change.org, host of the largest petition to dump Jones, as "orchestrating a campaign" to destroy Jones (neglecting to mention there is also a petition on Change.org to keep Alan Jones "because he tells the truth" with, as of this writing, a whopping 67 signatories), and sees a sinister network of influence at play. He writes, "When you have all Jones' traditional enemies, the Labor Party, the Greens, the ABC, Fairfax Media, GetUp!, and now Change.org and more than 100,000 people, all baying for the professional blood of one man, the scale and disproportion of the fury begins to create blowback. Most Australians do not like a brawl involving 100,000 people against one."

100,000 left wing enemies of Jones, baying for his blood. That's what the right think this is about. They are way, way off the mark.

What the backlash of Jones really means is this: Yes, we took offence at Jones's comments. Yes, it does in fact go deeper than that. Hundreds of thousands of Australians have snapped, had enough - not because they are part of a left wing conspiracy, but because they are fed up, disgusted with the level of personal abuse leveled at politicians in this country - much of which is aimed at the Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who whether you agree with her politics or not (and many of those condemning Jones don't agree) does not deserve the death threats, obscene cartoons and insults to her dead family that are her lot on a daily basis. So no this isn't an isolated case regarding Jones's remark, but it was when our collective patience snapped, decent people said enough is enough, and it's time to stand up and end this culture of nastiness. If it is Alan Jones who has to bear the brunt of our wrath, well, he is the one who has orchestrated much of this tone of violence, disrespect and disdain (and has been doing so for years); as a leader in his field, he's emblematic of the culture; if he's such a great political influence, surely it cuts both ways. He's a big boy, he can take it, and I'm sure he's crying all the way to the bank. Such is the man's ego that anyway, he's taking it all as a sign of jealousy. Homophobic slurs and death threats against Jones are to be condemned, but it's time for all sides of the media and politics to take this campaign seriously; we're here, we're decent people, and we're angry. Don't get used to it - change things.

Comments

  1. the thing is.... this is about the boundaries of common decency AND common decency SHOULD transcend the political spectrum.
    I would have been appalled at such a comment had it been Tony Abbott in the PM's shoes.
    SOME things are just not to be said... a person's grief should be respected...

    This is the straw that has broken the back .. Alan Jones has little common decency and We need broadcaster who have it.

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