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Sunday, 30 September 2012

The Alan Jones Debacle– What responsibilities do we all share as intelligent people?

There are a number of issues in this sad and sorry tale that disappoint me in the context of seeing myself as a reasonably intelligent Australian.

Firstly, there is the ridiculous notion expressed by Alan Jones that if he was aware of the fact that the event he was speaking at was not private, he would have not made the comments that he had made. At the same time he indicates that his 58 minute tirade was unscripted and unplanned and entirely off the cuff. On that basis how does he now indicate what he would have planned to say or not? 
Everyone knows what he thinks of the ALP and its leadership. He has expressed this openly for the last 2 years and used similar language in different contexts throughout that period.

This leads me to the second issue. Alan Jones is a very intelligent man and has maneuvered his way around public life for many a decade. He knows what to say and when to say it. As a very effective opportunist, he knows when to strike and when to pull back – swordsmanship is his forte. The time-frame hear was exquisite. Make the comment, feel the temperature and then quickly apologise. As evidence of this approach, see the amount of airtime this has and will get over the next few days and beyond. And what does that add up to? – AUDIENCE. And what does audience add up to? – RATINGS. And what do ratings add up to? – ADVERTISING DOLLARS. Even his apology was actually designed to add fuel rather than to portray a meaningful heartfelt apology from a man who knew exactly what he was saying, where he was saying it and why he was saying it. The apology was qualified (as all superficial apologies are!)

This leads me to the third issue. As intelligent people what do we do? Not listen to his radio rants? Ignore his radio station? Don’t give him oxygen? Don’t advertise on his station? Reject the shock-jock approach to public discourse? 

All Australians, especially in New South Wales (as Alan appears to have less of a following in other Australian States) need to have a serious look at themselves with regard this issue. The death of a parent is not an avenue for political advantage. We should ALL denigrate this. It is un-Australian and not in the public interest. Everyone should be speaking out and putting an end to this ongoing, unintelligent garbage that appears on our public airwaves and perpetrated by shock-jocks who rely on such public opportunities to pursue their own very self-centered interests.

All leaders in this country, political, commercial and religious need to support a return to values based discourse – unless, it is of course, in their interests not to, for whatever reasons they may have!

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