Wednesday 30th of July 2014

radio raves .....

radio raves ....

Sydney University Liberal Club

Events of the month:

- Priests and prostitutes dance - men, you're the priests. Chicks, you're the whores. Or come in drag! Free alcohol.

- Book-burning on the Lawn - build the bonfire to rid our university of those degenerate writers and artists destroying our Australian way of life.

- Lecture - ''What's wrong with Canberra?'' The distinguished public servant Godwin Grech reveals the rotten core of the Marxist Gillard-Greens government.

- Boxing - Round 6 of the Tony Abbott Golden Gloves competition.

- Guys! Win a candle-lit dinner for one with Australia's most influential broadcaster Alan Jones, prepared by his manservant at his luxury apartment in the Toaster.

- Malcolm Turnbull Rally - join forces to cleanse this socialist, queer-loving traitor from the Liberal Party.

 

Something to know about Alan Jones - the key thing, really - is that he's not all that bright. Far from it. Despite the artfully constructed public persona, there is no powerhouse intellect there, no vast store of wisdom. He is a crackpot muddle of prejudice and ignorance.

The claim on the 2GB website that Jones is an Oxford graduate is a typical piece of deceit. He did a short teaching diploma there, not PPE at Balliol. The intellectual snobbery is a hoot. In the years we co-existed at 2UE I don't know that he ever read anything deeper than The Daily Telegraph. This is a man who thinks Jeffrey Archer is a great English novelist, whose taste in music screeches to a halt at Andre Rieu.

Once you get this about Jones, all else falls into place. He does not have to dumb down for his audience; he's already there. He has a sure instinct for what his mob wants to hear, delivered in that prissy shriek, raving like a lunatic fleeing a burning building. The man is a pedlar of fear and loathing, preying on the lowest common denominator of gullible, frightened people who believe they are oppressed by evil forces out there that only he, Jones, has the courage to battle on their behalf. It is the confidence trick of demagogues down the ages.

His pretensions and his political bias are not the problem. He evidently can't help the first and he is entitled to the second. It's the racism and misogyny that are so offensive. Lebanese Muslim men are ''vermin'' who ''infest our shores'' and ''rape and pillage our nation''. The Prime Minister is a ''lying bitch''. Women are ''destroying the joint''.

Misogyny is a defining Jones trait in public and private. I recall a young woman staffer at 2UE humiliated to tears after one of his snarling tirades: ''Wretched, wretched girl!'' At one of those ridiculous Ditch the Witch rallies he fomented in Canberra last year he berated a journalist from the Herald, Jacqueline Maley, virtually inviting the rabble to assault her for daring to ask if he had been paid to appear.

That was off air. In the 2GB bully pulpit his contempt for women in authority lunges into the neurotic. Julia Gillard, Anna Bligh, Clover Moore and the former Victoria police commissioner Christine Nixon have been sprayed with his bile recently, but it goes way back. His savaging of the Director of Military Prosecutions, Brigadier Lyn McDade, in 2009 - ''that woman'' - was as brutal as it was ignorant.

In 2001 he set out to destroy the career of a senior NSW police officer, Detective Inspector Deborah Wallace, supposedly because she was not cleaning up Cabramatta to his knowledgeable satisfaction. ''Miss Debbie,'' he called her. ''How would you go in a brawl?'' he sneered. He trashed her reputation for months, bringing much grief to her family until, without a shred of evidence, he accused her of faking a police document. Wallace sued him for defamation and Jones settled, and she is now a Detective Superintendent and the respected chief of the Middle East Crime Squad.

The Tories' response to Jones's slur on the Prime Minister's father was instructive. Yes, it was wrong, cruel and offensive, they agreed. Certainly good ol' Alan had gone a bit far this time. But would Tony Abbott think of boycotting his program? No, he enjoys talking to the audience. Will Jones be invited to address future Liberal gatherings? Why, of course.

Predictably, The Australian's Janet Albrechtsen tried to pin the furore on his media rivals, the ABC etc. ''The hysterical outrage aimed at Jones was, at least in part, fuelled by his effectiveness as a political commentator,'' she bleated.

Poppycock. As the Twittersphere showed, the outrage was genuine and widespread because his libel of the late John Gillard finally exposed the mountebank that dwells inside the tailored suits with those snazzy pink matching ties and hankies. Jones has poisoned the wells of our national debate for too long. From his dishonesty in the cash-for-comment scandal to his idiotic pronouncements on climate change, he has been an incubus on the body public, enriching himself all the while as he postures as the champion of Struggle Street. The advertisers who support him share the odium.

In his faux apology last Sunday, Jones contrived to compare himself with the Anzacs who stormed ashore at Gallipoli in 1915. He has no shame. Enough said.

Jones is far from the only misogynist on radio. His breakfast competitor, 2-Day FM's oafish Kyle Sandilands, makes a daily meal of it. Sandilands's grotesque ''interview'' with a 14-year-old rape victim wired to a lie detector and his bullying abuse of a woman journalist as ''a fat slag'' and a ''piece of shit'' went lower than even Jones has gone.

The sorry truth is that Australian radio is a sludge pit of male supremacy. I cannot think of any commercial talk station that has a female voice in a prime slot. The ABC is better, but not much: 702 has just one woman in its front-line shifts.

The radio business needs to take a long, hard look at itself, to think about joining the rest of us in the 21st century. But with louts and buffoons like Jones and Sandilands cracking the ratings whip, radio executives don't have the guts to do it. Most of them are dumb blokes, too.

Mike Carlton

 

the master of chuztpah ....

Alan Jones. For shame, for shame!

No, not the man himself. I refer, of course, to all those nasty, nasty people who have been ganging up on the broadcaster since the News Limited journalist, Jonathan Marshall, broke the story that at a Young Liberals function he had said the Prime Minister's father had "died of shame".

You see – at least according to several staggering columns that have been written since – Jones has actually become the victim in the episode! I mean, how dare those 110,000 people sign that petition and swear they'd never buy Jones sponsors' products, forcing them to withdraw. What sanctimony! What high-handedness! What blackmail!

Just today we had Macquarie chair Russell Tate saying that the people who have been doing this have been engaged in "cyber bullying".

They did not have the right to "decide for our listeners who and what they are going to hear on the radio station they choose to listen to, and on the other hand decide for Australian-based companies which media outlets they will or won't use to advertise."

"What we are seeing here is 21st century censorship, via cyber-bullying."

Actually, I beg to differ.

What has in fact happened in the last week has been the rise of decent Australia saying enough is enough. And yes, sponsors like Gerry Harvey have publicly worried that by withdrawing from the Jones program they are taking part in a lynch mob, but they misunderstand. What you are actually doing, Mr Harvey, is refusing to sponsor any further "lynch-mob radio".

All you need to do is listen to Jones on a good day. As the Bully-in-Chief, Jones' major exercise every day is to line up the day's targets and then excoriate everything about them and everything they stand for, impugning the worst possible motives to their every action, before putting them up on the wall and inviting the mob to call him up to throw their own stones, which they gleefully do for hours on end, outdoing each other in their sneering, hooting derision.

Sure, Jones does the whole thing under the guise of "journalism" and "fearless comment", but the vibe of the whole thing is exactly like a lynch-mob as he masterfully whips the mob up into ever greater rage over any number of sins, including such outrages as trying to help the environment by lowering carbon emissions. It has also been noted that he is never so vicious as when the target is a woman.

Most of Sydney has been aware of this for years without ever taking Jones seriously enough to do anything about it, but the Young Libs episode has changed that. For there, exposed, was the breathtakingly ugly essence of Jones.

Not one of you reading this could ever bring yourself to say what he did about the PM's father and yet Jones values are so twisted, so downright nasty, he could not only bring himself to say it, but actually think in an unguarded moment it was entertaining!

And the response since, has been wonderful. Yes, yes, yes, no doubt Jones ratings will go up next time as the mob rush back to defend Alan, but this time decent Australia – which is to say the vast majority of the country – is watching closely.

Which sponsors will be there with him? I don't mean now. That is not the test. I mean six months and one year from now. Those sponsors are being watched. The sensible ones won't touch the Jones show with a barge-pole.

Decent Australia Says Enough Is Enough

the mubarak syndrome ....

from Crikey ….

Radio chiefs' error: mistaking social media for traditional media

BERNARD KEANE

2GB, ALAN JONES, RADIO, RUSSELL TATE, SOCIAL MEDIA, WAR ON THE INTERNET

In a text dripping with impotent fury, outraged victimhood and plain Don’t-Get-Itness, Macquarie Radio’s statement that it was yanking all advertising from the Alan Jones show on the weekend was a revealing insight into the mindset of a company that is convinced it is under siege.

There was the reference to bullying, of course, which yielded such a rich harvest of irony and schadenfreude for a network so reliant on professional bullies. But it was illuminating for more significant reasons.

Yesterday we discussed how social media enables humans to do exactly what they did before the arrival of the internet, only now in communities that are broader, that can process and distribute information more quickly and that are liberated from geography. In responding to the threat posed by such communities to industries dependent on information control, we’ve seen analogue-era elites analysing the problem as one in traditional media terms: who are the "publishers" and how can they be controlled?

That is, they respond by applying what you might call hub-and-spoke thinking to a network.

Such thinking is amply displayed in the statement by Macquarie Radio CEO Russell Tate, a former advertising exec. "The difference between 2GB and some catchy URL is that MRN operates in a regulated media environment … We operate within a long established regulatory guidelines [sic] and rules."

"One of the traditional regular criticisms of social media used to be that it is a forum for slacktivism, for lazy people whose idea of giving voice to their social conscience is not to take to the streets and protest but Like a Facebook page or RT the Kony video and maybe order the wristband online. "

Apart from the get-off-my-lawn tone of the phrase "catchy URL", Tate's conceptualisation of the problem is clear - not merely is MRN being bullied (sorry, cyberbullied, because everything sounds better with the prefix cyber-) but its bully has an unfair advantage - no accountability or regulatory scrutiny.

Tate went further with the analogy, and suggested social media was merely derivative of talkback radio. "Talk radio is arguably the original form of social media," he claimed. Indeed it has greater audience participation than, say, television or newspapers, but talkback radio is as comparable to social media as Alan Jones flapping his arms is to a jetliner. Social media has no controlling node, no producer, no delay button, no one carefully screening calls as MRN does to ensure only the Rightest of the Right get to air. That it replicates, with greater speed, many of the features of the traditional media is merely incidental to its core function of interconnectivity.

But a key problem with mischaracterising social media as just another, rival form of media is that the traditional media response to emerging competitors doesn’t work.

In both Australia and the US, the history of media regulation has been one of media incumbents exploiting political influence to keep out competitors or new media technologies, and to control those technologies once incumbents were ready to shift their business model. In Australia, newspaper companies were given radio licences; newspapers and radio licensees were given television licences, new television licences were kept off the market despite spectrum being available, pay-TV was banned and then prevented from competing effectively, the introduction of digital TV was controlled by incumbents, and so on.

Some of Tate's shock jocks want to try this approach, by imposing more regulation on social media, to make it more like traditional media. Tony "free speech" Abbott has made similar noises.

But the regulatory approach fails with the internet. Traditional media companies were quick to colonise the internet in the 1990s and soon the websites of old media became the most heavily-trafficked websites. But then the people formerly known as the audience took over. First they began sharing old media content with each other in defiance of owners' wishes (another pre-internet habit dramatically juiced up by the internet). Then they began forming communities with each other online.

And the emerging "publishers" of the new era - Apple, Google, Facebook - were so successful, they couldn’t be taken over by old media. And in most countries they couldn’t be regulated except on their own terms. Nor could they be kept out of markets.

Governments tried to help incumbents, passing ever-more draconian copyright laws to stop filesharing for example, but users just routed round the laws.

But there’s another, more amusing consequence of this category error of mistaking social media for another form of traditional media: a tendency to overestimate its impact. One of the traditional regular criticisms of social media used to be that it is a forum for slacktivism, for lazy people whose idea of giving voice to their social conscience is not to take to the streets and protest but Like a Facebook page or RT the Kony video and maybe order the wristband online. Suddenly, however, in a matter of months media companies are quaking in their boots and being bullied by the power of the clicktivists. It's a seemingly stunning transformation.

In fact chances are the capacity of social media is overestimated: the actual number of people who would have altered their purchasing decisions to reflect their distaste about a company’s association with Alan Jones would be far less than normal monthly variations in sales. But many companies rely on social media strategists to tell them how crucial social media is, how important it is that they engage with it, and thus mischaracterise the actual threat it poses.

Call it the Mubarak Syndrome, like the dictator who, worried about a relatively small but highly-visible group of opponents using the internet, shuts it down, thereby irritating and demonstrating his fragility to a much larger number of citizens than would otherwise have noticed. Social media impacts occur as much, or more, in the minds of those who find themselves fighting it, than in reality.

Moreover, this all focuses on discontinuity at the expense of the continuity. People have been complaining to one another about, and boycotting, companies since there were companies. The American Revolutionary War began with boycotts. Boycotts still spread in the same way as they used to, from engaged activists to the broader community, if there is sufficient motivation for an issue to catch fire. Only now, the communities in which boycotts are considered is larger and no longer constrained by geography or limited communication tools.

Alan Jones went further than "bullying" and labelled the campaign against him "cyberterrorism". While that’s the most hysterical overreaction to anything you’ll see this year, in a vague, roundabout way he has a point: what’s happening here is innately political. The flattening of information hierarchies and the undermining of existing economic structures, especially such an influential one as the media, is automatically political. Implicit in the growth of communities and their capacity to swiftly distribute information is a shift in power, one that is immediately to the disadvantage of those who held power in analogue-era communities.

In the case of the Australian media, it tends to be old white privileged males - the Alan Joneses, Ray Hadleys and Russell Tates. That MRN first felt the sting of social media via the Destroy The Joint campaign, which harnessed the wave of spontaneous anger at Jones' misogyny, was wonderfully symbolic of the shift in power that is occurring.

Perhaps more so than lawyers, or record company executives, or department store retailers, the idea of giving up power is anathema to these men. Power is how they define themselves, in contrast to the powerless who form their audience, whose causes they sometimes graciously pick up. Instead of accommodating the new distribution of power, they're more likely to cut themselves off from it, to try to hang on to whatever remains of their analogue-era power. In the meantime, communities will continue to form around, and over the top of them.

ode to the parrot ....

Oh Lord, they have taken

My Mercedes-Benz.

My sponsors are fleeing,

I've run out of friends.

I tried to call Julia

To make some amends;

But still they done took back

My Mercedes-Benz.*

 

The response to my column last week was astounding, far and away the biggest I have had. There were nearly 1000 emails, more than 1250 tweets and 10,000-plus Facebook recommends, all but a handful expressing revulsion at Alan Jones's bullying presence on radio. A lot also went for Ray Hadley, Jones's 2GB partner in grime and a former taxi-driver newly famous as a teenage party host. Thank you, but I simply cannot reply to you all.

The Parrot's chief concern seemed to be the loss of the Benz, a mortal insult. "You big hero … you absolutely gutless wonder!" he snarled at the Mercedes executive who had revealed the decision. That done, he ranted about the "cyber-terrorism" which has seen his advertisers heading for the exits. You cannot parody this idiocy.

The only surprise was that Mercedes was ever a Jones sponsor. His audience, top heavy with elderly pensioners and retirees, is not in the market for German limos. Nor do they buy a lot of Freedom furniture, fine wine or ritzy gym memberships. They do shop at Harvey Norman but only to replace the burnt-out toaster, not to get the home theatre system.

Radio ratings are little understood, but Jones is actually number three in what counts most to advertisers: cumulative audience, or cumes. These measure how many people listen to a program for a quarter of an hour or more. The latest Sydney ratings survey gave him a cume of 442,000 listeners - easily beaten by ABC 702 with 464,000 at breakfast, and 2DayFM with a whopping 584,000 people.

Not a good look, that. I wouldn't be surprised if he quit by Christmas.

*With thanks to Janis Joplin.

Mike Carlton