ON AIR: The Sunday Session

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Mike Hosking: Alan Jones saga a lesson for the agitators

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 8 October 2019, 11:25AM
Australian broadcaster Alan Jones. Photo / Getty Images

Alan Jones had a good week last week.

Alan Jones, broadcaster and current criminal in the eyes of the woke, angsty, and news media here, due to the fact the indiscretion that landed him in his current predicament involved our Prime Minister.

He hoped Scott Morrison would "shove a sock down her throat." You remember the story? Lot of noise, lot of headlines.

He misspoke, of course. The term is "put a sock in it. ” It's widely used and has been for decades. Upon realising his mistake he apologised, and wrote directly to Ardern to express his regret.

The media got hold of the letter and described it as "grovelling," which it wasn’t. But that’s the media these days, what is accurate versus what suits their cause are increasingly two different things.

Anyway, on the other side of the Tasman the fallout was furious, including the bailing of a number of advertisers on his show.

Now this is the bit that gets interesting ,the reason advertisers walked was because of the upset. And yet the upset, or large parts of it, was engineered artificially and driven by people who never heard the comment, and never listen to Jones' show.

They're professional agitators, people who sit around literally looking for controversy, or potential controversy, that they can then grab and turn into a storm via social media platforms. This is what they did with Jones, they bombarded his advertisers with threats and boycotts. And sadly many of the advertisers saw these threats as real and genuine and panicked.

The danger of this, I would have thought was obvious, it emboldens the nutters.

The crime, even if you want to call it that, is long ago forgotten and what replaces it, is hysteria. And not just hysteria, but false hysteria drummed up by the vindictive and nasty.

Jones, to his credit, in a piece in the Sydney Morning Herald last week spoke out about it and said corporate Australia needed to grow a pair and face up to this sort of nonsense and artificiality. Corporate Australia is too scared to breathe these days for fear of upsetting someone.

Woke behaviour brings fear and paralysis to business. Banks won't lend on mining, advertisers run for the hills at the first sign of a Twitter spat.

Here's the ultimate irony of this story, as much of a pasting as Jones took, as much as he was portrayed in that tired, boring, old way as old, white, and privileged, it was rarely, if ever, pointed out that the bloke is the biggest name in Australian media.

He is fantastically successful and people actually love him. And how do we know this? Ratings. Ratings were out last week, and what did those ratings show as a result of this gargantuan scandal? Nothing.  No one left, no one bailed, no one up and stormed off disgusted.

His audience, the ones who voluntarily every day turn their radios onto him, saw all this noise for what it was and gave it the weight it deserved, which was next to none.

He was number one going in, he's still number one now. Thus reminding us yet again that so often what the keyboard warriors, the angstys, and the professional agitators think is a big deal, in the real world, is nothing of the sort.

Hopefully corporate Australia is taking note.       

ON AIR: The Sunday Session

9AM - 12PM