2GB’s Alan Jones never fails to rile up his haters. He ain’t described as a shock-jock for nothing, since his talkback radio debut in metro Sydney in 1985 he has survived every major controversy throughout his career.
In the current year 2019 we live in the age of social media lynch-mobs and advertiser boycott campaigns. Jones is now 76 but has just signed to his 2GB radio operator Macquarie Media for another two years for $8 million, we learned this week Macquarie is soon to be a 100% owned by Nine Entertainment Co.
Despite the blood thirst for his sacking being more frenzed than ever, Jones has not shied anyway from telling his audience, the largest in Sydney exactly what he thinks and how he feels. His rants and sprays against those he doesn’t like are known for their intensity.
Alan Jones’ Past Controversies
The first major verbal tirade that landed him in major controversy was not on his radio broadcast but a secretly recorded speech to the Sydney University Student Liberal Club. In a one hour verbal tirade against then Prime Minister Julia Gillard where he claimed her father recently “died of shame” due to his daughter’s lies.
Alan Jones held a 45 mintue press conference to apologize. 2GB in response to the social media boycott campaign suspended advertising on his show for a week until the pressure subsided. Jones survived due to his consistent large audience size.
Jones had a similar dislike for Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore due to her wasteful art and climate obsessions. He had said on radio that Julia Gillard and Clover Moore should be put in chaff bag and thrown out to sea.
Although he supported NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian in 2019 re-election campaign he wasn’t so kind to earlier in her Premiership. With regard to her government’s policy about allowing mining in the agricultural Liverpool Plains in August 2017 he said to her “You put your head in a noose and, once the truckies and the farmers start, that noose will be tightened”.
Later that same month Jones was again aghast at Clover Moore for wanting to spend $11.3 million of ratepayers money on a Cloud Arch to hang over George Street in Sydney. In a tweet expressing his outrage over this massive art expense Jones appeared to hint that Sydneysiders wanted Clover Moore Lynched.
$11.3m – can you believe it? You can guess what many people would rather hang 58 metres over George Street…and it’s not a Cloud Arch.— Alan Jones (@AlanJones) August 30, 2017
The fact that these analogies if taken literally would be inciting violence, and that the most high profile of these analogies were reserved for female public figures has led to accusations that Jones is a misogynist and language such as his contributes to violence against women.
Alan Jones has also been accused of racism. He caused outrage when describing the situation in Canberra during the Liberal leadership spills of August 2018 that “The n*gger in the woodpile here, if one can use that expression, and I am not going to yield to people who tell us that certain words in the language are forbidden, the person who’s playing hard to get here is Mathias Cormann’.
But later that day Jones apologized on Twitter for using the word.
We all make mistakes. This morning on 2GB and 4BC I spoke about the covert actions of some political operatives in the current leadership challenges within the Liberal Party 1/2— Alan Jones (@AlanJones) August 23, 2018
I used an old and offensive figure of speech that I regret saying. People should be honest and forthright in their actions and that is not happening in the Liberal Party right now. I will have more to say on this tomorrow 2/2— Alan Jones (@AlanJones) August 23, 2018
It was later discovered that over the past decade Alan Jones the expression “the n*gger in the woodpile” on five separate occasions without consequence.
An investigation by the Australian Communications and Media Authority in regard its August 2018 use found that Jones did not incite racial hatred by using the n-word but that it did breach decency requirements. The outcome was 2GB agreed that the expression and word in question would not be broadcast again.
Alan was back to being called a misogynist in October 2018 when he interviewed Louise Herron the CEO of the Sydney Opera House to grill her over her refusal to project onto the Opera House a promotion of Sydney’s Everest Horse Race.
Jones during the interview kept interrupting her to remind her she didn’t own the Opera House and by her refusal to run the ads he would be speaking to Premier Gladys Berejiklian to have her sacked.
Berejiklian overruled Herron and the Everest was promoted on the Opera House. Herron kept her job and Alan apologized for conducting the interview in the matter he did.
Alan saved all his controversy in 2019 for last week. He started on Monday morning by voicing his own displeasure at African-American-Australian NBA Basketballer Ben Simmons whose return to Australia saw him label us racist.
Jones pointed out “This bloke has lost a lot of people very quickly” and advised him “Ben Simmons, I know you’re an Australian but go back to America and stay there”. The phrase “go back” is now considered a racist term.
The Ardern Comments
But it was Jacinda Ardern’s demand that Australia had to to answer for climate change in the Pacific Islands that really set Jones off on Thursday morning. The two leaders were meeting at the Pacific Islands Forum in Tuvalu with climate change the top of the agenda.
He began his rant by comparing New Zealand’s carbon dioxide emissions with Australia’s before he went on to specifically attacking Ardern’s leadership. “I just wonder whether Scott Morrison is going to be fully briefed to shove a sock down her throat. She is a joke this woman, an absolute and utter light-weight”.
Because putting a sock down someone’s throat has been used as a method of murdering someone through suffocation, Jones was again accused of inciting violence against women.
2GB’s website still mentioned and quoted Jones’ rant titled ‘Alan Jones slams Jacinda Ardern’s climate attack on Australia‘ but the podcast segment of the rant had been removed.
The online rage on social media was led by Twitter account Sleeping Giants Oz, based on the US twitter account of the same name. It pressures corporations to withdraw their advertising from conservative media operations. Sky News Australia is its main target, but so is 2GB.
ALAN JONES ADVERTISER LIST 16/08/19— 💧 Sleeping Giants Oz 📣 (@slpng_giants_oz) August 15, 2019
Alan Jones is a toxic misogynist now blaming social media for misrepresenting his “shove a sock down her throat” comment
Let his advertisers know how you feel
Contact as many as you like/can: cc @slpng_giants_oz
Please B RESPECTFUL#Auspol pic.twitter.com/jXRWvE9okK
Jones responded to the outcry over his comments claiming what he meant to say was Scott Morrison should tell Ms Ardern to “put a sock in it”. He said his enemies were engaging in ‘wilful misinterpretation’ and of course he didn’t mean Ms Ardern any harm.
But the tape still had him saying “shove a sock down her throat” so the rage against Jones continued online and saw high profile political figures including former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Fiji’s military dictator Frank Bainimarama joined the usual suspects in condemning Jones’ language and “misogyny”.
Easy to tell someone to shove a sock down a throat when you’re sitting in the comfort of a studio. The people of the Pacific, forced to abandon their homes due to climate change, don’t have that luxury. Try saying it to a Tuvaluan child pleading for help. https://t.co/opU9mb50Qi— Frank Bainimarama (@FijiPM) August 15, 2019
Scott Morrison who had been in intense talks at the Pacific Island Forum at Tuvalu all day was asked by the awaiting media when he emerged late on Thursday night what he made of Jones comments:
“The comment has been relayed to me; on what’s been reported to me, I find that very disappointing and of course that’s way out of line,” he said from Tuvalu on Thursday. I have two daughters, so you can expect that’s how I would feel personally about it. I’ll leave others to explain what they’ve said and how they’ve said it.”
Of course a slapdown by Morrison wouldn’t placate the online outrage. They view Jones as a critical mouthpiece for Coalition messaging to their base, and were now demanding that all Coalition MPs boycott the program.
Jones repeated his view that his comments were being subjected to ‘wilful misinterpretation’ on his Friday morning show and that his criticism of Jacinda Ardern as a leader and her climate policies were still valid. Jones also appeared on New Zealand radio with Mike Hosking that morning using the same defence.
This of course was not going to satisfy Jones’ enemies and on Friday Sleeping Giants Oz continued to contact 2GB advertisers and and encouraged their 21.7K followers to do the same.
Hi all, just an update from ME. Thanks for your feedback – we take this very seriously and these types of comments don’t reflect our values. We’ve expressed our concerns to 2GB and have pulled advertising. Thanks – Annabelle— ME (@mebank) August 16, 2019
A petition also was created on change.org called ‘Alan Jones must stop using violent language towards women‘ started by Dr Kate Ahmad, Dr Anita of Doctors Against Violence Towards Women. Despite the petition title its aim was to pressure advertisers and 2GB to dissociate themselves from Jones. It now has 70,000 signatures but it is unlikely the petition contains many of his actual listeners.
Then on Friday afternoon at 6pm Sydney time Jones called into his colleague Ben Fordham’s Sydney Live program to offer and full and frank apology for his language and that he had written to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to apologize personally.
Jacinda Ardern has not commented further on the Jones outrage, only saying when asked about what Jones had said about her “I don’t know that I’m going to give that the light of day. I think I’ll just leave it where it is.” In 2012 Julia Gillard refused to take Alan Jones’ call following the “died of shame” comments.
Over the weekend another activist Twitter account Mad Fucking Witches joined Sleeping Giants Oz in pressuring more of 2GB’s advertisers to withdraw in the wake of ME Bank pulling their ads. By today RSL Art Union, Bunnings Warehouse, BIG W, Total Tools, Snooze, Bing Lee, Mercedes-Benz had agreed to stop running ads on 2GB.
Macquarie Media New Managment
Throughout Jones’ other controversies his employer Macquarie Media have always stood by him and his 2GB show returns to business as usual. But on Saturday night Russell Tate, the chairman of Macquarie said on Saturday night: “Notwithstanding [Jones’s] apologies, I have today discussed the matter with Alan and advised him that any recurrence of commentary of this nature will result in the termination of his contract.”
Again Jones’ enemies say this should be the last straw and his employer should put ethics and decency before ratings and profit. But Macquarie Media has never given Jones a final warning, or even any warning about his conduct, which is a significant development.
Macquarie Media’s soon to be new owner Nine Entertainment Co also recently merged with the Fairfax Newspapers. Fairfax includes the Age and the Sydney Morning Herald whiich for years have had a leftist editorial line.
Macquarie Media hosts the nation’s most well known conservative talkback stations. Therefore having these two vastly different media properties under the one company is particularly odd.
Nine CEO Ron Marks said to his staff last Monday he wouldn’t change the “bold” 2GB talkback lineup “While they are different brands, often speaking to different audiences, there are also clear opportunities for all of you to collaborate and make even better content when the story fits”. But the fresh final warning to Jones clearing indicates that 2GB is under new management.
Nine was able to acquire the remaining shares in Macquarie Media for $1.46 a share or $114 million rather than the $1.80 per share the company was valued at.
The discount was due to weaker ad sales and a $3.75 million defamation finding against 2GB and Alan Jones after he repeatedly claimed on radio that the Wagner family were responsible for the deaths 12 people during the Lockyer Valley floods in 2011. A state government cleared the Wagner family of any wrongdoing.
Despite their statement last week Nine do not view Jones as the great radio asset he once was. He still has a loyal base of followers who have defended Jones’ latest comments about Ardern, arguing he was just saying what we were all thinking of her. They believe it will be caving into the outrage mob if Jones is sacked.
Jones is also employed by Sky News and co-hosts two shows on Tuesday and Wednesday evening. These shows are heavily promoted by Sky News. No statement on his future has been released by Sky.
If the left can finally get Jones’ scalp, the man they believe unjustly is the nation’s most powerful and influential broadcaster, it will be a huge tipping point in the deplatforming movement. If Jones falls after being secured his free speech on the air for decades, it will change the Australian media landscape and what opinions are allowed significantly.