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Tag Archives: Shock jocks

Shock Jocks, Turnbull And Housetraining . . .

Ok, I am aware that there’s a certain type in the media who relies on saying something shocking in order to create the sort of controversy that gets them noticed. And there are some who’d say anything that someone paid them to say.

They’re the sort who are “housetrained”. Bring out your chequebook and they’ll tell you that black is white.

Sorry, Andrew, that’s just a figure of speech, so don’t get all funny about that court case, and Alan we’ve forgotten all about that Media Watch!

I mean, Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt are pillars. They are extraordinary human beings.

How do I know this?

Well, a few days ago, someone was suggesting that Turnbull had a “narcissist personality disorder”. And there were descriptions about what such a thing meant, but to use the Wikipedia defintion, it means that “a person is excessively preoccupied with personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity, mentally unable to see the destructive damage they are causing to themselves and others.”

And yet, in spite of Turnbull’s alleged disorder, we’re told today, by Andrew Bolt that he’s been “housetrained”.

That’s Turnbull, not Bolt. Nobody could ever accuse Bolt of being “housetrained”.

Anyway, this Prime Minister – the one with prestige and vanity – has been harnessed by Jones and Bolt.

Yep, Bolt wrote today:

“So, yes, I should feel like Samson after a haircut. But here’s the funny thing. We’ve actually won. Me and Alan. We’ve house-trained Turnbull.”

Now some of you may have a problem with the idea that a Prime Minister could be the pet of two people who’s only claim to representing the people is that they give their opinion and that they don’t listen to anyone else. But, in Bolt’s world, this is what democracy means. He has the right to say whatever he likes and anyone who disagrees should be shut down, shut up or shut off.

After all, as he said when that other Murdoch paper, The Australian, had the temerity to critiicism him, he only has his reputation, so nobody should attack that. Particularly a paper that relies on the tabloids to subsidise it.

Now some may see a problem with the idea that Malcolm Turnbull would “housetrained” by such a person, but I don’t.

That’s because I read Andrew Bolt’s column today. And that means that I know all that I need to know. Because even though Bolt never completed his university degree, he’s somehow been able to become an expert on everything.

Even controlling PM’s with alleged narcissist disorders.

Pity he didn’t do it when Tony and Peta were running things . . .


The Many Faces of the Australian Shock Jock

“Alan Jones, on your radio program, you often abuse, berate and belittle callers with whom you disagree. On Q&A, you are reasoned and respectful of the people asking questions, to the extent that I sometimes think you’re not as bad as you’d like us to think. Is your radio persona pure entertainment and, if so, who is the real Alan Jones, and do you believe that you are using your platform in a responsible way that encourages constructive debate?” Anthony Johnsen, Q&A 20th July

This thorny bugger of a question was thrown to conservative radio shock jock Alan Jones on Monday night’s Q&A, much to the squeamish displeasure of the recipient. Jones was on the offensive, claiming his trademark fiery exchanges which only occur with politicians, not with listeners. That may be true, but having previously said Julia Gillard’s father “died of shame” and she should be taken out in a body bag and dumped in the ocean, there is little doubt that Jones’ 2GB studio is not a place for “reasoned and respectful” discussion. The former Labor PM is not alone in copping Jones’ abuse, with independent MPs Rob Oakeshott, Andrew Wilkie, Liberal leadership challenger Malcolm Turnbull and even Prime Minister Tony Abbott all copping a verbal bashing.

It has been somewhat of a surprise then that Jones’ appearances on Q&A have shown a different side to the infamous orator, far less “angry old man yelling at cloud” and far more at home aside the more measured voices that the show attracts. The issues he champions on Q&A are also more nuanced and interesting than the grand-stand reading of the Coalition’s briefing notes on 2GB. Furthermore, on all platforms, Jones seems to have complicated his political vision since his days heading up the “Juliar” campaign, from his embrace of same-sex marriage to his campaign against coal-seam gas. So why is he suddenly almost reasonable, or has he always been so underneath his conservative blustering?

The more sceptical observer might call Jones an opportunist, a savvy chameleon giving the audience what they want to hear. On talkback radio they want rage, on the ABC they want rational discussion. Such inconsistency is frequently attributed to fellow conservative kingpin Andrew Bolt. Whilst he is generally as stubbornly right-wing on all platforms nowadays, claims of inconsistency plague his past and cast doubt on the uncompromising caricature he now propagates.

In a scathing portrait of Bolt for The Monthly, Anne Summers presented a convincing argument that Bolt refashioned himself in the 1990s to fill what was then a right-wing void in the op-ed pages. Whilst she doesn’t doubt that Bolt was somewhat conservative, she questions the authenticity of his miraculous transformation from unassuming editor to megaphone commentator. And with due course, given News Corp’s chief Gillard-hater used to work for the ALP in several positions. The nation’s great climate denier also once wrote the “Environs” section in The Age.

Summers quotes a former colleague saying “A big part of me admires Bolt for having built all this out of nothing. But it is so cynical because that is not who he is.” “He obviously saw there was reputation and money to be made from being conservative,” said academic Robert Manne. “He was forceful but he was not as right-wing then or we would not have got on so well,” said journalist Shelley Gare.

This touches upon a deeper point about the now popularized far-right provocateur mould – to what extent do they actually believe what they say? There should be nothing beyond comprehension about adopting a conservative worldview, in fact if one cannot even imagine it then perhaps they are too rigid to engage in a diverse contest of ideas. However, the sheer vociferousness, the attack-dog style, the relentless plundering of issues for literally thousands of media segments and the offensiveness of some dialogue invites the cynical to suggest they are making a calculated decision to feed the desires of a niche audience, to deliberately provoke the mass audience and to stay relevant through remaining controversial.

All which makes the faintly shifting stripes of Alan Jones more interesting. He is no lefty and there is no room for him in the centre. He has fashioned himself as a conservative warrior. There is no popularity or money in providing nuance to an argument in the modern media melee. So Jones ought to be commended for not sticking to the tired old trope of the Andrew Bolt right-winger, and occasionally veering off his ideological course, even if only briefly.

Perhaps he should take a second look at wind farms. Yeah never know, he might be surprised by what he sees.


Bolt and Jones achieve full froth in defence of their friend Tony Abbott

Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones are distressed.

Their good friend and hero Tony Abbott is flailing from crisis to crisis, embarrassment to embarrassment. Struggling to develop a cohesive palatable message.

The polls are stubbornly bad for his government and it appears any credibility or integrity he had left in the eyes of the public is all but eliminated. Irreparably it seems.

Bolt and Jones spent years doing all they could to get their man in Canberra into government and it’s gone pear shaped remarkably quickly.

Abbott’s failure is their failure.

The community’s rejection of him is a rejection of them.

They are both, figuratively speaking, firmly in the Abbott Faction of the Liberal Party. The now dominant hard right capital C conservative faction.

They are his media minders, PR department, faciltators and attack dogs.

The last 3 election cycles, particularly since Abbott became leader, has seen a mass exodus of what was left of the small l liberal tradition inside the Liberal Party.

They were out of place and they knew it.

They fled.

This is all an important context to understand the Bolt, Turnbull and Jones affair of the last week.

Tony Abbott is under pressure to turn around his sinking, rudderless ship and his media PR machine in the mainstream media is feeling it too.

The extreme nasty IPA driven budget was supposed to be accepted by the public against their best interests because it was “fixing up Labor’s mess”.

The public weren’t supposed to question it, but they have.

They see it as an assault on the “fair go” and their way of life.

Jones has used his Labor as “fire” and Coalition as “firefighter” analogy innumerable times.

It’s painfully tortured yet he perseveres.

Not surprisingly however it seems Tony Abbott’s Chief of Staff Peta Credlin has picked up on it and directed cabinet ministers to use the exact same fear mongering aggressive language to scare people into accepting this shocking budget.

Thankfully it’s not cutting through and people are resenting the broken promises and unfairness of the Abbott plan.

Abbott used fear and division aplenty in opposition but they are finding that it just doesn’t cut it anymore in government.

People want the “adult government” they were promised.

People don’t want to be scared, lectured or lied to by Tony Abbott anymore.

They are sick of the negativity and lack of vision coming from his government.

Enter Malcolm Turnbull.

A popular leader who is well liked in the community but on the fringe of the Coalition caucus.

The dinner Turnbull had with Clive Palmer was all it took to light a fire under the very sensitive and protective Abbott forces in the media. Perhaps at the behest of the Abbott Faction.

Bolt is paid to irritate and rile enemies of Murdoch. That’s his job. He does it well.

Recently however the enemy was a lot closer to home.

Bolt attacked Turnbull for having dinner with Palmer without permission. I wasn’t aware he had to seek permission for who he could socialise with privately?

It was obviously not a “secret meeting”. Canberra’s a small place.

This didn’t stop Bolt saying Turnbull was conspiring against Abbott and being disloyal.

Apparently Abetz and Pyne need to be consulted for Turnbull to have a casual dinner with Palmer.

This is the Bolt/Jones line.

The fact they weren’t told is supposedly the smoking gun.

Turnbull didn’t reject out of hand the idea the Bolt and Jones attacks were coordinated. The idea holds a lot of water.

They are clearly trying to reassert the hard right of the Liberal Party in the face of polls showing Turnbull would be a popular leader.

They want him put in his corner and nervy MPs warned off even considering switching their vote to save their own skin.

The Alan Jones interview with Turnbull was something to behold.

Screeching, heavy breathing, condescending, lecturing and at times hysterical.

Jones is clearly feeling the pinch.

Now he knows what it’s like to be on the wrong end of popular opinion and to have concerted campaigns in the media and public to destroy his preferred leader.

Normally he’s the one dishing it out and dictating what he thinks should be popular opinion.

Not now he’s not.

Turnbull handled a fulminating Jones skillfully, occasionally calming his interviewer down before he erupted uncontrollably and breathlessly again.

The egos of Bolt and Jones are limitless. Their sense of power and self importance renowned.

Turnbull is absolutely correct to stand up to bullies and defend himself if he thinks it’s appropriate.

Was the dinner with Clive more than just casual? My sense is no.

But even if it was it has shown just how close Bolt and Jones are to Tony Abbott.

He relies on these nasty aggressive media characters to convince the masses he’s the saviour.

The masses are ignoring the preachers these days however.

It’s quite clever of Turnbull to push back so strongly against nasty public attacks. He wants to make it clear he won’t put up with it.

It also puts Abbott in a bind.

In a public spat between the three of them, whose side does he take?

His cabinet minister’s or his strong media allies’?

Turnbull is playing them off against each other.

One can’t help but think he’s doing all he can to damage their relationship and the role they will play in the life of the Abbott Government.

Recent articles by Matthew Donovan:

If they don’t know what they’re talking about, how are we supposed to?

Time to end Tony Abbott’s deceitful debt scare campaign

Shock jock fantasy land vs reality

Don’t let the Abbott Government Budget get one over you

For the Greater Good

greater good

The Greater Good

Predictably today in the main stream media and online people are voicing their opinions about the Government’s decision to virtually cut of access to Australian shores for those seeking asylum. Many supporters of the ALP find the decision an affront to their ideological instincts of social justice. The Greens are outraged and the conservatives outwitted. There is much indignation that we have divorced ourselves of our international responsibilities under the refugee convention.

“There of those who like to opine about politics yet conveniently leave out the political consequences when forming it?”

I have read with sympathetic eyes the discourse of people on this subject. I understand the principles with which they argue and I fall into the same category of moral indignation. Where I differ though is that I take into account the politics of the argument. Others see things purely in black and white terms or in simple solutions to highly complex problems. For example do I stand on my soapbox of idealistic belief in the knowledge that it might cost government? How does one measure the cost of a principle against the loss of government?

For me the extension to an argument is ‘’how does this fit into my theory of the greater good?’’ The first rule of politics is to attain power and the second rule is to retain it. Otherwise your ideology is worth nothing. You can do much for the greater good in government but little in opposition.

It’s all very fine to bath in the waters of idealism but sometimes we have to dry ourselves with a towel of political compromise and pragmatism.

So if at the heart of this matter is the altruistically paramount concern for saving lives then surely the Prime Minister should be applauded. Wasn’t it all about that? If it wasn’t and it was about winning government then those of that ilk are now revealed.

Tony Abbott’s mantra or three word slogan of ‘Stop the boats’ has for three years rung in the ears of Australians and entered the labyrinth of our conscience and abused it. With the use of language unbecoming of decent men he and Scott Morrison have demonised those seeking asylum disgracefully. The result being that they ran from man’s grace and benevolence into the arms of unrighteousness. They and the likes of Howard turned our cherished belief of everyone’s right to a fair go into a draconian pit of racism. And all for a few votes. May the conscience of human rights be upon them? One of my facebook friends Brendan J Kelly had this to say. He should have included the opposition in his summary.

”Unfortunately, there are a great many Australians who have been driven to a xenophobic frenzy by the MSM. The fears of these people have been fed by media bias and by shock jocks who care more about ratings than the truth.
The problem is it exists. We cannot destroy it through our ideals or even, it would appear by sound argument. How can sound argument stand against emotionally charged, fear-filled rhetoric?”

The political consequences of this decision (and others) are enormous. In the space of three weeks Kevin Rudd has turned the political discourse on its ear. The opposition have been forced to accept this solution because of its previous intransigence and has taken away a major part of its electoral platform. Tony Abbott’s belief that oppositions are there to oppose has come back to haunt him where as being constructive might have benefited him. The same can be said for the problem of Climate Change. His negativity has spread like rust through the community but Rudd has politically outfoxed him and the ALP have more than an even chance of winning this election.

No, I will never always agree with every policy of the party I support but I know that having them in office is one hundred per cent better than having a person of such little character like Tony Abbott in the lodge.

Therefore I am prepared to compromise my idealism. Not easily but I do.

As I have written previously Tony Abbott if nothing else is a very colourful character. He is aggressive both physically and in the use of language. His negativity is legendary and he has little consideration for any ideas other than his own and says NO to his opponents policies regardless of their worthiness. He is by evidence and his own admission a liar of some regularity. Added to that he has a political gutter mentality and little respect for the institution of parliament and its conventions.

Would you be willing to turn over government to such a man? Or compromise your idealism?


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