Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Car Crash Radio

People like to watch action-disaster movies; the slow detailed and often preposterous unravelling of a plot where a single, unlikely hero leads a group of misfits to a miracle survival, defeating the bad guys along the way. Just how many times can Bruce Willis save the world? (At least once more, it seems!)

From the televised insanity of OJ Simpson’s car chase through the Los Angeles freeway system, to September 11, to scout troops of eager weather reporters getting blown off over and washed away just to prove that…well, I never knew what they were trying to prove. It’s a hurricane, you fool! Get inside!

Even better, if there is any chance that we can experience the disaster first-hand, we’ll chase the ambulance. It’s a race to get the best pics on your mobile phone and post them on Twitter before anyone else does.

The point is, when something bad is happening, we watch. If nothing too bad is happening, we watch fictional substitutes. Somehow, within the last century, we’ve become a society of rubber-neckers, always on the lookout for the next disaster.

Today is radio ratings day, that day when the results of the most recent metropolitan radio surveys are released by Nielsen. In Australia’s biggest radio market, and around the country, eyes are on Alan Jones, whose ratings have gone up 0.5%. Up. Half a percent. Jones.

But that can’t be right, can it? Surely all of this agenda-setting joint-destroying activity has had an impact? Hasn’t it revealed Mr Jones as the disgusting woman-hating right wing spokesman for all that is wrong with society? That’s an exaggeration, although just how much of an exaggeration varies, depending on my mood (and his).

How on earth could Alan Jones audience have increased during a time when his very right to exist as a broadcaster is being questioned?

It’s not that hard to fathom, if you look at the detail.

Firstly, take into account the dates of the survey. The Survey released today covers two distinct periods: July 29 – Sept 1 and Sept 16 – Oct 20. Overlay that with the dates of Alan Jones’ two major faux pas, and you get this.

There’s no doubt that the “destroy the joint” comment was not well received, and stirred up some media attention. Out of that emerged #destroythejoint – one of those annoying internet memes that are a Big Thing for about two-and-a-half minutes, while the hipsterest of the hipsters play with them, then the rest of us cotton on and meme away happily for another few hours before never thinking of it again.

Except Destroy the Joint is still going strong two months later, with a national and international profile. Destroy the Joint has a flourishing Facebook page with over 20,000 Likes, and they have spearheaded the campaign to encourage advertisers away from Alan Jones. DtJ is not just about Alan Jones though – it’s the new expression of female pride in Australia. The Destroy the Joint Facebook page was established on September 2nd, and highlighted crass behaviour by men towards women for almost a full month before Mr Jones’ “died of shame” comment became public.

Logically, if there was going to be a fall in Mr Jones audience, it would’ve been during the weeks after the “died of shame” comment, when Destroy the Joint actively campaigned to major advertisers to remove the Alan Jones Breakfast Show from their advertising schedules. Of course, a fair number of non-traditional 2GB listeners would’ve tuned in to hear what all the fuss was about; some may even have found Mr Jones’ style of talkback to their liking and stayed. Some listeners may have been attracted to his bombastic style of bigotry and dominance.

Mathematically, the Destroy the Joint Campaign was only active from September 29, and the ratings period closed on October 20. That’s 22 days out of a 63 day ratings period. 36.5%. On that basis alone, anyone who thought that Destroying the Joint would destroy Alan Jones ratings is living in fantasy land.

Let’s go back to why ratings are measured: it’s a way of providing a number, a commercial convenience that says is B has more listeners than A, then B is a better vehicle for advertising than A, and therefore B can charge more than A. Alan Jones ratings are up 0.5%, so accordingly, 30 seconds of his airtime is worth more than 30 seconds on opposition station 2UE…except that there are no major advertisers who are willing advertise on his show. Only small, local businesses are safe – and they aren’t the businesses with the big dollars to spend.

2GB took a financial hit close to half a million dollars per week during the period when the Alan Jones Show went to air with no advertising at all, and their parent company’s share price dropped significantly, although it’s now bounced back.

What we don’t know from the radio survey results is the week by week breakdown of the audience, so we simply can’t map numbers against specific events.

What we do know is that Alan Jones credibility is increasingly in doubt. More people may be listening – or the 0.5% increase may reflect a larger increase earlier in the ratings period, followed by a decrease. In any case, he’s not worth what he was as a radio property, and he has lost his influence, which was always his power base.

He’s just preaching, loudly, at the converted.

As unpalatable as Alan Jones’ opinions and bombastic style are for many of us, he is one in a long and distinguished history of commercial radio in Australia. It’s like listening to a toddler commentating on a slow motion car crash every morning. If you’ve never listened to one of his broadcasts, put it on your bucket list for sooner rather than later. I doubt that Mr Jones will be broadcasting much longer.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sign Here

Sometimes it’s hard to know where to place your confidence, which causes to support, which religion to believe in, and which politicians to trust. Social Media has done a great thing by allowing us find like-minded people and get together with them on virtual platforms to fight mutual battles. The downside is the risk of getting carried away with the cause of the day.

KONY2012 feels like it was years ago. It was less than twelve months ago. Alan Jones’ comments about the women destroying the joint feel like the first chapter of a very long book we read years ago, yet it was two months ago. I remember whimpering and blogging about the new LNP Government in Queensland cutting the Premier’s Literary Prize, and hoping it wasn’t a harbinger of things to come. The passage of time seems to be filled with causes and battles and deciding right from wrong.

I have a feeling that the latest scandal to hit the Court of King Campbell won't be full of Foyle-esque twists and turns.

Seven months of life in the Cutback State suggest that dumping the Premier’s Literary Prize may have been for many, the high point of King Campbell’s Slice-and-Dice reign.

But what now? Somewhere around 24,000 public service jobs don’t exist anymore, and approaching 19,000 of those were held by women. Is this King Campbell’s way to ensure that there are no women left in public service positions to destroy his joint?

He should’ve looked inside his own palace on George Street. Ros Bates is the Newmanian Minister for Science, IT, Innovation and the Arts - none of which appear on King Campbell’s list of favourite things. In fact, they seem to rank only marginally above Things the ACL Doesn’t Like.

King Campbell probably isn’t all that fond of Ms Bates at the moment. Through Ms Bates’ family and business connections, trouble is approaching the George Street Palace like a political Frankenstorm.

Raise your hand if you were anywhere between annoyed and disgusted when Minister Bates’ son Ben Gommers was appointed to a departmental liaison role (Salary $103,000) within the Department of Transport, on a 12 month contract (during a hiring freeze) to a position for which he has inadequate experience.

Now, raise your hand if you were one of the wisely cynical who questioned King Campbell’s decision to appoint his old Brisbane City Council buddy Michael Caltabiano to the most senior position the Department of Transport. Director General Caltabiano has been stood down pending investigations, but he’s on full pay – approaching half a million dollars a year.

By now, we know that Mr Caltabiano and Mr Gommers worked together in a lobbying firm named Entree Vous , which sounds to me more like a bordello than something meant to represent the interests of business to the government. I guess there are different ways of interpreting who does what to whom for money…but we didn’t think of that when all this was happening a few months back. We were too busy being distracted by the sounds of many public servants shrieking “Nepotism”.
Mr Newman said families worked together in a lot of businesses and that was no conflict of interest.

"Let's be grown up about it," he told reporters at Nambour on Wednesday.

"That's not nepotism, that's just the way the world works.”
As for EntrĂ©e Vous, it’s now owned by Geoff Greene, a former LNP State Director. Surprise!

So what’s the problem here? A bunch of people who have known eachother for a while ended up in government, or working for the government together. Big deal, right?

Aside from the stunning displays of partiality involved in the hiring of Mr Caltabiano and Mr Gommers, King Campbell’s government has made it an offence to lie. Mr Caltabiano lied about having worked with Mr Gommers. I can’t wait to find out why he lied.

Where to now? We’re all going to the Ethics Committee, to see if anyone has acted unethically. 612 ABC’s Steve Austin interviewed the Chairman of the Ethics Committee last Friday, and a dodgier, more doubtful interviewee would be hard to find. Have a listen here – it’s fascinating radio both for the information about the hearing, and for the inaudible legal consideration and accompanying squiriming.

Don’t be holding your breath for a quick hearing, though: Ms Bates is on Sick Leave as the result of some shoulder surgery she had almost two months ago. She’s also spending time with her son Ben, the Liaison Officer, who is being treated for Depression. Mr Caltabiano is off work on full pay, and it’s a sitting week in Parliament. Key witnesses seem difficult to find.

As we wait for the official verdict from the Ethics Commission, we can all have our say on a variety of topics. We can vent on Facebook, we can tweet, we can blog, we can make use of the Comments section in the online versions of daily newspapers. The Newmanian Parliament may not have an Upper House, a functioning Opposition or a media with much access to the government, but you can always start a petition, as long as you can find a Member of the House to sponsor your petition.

And if your gripe isn’t with the Newman Government, what’s wrong with you?

Let’s try that again. If your gripe isn’t with the Newman Government, there are several Online petition sites where you can start your own petition.

That’s what student Nic Lochner did when he started the Change.org petition to convince Alan Jones’ advertisers to walk away from Mr Jones. With over 116,000 signatures, that petition has achieved it’s aims and more, and has now been closed. Nic achieved a lot with that petition – he’s opened up a long overdue debate on one of the most under-rated issues in our society – sexism and the treatment of women.

It intrigues me that we have so many options now in which to put our thoughts and beliefs out there, but rarely do we see a connection between the social media chatter and the ‘real world’, such as we’ve seen with Alan Jones. So far I haven’t heard a lot of chatter about the Ros Bates/Michael Caltabiano/Ben Gommers circus, but it will come. For now, we wait for the Ethics Committee.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


If Tony Abbott felt that he needed prove his great relationships with women, his superior understanding of women and how we work, he should have stayed in bed this morning, or sent Margie in his place. Instead, he fronted the post-MYEFO media and declared that the Government doesn't really understand families; if they did, they would never have monkeyed around with the Baby Bonus.

Echoes of 2007, when Bill Heffernan called Julia Gillard "deliberately barren" bounced around Twitter. Was the Leader of the Oppostion really drawing attention back to the Prime Minister's choice to remain childless, and using it as evidence that the Government doesn't understand the pressures on Australian families...during a time when he's trying to appeal to women voters?

Journalist and academic Julie Posetti tweeted:

"You've got to be kidding me - Abbott played the 'Gillard isn't a mother' card. Again?! Interesting misogyny accusation deflection strategy."

Gold Coast Columnist Sue Lapperman tweeted:

"I can't believe @TonyAbbottMHR has not learnt anything from the past couple of weeks. Badly done Mr Rabbit, badly done."

There are probably more than a few people who are surprised that the conversation about equality, misogyny, sexism and respect has lasted longer than just a few days. It's more than a wistful post-mortem to a surprisingly successful social media campaign. The latest opinion polls are reflecting the gender divide, with Prime Minister Gillard pulling away as preferred PM.

The initial blast was triggered by Alan Jones claim that the 'women are destroying the joint', the murder of Jill Meagher, and the emergence of Tony Abbott's family on the national stage. The rage subsided just a little, only to have Alan Jones throw an entire warehouse full of ammo with his "died of shame" comment in front of a room full of future conservative leaders.

After worldwide attention, countless editorials, panel discussions and blogs, plus fifteen minutes of unforgettable honesty from the Prime Minister, the women of Australia show no signs of sitting down or shutting up. Even women who acknowledge that they avoid the news are talking about Jones, Abbott, Gillard and why its so much harder for women. Plenty of men are standing beside the women this time. A new generation is learning the lyrics to I Am Woman.

That early conversation about destroying the joint has made way for a whole range of new discussions, from the acceptability of the word "vagina" in polite conversation, to questions about the continued existence of a corporate glass ceiling, the cost of tampons and the right to choose to be a stay-at-home Mum.

More importantly, it's not just hipster-talk. As late as yesterday, big companies were still choosing to withdraw their advertising from the Alan Jones Show on 2GB. Assuming that they'd allowed enough time for the heat to dissipate - or figuring that they'd lost enough money - 2GB reintroduced advertising during the Alan Jones show. It didn't go well for them, with several ads from companies who had withdrawn from the Alan Jones Show "accidentally" going to air. 2GB has underestimated the attention span of their foes.

We'd have to include MRN's Mr Jones and Mr Tate in the list of men who are surprised that the women are still destroying the joint. This is no storm in the Royal Doulton, dear. This is serious.

It's no longer a protest or a campaign; it's becoming an oestrogen-propelled perpetual motion machine with the power to reignite the processes of change our mothers and grandmothers started back in the sixties. This time there's a difference: women have nothing left to prove. We can choose whether to burn our bras, run them up a flagpole or strap ourselves into lacy underwired torture devices. They're our bras, and it's our decision.

Equally, we can choose to focus on career and crash through the glass ceiling like Julia Gillard and Julie Bishop have done, we can reproduce like bunnies and care for the family full-time, or we can plan to balance career and family.

If you stay on the right side of the law, and well away from those who need to apply their version of propriety to everyone, you're fine, but right now, the focus remains on the levels of balance and respect between men and women.

The latest Essential Poll asked about perceptions of sexism. The results aren't good for anyone, with the possible exception of Prime Minister Gillard. Sexism is very much alive and well, and this goes some way to explaining why her infamous speech about Tony Abbott's misogyny is still reverberating.

Margie's Abbott's appearances to help her husband look softer and more (politically) appealing to women are backfiring too. With the greatest respect for Mrs Abbott, putting her in front of a cynical media simply strengthens her and weakens him further. She becomes the story.

Those of us still fighting the battles against misogyny don't mind if women want to stay home with the kids. In fact, that might have been my choice, had my situation been different. The point is, it's a valid choice, every bit as worthy as any other choice a woman makes - what to wear, when and if to have children, how to cook a decent sponge cake. That's the point that Heffernan, Jones, Abbott and the rest of the Misogyny-R-Us Superleague just don't get.

It's our choice. We don't need permission, approval, or guidance...but if we want any of those, that's fine too.

There was one guy on Twitter this morning who had a 140 character pouty. His point was that he was sick of hearing every gender-related comment reframed against the current environment, and measured for sexism. His frustration is understandable...but he might need to get used to it, at least for now. We don't want our daughters and granddaughters fighting the same old battles.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Emergency Resources

Does anyone know exactly how many Queensland Public Servants have already been cut by King Campbell? It’s a lot. We know that, and the 14,000 figure keeps popping up – but is that the total number? Or is that the number announced in the budget, not including people previously made redundant? There are so many stories with so many numbers, it’s easy to lose track of the numbers, and easier still to lose sight of the sad truth that we’re not counting odd buttons or bonbonnieres. These are people. Families. Communities. It’s our community.

The worst of is the brutality with which the whole disaster has been conducted. It’s heartless – economic and emotional despair for most of those who’ve lost their jobs, and even more work with less resources and little motivation for those who kept their jobs. It’s not easy to find an accurate number, but it would appear that around 24,000 people have already been cut – that’s over 10% of the public service. Furthermore, it’s estimated that around 80% of those made redundant by the cuts are female. It’s not business as usual for these people. Nothing is “as usual” – and it’s LNP super-donor Clive Palmer who has kicked in funds along with the ALP Federal Government, to assist the outplaced workers find new opportunities.

No-one outside the Public Service is talking all that much about the restructuring that is going on within departments though. Offices of people, colleagues and team-mates, are being split up and moved into departments where they don’t know the people or the workflow – or even what the department does.

Project Managers are being kept on while their projects – and sometimes their entire departments – are put on hold, or merged with others, or abandoned altogether. I know at least one public servant who took her long service leave, came back and is now going from office to office in her building, asking if anyone needs any filing done, because she’s still getting her public service salary, but the projects she was managing are gone. She’ll be needed again. I know of two others, friends of friends, who were made redundant while on maternity leave.

They’re talking about the dramatic restructuring inside the Public Service though, and King Campbell has started to notice that there’s collateral damage. He is learning that even if he disregards the 24,000 people who have lost their jobs, life does not just go on for those left behind. Anecdotally, morale is down, productivity and service delivery are down, sick leave is up. Few staffers want to remain with the Public Service, but resignation in an environment of rising unemployment is too big a risk to take.

Last week, the Premier’s Department started putting out feelers for current employees within the Queensland Public Service who are qualified and experienced Change Managers to make themselves are known. Apparently, someone in the Premier’s Office has noticed that people – the ones who are still on the payroll– are reacting negatively to the change. Things are being missed, handovers of responsibility isn’t happening, programmes are being scrapped, or merged, or defunded without reference to the consequences. Communication is chaotic. I’m not talking about mass rallies, union action and petitions here; it’s just twigged with someone that in order for the Queensland Government to continue to function as a primary service provider through this period of major transition, it needs some experts to help steady the ship. Of course, it can’t recruit Contract Change Specialists, so it’s recruiting from within, potentially leaving other projects without resources.
And if King Campbell hadn’t been in quite such a hurry, he could have limited much of the damage by having Change Managers in place before the state’s services were shredded.

Meanwhile, many miles away from the executive buildings, life does go on, and those of us stuck in the Newmanian private sector still rely on dramatically downsized Newmanian Public Service to provide for us. How on earth can we survive if standards fall? 

As far back as late May, when the King Campbell’s crown was only two months old, his government suspended the recruitment and training of fire-fighters. There are no new fire-fighters coming through the system, and let me remind you: fighting fires is not like being a political bean-counter. It is a young man’s game that requires extraordinary fitness and incredible courage. And here in Newmania, we’ve stopped recruiting new fire-fighters, a professional already battling a skills crisis. And again, it’s been handled with all the grace and skill of the proverbial bull in the china shop:

"Our office has received numerous calls from job applicants who have participated in extensive assessment at their own cost, were shortlisted and interviewed for the August recruit course.

Applicants only received a brief letter stating that recruiting is suspended until further notice, it is an absolute disgrace the way these people have been treated " Mr Oliver said.

Yesterday, the townhouse adjoining mine caught fire and I rang 000. Actually, I relived a recurring nightmare, where I need to ring 000, but I can’t dial the number, or no-one answers, or they can’t help… I admit, I was shaking so much; it took two goes to get through. Our local firies were there within a few minutes, by which time I had awoken the tenant, the complex manager had been able to get the fire under control, and my trusty little extinguisher finished the job off. My neighbour spent a few hours in hospital, and eventually I stopped shaking.

These guys in the yellow suits are incredible.
 You see, it’s all about be prepared. Stuff happens: If King Campbell knew he was going to gut the Public Service, why didn’t he wait a few extra days while he got a team in place who know how to do these things with a minimum of disruption. Why didn’t he prepare properly?

And now, his drive to cut costs is costing us the next class cohort of fire-fighters. I was lucky yesterday. What if it’s Mr Newman’s house with smoke pouring out of it, and there aren’t enough fire-fighters to save his home, or enough ambos to save his family? I’m not suggesting that any of us should become Doomsday Preppers, but we should at least think about what we might need to have on hand in case of an emergency. It can be the little things – a phone number, an extinguisher, a change manager – that make the difference between something stupid and total devastation.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

My Favourite Tweety Things

There's not a lot more that anyone can say right now about sexism, discrimination, misogyny, or the role of the media in reporting it. I have my own views on that, and I daresay those thoughts will form themselves into a blog sooner rather than later. In the meantime, I get to say I told you so. Bernard Keane's take in Crikey is worth a look, if you're interested in why the media covered the demise of Mr Slipper while the rest of us clung to the story about Ms Gillard as the news of the day.

It's interesting to note that not one of the women I work with has mentioned Peter Slipper this week, but I can't count the number of conversations I've heard about Julia Gillard. Two of my co-workers who go out of their way to avoid anything political are fascinated. One asked me how to spell misogyny, and the other asked what it meant.

Most women seem to like what The Prime Minister had to say to Mr Abbott - even those who are rusted on conservative values voters. It reminds me a little of the pride so many women felt the day after Ms Gillard seized the Prime Ministership. Not too many liked the way she had done it, but we were so proud to have a woman at the top.

For now, while my thoughts untangle themselves, here are a few of the tweets I've seen in the past month that I marked as favourites.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Media Got It Wrong

I'm just going to say it. I think the media - or a large spread of media - has misread the events of yesterday.

It was an incredible day in Australian politics, set against layer upon layer of complexity: backstories overlapping, issues colliding, priorities conflicting until the unexpected climax: Peter Slipper's tearful resignation from his beleaguered tenure as Speaker of the House.

Context hummed and fizzed all day yesterday like political white noise until Opposition Leader Tony Abbott stood and moved a motion to remove Mr Slipper from his role as Speaker. Various pollies took their turn to speak: Julie Bishop, Christopher Pyne, Anthony Albanese, but it was Tony Abbott's unbelievable gall in using the words "died of shame" - the very same words uttered by Alan Jones that ignited the current crisis at 2GB - which set the tone for Question Time.

What followed was a withering response from the Prime Minister, in which she finally called Mr Abbott to account for years of misogynistic abuse. No amount loving testimonials from Tony Abbott's wife Margie and family could undo what Ms Gillard achieved in under fifteen minutes. Judith Ireland and Jessica Wright described it like this in yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald.

Ms Gillard said Mr Abbott should apologise to Parliament for the vile and sexist conduct of members of his own political party rather than using today's Slipper motion as a political battering ram.

She said she was personally offended when, as health minister, he said abortion was the "easy way out" and when he raised her unmarried status and when he stood beside the "Ditch the Witch" placards at anti-carbon tax rallies.

"I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man [Mr Abbott], not now, not ever," she told the house.

"The Leader of the Opposition says that people who hold sexist views are not appropriate for high office. Well I hope the Leader of the Opposition has got a piece of paper and he is writing out his resignation."

The Prime Minister, who had earlier condemned the content of the Slipper text messages, said the appropriate thing was to wait for the Slipper court case to reach its conclusion.

"People will then have an opportunity to make up their mind [about Mr Slipper] with the fullest information available to them," she said.

Ms Gillard asked Mr Abbott whether he had taken responsibility over the "died of shame" comments Sydney shock jock Alan Jones made about her father.

"Has he taken any responsibility of the conduct of his political party?" she asked."Who apparently when the most vile things were being said about my family raised no voice of objection."

But Peter Hartcher also branded today as a failure for Ms Gillard and her Government. With Peter Slipper now operating as an independent and Anna Burke appointed as the new Speaker, Labor's grasp on government is far more fragile than it was this time yesterday morning; that's obvious.

What's less obvious, at least to many in the media, including Peter Hartcher, The Australan's Chris Kenny, Sky's Peter van Onselen, 2UE's Paul Murray, 3AW's Neil Mitchell and probably Alan Jones himself is the effect of context. All this talk about Ms Gillard's efforts to protect Peter Slipper, and hence her own slim power base, is twaddle if viewed without reference to context.

JULIA GILLARD confronted a stark choice yesterday - the political defence of her parliamentary numbers, or the defence of the principle of respect for women.

She chose to defend her numbers. She chose power over principle. It was the wrong choice. It was an unprincipled decision and turned out not to be pragmatic either. The Prime Minister gained nothing and lost a great deal.

Despite months of rumours and revelations and even documentary proof, Mr Slipper has not been convicted. It's unlikely that many still believe he is innocent, particularly after details emerged yesterday of the crude content of the text messages. Aside from the obvious political benefit of keeping the parliamentary status quo, the Prime Minister's stance today was that the legal process must be allowed to proceed.

But none of that made anyone spontaneously cheer out loud, applaud, phone their mothers or their daughters or their best friends, shed tears of relief. Ms Gillard's acknowledgment of the completely unacceptable way that she - and women in general - have been treated by Mr Abbott and his cronies did have that effect.

Yesterday's drama in federal parliament took place against a backdrop of Destroying the Joint. What started weeks ago as a way to draw attention to the unacceptable conduct of one radio shock jock has altered the political context too. Ms Gillard's response to Tony Abbott today was not an isolated spat between political foes. It was part of a national dialogue that is telling us all that this generation of women is still fighting for respect, and that includes our Prime Minister.

That's what much of the media has missed. We all know Tony Abbott doesn't rate well with women. The polls confirm it, and last week's Margie's Greatest Hits tour of a media outlet near you proves that Abbott's team knows it too. Today, the PM fought back, with the support of Australia's women. She declared solidarity with us, and for all but the most devout extremists at either end of the spectrum, the Sisterhood outranks political affiliation. Our Prime Minister stood with us.

I promise that when when the women are chatting in the office, catching up for coffee, gossiping over the fence, if politics gets a run at all, they won't be talking about Peter Slipper being scum, or even about Julie Bishop's pink and cream suit. They'll be talking about the day Julia stood up in parliament and shamed Tony Abbott, his party and his high profile supporters. Julia destroyed the joint.

Or, as @Mischa76 tweeted: "Shorter Peter Hartcher: ‘Those uppity women!’

Monday, October 8, 2012

Legitimate Tactics

Dear Mr Jones,

Unfortunately, you seem to have misunderstood much of the protest that is going on around you, so I’m taking this opportunity to share some wisdom with you.

You’re a bully and a sook, Mr Jones.

If you reacted the way the rest of humanity reacts, you’d be wishing the last few weeks of your life hadn’t happened. You’re not like us though, and I’d use lots of lovely words to describe you now, but I daresay that you’d respond by calling me one of those cyber-bully witches, hell-bent on destroying the joint. I guess you’d say my Muslim father deserted me before I was born because even he was ashamed of the potential of my foetus-like state, and then you tell your faithful listeners that I should’ve been shoved in a chaff bag and dumped out at sea years ago. You’d call me gullible and stupid because I studied science in high school, and you’d call me a socialist because climate change is real. Gee, if I annoy you enough, you might even hire a bus to bring some of your elderly audience members on a nice bus trip to a rally, a Convoy of No Tolerance, where you’ll stand beside the Leader of the Opposition and call me Sal-Liar before a backdrop offensive banners.

I’m just guessing.

The reason I bothered listing your probable responses is to demonstrate a pattern of behaviour characterised by gender-based verbal abuse, dog-whistles and veiled threats. That, Mr Jones, is bullying, and in most workplaces in Australia you would be fired for that. You consistently display a standard of behaviour which is not acceptable in our society.

Strangely enough, you, your colleague Mr Hadley, and your opposition Mr Sandilands are employed to deliver a measure of this unacceptable behaviour, genteelly disguised as ‘entertainment’. This protest is not about you; it is about us, and we choose not to tolerate your abuse, your rudeness and your disrespect.

What you are witnessing now, this campaign that you and Russell Tate have labelled as “21st Century Cyber-bullying” is nothing but a loosely organised effort to send you and your employers the message that your version of “entertainment” is not acceptable. We have tried to deliver this message to you in other ways, but your own arrogant, self-righteous attitude has meant that the message is never heard.
Even now, when your years of abusing people, of wilful ignorance, of blatant intolerance is costing your employer up to $100,000 per day, you are still drawing a paycheque we could only dream of – but you think you’re the victim here?

You are not a victim. Go out to Villawood and have a chat with some of the refugees you like to mock. Find out about their lives. Volunteer yourself for next year’s series of SBS’s Go Back To Where You Came From. Spend a week on unemployment benefits. Do something hard.

Now let me tell you about cyber-bullying. There’s a wanna-be politician named Mark Sharma in Strathfield area. He’s stood for election several times in the past few years, always unsuccessfully, and he tweets as @vos2135. I have engaged him on Twitter to discuss his politics, and he threatened my life when I challenged his opinion. You might like to refer to the FBI’s definition of cyber-bullying, but I doubt you will; erroneous hyperbole is much more your style.

Is anyone threatening your life, Mr Jones? Is David McCarthy threatening your life? He has cancelled his sponsorship of your station, and your beloved car was part of the deal. The deal is dead – give the man back his car and stop trying to undermine the brand that has treated you so well for years.

Meanwhile, Mr Jones’ words on air this morning bear repeating:

“These false petitions are anything but civilised. The hypocrisy is breathtaking.

"This is, as I said, a forensic campaign based on petitioning businesses.”

"Virtually jamming up emails, jamming up switchboards, trying any threatening tactic they can to make businesses cease to be associated with this program.

"They get hold of the sponsors, they provide a direct link to the complaints section and then you sit in front of a button and you go all day.
"Businesses have great difficulty doing business while withstanding that stuff, but they shouldn't have to.

"If this is not illegal, it ought to be."
"As I said, if it happened anywhere else in society, this kind of bullying or harassment or intimidation or threatening conduct, the police would be called in.

Some are annoyed at the decision we've taken not to advertise. The decision has one purpose and one purpose alone: give innocent, hard-working people employing advertisers a break from cyber-terrorism, a break from bullying, a break from harassment.

"If there are people out there who agree with this tactic of cyber-harassment and cyber-bullying and cyber-terrorism, well put you hand up and say so.

"C'mon, find the guts to say so: 'I agree that this is a legitimate tactic.' “
  Okay Mr Jones, here it is:

I agree that this is a legitimate tactic.

For the record, this open letter is not bullying, and if I may, I'd like to offer you some advice: Listen to what you’re being told. Your style is no longer acceptable in our society, and we will continue to protest it in any legal, ethical, legitimate way we can.

You have made yourself a popular target and you have a large microphone.

We have right on our side.


Sally Piracha

This is the text of the petition Mr Jones finds "uncivilised".

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Silence Is Golden

The response to 2GB's startling announcement today that it is suspending indefinitely all advertising during The Alan Jones Breakfast Show has beat out bushfires, Margie Abbott and family tragedies to lead the Nightly news bulletins. The usual suspects have been all atwitter on social media, of course. Some are claiming victory, others are quietly mocking what is a pretty ridiculous statement, and others still are bemoaning the state of media.

It's mystifying that Mr Russell Tate, Honcho-in-Charge of Macquarie Radio Network, could release a statement so at odds with the right wing ideology of its listeners. 2GB is the Liberal Party's Mothership, captained by Alan Jones and crewed by Ray Hadley. There is nothing fair or balanced about 2GB, and they don't pretend otherwise. If you want to hear views ranging from right wing to extreme right wing, and including blatant anti-union monologues, unrelenting climate change denial and opposition to the carbon tax, anti-Islamic rhetoric, fear of "Creeping Sharia", insistence that asylum seekers are illegals, opposition to anything resembling LGBTI rights, and regular name-calling, 2GB will make you a happy radio listener, any time of the day or night.

And wouldn't you know it? People do listen. For Alan Jones, it's an audience of around 14-18% of the 4,000,000+ population (looking at the past year or so). Mr Tate might need to be reminded about the 80%+ of Sydney residents who don't listen to 2GB. They're consumers too.

The most recent radio ratings survey (Survey 6, 2012) saw 2GB's listener numbers drop in every shift. I doubt that the board of MRN were all that concerned though; 2GB remained at the top of the heap. That means big dollars...or it did, until a week ago, when advertisers started rethinking the wisdom of being associated with Mr Alan Jones. Over 70 businesses have decided to withdraw their advertising dollars, worth close to half a million dollars each week. According to Mr Tate's statement, this action by advertisers is due to a campaign of cyber-bullying, driven by a bunch of activists who don't even listen to 2GB.

How dare we?

Mr Tate chose to emphasise some facts in his statement, and I'm going to include a few of my own here.

“Since we now know these things to be fact, we have to conclude that the avalanche of telephone, email and Facebook demands to our advertisers to “boycott” the Alan Jones Breakfast Show, and the threats to destroy their businesses if they don’t comply, are coming almost entirely from people who do not listen to Alan Jones or 2GB at all – probably never have done and never will."

As a ruthless businessman, is only right and proper that his second concern (after the flow of dollars) is the people who consume his products: his audience, which happen to be primarily older and in Sydney.

Here's a fact for Mr Tate: many of your advertisers are national brands, with a potential customer base that far outweighs the number of 2GB listeners. Australians don't have to be 2GB listeners to be appalled by Alan Jones. We all get to be appalled, disgusted and angry, and we all get to express our disgust by choosing not to support the businesses that support Mr Jones. If enough people communicate with businesses and state that they don't want to deal with companies that support 2GB, those companies can - and should - make sane business decisions to protect their non-2GB market share.

Would Mr Tate prefer that we took other action? Of course he would, but we're not cyber-bullies, or even regular bullies. If he needs a lesson in what bullying looks like, he should ask Alan Jones or Ray Hadley. For the past week, the Destroy the Joint campaigners have been targeting Mr Tate's income stream. If he thinks thats bullying, he's a big sookylala.

And on it goes. Here is where Mr Tate has lost his credibility:

"What they do not have the right to do is on the one hand 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 their products and services. They do not have the right to interfere with freedom of choice and they do not have the right to attempt to censor – not Alan Jones, not this radio network, not the people who choose to listen to it and not the companies who choose to advertise on it.

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

Mr Tate says that we don't have the right to decide what 2GB listeners get to hear on their radio station. He's right. 2GB can broadcast whatever the hell it wants to broadcast, and anyone who wants to can listen in. We can't make programming decisions for his station...but we can influence decisions. After all, that's what Mr Jones does each morning, five days a week: he seeks to influence his listeners' political views and consumer choices.

I remind Mr Tate that we exist in a market-driven economy, where he and his company are encouraged to operate responsible businesses and make healthy profits. It's not the fault of the market if the product he's offerring is no longer in fashion, past it's use-by date, dangerous or unpopular.

Yet Mr Tate is throwing around words like 'freedom of choice' and 'censor' - words he obviously doesn't understand. He accuses the Destroy The Joint campaign of attempting to censor 2GB content by forcing Mr Jones off air, while at the same time, he is prohibiting those brave souls who still want to advertise with Alan Jones from doing so, not to mention trying to undermine a passionate and sustained social media campaign.

Over 100,000 people have signed this petition, and over 11,000 people have "liked" the Destroy The Joint Facebook page. This isn't a bunch of bored teenagers making trouble during the school holidays, and it is not solely because of Mr Jones comments about Ms Gillard's father's death. The Destroy the Joint Facebook page was established weeks ago, in response to Mr Jones' last verbal faux pas, after which the page was named.

It's also worth noting that sheer weight of numbers does not equate to bullying, and tens of thousands of people campaigning for a single cause doesn't make it wrong; it makes it popular.

I wonder if Mr Tate even knows that at least some of 2GB's ex-advertisers made the decision to dump Mr Jones' programme from their advertising schedule independently of any social media backlash. Here's an excerpt from the letter I received this week from David McCarthy of Mercedez Benz:

"For us, the decision to withdraw advertising was a question of values and respect and the importance of civil discourse.

Our brand and our company could not accept that the comments made by Mr Jones were in any way acceptable and as such we withdrew our advertising support for his program.

We made the decision to remove our advertising from the show purely on the basis of the offensiveness of the comments made and that they comprehensively conflicted with our company values of respect of the individual.

We cannot see a circumstance that will see us returning to advertising on this show."

In a glorious irony, tonight's widespread coverage of Mr Tate's decision has ensured that the Alan Jones story remains top of mind for another news cycle, right in the place where his advertisers' products should be. Even now, the petition is attracting more signatures.

Meanwhile, drag your attention back to the Australian Liberal Party, and it's statement of values, summarised this way on their website. The emphasis is mine:

In short, we simply believe in individual freedom and free enterprise; and if you share this belief, then ours is the Party for you.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Don't Mess with the Womenfolk

It’s no wonder that earnest conservative men have a problem with women. We girlie-types got sick of their grunting caveman attempts at communications, ventured out of our caves and started talking to each other, and there’s been no peace for anyone, male or female, since.

From Sappho and Cleopatra over 2,000 years ago, to Joan of Arc, the Queens Elizabeth ( 1 & 2 ), Mary Wollstencraft, Florence Nightingale, Emily Pankhurt, Rosa Luxemburg, Eleanor Roosevelt, Oprah Winfrey, Germaine Greer, Benizir Bhutto... these women and so many more have made themselves heard.

I ask you, what did those inspirational women do that was so revolutionary? They talked. They wrote about their lives and how things could be different. The spread concepts like respect and equality and hope. They conspired with each other and hatched plans to improve their lot. They went to war for what they believed in. They found whatever it is inside that made them women, and they used it. We’re still using it.

Well, that was never gonna work.

The Women’s Lib movement in the 1960s and 70s gave this girlie-thing a name, a logo and a few hairy-armpitted figureheads, but women have been begging, nagging, arguing, organising and fighting for equality since before the human race learned to speak in complete sentences. And the Women’s Lib movement was half a century ago.

Look around, Ladies, Gentlemen and random Cave-dwellers: women have come a long way, but there are still too many thugs in positions of power, trying very hard to shove us back into their image of what a woman should be: a bikini, a spritz of Chanel No 5, a maternity ward. In fact, we could be forgiven for thinking that the boorish cave-dwellers are fighting back. They’re not even trying to sound politically correct anymore, much less intellectual, educated or aware. With some of these brutes we can’t me more than a rearward evolutionary step or two away from Fred Flintstone.

I’d certainly never accuse Opposition Leader Tony Abbott of being a cave-dweller. I’m sure that his lovely wife Margie, who is again doing the rounds of the media to try to temper her husband’s poor image with The Women Voters, keeps a lovely home for her husband and daughters. In keeping with her special position as the spouse of a senior politician. Mrs Abbott runs her own business in the childcare industry. Good of her, really, and good of Tony to let the wife have something useful to do when he’s off being Important.

Mrs Abbott told News Limited, "Tony gets women. He is surrounded by strong women. He grew up with three sisters, has three daughters, is supported by a female deputy in Julie Bishop and has always had a female chief of staff."
No, Margie. Saying that Tony "gets" women because he's surrounded by them is like saying I can play the piano because I listen to a lot of music. Besides, no two people are alike, and simply making that comment devalues us all. Someone else who doesn't get women is American Republican Congressman Tood Akin. Several weeks ago, he told us that few women get pregnant as a result of being raped because the female body has some magical properties that makes the pregnancy go away. He was told, quite forcefully, that it was factually wrong...but you know these conservatives and their distrust of science...
Another, even better Todd Akin clanger has emerged this week. In 2008, the Congressman from Missouri was caught on camera in a rambling bluster linking the dangers of Sharia Law with evil abortion doctors. So great was this danger that some of these doctors were even performing abortions on women who weren’t pregnant.

Now I’m a woman who likes to use words, but in this case, I’d use an appropriate emoticon if I had one, because I really don’t have any words. Oh – yes I do! Can you believe that this clueless troglodyte has been re-elected to congress five times, and has begat a handful of children? I’m surprised he knew how…

Yet perhaps through all this thinking and talking and scheming, we got it wrong. Maybe we should be listening to these wise alpha males, lest we Destroy the Joint completely and for all time.

Clem Bastow shared her thoughts in the Sydney Morning Herald a month or so ago.

But what is #destroyingthejoint if not gleeful indignation? That the hashtag has hung around longer than a few days illustrates exactly that. Surely instead of hanging on to it to prove a point, we'd be better off getting on with actually "destroying the joint", and not defining it with some sort of winking slogan. It's not particularly funny and, after a week of constant hashtagging, it's pretty boring.
Ms Bastow was right too: we destroyers had to actually do something with our Jones-induced fit of pique. Luckily for us, and the men who are afraid of us, Alan Jones provided us another, even bigger outlet for our indignation. He insulted our grieving Prime Minister and her family in a secret little soiree for conservatives.

Well, you wanna see some joint destroying? Come watch the response, driven largely by an online petition and the Destroy the Joint Facebook Group. Over sixty of them have now committed to pulling their advertising dollars in some way from Alan Jones, whether its via advertising on Jones; radio show, advertising on 2GB, sponsoring their traffic reports or their website, slicing over $80,000 per day from 2GB’s bottom line.

That’s not a bad effort for a bunch of angry women, a common cause and a few communication tools.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Keeping Up With The Jones

Keeping up with the Jones story has been almost impossible in the last 48 hours. Just when you think you know what's going on, something else happens, and much of it is just plain ridiculous. The irony is that this blog post will be obselete before I've finished writing it.

Jones started yesterday fired up, defiant, ready to stand his ground against the baseless attacks born of jealousy and spite.
RT @latikambourke Shock jock Alan Jones says he is ‘astounded’ by the ‘hatred and jealousy’ shown in the aftermath of his PM’s Dad’s died of shame comment.
With that out of the way, it was business as usual:
From his previously secret position as Marine Biologist specialising is Climate Change and it's impact on tropical reefs, Alan Jones railed against the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). Professor Jones, a graduate of the Far Right University of the Closed Mind, claimed this morning that "research on shrinking fish populations and rising ocean temperatures is a joke".

I may have taken a few liberties there, but hey, it works for Australia's number one talkback broadcaster, doesn't it?

Tony Abbott addressing Alan Jones' disciples
Meanwhile, advertisers are dumping Alan Jones in a display which puts his recent comments into a commercial perspective, makes Kyle Sandilands look like an amateur, and makes his conservative audience blush. At last count, over 40 businesses had cancelled their advertising during Alan Jones' show, pulled their advertising from 2GB, or had their online ads removed from the 2GB website. The damage to MRN’s cashflow is estimated at $80,000 per day. Yesterday, Macquarie Radio's shares fell 6%, reducing their market capitalisation by about $3milllion.

The businesses that have walked away from Jones have the support of former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, too.  I would not have called Mr Jones "deluded" on air, but Kevin Rudd did, and I can't find it within myself to disagree.

In fact, many politicians have chosen to weigh in on the issue of whether or not Mr Jones' comment about Prime Minister Gillard's death is acceptable, and indeed, whether the insult was political or personal in nature. It was, of course, a vicious personal assault on Ms Gillard and her family, yet the motivation was also political, and the fallout even moreso. From the initial, apolitical response on Twitter from former Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull, at 6:57am, Sunday...

RT @TurnbullMalcolm Alan Jones' comments about the late John Gillard were cruel and offensive. He should apologise to the PM and her family.
...things turned ugly, quickly, particularly if you are Alan Jones. Suddenly, both sides of politics had turned on Australia's most shocking Shock Jock. Throughout the day, politicians, commentators, journalists and members of the public expressed their disgust. In fact, if Mr Jones could, I'm sure he'd shove the whole affair in a chaff bag and dump it far, far out to sea. Liberal Party Elder Statesman and former PM Malcolm Fraser has this to say about Jones', who had failed to secure pre-selection five times for the Liberal Party:

RT @MalcolmFraser That is just an absolute disgrace. No one should be allowed to say that regardless of who you are or who it's about.
Kevin Rudd, Australia's most followed politician on Twitter, had his say:

RT @KRuddMP: Alan Jones’ comments are lowest of the low. Abbott must dismiss Jones from Liberal Party now & ban him from future Liberal events. KRudd
Even Jones's most loyal buddies conceded that he'd gone too far. Andrew Bolt weighed in early with comments on his blog:

“Those who were there and are quoted in the article deny hearing any such comment, but if it was indeed said it was very cruel, very wrong,"

“UPDATE: No, the tape confirms it. The remark is shameful. I wish the few Young Liberals who laughed in apparent surprise or scorn had booed or otherwise protested instead. Alan Jones is a colleague, and I've long valued his courage. But this is very wrong."
Jones made the decision to man up. Instead of a media statement and a personal, handwritten apology to the Prime Minister, Jones' ego took over, just as it did when he chastised Ms Gillard for being late for an interview. He decided to front a 45 minute media conference in which he almost apologised to Ms Gillard, ranted that it was all Labor's fault, and boasted that his advertisers weren't about to leave him.

Jazz Hands
It's a media conference he should never have attempted. The apology was weak, rudely impersonal and insincere. On 2GB, Mr Jones gets away with his unique view of the world because he's shouting at an audience that believes his distorted perspective. In front of a real-world media mob, the shouting, the insults, the natty pocket kerchief and the jazz-hands only emphasise the gap between his reality and ours.

Ms Gillard, the target of the initial attack, is not prepared to speak with Mr Jones; according to Mr Jones few supporters, her refusal is petty. The fact is, she's not talking at all, about anything.

Several hours after Mr Turnbull’s condemnation, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott made a wishy-washy two line statement, considered by everyone to be inadequate:

''Alan's remarks regarding the PM were completely out of line. It's good that he's recognised this and apologised for them."
And then it the whole disastrous (for Jones) chapter became less of a controlled bonfire being fed by a few malicious leftie trolls, and more like a raging-bushfire heading for his house. Facebook campaigns, hashtags, petitions, accusations, boycotts, polls, promises, denials.
One Shock Jock said something disgraceful, and it consumed the country for days.

Attorney General Nicola Roxon was amongst the first to suggest that it was Tony Abbott's fault that Alan Jones is dragging the tone of Australian political discussion into the gutter, and making personal attacks acceptable. Ms Roxon may be right, but it was the wrong response at the wrong time. The issue was not political…until it was. She also suggested that it was time for 2GB to take Jones off air. Anthony Albanese followed up with a press conference of his own, and fell into line behind Ms Roxon, and a collective sigh wafted through the suburbs: Rise above it, for god’s sake!

Tony Abbott waited to see which way the wind was blowing before committing himself yesterday to a full throated condemnation of Alan Jones putrid comment:

"What Alan Jones said was wrong, unacceptable, and offensive. I was shocked and dismayed."
The rest of Abbott's presser was more about how mean the Government is for blaming poor Tony for everything, and about how he always tries to keep himself nice, focus on policy and avoid personal nastiness.

Insert your favourite Pot Calling Kettle Black cliche here...except that in this one instance, he is correct. Tony Abbott has driven a spiteful, negative and personal campaign against the PM for two years, but we all know that the only person who runs Alan Jones' mouth is Alan Jones. Let's not blame anyone except Jones for this.

Was that good for you?

It had been a debate about civility, about holding grudges, about the expectation of privacy. These are concepts worthy of discussion over a bottle of decent red. By yesterday evening, we had Leigh Sales interviewing a bewildering John Laws about his former colleague. It’s bizarre, must-see television.

Now there's talk boycotting the advertisers that boycott Jones, and of rallies to support Mr Jones' god-given right to free speech. I don't know that anyone is trying to censor his opinions, as batshit-crazy as they might be. I think most of us would be happy if he’d just show some respect. He doesn’t have to like Ms Gillard, but he should respect the office of Prime Minister. Similarly, as noted American Senator and thinker Daniel Patrick Moynihan said,

Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.
It's not about left and right, Gillard and Abbott. It's still about the casual callousness with which Jones mocked the death of a woman's father, and it’s about this being the latest in a series of scandals for this one man: the London loo, the plagiarism, Cash for Comment, climate change denial, the chaff bag, destroying the joint, and now this.
Neil Mitchell summed it up nicely on Twitter:

RT @3AWNeilMitchell Talk about trashing the brand. Jones the insensitive gorilla and Laws looked like a Dickensian buffoon. Help!
While there are very few ways in which I would want to emulate Mr Jones, perhaps constructing my own reality might just be one of them...at least for a while. I think I'd leave the rules of science as they are, and tinker with the rules of broadcasting instead.

Monday, October 1, 2012


The Alan Jones insanity continues to gain momentum, with several high profile advertisers pulling their support from Radio 2GB in the past 24 hours. Like thousands of others, I've signed my name to petitions; I've emailed companies that I buy from, and I've asked them to consider whether they want their brand name associated with 2GB. 

Half a dozen nationally known brand names have publicly disassociated themselves from Mr Jones; Woolworths, Freedom Furniture, Lexus of Parramatta, Challenger Financial Services, Captain Snooze, Dilmah and Mercedez Benz have pulled the plug. More will follow because this campaign has not peaked. 

One of my favourite tweeters is the ABC's Philip Adams. This morning he tweeted this dose of reality check: 
RT @PhillipAdamsABC: No dead parrot at 2GB. Look at Sandilands's career .0r Limbaugh's. sewer radio? Flows into rivers of gold.no bottom  ...
So far, Adams is right. 2DAY-FM was the target of a near-identical campaign when Kyle Sandilands displayed his complete lack of class by calling a journalist a "fat slag" on air. His faithful listeners didn't desert him, even though his advertisers did. He still has a job - the same job - and he still earns big money doing it. His on-air behaviour is monitored more rigorously, and the station has some extra conditions related to on-air standards attached to its licence.

In America, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh have weathered similar campaigns. They are still on air, although Beck is no longer presenting his increasingly bizarre Fox News television show. New sponsors barely hesitated to backfill the gaps left when sponsors deserted Limbaugh after his comments about Sandra Fluke. Despite their extreme positions on all manner of issues from sexuality to the environment, they have audiences who follow them with near-religious fervour. Jones' pompous right wing blathering and Sandilands' unsophisticated "humour" have similarly loyal audiences.

Commentator and academic Peter van Onselen tweeted this today, as 2GB's advertisers started looking for their escape clauses:

RT @vanOnselenP: The best way anyone on social media can fight back at the likes of Alan Jones is to name and shame sponsors who stick with him...

We can do that, and we will. But why? What do we want to achieve? We could take the high moral high ground and wait for Mr Jones to make real apology, but it won't happen. He still believes he had every right to make those despicable comments in private. Personally, I'd be ashamed for just thinking that way. So right now, we're campaigning to add pressure, forcing advertisers to cut ties with 2GB on the assumption that if we hurt the mothership financially, it will cut Jones loose. It's working insomuch as advertisers are pulling out, yet what is the end game? What do we want to change? Do we want

hurt 2GB financially?
force 2GB to sanction or suspend Alan Jones?
force 2GB to sack Alan Jones?
force shock-jocks in general to raise their standards?
change Australia's attItude to media commentary?
raise the standard of public debate in Australia?

...or are we just creating a stink because Alan Jones has, again, stepped way over the line that divides what is acceptable and what is not, and we're angry. I can't speak for anyone else, but for me, it's no longer enough to participate in a group tantrum, have a little nap, and wake up a little less disappointed and a little less angry. 

Of course, when the offender is politically motivated, there's an additional layer of approvals and condemnation. A five-time failed Liberal candidate, Mr Jones' appalling comments about the Prime Minister's father have become politicised with members from each side blaming and shaming each other. While universally condemning Jones's words, some conservative politicians - Tony Abbott and Campbell Newman in particular - have been less than committed to distancing themselves from Jones. Karl Stefanovic is another who failed to cut his old friend loose. I suspect their regret is in line with Jones's remorse: he regrets being caught, he regrets the hullabaloo it's created, but his words remain in his heart.
Mr Jones own piece in today's News Limited publications have done his own cause more harm than good. Jones uses his "apology" to simultaneously attack the Prime Minister, while playing the victim because Ms Gillard won't take his calls.  

Recent experience suggests that we're getting good at making a noise when one of these serial radio offenders forgets to use his inside voice - and his brain. Nothing seems to change, though, and I'd suggest it's because we don't know what comes next...and that's because we don't know where we want to go. 

Think about it. Get serious for a minute. We already know we can effect change. We just don't know what to change. If you're not sure, take another step inside your mind. If you're angry with Alan Jones & 2GB, think about why....Then think about how to fix it. 

A campaign to hurt Jones' employers will be effective, if that's what we want. I want more.