Monday, October 1, 2012

A Parroted Condemnation

I'm going to do my best to not add unnecessarily to the explosion of writing on Alan Jones in the last few days.

As for the comments themselves, @bernietb said it in a way few of us could:
Obviously, he (Jones, not Bernie) is just an awful person.

What I was more interested in discussing was the unrelenting demand for our politicians to condemn what he said.

I can understand journalists pursuing politicians demanding a condemnation. It gives them the chance to stretch a few more stories about the issue.

First there is the reporting of the comments, then we have the attempts to contact the maker, then the people who condemn the comments, then those that have still "refused" to condemn the comments, then the apology - and by then someone has said something new and we can all move on and be outraged about something else.

It's a bit pathetic - but if I was journalist working on unrealistic deadlines and impossible demands for content then perhaps I'd do the same thing.

Of course the people who perceive that they profit from the outrage will happily buy into the stupidity, so over the weekend we were treated to this:
And, of course, inevitably, this:
Of course, the timing of this whole thing was interesting, given that earlier last week Jones had torn into Barry O'Farrell on his show:
Have a listen here
The punters loved it
Of course, in due course O'Farrell eventually did have something to say. Well, sort of:
This was an odd little comment, for a number of reasons.

First of all, everyone assumed that O'Farrell was talking about Jones. He certainly did and said nothing to suggest otherwise - so why not say his name?

Moreover, as condemnations go, it was a pretty weak one. It's a vague comment that suggests a certain disapproval - but that's all.

Some people suggested that the vagueness was intentional:
Maybe it was and maybe it wasn't. What was dumb was the constant demand on O'Farrell to condemn Jones' statement.

It is entirely irrelevant to O'Farrell's job what Alan Jones says. If people want to petition O'Farrell to ban his ministers from appearing on the show, or to stop the NSW Government advertising on his show (assuming they do) then so be it.

But to relentlessly demand that he condemn something that someone said is just petty, and even childish.

And the fact that the comment was made at a Sydney University Liberal Club dinner does not change that. By all means criticise the Liberal Party and suggest that the leaders of the club should be spoken to/stood down/sent to bed without dinner - but to demand that O'Farrell condemn the comments seems like a shameless attempt to profit politically from what Jones said.

Really, it is little different from demanding that Jones apologise. Does anyone really think he meant a word of the "apology" he delivered yesterday?
Of course he didn't. 

O'Farrell may have meant what he tweeted yesterday, or he may not. We'll never know, because he relented to enormous pressure from some groups to say the right thing.

He certainly got the right coverage for it:
Full story on SMH
And no doubt before the week is out the press (and twitter) will have moved on to rage about something else.

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