Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Chris Masters outs Alan Jones as a classic bully

For those who don't like to read, jump straight to the video at the end of this piece, it essentially covers the same territory.

Remember how your mum used to always tell you that bullies were really cowards and if you stood up to them they'd run away? Well, I've been beaten up by enough bullies to know that this isn't universally true but it certainly seems true of Australian radio "personality" Alan Jones. Jones fits the standard mould of a bloviating, egotistical, right-wing talkback radio shock jock - he's never happier than when he's talking about himself.

Unless it's one of those occasions when he doesn't want to take responsibility for his actions.
Jones suffers from problems common to narcissists - most notably he seems unable to come to terms with the fact that when the rest of the world conflicts with his views, it's just possible that it's his views that are wrong. He made an astonishing blunder recently when he pressured the ABC into dropping a planned "unauthorised biography" written by respected journalist Chris masters. It's a tribute to his arrogance that he couldn't see the only possible outcome of this action: another publisher picked up the book and Jones essentially gave it an enormous amount of free publicity.

The book was published on Monday and by all accounts it's flying off the shelves. It seems now everyone is keen to find out exactly what Jones wants to hide. A lot of hoo-ha is being made about the book finally confirming one of the worst kept secrets in Australia - Alan Jones is gay. The book actually explores this topic far further than I expected it to - read an extract here. I really don't give a crap about his sexuality but it is interesting to consider why he's gone to such lengths to hide the fact.

For my money, the obvious answer is that he's spent a lot of time cultivating a fan base of rabid rednecks and whipping them up against easy targets like refugees, migrants, Muslims generally and Lebanese Australians specifically. Our boy Alan might be vain and shallow but he aint completely stupid. He's got to know that the average knuckle dragger who hates the wogs, lebs and ragheads don't got a high opinion of no fags neither. He's been playing with fire for years and he's way overdue to get burnt.

But all that makes him a jerk, not a cowardly bully. My evidence for this assertion is his consistent behaviour every time he is put on the spot and might have to answer for his behaviour: he runs away. His behaviour with the publication of Masters' book "Jonestown" is simply the latest example. The book came out on Monday and Jones is conveniently on holiday so he doesn't have to face any questions. The staff at his radio station have even used the intelligence-insulting tactic of saying his holiday is nothing to do with the release of the book, he had planned the break ages ago. Guys, the publication date was known "ages ago". It might serve you well to realise that we aren't all as stupid as your target demographic.

Jones' standard behaviour to difficult situations has always been to run. Way back when he had his most notorious misadventure in a London public toilet in 1988, he dodged ever discussing in detail what he was actually doing that caught the police's attention. Maybe he stayed silent to avoid telling a direct lie (although he did promise to tell his faithful listeners the full story when the court case was over - not following through on that constitutes a lie) or maybe he felt he had the right to avoid further persecution based on an unjust law. We don't know because he won't talk about it.

More recently, there was his involvement in the Cronulla riots. In the week leading up to the ugliness on Cronulla beach, Jones was whipping his listeners up into a fury. He was proudly proclaiming his leadership role in organising the upcoming demonstration on Cronulla beach and made no secret of his feelings towards the "outsiders" who were causing problems. To be sure, it seems there was a serious issue with some aggressive young men, most of whom (if not all) seemed to be of Lebanese or Arabic background.

But the big day got a bit out of hand. Racist signage and slogans were everywhere. If that was as far as it went, it would have been an ugly display but I strongly suspect Jones would have strongly applauded it. But then drunken idiots in the crowd started attacking anyone brown skinned they saw, going so far as to jump on trains and attack people who happened to be travelling while brown. If all they had done was beat up males I wouldn't be surprised to hear Jones say it was a justified response to previous violence perpetrated by Lebanese youths.
But then they started targeting women.

Traditional Muslim headwear makes women easily identifiable and several young women were assaulted by crowds of drunken young men. A real proud moment for white Australia. I have trouble imagining even Jones would applaud this behaviour. But it went further than that. The drunken crowd was whipped up into such a frenzy that they started to attack police and ambulance officers who were trying to protect brown skinned folk who were outnumbered about 100 to 1.

That's downright "unAustralian" (oh how I hate that phrase).

So what did Jones do Monday morning? Did he castigate the crowd and condemn their actions? Did he say the excesses were regrettable but the previous provocation from Lebanese youths was the real issue? Did he applaud the actions of the crowd? None of the above. The gutless wonder disappeared from the air so he wouldn't have to answer questions.

So it's hard to avoid the obvious implication. Alan Jones is not only a loudmouth bully, he's also a coward who will run when put on the spot. This is an important point that some politicians should wake up to. This seems to be one of the main goals Masters has with his book - it's a clarion call for people to stand up to Alan Jones. The available evidence certainly suggests that Jones will run away from anyone who challenges him.

Here's my video editorial on the subject (warning, this is longer than my usual pieces - about 12 minutes long):

I've used the audio of Jones before to have a bit of fun:
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Some people wonder how this audio got out "into the wild". It's really pretty simple, Jones is a jerk and his staff hate him. The tapes were deliberately released to make him look bad. Some of the extracts from the book that I have seen contain some very specific information that I suspect Masters was able to find for basically the same reason. When you are as abrasive as Jones, there is no shortage of people who want to spill the beans on you. God forbid I ever gain any sort of fame. There will be a long line of people waiting to dish the dirt on me.

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