Alan Jones’s despicable attack on PM Gillard and her Dad reveals not just the darkness of his soul but the double standards of most of those who line up to throw muck at him.
The Daily Telegraph’s Jonathan Marshall works for the most demonised company in the media world, News Corp.
He didn’t use a false name but he certainly didn’t identify himself as a journalist. He used a private gmail account to make the arrangements. He admits previously telling organisers that he was keen to get involved in the Liberal party, some months ago, which led to him being invited to the event. Those familiar with the Club’s affairs tell VEXNEWS say – if the journalist had identified himself as such – they would probably have taken his money and then consulted with Alan Jones about whether he’d be given a seat.
But the journalists’ union mandates:
8. Use fair, responsible and honest means to obtain material. Identify yourself and your employer before obtaining any interview for publication or broadcast.
Not sure if that covers a speech by a public figure at a private gathering but it’s certainly a grey area.
Marshall says – and we agree – that the public interest in Jones’s despicable remarks well and truly justified publishing, even in the “grey area” circumstances.
In the last couple of years, we’ve seen an unprecedented attack on this kind of journalism. The world’s best practitioner of it, News of the World, was closed. We’re not talking about hacking voicemail but under-cover journalism which led to many of NOTW’s best stories, revealing all kinds of wrongdoing and malfeasance.
The Left loved to hate them. In Britain, and beyond, News Corp has been slammed for this kind of thing.
And yet because the target of the under-cover journalism is right-wing spear-chucker Alan Jones, there’s not a word of criticism about the journalist’s approach.
It’s open season on Alan Jones because he said something remarkably vicious, too under-graduate even for under-graduate taste. More were horrified by the remarks than has been reported by the media, sources familiar with SULC have told VEXNEWS. But loudly protesting in PM Gillard’s favour about something a powerful broadcaster said was going to be too much for most 19-year-olds.
One source makes the point that it’s worth keeping in mind for those who’ve questioned the attendance of federal MP Alex Hawke at the event is the strong on-air criticism of Alex Hawke by Alan Jones over internal NSW Liberal matters.
If Alan Jones was a Lefty and had said a similar thing about Tony Abbott, there can be no doubt that the ethics of journalists attending private functions under-cover, recording them in full and waiting to pounce on any indiscretion would have been fully and lavishly discussed by an appalled media who also would have connected it with News Ltd’s UK operations.
To be clear, we have no issue with under-cover journalism. We think Alan Jones’s remarks were depressing and vile. The PM’s Dad had every reason to be very, very proud of his daughter’s public service and her achievements therein.
The comments won’t be the end of Alan Jones but suggest that he is probably much closer to retirement than had generally been realised.
But what is clear is that there’s a double-standard applied to different types of journalism, depending on whether we like the outcome of it or not. And those who would hang Alan Jones from the highest tree are the worst offenders.
UPDATE: Listening to Melbourne ABC talkback on Alan Jones suggests those pretending public broadcasters have higher standards than their commercial rivals are clearly mistaken. Even Jon Faine got in on the act, apparently discouraging one caller from committing an act of violence against Jones because he “enjoys spanking.” Many of the callers made homophobic suggestions or implications.
THURSDAY 4 OCTOBER UPDATE: The Australian points out that – on Facebook at least – the Alan Jones oration was listed as a “public event.” ABC Media Watch take note.