Last night I appeared on ABCTV News24’s The Drum (video here) talking about the current media feeding frenzy over broadcaster Alan Jones and his offensive remarks towards Prime Minister Julia Gillard. The amount of time and energy spent on this issue, I argued, was utterly disproportionate to the comment itself. It was crude and wrong but Jones has form.
Besides, the “outrage culture” that seems to enjoy finding something offensive every day only is getting worse. The fact that this story is lead item on every news bulletin for days in a row shows that our media companies and journalists would much rather blindly report a story that requires no real journalism and a lot of faux anger. If you don’t like Alan Jones, don’t listen to him and pressure his station’s advertisers. And then can we please get onto something more important? Calls to ban the man should be roundly rejected. It’s a free country where causing offence isn’t a crime and nor should it be.
The role of social media in the recent, tragic murder of Melbourne woman Jill Meagher was also discussed and what restrictions, if any, Facebook should face if people post information that could jeopardise a legal case.