“My Purpose Holds”

MEDIOCRE ratings are being cited today as the reason for the sudden “sacking” of Alan Jones. The Struggle Street sentinel has been dismissed from his 8pm derby but was offered a weekly slot on a streaming service (whatever that is) as some sort of consolation prize. A humiliating demotion, he turned it down and bowed out from Sky News after a final appearance tonight. While I don’t doubt the veracity of the audience-share figures being mentioned in reports – for TV and radio, they are tallied formulaically and routinely published – I would argue the politics and media culture born of coronavirus played as big a role in his demise. Sky has been working for the past several months to inaugurate its own version of political correctness. Steadfastly advocating freedom over terror was obviously considered too risky. For about a year Jones magnificently skewered the hysterical and the cruel, taking aim at statistically baseless scaremongering, sociopathic officials (on full pay) and the demonstrable irrationality of lockdowns.

After the easing of restrictions in Sydney and the resignation of Gladys Berejiklian – the major target of his nightly ire – Jones backed off covid polemics. By then, all of Sky’s big anchors were adding faux-breezy vaccine nudges in their commentaries and straying from pandemic orthodoxies with no more than cubbish resolve. New Sky is unwilling to stay in the longer street brawls over fundamental truths, preferring to ‘move on’ to a politically safe status quo ante bellum where leftists rule but rightists are cheeky about their foibles. The exemplar of this, par excellence, is Net Zero capitulator Paul Murray.

I don’t want to overstate this repackaging or understate how impressive Murray’s daily summaries, for example, can be. Sky News is still the best source of based analysis and discussion, although its stars and panels are overly obsessed with the craziness of a declining America and are reluctant to endanger Liberals – no matter how often the Morrisons and Guys betray conservatives. Jones was no respecter of Coalition persons on Sky and, to me, that was a draw card. He put principle ahead of party preference – aggressively on behalf of Afghanistan veterans – something his intellectually third-rate critics never do.

There was perfection tonight in his swansong, for nothing could showcase Jones’s style better than interrupting and borishly talking over the top of guests Cate McGregor and Tanya Plibersek as they attempted to read poems in his honour. He knew Tennyson’s Ulysses and Kipling’s If by heart and making sure we knew that was more important than the tributes. Jones is really an editorialist – arguably the finest in the country still – but the interviews he conducted on Sky were dreadful. The King’s School English Master didn’t ask questions; he commissioned responses to lengthy orations. There was also the signature condescension of those too consummate to be praised, a tactic Jones presumably adopted to disarm the socially superior in his salad days. Had he ever chatted with St Teresa of Calcutta on Sky he would have wrapped it up with, “Aren’t you wonderful, hey.” He had his faults but is legitimately brilliant and will be missed.

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13 Responses to “My Purpose Holds”

  1. jupes says:

    Outsiders won’t be straying too far from Covid orthodoxy from now on I reckon.

  2. Tom says:

    Though Jones is in his twilight years, he is still a licence to print money for any network that opts to pluck him out of Sky-News-at-night and restore him to his natural home, radio talkback, as the voice of the unheard.

    You don’t suddenly lose your appeal – or your commercial potential – as the talkback king of Sydney, which, in recent years, Jones had parlayed into the talkback king of Australia through national networking.

    Sky News at night is the upside down news network, where the news-gathering stops at 5pm (when the rest of the news gathering world is just getting started) and what follows until midnight is opinion – of its hosts and its audience.

    “When I arrived at Sky News and was signed to a 17-month contract,” Jones told the Sydney Morning Herald this week, “it was made quite clear to me that the 8pm slot was, in the words of management, a ‘dead’ spot.”

    Jones had followed Sky News at night’s established stars Andrew Bolt, Peta Credlin and Chris Kenny who appear in the three prior hours and didn’t make his entrance until hours after the main nightly TV news services.

    In TV news, prime time is 6pm; 8pm is the graveyard shift.

    If Sky management had workshopped the best slot in which to launch an Alan Jones TV talk hour, it couldn’t gave come up with anything worse than 8pm.

    Sky CEO Paul “Boris” Whittaker had evidently thought he could treat the former radio talkback king as an add-on. It’s no surprise Jones has told Whittaker he’s off. Jones doesn’t need Sky.

  3. Entropy says:

    The King’s School English Master didn’t ask questions; he commissioned responses to lengthy orations.

    I despise that style of media.

  4. Tel says:

    Alan Jones could easily go it alone, with a website and a SOHO business and a phone-in hotline. He could publish podcasts, have subscribers, advertisers, etc.

    Heck, if James Delingpole can scratch a living that way then Alan Jones could no doubt do better … besides, Jones doesn’t need that much money anymore, he really is doing it out of personal satisfaction, and showing the media bosses that he doesn’t even need them anymore would be icing on the cake.

  5. Not Trampis says:

    jones regularly got things wrong. The latest libel action he lost because of poor research ( and other reasons closer to family) cost 2GB far too much.
    He was costing 2GB valuable advertising dollars. his natural audience of white uneducated men would listen or watch him but not buy many products.
    He was influential with liberal politicians who clearly did not understand polling. Jones value at changing votes was way over-estimated.
    He was an ugly man in every aspect of the word. A clear bully but ironically very good with people he considered friends.
    He was boring on sky after dark but then so is everyone else.

    Some pollies like Carr knew how to handle him but most did not.

    his time has come and gone.

  6. Cassie of Sydney says:

    “Alan Jones could easily go it alone, with a website and a SOHO business and a phone-in hotline. He could publish podcasts, have subscribers, advertisers, etc.”

    Yep….I note that Professor David Starkey, the UK’s leading historian until he was cancelled last year, created his own Youtube channel last Friday. In the space of a week, Starkey has already attracted just short of 24,000 subscribers.

    Jones should go it alone.

  7. John H. says:

    Jones is too bombastic and his interview style is appalling. He can be a very good communicator but too often insults others and makes errors of judgement. He should shuffle off and enjoy retirement because there are so many voices out there we don’t need another Mr. Shouty.

  8. Boambee John says:

    He was costing 2GB valuable advertising dollars. his natural audience of white uneducated men

    Surprise! Non Compos Mentis is a racist, sexist intellectual snob (who can’t punctuate a sentence properly).

    He was boring on sky after dark but then so is everyone else.

    Not as boring as you are here!

    his time has come and gone.

    As has yours.

  9. Pommyal says:

    You can dislike his interviewing style, you can call him bombastic, you can denigrate him but he’s been very important. A person who has highlighted problems the vast majority of so-called effing journalists refuse to even mention. More power to him.

  10. Lee says:

    Jones is too bombastic and his interview style is appalling. He can be a very good communicator but too often insults others and makes errors of judgement. He should shuffle off and enjoy retirement because there are so many voices out there we don’t need another Mr. Shouty.

    I’d take Alan Jones over a million MSM government lickspittles any day of the week.

  11. Tom says:

    jones regularly got things wrong.

    Thanks, Homer. Laughed out loud.

    For our political simpletons, it’s tribal.

  12. Boambee John says:

    Tom

    For everyone on the fascist left, everything is always tribal!

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