Opinion

Alan Jones has a problem with women, and we don’t care

Yesterday, Alan Jones said that Prime Minister Scott Morrison should shove a sock down NZ PM's Jacinda Ardern's throat. It's the latest proof of Jones' disdain for women in power, argues Mumbrella's Brittney Rigby, but he'll continue to face no consequences.

Alan Jones has a problem with women. Powerful women. Especially powerful women he disagrees with. His preference for responding to those women? Suggesting physical force to shut them up.

Yesterday, disagreeing with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s thoughts on climate change, Jones said on-air: “I just wonder whether Scott Morrison is going to be fully briefed to shove a sock down her throat.” He’s since released a statement saying that the resulting outrage was “wilful misrepresentation” because he meant to say that Ardern should “put a sock in it”.

“There are many people who would relish the opportunity to misinterpret things that I have said as we have seen online this afternoon. Of course I would not wish any harm to Jacinda Ardern,” he said.

“This wilful misinterpretation distracts from my point that she was wrong about climate change and wrong about Australia’s contribution to carbon dioxide levels.”

I note some concern about my comment this morning re New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern and her remarks and preaching about…

Posted by Alan Jones on Wednesday, 14 August 2019

How strange, that such a significant slip up – confusing a common idiom for a suggestion of physical attack that includes words like “shove” and “throat” – was not corrected immediately on-air. Or that an apology did not accompany Jones’ acknowledgment that he said something he allegedly did not mean to say, or that it was ‘interpreted’ in a way he did not mean for it to be interpreted.

It would be laughable that Jones thinks he is entitled to be the one outraged when journalists dare to quote what he said, in the context he said it, as opposed to what he meant to say or what he realised he should have said, if we weren’t talking about a pattern of language centring on violence against women. If we weren’t talking about the most prominent, powerful person on radio suggesting that our Prime Minister attack another Prime Minister. In the same week yet another woman, Michaela Dunn, has been killed by a man.

Because if Jones makes a misogynistic comment in a forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound?

Maybe not.

Except, unfortunately, Jones is not in a forest. Quite the opposite. And he is heard by people. Lots of them. 2GB’s breakfast program, fronted by Jones, is the best-performing in the slot, commanding a 17.4% share in the latest Sydney radio ratings survey, well ahead of top-performing FM breakfast offering, Kyle and Jackie O on 10.9%.

Macquarie Media, which owns 2GB (majority shareholder Nine launched a complete takeover bid this week), loves him because he is extraordinarily popular and therefore extraordinarily powerful. People listen to 2GB, so media buyers place ads with 2GB, so he makes Macquarie a lot of money.

“All of us at Macquarie are delighted that we will continue along for the ride with one of Australia’s most outstanding performers,” Macquarie Media chairperson Russell Tate said when Jones extended his contract for another two years, announced in May and effective from July.

And his influence stretches beyond radio. He has a weekly show, Jones & Co, on Sky News. He regularly writes for The Australian. He has one of the largest platforms in the country, and he uses it to repeatedly make his problem with women clear.

In 2012, Jones spoke about putting then Prime Minister Julia Gillard in a chaff bag and taking her out to sea. He said Gillard’s father “died of shame”. And claimed that female leaders are “destroying the joint”.

“She [then Prime Minister Gillard] said that we know societies only reach their full potential if women are politically participating. Women are destroying the joint – Christine Nixon in Melbourne, Clover Moore here,” he said.

In 2017, he tweeted this, leading some to believe he was joking about lynching Moore, Sydney’s Lord Mayor:

Jones denied he was advocating for violence against women but did not clarify what he meant by the tweet.

That same year, speaking about why there aren’t any women talkback radio presenters in Australia, he said “women are successful wherever they want to be, so I can only assume they don’t want that“, and said, when speaking of Australian Energy Market Operator boss Audrey Zibelman: “That woman – watch her – she should be run out of town“.

And, for good measure, he added that New South Wales’ Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s head is “in a noose”.

But, of course, Jones would never wish harm upon a woman. It was the media “relish[ing] the opportunity to misinterpret things” that led to condemnation of his comment about Prime Minister Ardern yesterday.

Last year, he said on ABC’s Q&A that female MPs who have alleged male colleagues have bullied them should “take a teaspoon of cement and toughen up“, and launched an attack on female sports journalist Beth Newman just days after once again saying the n-word on-air.

Alan Jones has a problem with women, with the track record to prove it. And it’s “wilful misinterpretation” to pretend otherwise.

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