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article imageOp-Ed: MSM look out? Aussie crockjock to get 'factual accuracy' training

By Paul Wallis     Oct 17, 2012 in World
Sydney - You might remember facts. Little squeaky unfashionable things that run around being ignored? Australia’s version of Glum Buck, Alan Jones, is also a yeller pushing conservative policy lines, but went way too far and the national regulator has stepped in
The Sydney Morning Herald:
Jones told his listeners on March 15 last year that ‘‘the percentage of man-made carbon dioxide Australia produces is 1 per cent of .001 per cent of carbon dioxide in the air. Nature produces nearly all the carbon dioxide in the air.’’
This does sort of ignore the billions of tons produced by humans. It's not an accurate statement of fact.
The radio station, 2GB, said readers would consider that to be a statement of opinion, but the regulator thought otherwise:
But the Australian Media and Communications Authority (ACMA) said any ‘‘ordinary, reasonable listener’’ would have taken the statement to be fact.
‘‘The nature of the language, tenor and tone used was unequivocal and conclusive,’’ it said. ‘‘The form of words neither indicated that it was contestable, nor qualified it as a statement of opinion.’’
The error, of course, was:
1. To give figures, suggesting that these were facts.
2. To suggest that CO2 was entirely produced by Nature, which it isn’t.
The statement, of course, was made in relation to climate change. Like all crock jocks, Jones’ opinions tend to stick to 100% of whatever conservative/corporate policy happens to be going around. However pitiful, that’s what Jones’ listeners will hear.
International ramifications? Not likely
You’d think that there would be some sort of follow through around the world, as there often is with any sort of regulatory move. Not this time. Imagine the American conservative hate factory being asked to do fact checking. They’d need a dictionary and a lot of coaching to find out what the words meant.
Politics is a media based industry. It’s as set in its ways as the old fools doing the talking, and if they suddenly departed from their usual message, they’d have no product to sell. Factual accuracy isn’t about to become a hobby globally.
It’s keeping the crocks in big fat contracts, it’s keeping the publicity guys nice and warm, therefore it’s “free speech”. The American public can be supplied with any old garbage as long as it’s paid for.
This isn’t likely to shut Jones up for long, either. After PM Julia Gillard’s father died, Jones “joked” that he died of shame at a Liberal university event. His sponsors walked and there was a howl across the Australian political spectrum. Even the Liberal Party disavowed the statement.
He’s now on air without sponsors. Guess how that’s likely to have happened. Crock jocks don’t need facts. They never have, particularly on redneck radio. They just need an audience that wants to hear what they have to say and people prepared to say anything, however ridiculous.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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