“The comment I made was out of order. The comment was wrong. The comment had the capacity to hurt the Prime Minister as a daughter grieving over her father. The comment should not have been made.”
And so — with seemingly more sincerity than his first attempt on Sunday — Alan Jones apologised this morning in his first on-air appearance since his insensitive comments about Julia Gillard’s late father became front-page news.
“I made no qualification to my apology then and I make none now … We must strive for civil discourse.”
Jones then went on to attack the “unbridled hatred” directed at him, accused his critics of being motivated by jealousy and talked up his good deeds in the community.
The real question though was: how would his listeners respond? Would they turn on him or would they remain loyal? It quickly became obvious that the Parrot’s devotees are remaining firmly on the perch. This morning’s program was an orgy of self-righteousness, a fiesta of victimhood, an echo chamber of exculpation. On Planet Alan, Gillard can do no right and Jones can do no wrong:
“You are the only one preventing Australia from going bankrupt — God bless you Alan.”
“What these communists have done in this country is disgraceful. Keep calm and carry on.”
“All journalists tend to favour the left wing. You’re pretty much on your own so don’t give up.”
At the start of the program Jones declared he would put all callers to air — regardless of whether they supported him — as long as they remained “within the bounds of decency and acceptability”. Here’s a rundown of this morning’s show, complied with assistance from Sentia Media:
6.12: Maria calls to offer her support. She is horrified about what is happening to Australia. She is glad Jones can speak up for her and others.
6.14: Salman is pleased that Jones is receiving support. The caller thinks the reporter [The Sunday Telegraph‘s Jonathan Marshall] was a grub.
6.17: David is a security guard in Wagga and offers Jones his support. He says Jones is his political guru.
6.22: Listener Alan is not changing his listening habits. He thinks Woolworths do not know what they have done and says the pressure is orchestrated by Labor. The caller says most Australians stay silent but will not stay silent at the next election
6.28: Tim says he listened to the ignorant hate-callers on the ABC yesterday. He calls the ABC the “Australian Bred Communists”. He asks Jones if he is a journalist. Jones says he is a “porter on the railway station of life”.
7.11: Max rings from North Queensland and tells Jones that whenever Opposition Leader Tony Abbott attacks PM Gillard he is accused of s-xism and the caller is sick of it and the way the left-wing media attack Jones.
7.15: Dan says shame on PM Gillard for not taking Jones’ call. The caller is furious about the way Gillard is spending like a drunken sailor.
7.17: Graham says rugby league last week appointed Andrew Johns as an immortal player without taking into account what he did off the field. The caller wants to know why Jones is being judged on what he said off-air.
7.20: Anthony asks what is worse: Jones’ words or PM Gillard’s actions? The caller says Woolworths will be empty and asks them to apologise for their brain-damaging commercials.
7.25: Mary is riled up. The caller says PM Gillard has made a complete fool of herself for not coming on and accepting Jones’ apology.
7.28: Barb defends Jones and calls for him to broadcast until he is 90. The caller thinks the minister’s wife who made remarks about Jones should apologise.
7.41: Federal Liberal MP Bronwyn Bishop calls in and says Jones’ critics are using his remarks for a separate agenda. She says there is a failure to acknowledge Jones’ help for others. Jones thanks Bishop.
7.41: Channel Seven owner Kerry Stokes rings to offer his support for Jones. “I thought you cleared the air really well. Some people just get carried away,” Stokes said. This, perhaps, shouldn’t surprise: as the 2GB register of commercial agreements shows, Jones is paid to appear on Channel Seven news and Sunrise.
7.42: Stephanie offers her support and suggest that listeners boycott the boycotters. She says she is waiting for an apology from Immigration Minister Chris Bowen, whose wife called for Jones’ demise. [Bowen’s wife, Rebecca Mifsud, retweeted: “Alan Jones age 71. Avergae [sic] lifespan for an Australian male age 79. Patience my pretties.] ”Referring to recent protests by some members of Sydney’s Muslim community, the caller refers to packs of “rampaging wild hyenas” in the city streets. Stephanie thinks they were fifth columnists. Stephanie says pensioners are hiding their savings under their bed because of the “red” federal government.
7.49: Ian Leslie, formerly a journalist at 60 Minutes, tells Jones that this is a black day as he feels freedom of speech is being eroded. Ian reminds boycotters that there are other places to shop such as Coles and Aldi. The caller drives a Mercedes but he stands for freedom of speech.
7.56: Pat is not shopping at Woolworths any more until they come back on board.
7.56: John says Jones showed humility in his apology. The caller says it is a shallow person who cannot accept an apology. He says this could backfire on Coles and Woolworths and he says he will now shop at Aldi.
7.57: Marlene says she loves Jones dearly: “You are the nicest man I think I know. If a gentleman issues an apology a lady should accept.” Jones says he cannot speak for the PM.
7.59: Irene reminds Jones that the Germans bombed Buckingham Palace in WW2 to try to break British morale. The caller says Australian morale will not be broken by the treatment of Jones.
8.38: Jan is behind Jones on the coal seam gas issue but thinks the way Jones speaks about the PM is inappropriate as her office deserves more respect than he has given. Jones says it is a fair point.
8.38: Gary calls from WA and tells Jones to keep it up. The caller has cancer and lives in a tin shed and wants help. The caller says the illegals cost billions and he pays his power bills.
8.43: Gil thinks enough is enough. He calls on Jones not to pull his punches. The caller says listeners should complain to store managers at Woolworths and Mercedes about their employers buckling under left-wing pressure. The caller says he will go to his local Double Bay Woolworths. The caller is incensed by what the government is doing to Australia.
8.54: Caller Ben does not agree with Jones’ comments but he says cruel tweets about Jones’ life expectancy are at least the equal of anything Jones said.