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TV & Radio

Oct 18, 2012

Alan Jones' new porkies test: fact-checker for shock jock

Alan Jones will go back to school on checking his facts and have his editorial copy subbed for errors before being broadcast under new measures from ACMA.

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Alan Jones’ editorial comments will be fact-checked before going to air, under a deal struck between 2GB management and the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

The controversial broadcaster will also undergo training to ensure his on-air statements are factually accurate and that he understands the Commercial Radio Codes of Practice.

2GB, Sydney’s top-rating network, will also have to make greater efforts to ensure the station presents a range of viewpoints on controversial issues of public importance.

The agreement — detailed by ACMA this morning — tops off a torrid month for Jones, whose show has been hit by an advertiser exodus following public uproar about his statement that Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s father died of shame. Earlier this month, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal ordered Jones to apologise on air and in writing for describing Lebanese Muslims in Sydney as “vermin” and “mongrels” in 2005.

The 2GB/ACMA deal follows a June finding that Jones breached the broadcasting code by claiming human beings produce only 0.001% of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. ACMA found that statement, made on air in 2011, was unsubstantiated and 2GB had not made “reasonable efforts” to ensure its accuracy.

2GB admitted to the media watchdog that “no research was conducted by staff and that Mr Jones researched the figures himself”. A 2GB review subsequently found the station does have fact-checking measures in place, but that Jones’ editorial pieces do not always include the involvement of his wider editorial team.

Jones was also found guilty of breaching accuracy requirements in 2009 comments about a missing Irish national and 2010 comments about native vegetation.

Among the measures to be implemented by 2GB are:

  • Pre-broadcast fact-checking, by the program’s executive producer, of any material provided by third parties and any editorial pieces scripted by Jones.
  • Identification, by the executive producer, of controversial issues of public importance that are not covered by other 2GB current affairs programs.
  • Communication of these exceptions to 2GB’s program director who will then be responsible to ensure that another current affairs program presents an alternative significant viewpoint to that presented in the program hosted by Jones so that 2GB can discharge its obligations under the codes.
  • Creation and retention (for at least six weeks) of records of the verification material sourced by the executive producer for the facts contained in the editorial pieces.
  • Training will be conducted (including with Jones) focusing on the ACMA findings concerning factual accuracy and significant viewpoints.

2GB has not responded to Crikey‘s requests for comment.

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44 comments

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44 thoughts on “Alan Jones’ new porkies test: fact-checker for shock jock

  1. Jim McDonald

    Journalism 101!

  2. 39loulou

    So what happens when Jones (which we know he’ll do) talks off the cuff, in an unscripted manner and gets the facts wrong?

  3. moonkid

    @39loulou: If they delayed broadcast by a minute, they could bleep out all his non-factual facts!

  4. Venise Alstergren

    There’s no way Alan Jones will stick to the new rules. He’s a vindictive old triss with a shocking temper and no self restraint.

    Ah, the times are a changin’ old färt.

  5. frey

    That’s true moonkid, but a 3-hour long continuous bleep may annoy the audience somewhat.

    Of course, it will be then construed as an attack on Alan’s freedom of speech….

  6. ianjohnno1

    Jones will just tell his listeners (dripping with sarcasm) that what he is saying has been fact-checked, which will indicate that the real facts are what they want to believe.

  7. Andrew McIntosh

    What’s their definition of “facts”, by the way?

  8. John

    Any volunteers to be Mr Jones’ fact-checker?

  9. Venise Alstergren

    JOHN: Here are a couple of suggestions…..Geewhizz and his female counterpart. (I’ve forgotten her name.}

  10. botswana bob

    Who will be employed as his “fact checker”? Cory Bernardi??
    All he has to do to become a certified Murdoch journo is start hacking other peoples’ voice mail.

  11. Mike Smith

    Save us all some angst, ACMA, and kick him off the air. That will reduce the methane level in the air, which as we know is a worse GHG than CO2.

  12. Steve777

    This must be quite humiliating for Jones. He can’t be trusted on his own with a microphone without someone checking that what he says is fit to broadcast. It would be reasonable to think that this would destroy any shred of credibility he may still have, but most of his listeners will still tune in to hear their fears, paranoia and prejudices articulated and confirmed by their hero. They have no need of facts.

  13. zut alors

    All the fun is being squeezed out of AJ’s day, soon there’ll be no point in turning up at the station. He needs to find a new hobby.

  14. robinw

    Remarkable how fact (truth) has been problematic for both Jones and Bolt.

  15. Sharkie

    Fact Checker: “Alan, this isn’t correct, your figures are wrong”
    AJ: “P@ss off you spotty little twerp. I determine what is factual, not you”.
    ACMA: “Alan Jones and 2GB continue to get their facts right”.
    AJ: “It’s my fact checkers fault”.

    Who is going to put their hand up for that poison chalice?

  16. klewso

    What do you call a troll with a microphone?
    Start with “Alan”?

    [“Who ya gunna believe?” Jones or a politically correct fact checker?]

  17. drmick

    Ha ha. He might get a job on channel 9 ha ha ha ha. They need a replacement for the morning show. the bloke on the morning show is going to 60 seconds, formerly known as 20 minutes of rubbish and 40 minutes of ads. LOL

  18. UTS LIBRARY

    A joke. Does anyone believe this rubbish. Jones will please himself as usual. Who’s going to be the cop in this futile exercise?

  19. Liz45

    The really good thing here is – all of us who signed the petition/s or rang the station etc have been vindicated. My question to ACMA is, why only three occasions? There’s been heaps of them, going back beyond the dates given. Even since Julia Gillard became PM there’d be heaps more than 3?

    He’ll find a way around it! He’s a creep, and an arrogant one at that? He thinks his initials are JC? The ‘enlightened one’? Anything that shuts him up is fine with me. He’s not interested in ‘good radio’ or having any pride etc, he’s just too full of one person – himself!

    I predict his response to this. He’ll abuse us all again, including the over 100,000 who signed the petition. He’ll accuse ACMA of being ‘flooded’ with ‘lefties’ Gillard supporters etc. Just you wait and see! ‘Mark my words’ as Dorrie Evans would say? (remember her – Number 96? she was known for her comments. Some were beauties. stuffed things up? )

    Guess what? I still won’t be listening to him! I’ll wait and see what Media Watch has to say in coming weeks?

  20. John Bennetts

    Nothing much for the right wing club here. They’ve gone for a Tosca.

  21. Venise Alstergren

    MY FAVOURITE COMMENT: “”GB, Sydney’s top-rating network, will also have to make greater efforts to ensure the station presents a range of viewpoints on controversial issues of public importance.””

    Does anyone A)Believe it will happen B)It would be like all his listeners having to learn to speak Russian, they just would not understand a balance or a nuance. C) It’s hysterical. D) It’s tragic, because E) They’re the majority of the voters.

  22. dazza

    Ironically if Alan Jones was employed by the Government, he would be sacked. This is what the conservatives are always asking for and these media hacks will go to alsorts of trouble to try and catch out a public servant/politician. Come-on hacks, give Jones the same treatment you demand of, for example, Mr Slipper.

  23. mikeb

    If this works correctly he won’t have a show left.

  24. Holden Back

    Who knew there were facts to check? Will there also be an assertion, or a wild surmise checker?

    What about that trick where you impute the worst possible motives to someone you don’t like?

  25. rubiginosa

    Tamas Calderwood, are you at a loose end?

  26. jimD

    If Jones puts to air only stuff which has been fact-checked, and his trademark vicious bits edited out,there would be no way he could fill his time bracket on air. Moreover, the idiots who listen to him won’t like the new product anyway: they want to hear their own dinosaur views bellowed out by Jones. Unless he finds a way round all this control, he will be gone in a few months anyway. Maybe that’s what 2GB wants.

  27. Pedantic, Balwyn

    Bring back the advertisers 24×7, and keep Jones off air permanently!!

  28. El Nino

    I take it Alan won’t be saying much then going forward?

  29. izatso?

    Bullshite finds it its own. Jones to his last breath. Full of Disrorted History. His experience has no reach to include true sacrifice. Buna. Sanananda . His incomplete reference is deplorable. His borrowed experience is pathetic in the extreme.

  30. Andybob

    That poor fact checker is going to be in more strife than a one legged man in an ars- kicking contest.

  31. AR

    Without ads last week, he was desperate to try to fill the empty air and became more & more hysterical scatter gun.
    Now that the shameless are smarming back in, an interesting bunch, hardly the big end of town so he’ll be able to devote more time to the things his audience needs, incontinence pants & funeral plans.
    FACT?!? Surely you jest, it will be pretty slim pickings – how does one check krap for accuracy?

  32. izatso?

    …. arr, that’d be Distorted History, hey.

  33. izatso?

    …. fer a Fact ….. Allan has ’till the end of November. No rush, then.

  34. Liamj

    Its great they’re keeping the old folks in the workforce, even if they have to rehabilitate and spoonfeed this one.

    I predict increasing # of Abbott-esque ‘brain freezes’ as Alan tries to fill air without getting caught scapegoating, lying or villifying.

  35. Edward James

    Why is it our politicians are not held to these same standards of truth? Edward James

  36. Roxy Hart

    Crikey, we have a Prime Minister whose facts are chequered are they not? Carbon is actually carbon dioxide. It is not a pollutant on the Australian Government’s own pollutant register etcetera… The world is cooling. Lucky me with my internet radio and an alternative to Australian Broadcasting Crap.

  37. pritu

    Who checks on ACMA to see that it follows through? Does it have any teeth? Or is it part of the problem (mates in the bunker)?

  38. klewso

    So it’s official? “Alan Jones can get fact!”?

    [Edward – there’s the pity – both sides.]

  39. klewso

    “Salt” isn’t necessarily a pollutant either – ’til it’s presence gets “out of balance”.

  40. Norman Hanscombe

    I wouldn’t employ Jones (and he certainly wouldn’t employ me) but reading the chattering class critics’ reminded me of Mark Twain’s comment, “They’r members of the human race, and I can say no worse of any man.”
    Jones and many of his critics have much in common. The main difference is that he has a bigger following.

  41. Venise Alstergren

    I didn’t know Mark Twain said that. It’s absolutely brilliant.

  42. izatso?

    I would rather hear Mr Twain on the radio.

  43. shepmyster

    This is outrageous and a restraint of trade! What’s he going to talk about if everything has to be factual! What’s the world comming too. Just another attack on free speech. LOL

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