Sunday, November 19, 2006

Jonestown Part 2

My post on Jonestown has elicited a response which I will comment on here.

The last chapters of Jonestown take us to Chris Masters core of concern. It is not so much a concern with Alan Jones, but with how the whole city of Sydney and hence NSW politics, and to a far lesser degree Australian politics, has allowed itself to become subject to the "power" of this broadcaster.

My anonymous commentor falls into this trap, trying to describe the Jones radio show as some kind of "higher democracy" and praising Jones for getting resulys. This perhaps opens up a more interesting question of whether the media (or the "fourth estate" to borrow the French revolutionary term) is performing its role. I have a colleague who decries modern media of being only interested in reporting "a horse race or celebrity", and look at the coverage of politics ad you see just that.*

I suggest people read the book if they want to claim that Jones is some kind of modern democratic form. The theory that he is accountable to his audience is wrong, given that he controls what his audience is able to hear.

Read the chapter on his voluminous correspondence, read the chapters on the causes he "chooses" to take up.

If Jones were truly engaged in some democratic form I suggest he might actually care about the conclusion in "cash-for-comment". As Hitler proved - a demagogue is not a democrat.

* As an example this weekend's newspaper coverage of both Beazley's and Debnam's leadership, both devoid of anything about what the politicians might stand for.

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