Last week, right-wing Sydney Radio 2GB "shock jock" Alan Jones was let off with a ticking-off from Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) for inciting on air the infamous anti-Lebanese bashing spree in Cronulla in 2005.
Meanwhile, the mufti of Australia, Sheikh Taj el-Din al Hilaly was pilloried by both Liberal and Labor politicians for calling on the Islamic world to support Iran in the face of mounting threats of military action by the US and for supporting the Lebanese resistance to Israel's invasion.
ACMA found that Jones had broadcast material that "was likely to encourage violence or brutality" and "was likely to vilify people of Lebanese background and of Middle-Eastern background on the basis of their ethnicity".
For example, on December 7, 2005 Jones said on his breakfast program: "My suggestion is to invite one of the biker gangs to be present in numbers at Cronulla railway station when these Lebanese thugs arrive, it would be worth the price of admission to watch these cowards scurry back onto the train for the return trip to their lairs.
"Australians old and new shouldn't have to put up with this scum."
Jones read out numerous text messages inciting racist violence on air, said he understood those sending text messages urging "Aussies" to "support the Leb- and Wog-bashing day" while cautioning against making matters worse.
Prime Minister John Howard has rushed to support to racist, violence-inciting shock jock. "I think Alan Jones is an outstanding broadcaster", Howard told ABC Radio after ACMA's findings were released. "I don't think he's a person who encourages prejudice in the Australian community, not for one moment. But he is a person who articulates what a lot of people think."
According to the April 13 Melbourne Age, Howard's communications minister, Helen Coonan, refused to support the media regulator in its ruling against Jones and hinted that the federal government was prepared to review the broadcasting rules that Jones was found to have breached.
Federal Labor leader Kevin Rudd told ABC radio: "In terms of the future appearances [on] Alan Jones's program, there's nothing I've read at this stage that would cause me not to go on."
Kerry Brewster's award-winning 1996 documentary film, Demons at Drivetime, exposed the nasty methods of radio "shock jocks" Alan Jones, Stan Zemanek and Howard Satler. They are right-wing propagandists who specialise in spreading and reinforcing racist, sexist, homophobic and other reactionary prejudices. They help politicians like Howard who depend on dividing the community keep a base of support in a section of the ruled.
In ancient times, the tyrants of slave-owning and feudal empires depended on their high priests as well as their armed men to keep the populace in line. Today we have the Alan Joneses and Don Imuses.
Green Left Weekly is part of the counter-force to these right-wing propagandists. But we don't get the multi-million dollar corporate sponsorships that these professional hate merchants get. We depend on decent folk like you.
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