Under the spotlight ... Alan Jones.

Under the spotlight ... Alan Jones. Photo: Steven Siewert

Sydney University Liberal Club

Not too bright ... 2GB radio veteran Alan Jones.

Not too bright ... 2GB radio veteran Alan Jones.

Events of the month:

  Priests and prostitutes dance - men, you're the priests. Chicks, you're the whores. Or come in drag! Free alcohol.

  Book-burning on the Lawn - build the bonfire to rid our university of those degenerate writers and artists destroying our Australian way of life.

  Lecture - ''What's wrong with Canberra?'' The distinguished public servant Godwin Grech reveals the rotten core of the Marxist Gillard-Greens government.

  Boxing - Round 6 of the Tony Abbott Golden Gloves competition.

  Guys! Win a candle-lit dinner for one with Australia's most influential broadcaster Alan Jones, prepared by his manservant at his luxury apartment in the Toaster.

  Malcolm Turnbull Rally - join forces to cleanse this socialist, queer-loving traitor from the Liberal Party.

 

Something to know about Alan Jones - the key thing, really - is that he's not all that bright. Far from it. Despite the artfully constructed public persona, there is no powerhouse intellect there, no vast store of wisdom. He is a crackpot muddle of prejudice and ignorance.

The claim on the 2GB website that Jones is an Oxford graduate is a typical piece of deceit. He did a short teaching diploma there, not PPE at Balliol. The intellectual snobbery is a hoot. In the years we co-existed at 2UE I don't know that he ever read anything deeper than The Daily Telegraph. This is a man who thinks Jeffrey Archer is a great English novelist, whose taste in music screeches to a halt at Andre Rieu.

Once you get this about Jones, all else falls into place. He does not have to dumb down for his audience; he's already there. He has a sure instinct for what his mob wants to hear, delivered in that prissy shriek, raving like a lunatic fleeing a burning building. The man is a pedlar of fear and loathing, preying on the lowest common denominator of gullible, frightened people who believe they are oppressed by evil forces out there that only he, Jones, has the courage to battle on their behalf. It is the confidence trick of demagogues down the ages.

His pretensions and his political bias are not the problem. He evidently can't help the first and he is entitled to the second. It's the racism and misogyny that are so offensive. Lebanese Muslim men are ''vermin'' who ''infest our shores'' and ''rape and pillage our nation''. The Prime Minister is a ''lying bitch''. Women are ''destroying the joint''.

Misogyny is a defining Jones trait in public and private. I recall a young woman staffer at 2UE humiliated to tears after one of his snarling tirades: ''Wretched, wretched girl!'' At one of those ridiculous Ditch the Witch rallies he fomented in Canberra last year he berated a journalist from the Herald, Jacqueline Maley, virtually inviting the rabble to assault her for daring to ask if he had been paid to appear.

That was off air. In the 2GB bully pulpit his contempt for women in authority lunges into the neurotic. Julia Gillard, Anna Bligh, Clover Moore and the former Victoria police commissioner Christine Nixon have been sprayed with his bile recently, but it goes way back. His savaging of the Director of Military Prosecutions, Brigadier Lyn McDade, in 2009 - ''that woman'' - was as brutal as it was ignorant.

In 2001 he set out to destroy the career of a senior NSW police officer, Detective Inspector Deborah Wallace, supposedly because she was not cleaning up Cabramatta to his knowledgeable satisfaction. ''Miss Debbie,'' he called her. ''How would you go in a brawl?'' he sneered. He trashed her reputation for months, bringing much grief to her family until, without a shred of evidence, he accused her of faking a police document. Wallace sued him for defamation and Jones settled, and she is now a Detective Superintendent and the respected chief of the Middle East Crime Squad.

The Tories' response to Jones's slur on the Prime Minister's father was instructive. Yes, it was wrong, cruel and offensive, they agreed. Certainly good ol' Alan had gone a bit far this time. But would Tony Abbott think of boycotting his program? No, he enjoys talking to the audience. Will Jones be invited to address future Liberal gatherings? Why, of course.

Predictably, The Australian's Janet Albrechtsen tried to pin the furore on his media rivals, the ABC etc. ''The hysterical outrage aimed at Jones was, at least in part, fuelled by his effectiveness as a political commentator,'' she bleated.

Poppycock. As the Twittersphere showed, the outrage was genuine and widespread because his libel of the late John Gillard finally exposed the mountebank that dwells inside the tailored suits with those snazzy pink matching ties and hankies. Jones has poisoned the wells of our national debate for too long. From his dishonesty in the cash-for-comment scandal to his idiotic pronouncements on climate change, he has been an incubus on the body public, enriching himself all the while as he postures as the champion of Struggle Street. The advertisers who support him share the odium.

In his faux apology last Sunday, Jones contrived to compare himself with the Anzacs who stormed ashore at Gallipoli in 1915. He has no shame. Enough said.

***

JONES is far from the only misogynist on radio. His breakfast competitor, 2-Day FM's oafish Kyle Sandilands, makes a daily meal of it. Sandilands's grotesque ''interview'' with a 14-year-old rape victim wired to a lie detector and his bullying abuse of a woman journalist as ''a fat slag'' and a ''piece of shit'' went lower than even Jones has gone.

The sorry truth is that Australian radio is a sludge pit of male supremacy. I cannot think of any commercial talk station that has a female voice in a prime slot. The ABC is better, but not much: 702 has just one woman in its front-line shifts.

The radio business needs to take a long, hard look at itself, to think about joining the rest of us in the 21st century. But with louts and buffoons like Jones and Sandilands cracking the ratings whip, radio executives don't have the guts to do it. Most of them are dumb blokes, too.

smhcarlton@gmail.com