Pundits and Other Pond Scum

One of the saving graces of both politics and television in Australia is that the whole "pundit" thing doesn't seem near as entrenched as it is in the US. Sure, there are the usual talking heads on both radio and TV but from what I read and what I see on cable TV, it seems like this is the only style of mainstream news/reporting in the US. You have a very opinionated (and often very aggressive) "personality" telling you what to think rather than a journalist analysing events and giving you the ability to make up your own mind.

It's quite clear that the commercial networks would like things to go this way but it hasn't caught on. It's most entrenched in talkback radio, particularly in Sydney. If anyone reading knows about the recent race riots that occurred on Sydney's Cronulla Beach, the feelings that triggered this were stirred up in the week leading up to the violence by one of the main talkback jerks, Alan Jones. The violence went way past what he was hoping for and he mysteriously went on holidays the week after so couldn't answer any questions as to whether he accepted any responsibility for what happened.

But then again, he has a track record for being gutless and not facing up the results of his actions. About 15 years ago he was busted in a public toilet in London (hello George Michael). He whipped the old fellah out and waved it at a young chap next to him, saying the equivalent of "hello sailor". Turns out the young chap was an undercover cop so Jonesy didn't get the sort of action he was looking for.

So he was staring down the barrel of a rather embarrassing court case that probably would have ended his career (and possibly given him jail time given the ridiculous "public morals" campaign that had cops trawling gay beats in the first place). Lo and behold, the Prime Minister of Australia steps in and gets him off the hook. Jones promised to tell his faithful public "the full truth" when the court case was over. Well, the court case ended, the toilet trader came back home and it was all swept under the carpet. Never mentioned again.

Why is it the biggest blowhards are the most gutless at the end of the day?


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