Alan Jones column ended by Daily Telegraph amid controversial Covid and anti-lockdown commentary

Veteran broadcaster rejects claims he ‘no longer resonates with readers’

The Daily Telegraph has ended Alan Jones’s regular column amid controversy about his Covid-19 commentary, including calling the NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant a village idiot on his Sky News program.

There has been apparent tension inside News Corp Australia between the anti-lockdown Sky After Dark commentators like Jones and Andrew Bolt and the Holt Street newspapers, which have been promoting vaccination and criticising the “freedom” protest in Sydney.

The Daily Telegraph editor Ben English told Jones he was dropping his column because it didn’t “resonate” with readers.

Jones, 80, says he doesn’t believe his columns don’t resonate with readers.

“If the argument has been it’s not resonating, I don’t have to defend myself,” Jones told The Sydney Morning Herald.

“Have a look at Sky News YouTube, Sky News Facebook and Alan Jones Facebook and you can see. The same column that I write for the Tele goes up on my Facebook page.

“The public can check it for themselves. 35 years at top of the radio - and I don’t resonate with the public? Honestly.”

Asked about Jones’s attacks on Chant, the NSW health minister Brad Hazzard told reporters at a press conference that a lot of people “don’t base their decisions in science, or evidence”.

“All I will say is we are in a one-in-100-year pandemic,” he said. “The community need to understand the decisions are taken as best as possible on the basis of evidence and science to keep us safe.”

Jones’s final Telegraph column last week criticised Australia’s response to Covid-19, which he argues is no worse than the flu for healthy people.

On Monday on Sky News, Jones launched an attack on Chant, calling her “dumb” and “out of touch”. “How many villages are missing their idiot?” he said.

The former 2GB broadcaster also defended the Sydney protesters, and in reference to a 38-year-old woman who died in Sydney on Sunday, Jones said it was “highly unlikely” she died of Covid-19.

He said there was no way to tell if the authorities were telling the truth because “there was no autopsy”. He said doctors told him she probably died of a heart attack or a stroke.

Ray Hadley, a former 2GB colleague, has twice blasted Jones for his “ridiculous stance” against the Sydney lockdown.

Earlier this month Sky News removed and apologised for a segment broadcast on 12 July which included comments made during an interview with Craig Kelly concerning a technical briefing on Covid-19 from Public Health England.

Jones has been contacted for comment.


Amanda Meade and Anne Davies

The GuardianTramp