Technical difficulties are the bane of every media company – no matter how large or small.
On Monday night, political commentator and media giant Alan Jones launched his online show with a couple of hiccups that the mainstream press immediately pounced upon.
The online show ‘Direct to the People’ is the first outing for Alan Jones after his dramatic exit from Sky News Australia.
Alan Jones left Sky News in early November, ahead of his contract.
His livestream feed crashed a couple of minutes into the premiere show, making fans wonder if social media companies were swooping in to censor him. The more likely and practical explanation offered by the show’s producers was that hundreds of thousands of people tuned in at the same time to watch the show, putting the service under pressure – a common teething issue for online shows.
The disruption was momentary and the show went ahead as planned.
Alan Jones’ guest was New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet, who went on the program to talk about the rights citizens have to their ‘freedom’ despite his government overseeing months of medical segregation and severe discrimination that has led to thousands of Australians losing their jobs.
Jones argued that with vaccination numbers high it's now important to relax restrictions, and tighten them only when there was “substantial risk to people’s lives”.
“There are still so many commentators, politicians and members of the public who would still prefer us to be locked down in circumstances where there is no need,” the Premier said.
The viewer comments, which livestream beside the video mostly unmoderated, were highly critical of the Premier. While fandom Youtubers and online influencers are used to direct feedback, it is a new game for politicians and ex-mainstream media personalities. We are yet to see what fallout, if any, there will be when they come face-to-face with the true open forum of public opinion that does not feature the cotton wool of studio producers.
During the show, Alan Jones was highly critical of the Covid pandemic response, views which he accused his previous employer of censoring.
Youtube, Facebook, and other online platforms have strict community standards regarding Covid information – so it is unclear how long Alan Jones will survive online before running afoul of censorship.
Until then, fans and viewers can tune into his show for free.