By Darryl Mason
If you spent the mornings of your early school years in the 1970s getting dressed and breakfasted in a household in suburban Sydney, you very likely endured hearing John Laws' voice gruffing through the house most mornings.
Even at five years old, it was easy to know that John Laws was an arsehole.
The former king of Australian radio did a lot of great charity work during his five decades on air, he often counselled elderly, lonely people, but he also spent a lot of his time shouting at those who bothered to call in, abusing them, humiliating them. He incited racism and intolerance. His shows could often be extremely nasty and vindictive. But he was king. He could call anyone whatever he wanted, and he did. It's good to be the king.
That was then.
Now? John Laws is retired, and clearly bored. He decided to zero in on a recent comment made by Melbourne talk radio's Neil Mitchell, where he supposedly called Laws "an idiot" and someone who had clearly been involved in "grubby" behaviour, particularly during the Cash For Comments scandal. Laws called into Mitchell's program to demand an apology.
Mitchell didn't have to induce Laws into humiliating himself live on air. The former "Golden Tonsils" provided a pre-full-dementia self-demolition as he struggled to comprehend how anyone could think he'd ever done anything wrong. Ever.
If Laws had not treated so many people so abominably, for so many years, it would be quite sad to hear this old man - who was a hero just about every male neighbour, relative or school teacher, over 30, that I encountered during my childhood - struggling to remember what he said only a minute or two before.
Idiot John Laws Takes Incredible Offence At Being Called An Idiot
By the end of the conversation, Laws seems to understand what a fool he has just made of himself. Neil Mitchell clearly gave the presumably near-senile Laws ample opportunities to get out of the embarrassing phone call, but Laws kept going, to the point where he actually started whining and threatening legal action.
And yet, two years ago, during the following Media Watch exchange, Laws seemed all but completely on top of his game in justifying himself, despite believing that accepting money to praise corporations on air that he had only recently criticised - cash for comments - was not deceiving his listeners.
Anonymous Lefty :
Another lesson from this: if you’re a news media figure who has a prominent platform in the national debate, and you start threatening people with defamation, you look like a complete and utter hypocrite and buffoon. You become an object of mockery and derision. You lose professional credibility.The Chaser's take on John Laws :
Look at how idiotic Laws sounded when he tried the stunt. A fearless crusader for truth, threatening to UNLEASH THE LAWYERS because someone called him a mean name?
Another icon of the John Howard generation stumbles and falls, stripped of his power. He won't be the last.