Originally published in The Canberra Times on October 13, 2012

Alan Jones tried to link the backlash against his insult of Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s late father to the issue of free speech but, in reality, it is the free market that is causing him grief. The problem for the dinosaur of radio is that national brands such as Woolworths and Mercedes-Benz increasingly want their customers to see them as friends. While their ads have always tried to make customers feel loyal towards them, in the age of Facebook they literally want their customers to become their ”friends” and to ”follow” their activities on Twitter. But as Jones and his advertisers learnt this week, friends expect things from each other. And, as most of us have experienced at some point in our lives, when our friends have a falling out sometimes we have to take sides.

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