This morning at 2am, John Howard and
George W Bush conducted a joint White House news conference which ran
live for about 15 minutes on the world’s major global news networks.
Then their key comments were crawled at the bottom of the networks’
live feeds, followed up by instant analysis when the conference
finished.

In Australia it was carried live across CNN, Fox News
and BBC World. All these networks broke into their normal programming
to cover the news conference. But Australia’s domestic Sky News channel
was obviously functioning on remote control. While our PM was
expounding his world view to tens of millions internationally, Sky was
featuring its locally compiled news of the day.

There was our
prime minister standing side-by-side with Bush, sharing the global
media limelight, but no-one in the Sydney news room thought to throw a
switch to take the live feed from their own Fox affiliate in the US.

Chinese
leaders will have noticed John Howard pitching Australia as something
of an honest broker between their country and the US.

The PM might be putting his feet up at Lords tomorrow night, but
earlier today he got straight As for making a big impression away from
home as one of America’s favourite “cousins.”

Peter Fray

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