As the Prime Minister’s latest global
tour enters its second week, media travel budgets are straining in his
wake. Network Ten abruptly pulled stumps halfway through Howard’s trip,
deciding not to follow him to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Malta and beyond.
It seems Bert Newton is not the only figure to suffer the wrath of
Ten’s bean counters.

A network declining to cover a major event
like CHOGM is not a good precedent for future trips in what has been a
big travel year for the PM. He’s covered over 200,000 kilometres and
all news budgets are feeling the pinch chasing him around the planet.

falling off under the weight of cost is not the answer. Governments
wouldn’t mind it, though, as it minimises the risk of PMs fielding
annoying domestic political questions.

Those who did go to
Pakistan this week witnessed micro media management at its worst.
Journos, snappers and cameras were banned from the PM’s flying visit to
SAS troops in Afghanistan. Rather, annoyed hacks and crews were flown
to Kabul and told to await the PM’s plane. When it arrived, they were
given Defence Department stills and vision of the SAS visit.

anyone say “propaganda”? And it was interesting to compare how media
organisations handled it. The ABC supered its vision as “Defence
video”; Seven reported it as “censored Defence vision”. But it seems
others put to air and print as if they were there. Another murky