The footage of Kevin Rudd being verbally confronted by grey power while on a visit to Tasmania was not a good look for Labor. It exposed for the whole nation to see just how exploitative politicians are in their daily quest for helpful pictures.

Prime Minister John Howard had got an excellent run with Monday’s announcement of an extra $4 billion of payments to the nation’s pensioners. Time to switch, the Labor party spinners decided, from cuddly kids to some golden oldies.

And the pictures would have been good too – with Kevin07 singing along with the choir – if it had not been for those cranky old men who did not appreciate their long hours of rehearsal being rudely interrupted by a glad-handing blow in. The 74 year old retired policeman David Vowles had it absolutely right when he accused Mr Rudd of politicising the event. “That’s all he’s doing here – publicity,” was the way he so accurately put it.

It would have been worse for Labor if the commercial networks had decided to feature politics more prominently. As it was there were more important things like Ben Cousins going back to re-hab and the arrival of a new Airbus to show early in most bulletins although the ABC faithfully put politics at the top of the show.

Interest rate speculation hardly got a look in anywhere.

In the end a clear win on the day for the Coalition and Labor needs to do something about the poor work of its advance people if it is not to suffer more embarrassments in the long weeks to 24 November.

Coalition ALP
Television 1.99 1.36
Newspapers 0.23 0.08
Radio 0.28 0.14
Internet 0.27 0.14
TOTAL 2.76 1.71

You will find details of the way the Daily Verdict is compiled, with the help of raw material provided by our friends at Media Monitors, on the Crikey website.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey