Making the promises yesterday was the easy bit. The hard bit for John Howard is getting people to take any notice. And on two measures that will be no easy task.

The Crikey Reality Check on what people actually read on news web sites has been showing a decline in interest for weeks now and nothing changed this morning. Coverage of the Coalition policy launch barely rated in the lists of the top five most-read stories.

More disappointing than that for the Coalition campaign team was the relative apathy last night from the television news programs. Here was a day where the Prime Minister of the country was promising to put $9 billion or so of goodies into the pockets of the middle class and the news directors of the Nine Network in both Sydney and Melbourne, the Ten Network in the same cities and the Seven Network in Melbourne did not think the story was important enough to lead the bulletin. On Nine in Sydney it was not run until item five!

Now there might be some giant conspiracy going on with media barons pushing for a Labor victory but it is far more likely that hard headed TV newsmen have reached the same conclusion as the Crikey Reality Check. People are just not interested in listening to the words of politicians. It will be interesting to see what happens to the ratings of the ABC and SBS which both dutifully accorded the Howard words the respect normally given to a Prime Ministerial policy speech.

And on a day when the election rated so poorly it was pleasing to see the website of The West Australian at last have a political story in its top five. A report on the 15th annual Ernie awards for sexist remarks broke a drought that goes back to 1 November when the wax eating antics of Kevin Rudd rated a mention.

The Ernie’s story recounted Senator Heffernan’s remark about Julia Gillard being “deliberately barren” as receiving the greatest number of boos at the award ceremony in Sydney on Sunday night. The Prime Minister’s close friend and political ally beat a tough field apparently in which Workplace Minister Joe Hockey was a close second with his comment that it was hard work for him during his wife’s pregnancy.

For those who missed the Hockey contribution when uttered to Kochie earlier this year he said: “Well it’s exhausting for me, her being pregnant. I don’t know why, during the birth process, they only focus on the women.”

Sydney Morning Herald

  1. Escorts a work expense, court told
  2. Comic book dealer walked free for 30 years
  3. Celebrities revealed in unpainted moments
  4. Eat, drink and risk getting the sack after lunch
  5. Saudi Prince Alwaleed buys his own A380

Escorts a work expense, court told

The Age

  1. A generation’s home dream vanishes
  2. Tragic end to bird rescue bid
  3. The great deceiver is in a class of his own
  4. Prime Minister splurges to close poll gap
  5. Coaches warn of dominance

The Australian

  1. Howard’s $8.5bn family pitch
  2. ‘Charge suspects to test terror…
  3. Business gets water ultimatum
  4. Busy Kidman seeks trial delay…
  5. Population pushing Melbourne to top


  • We want to help Australians get ahead: PM
  • Australia completes Sri Lanka rout
  • Claws out over Turnbull preferences claims
  • Former media director admits lying to corruption inquiry
  • Case dropped against ‘terrorism trainee’

The West Australian

  1. Fragile Dragun was known for her humour and courage
  2. Mourners gather to farewell Grljusich
  3. Woman dead after domestic dispute
  4. Judd reluctant to be dragged into probe
  5. Heffernan ‘deliberately barren’ most sexist remark of 2007

Sydney Telegraph

  1. Bollywood babe and a Cowboy
  2. The Right Brain vs Left Brain
  3. Hailing Sydney’s dirtiest cabbie
  4. Airline ‘fat tax’ call
  5. Paris leaves Jaime high and dry

Melbourne Herald Sun

  1. Right Brain v Left Brain
  2. Anger over Cousins jokes
  3. Corruption probe’s new scalps
  4. Whitnall quits game
  5. Harry’s girlfriend packs bags


  1. Grandstand dumped
  2. Stripper visits school in…
  3. Sophie to bare all
  4. Paris “bummer” for Jaime
  5. Teacher guilty of sex charge

Courier Mail

  1. Personal attacks on Bligh
  2. Bollywood babe and a Cowboy
  3. 19-day-old baby murder charge
  4. Schoolgirl brawl on video
  5. Xmas party dim sim kills woman

  1. Rove slammed for airing Cousins…
  2. Online first dates lead to sex
  3. Boss sacked for lunchtime beers
  4. Liquid lunch costs manager job
  5. Husband ‘hired hitman to shoot…

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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