Friday, April 04, 2008

Sex, Leaks and Media Hype

Does it matter that Ken Livingstone has five children by three different women, is the issue one of his honesty and integrity or is it true that, as he claims, the public have no interest in his private life. Should we read anything at all into the fact that Nick Clegg 'may have' slept with 'no more than 30 women' in his life? Should we agree with the suggested title for a blog post on the Independent of "Why Political Pundits are Gossip Obsessed Twats". Of course being in the public eye invites scrutiny, and deservedly so; and if like Clegg you allow Piers Morgan to interview you for GQ you get what you deserve, but the obsession with gossip and the sex lives of politicians can detract from the real issues. In terms of media management, while Livingstone is under fire for criticising a Yougov poll that shows Boris Johnson with a 12% lead and the focus is on the marginality of the race, maybe a more personal story is of use to Livingstone. Thus stories such as this may well be liked by journalists but can also be leaked to cover up worse stories that really do have political impact.

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