How the tabloids cover the Cameron v Miliband v Paxman leadership debate
Anorak Towers marked the televised leadership debate in much the same way we do the Super Bowl: we went out. What did the tabloids do? Did they feature the big showdown between Labour Party leader ‘Red’ Ed Miliband and Tory Prime Minister ‘Blue’ Dave Cameron? And why was Cameron sat by a skip?
Politics fans need to wait until page 6 for any news of the Channel 4 and Sky show. Over half a page, readers learn that Cameron says he’s “not Chairman Mao”, the dead Chinese leader. Cameron wasn’t refetting to his hairstyle or suit, rather his resolve not to go on and on and on as the country’s political supremo.
As for Miliband, all Sun readers learn is that he won the coin toss and chose to go second. Also, he “flew in a US PR guru to help him”.
Page 10: The Sun’s editorial says Ed Balls is “only the oil rag” to an” economic train crash” powered by “engine drive” Gordon Brown.
Ed Balls was not on the debate.
The review covers pages 6 and 7. Readers see three photos of “chicken” Cameron, one with his eyes closed. We learn that he is “clueless on food banks”. His chat with Jeremy Paxman was “humiliating”. He is a “lame duck”. It’s not until paragraph 11 that Ed Miliband appears. The Mirror only has one photo of him – and it’s an odd one of him pointing as if ordering the restaurant bill.
The Mirror mentions ‘Cameron’ by name 7 times; and ‘Ed’ just 4 times.
Page 8: David Cameron is “pitiful” and a “faintheart”. Ed gets no adjectives. He’s just ‘Ed’.
Wait for it… wait… News appears on Page 12 and 13.
We learn that Ed Miliband “came under pressure” on immigration.
The Mail cites a Guardian poll, saying 54% of people who respond to polls think he won the night.
Quentin Lett’s says Cameron “soaked up Paxman’s aggro, narrowed his eyes.. and refused to respond in kind. Miliband flared right back at the monster…”
But was it really that interesting?
Page 9: The news is all about immigration. There is one picture of Cameron. There is not a single photo of Miliband.
Number of mentions of ‘Cameron’ by name: 6
Number of mentions of Miliband by name: 1
The only front-page story on the debate. And the story is that “Paxo has stuffed Ed and Cam”. They both lost.
Page 2: It was a “snore draw”.
It was “drab”.
Verdict: the Daily Star nails it.
Note: The Guardian manages to conjure 11 stories from the debate. Does anyone read them?