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Press packs a punch for Boris

PUBLISHED: 16:41 07 May 2008 | UPDATED: 14:46 25 August 2010

THEY say all publicity is good publicity, but not in the case of the former face of London, Ken Livingstone

THEY say all publicity is good publicity, but not in the case of the former face of London, Ken Livingstone.

In the month before last Thursday's London election, Mr Livingstone had the most press coverage with 1,048 Ken-articles churned out by regional journalists.

Boris Johnson wasn't far behind with 1,000 articles, but found the media favoured him over Mr Livingstone with more positive articles and fewer negative ones.

Brian Paddick, (remember him?) received less than half the coverage of Boris or Ken, despite attracting about a quarter of the primary votes they won.

So you've got to wonder if Mr Paddick's publicity machine was making tea rather than promoting the former copper's key issues.

Paddick declared that crime is a stain that needs wiping up (more or less), yet featured in just 102 crime or police stories, compared to Boris' crimetastic 232, and Ken's 186.

Then again, it's not just the media alone you have to rely on to flash your name about.

Thanks to social networking sites, politicians with eager followings like Johnson can rely on their many minions to support him with faceless Facebook ads.

At least five Bexley and Bromley politicians zealously swapped their profile pictures for a blue silhouette of Johnson's famous mop-head before the election.

Others simply had pictures of themselves grinning manically beside Johnson, pretending to be interested in the myriads of local politicians greasing his campaign trail.

Even James Cleverly, a man trying to get elected himself onto the Greater London Authority, was selfless enough to fervently lay down his mugshot for Boris.

The only other place Johnson could find devotion like that is the Evening Standard.

The paper regularly foamed anti-Ken, pro-Bozza stories all campaign, which we're sure kept Johnson's PR team happy, but bizarrely were not so popular with Mr Cleverly. On the eve of the election the Bexley and Bromley candidate slammed the paper for suggesting he might become Johnson's race advisor with no evidence. Perhaps Johnson told the Standard that having a non-white politician behind him might stop the press repeating his dodgier gaffes about "watermelon smiles" (not likely).

"Sloppy and lazy," Mr Cleverly concluded, presumably with a slight stamp of the foot.

Well, wouldn't you feel jealous if your favourite blonde and bouncy politician jumped into bed with the Standard every evening...?

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