Monday, July 04, 2005


Well, Madonna's decision to cling to Birhan Woldu has paid off for her, as the press have decided that the image of a rock star with a real, genuine African woman is the defining image of Live8:

We bet Mariah Carey's fuming - she had all those cute African kids, and where are they, eh? Where?

Birhan also appears on the Sun front page, taking up the traditional, expected role of those who receive the munificence of the combined efforts of Nokia and several large record companies:

And, in a bizarre move, the Independent chooses a shot of Geldof and, um, Richard Curtis:

The Guardian, meanwhile, chooses a picture which reflects what the original point of the thing was meant to be - no, not people buying Elton John's back catalogue:

So, the UK stood up and allowed itself to be counted, but was Live 8 the global roaring success, putting poverty at the heart of the discourse in this week running up to the G8 summit that we're being told it was?

Well, not really; a large number of yesterday's US papers ignored the event (or at least treated it as an inside item rather than an iconic, front page moment), and those few which did decide to give it front page treatment were a bit wobbly on the message:

For the Boston Herald, this was a "worldwide Woodstock" - why is it that as soon as two musicians play outdoors the US papers always describe it in terms of Woodstock (a term, by the way, of contempt in the States mainstream, on a par with 'la-la-land'):

The San Francisco Chronicle wasn't even sure what the event was called - Live Aid, right?

And the Washington Post was thrilled by the chance to put a picture of an attractive lady on her boyfriend's shoulders ontop of a story about poverty, if nothing else:

So the UK papers may be cynical and exploitative, but at least they reflected the occasion. On the evidence of the global press reaction, though, Tony Blair might want to think twice before telling Bush he's got five billion people solidly behind him.