The combined influences of three current trends in news reporting: tabloidization, personalisation, and the commercial pressures of competing for declining audiences, together with the increasingly mediated nature of politics, has had a marked change on the way politics is performed and reported in most Western democracies. Whilst leaders such as Prime Minister Blair and former President Clinton are seen as skilled exponents of celebrity politics, for others the personalisation of politics can detract from media assessments of them as ‘serious’ politicians. This is a particular risk for women leaders. Using the example of the short-lived leadership Natasha Stott Despoja of the Australian Democrats, who was seen, for a while, as a master of image politics and achieved the status of a minor political celebrity, this paper explores the degree to which image-conscious politicians are vulnerable to attacks by political commentators and political rivals for valuing style over substance.
Keywords: Australia, politics, mediation, celebrity, Women politicians
How to Cite:
Muir, K., (2017) “Media Darlings and Falling Stars: Celebrity and the Reporting of Political Leaders”, Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture 2(2), 54-71. doi: https://doi.org/10.16997/wpcc.24