Ed Miliband blowing his nose makes it on to NBC nightly news

Poor Ed Miliband. There was a time, not so very long ago, when he was hoping to be our next prime minister, before defeat in the general election saw him relegated to backbench obscurity.

Now a photograph of the former Labour leader blowing his nose has been broadcast on US television as an example of a generic “man with flu”.

Apparently taken at the party conference in 2011, the image shows Miliband clearing his nostrils with a large white handkerchief. Though his features are partly hidden, it clearly shows the then Labour leader.

Unaware of who he was, however, producers at NBC News used the photograph as a stock image to introduce a news report about flu vaccinations.

“Flu season has arrived, and there are fresh concerns tonight that many school districts are seeing an uptick,” said the newsreader, while the image of Miliband mid-blow hovers over her shoulder. “There’s concern that not enough people are getting a flu shot, and health officials have new guidance about the nasal vaccine.”

It is not the first time that Miliband has fallen foul of a rogue photograph. He was widely ridiculed after an unflattering picture of him eating a bacon sandwich became one of the key social media memes of the 2015 general election campaign.

In a speech to party members shortly after the photograph was taken in 2014, he said: “You could probably ... find people who look better eating a bacon sandwich. If you want the politician from central casting, it’s just not me, it’s the other guy. If you want a politician who thinks that a good photo is the most important thing, then don’t vote for me.”

In July 2011, several months before the handkerchief photograph was taken, Miliband underwent surgery on his nose to deal with a respiratory sleep condition.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Esther Addley, for The Guardian on Monday 19th December 2016 17.49 Europe/London

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