Schroder's battle against 'biased' coverage sparks media backlash German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder has decided to no longer give interviews to Germany's largest newspaper Bild, saying its coverage of his centre-left coalition is biased. Mr Schroder's top spokesman, Bela Anda, announced the boycott, citing what the chancellor considered a clear campaign by the paper to undermine the government. Bild reporters would no longer be guaranteed spots accompanying the chancellor on official trips abroad, the spokesman said. 'The manner in which the government's policies are handled [by Bild] is a mixture of malice, provocation and distain garnished with half-truths,' Mr Anda said. It is not the first time Mr Schroder - a Social Democrat - has been angered by the newspaper. Published by the influential Axel-Springer group, it has a long tradition of championing conservative causes. But the move marks a dramatic about-face for a politician who has styled himself as a 'media chancellor'. Revelling in the contrast to his often press-phobic predecessor, Helmut Kohl, Mr Schroder once even famously said all he needed to govern was Bild and television. And the boycott doesn't come without risks since the daily, which mixes high politics with tabloid sensationalism, has an estimated 12 million readers. Bild editor-in-chief Kai Diekmann has rejected suggestions that his newspaper is anti-government. He said both government spokesman Mr Anda and Mr Schroder's wife, Doris, used to work as reporters for Bild. Some observers think Mr Schroder may want to use the offensive against the paper to create a common enemy to unite his fractious Social Democratic party (SPD). With the SPD wallowing at all-time lows in national opinion polls, he has come under increasing fire from left-wing critics for pushing ahead with unpopular economic reforms. Unfortunately for Mr Schroder, instead of helping the SPD close ranks, the Bild boycott seems to have united the German media. The editors of several leading daily newspapers have signed a letter formally protesting. German Journalists' Association chairman Michael Konken blamed the government's woes on its own poor public relations work. He said Mr Schroder's decision was 'a blatant breach of press freedom'.