Papers Reviewed: The Sun, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Times, Herald Sun (Australia – Melbourne)
Topic of article: Television; Religion
Headline: Halalbert Square – BBC building mosque on new £15m soap set
Authors: Stephen Moyes and Jen Pharo (News reporters)
Aim of the article:The article is informing readers that the new set being built for for the BBC long-running soap Eastenders is going to include a mosque.
Agenda of the article: The article is indicating that this is a marker that Islam is becoming increasingly incorporated into mainstream British culture as the reasoning for the addition of the mosque is to make the set and television show more representative of an east London borough. Moreover, the article appears to be provocative on multiple fronts. Firstly it uses “Halalbert” which in some ways is reminiscent of stories such as the anger over halal meat in schools, the reference to the “£15m” which the writers seems to directly link to the use of taxpayers money (via the BBC) of the mosque rather than the entire set and finally the use of the phrase “described as a prominent place of worship.” This final sentence links to later aspects of the article which highlight that “some viewers” may be unhappy with the idea that a mosque is built on the set rather than a church.
Bias of the article: The article is arguably portraying this as a controversial issue, as it is granting it front-page coverage and it’s tone is sensationalist including using “Halal” in a different colour font. The article also uses the word “authentic” almost mockingly to describe the attempts to make Albert Square more representative of a typical East London borough, despite the fact that a significant proportion of the population of boroughs such as Tower Hamlets are Muslim, let alone describing the diverse range of cultures and religions that contribute to the strength of British society. There are also further issues left unexplored such as the potential risk of running along a storyline about religious extremism and therefore promoting islamophobia in mainstream British media that has been suggested could happen in the show. The article gives no positive views on the BBC planning on doing this and in addition doesn’t give any validity to its sources in the first place.
Topic of article: Politics, Europe
Headline: PM attacks Johnson over Brexit
Authors: Nicholas Watt (Chief Political Correspondent), Alan Travis (Home Affairs Editor), Rowena Mason (Political Correspondent)
Aim of the article: The article is describing the personal and political battle unfolding within the Conservative cabinet, focusing on the Prime Minister David Cameron and MP Boris Johnson with the former having come out in support of leaving the European Union.
Agenda of the article:The article indicates that the Conservative party is very evenly split between those who are wanting to stay in the EU and those who want to leave by using the phrase “flocking to the Brexit campaign” of Boris Johnson with the statistics that 110 MPs are wanting to leave the EU with the other 128 having allegiance to Cameron’s campaign to stay. Furthermore the article supports the idea that Johnson has betrayed Downing Street highlighting that “as recently as last week” he told a senior Conservative in the remain camp “I’m sure I will be with you.” The personal aspect of the disagreement and feeling of betrayal on Cameron’s part is highlighted by the degree of childishness to the proceedings with Johnson “shouting “rubbish” in the Commons chamber” and Cameron mocking Johnson using a divorce metaphor relating to Johnson “who has experienced trouble in his marriage.” The article makes it seem as if it is more than likely that Johnson has made this decision to come out as in support of leaving the EU as a tactical one in order to “boost his Tory leadership chances.”
Bias of the article: The article is somewhat supportive of David Cameron as it supports the idea of making Johnson look like he has “apparently personal calculations” regarding the referendum based on improving his own chances in the leadership race. The article fails to include viewpoints from sources outside of the party, only quoting from the Commons, a senior Tory source and from the meeting of the “backbench 1922 committee.” This increases the sense that this is a personal issue and one that is pivotal to the Conservative party leadership and functioning. In addition, the writers do not explore any possible criticisms of David Cameron and his motives, only supporting his “showed he was motivated solely by protecting the national interest.”
The Daily Mail
Topic of article: Politics; Europe
Headline: Now Cameron turns nasty
Author(s): James Slack (Political Editor), Jason Groves (Deputy Political Editor)
Aim of the article: The article is making the readers aware of the heated exchanges taking place in the House of Commons last night between Prime Minister David Cameron, who is part of the stay in the EU campaign, and MP Boris Johnson, who is part of the leave the EU campaign.
Agenda of the article:The article is in support of Boris Johnson and does this through multiple ways, right from the use of the headlines that portray Cameron as somewhat vicious with “savage attack” and “turns nasty.” The writers, in their bullet-points, then go on to discredit “Downing street” and “No 10” for example by saying that they have “admitted being behind a letter” signed by FTSE 100 bosses supporting the stay campaign. In addition language such as “claimed” “Mr Cameron claimed” Putin was the only leader supporting Brexit further delegitimises his words. Furthering this the writers describe the pound falling to its worst level in “seven years” coinciding with “Mr Johnson joining the leave camp” and that the leave campaign being likely to take over “half of the parliamentary party.”
Bias of the article:The article presents a predominantly one-sided view that casts the Prime Minister in a negative light as someone who is able to deceive the general public in order to get what he wants. The only supporting aspect of the article is Cameron’s quote: “I have no other agenda that what is best for our country” however this is followed – as with all of the points that “Downing street” have made – with a retort from Johnson’s point of view. The article is written to promote this idea of “long-standing” rivalry and battle between the pair in addition to promoting its own Eurosceptic ideas. It doesn’t include evidence to support staying in the EU or quotes to that end. Furthermore the description that some of the FTSE 100 bosses had not signed the EU supporting letter “saying the decision lay with the voters” completely undermines the fact that the referendum is happening due to the Prime Minister’s recent actions in Brussels, which clearly indicates he supports the voters they having their say.
Topic of article: Politics; Europe
Headline: Brexit puts jobs at risk, say 200 business chiefs
Authors:Francis Elliot (Political Editor), Phillip Aldrick (Economics Editor)
Aim of the article:The article is describing a letter to the newspaper from “more than a third” of Britain’s FTSE 100 top company “chairmen or chief executives” warning of the risks of leaving Europe for business.
Agenda of the article:The article is intending to present a legitimate business focused approach to the referendum debate, based on and around this letter from companies that are “employing more than 12 million people” across Britain. Generally the article is aligning itself to the themes of the letter itself, in support of Britain remaining within the European Union, in both its tone, choice of quotes andmostly by using it as a front page story. For instance citing that “markets dumped sterling” describing that the pound has fallen to as low as it was in 2010 when the deficit was far higher than it is now as Boris Johnson joined the “Brexit” campaign. Furthermore the writers describe the threats to “downgrade the country’s credit rating” in light of the possibility of the UK leaving Europe. The article does give some view of the “critics” of the letter at the end of the article and in addition notes that “bookmakers slashed the odds on Brexit and on the London mayor’s prospects of making it to No. 10.”
Bias of the article:The mainstay of the article are quotes from the letter itself and statements indicating the importance of the signatories “including big employers such as Asda, BT, Marks & Spencer, Kingfisher and Vodaphone” and from the “treasurer of Britain Stronger in Europe, which organised the letter with No 10’s support.” This describes that there was collaboration between Downing Street and the signatories and the article goes on to highlights critics point of view that some of the signatories have “given cash to the Tories, friends of Mr Cameron and the 25 who have accepted government roles” as well as listing some significant companies missing from the letter. Overall the article could include arguments in support “Brexit” campaign rather than just criticisms that could be based on the letter and could consider the business arguments for leaving the EU.
Herald Sun (Melbourne, Australia)
Topic of article: Police
Headline: Cop kill twist – Watchdog launches probe into murder investigation
Author: Anthony Dowsley (Crime Reporter), Mark Buttler (Chief Police Reporter)
Aim of the article: The article is informing readers of new information concerning the case of shooting of two police officers in 1998.
Agenda of the article:The article is rejuvenating public interest in a case of murder of two police officers which tends to be an emotive topic due to the trust and respect placed in police figures in society which is emphasised by the Victoria Police badge on the inset of the article with the phrase “uphold the right” clearly visible. The information that the article can “reveal” is mostly around the mismatching between an eyewitness statement and a “changed” police statement which the article portrays as having been vital in “cementing the prosecution” of the two who have been charged for the murder. The use of the word “culprits” and the inclusion of the two men’s images on the page indicates the punitive stance of the article suggesting their guilt until proven innocent.
Bias of the article:The article mostly appears to be based on unverified information as they use the words “is believed to centre on…” as if they have no evidence for this. Overall the article is just reporting parts of information they have managed to find rather than casting anyone specifically in a negative light however they do involve the “four police officers” whose conduct has been brought into question for changing the article, somewhat undermining the view of police officers as pure and righteous. Furthermore the final paragraph suggesting that one of those convicted for the murders is preparing to submit petition to reopen the case suggests that the writers of the article are trying to make it seem as if this case is unfinished. The article doesn’t contain evidence or sources to support its information or any quotes.
Front page images from: http://en.kiosko.net/uk/
Reviewed by: Alice Edwards