Papers Reviewed: The Sun, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Times
Topic of article: Migration; Politics
Headline: Jungle Warfare
Authors: Craig Woodhouse (Political Correspondent)
Aim of the article: The article is describing the events of the demolition of part of the camps at Calais known as the ‘jungle’ and the reaction of those who are living there.
Agenda of the article: By using language such as “warfare”, “riot”, “smash” and “battles” in addition to the image of the partially scarfed male with flames all around him the article is portraying the camps at Calais and the people in them as alien and aggressive. Furthermore they are using this as part of their evidence, in conjunction with the statistic of an ever expanding UK population of “77 million by…”, that these ‘migrants’ should not be allowed into Britain or – considering their reference to Greece’s border with Macedonia – elsewhere. This could link to The Sun’s wider opinions on immigration to Britain and – further still – to their view on the European Union referendum to be held in June.
Bias of the article: The article doesn’t include any information on why the camp is partially being demolished or consider why the ‘migrants’ are in the ‘jungle’ at Calais and where they will now go. It portrays the French police as the less violent of the two sides as the violent vocabulary used is focussed on the ‘migrants’ despite the fact it is reported, even on the BBC, that tear gas was used against the ‘migrants.’ Moreover there is no discussion of the role of those who are supporting those in the camps in Calais, including British campaigners, who are also there currently during the demolition. Finally, and perhaps most potently, the interchangeable use of the very different words “refugee” and “migrant” are unexpectedly present and their use could be dissected for hours. The way that the article manages to completely ignore the human side of those at the camps or the underlying reasons for being there starkly indicates the writers own lack of humanity and compassion and desire to impart fear into readers.
Topic of article: Politics, Europe
Headline: Johnson dismisses the PM’s anti-Brexit case as ‘baloney’
Authors: Heather Stewart (Political Editor), Anushka Asthana (Political Editor), Rowena Mason (Political Correspondent)
Aim of the article: The article is continuing the paper’s coverage of the rift in the higher ranks of the Conservative party over the EU Referendum, focussing on the back-and-forth words between Boris Johnson who was in Northern Ireland and Cameron who was at University College Suffolk.
Agenda of the article:The article works to further the idea of a fundamental, and potentially irreparable, division within the Conservative party on the issue of the EU referendum. To start there is a lot of “blue on blue” rhetoric with “Project Fear” becomes “Project Fact” with key Conservative party figures becoming involved such as Lord Mandelson, Priti Patel (employment minister), Sir Jeremy Heywood (cabinet secretary), Chris Grayling (Leader of the House of Commons) all having their opinion heard. However, there are also some new points relating to the decision on Monday (29/01/16) enacted Sir Jeremy Heywood to stop civil servants working in any pro-Brexit MP’s (of which there are currently 6) departments accessing documents relevant to the EU referendum which they could presumably use to undermine the government’s stay campaign. This decision has been criticised – as described in the article – as being “unconstitutional” and this is beyond just an internal party matter with deputy Labour leader Tom Watson warning of losing public trust in the transparency of the EU referendum.
Bias of the article: Overall the article is mostly quoting those involved in the argument, and does so from both pro-Brexit and pro-stay campaign sides. However it is arguable that the article supports David Cameron and the stay campaign in regards to presenting more of their arguments in totality. For instance the article includes a lengthy quote from Lord Mandelson explaining the risk of increased tariffs and validates him saying “former EU trade commissioner” and furthermore the article quotes David Cameron making his points on the EU whereas it mostly quotes Johnson saying hyperbole such as “there is absolutely nothing to be concerned about, indeed everything to gain” rather than making any substantial points. On the other hand the argument that the civil servant’s role being “unconstitutional” is not countered to any significant extent in the article so it appears to support this idea.
The Daily Mail
Topic of article: Domestic Affairs
Headline: Victory for your right to know
Author(s): James Slack (Political Editor), Jack Doyle (Political Correspondent)
Aim of the article: The Daily Mail is highlighting the success of their campaigning to ensure that the Freedom of Information Act is not removed and pointing out added positives of the decisions surrounding this which are intended to increase public sector spending transparency.
Agenda of the article: The article is (a) congratulating itself and its “important investigations” into “public sector abuses” and (b) further working to degrade public sector services – including the NHS and the police – and “councils, quangos and other state bodies.” The article portrays the newspaper as some sort of vigilante service policing public sector organisations that it describes as “corrupt, incompetent and grotesque (in their money wasting)” by uncovering the “fat cats” receiving “perks” and pay of more than “£150,000” who will now have to be named and causing organisations to state the number of staff being paid more than “£50,000” a year. The article perceives the newspaper as importantly doing this role of “exposing scandals including the rampant abuse of public money” in order to save taxpayers money.
Bias of the article:The article is framing the decision of the government to not change the current situation of the Freedom of Information Act, which has allowed the newspaper to access information to use for front-page and other stories, as if it is solely down to their campaign – by quoting Conservative MP Matthew Hancock – rather than a decision based on a lot of different information. Furthermore their view that public sector organisations have a “rampant abuse of public money” that the paper desperately needs to expose in a time where cuts to public services are at, in some areas, an all-time high is interesting and works to undermine public opinion of their services and breed mistrust in them. The article doesn’t quote anyone from any of these “councils” or “quangos”, the police or the NHS, of whom it is presumed they have exposed their wrong-doings in the past and does nothing at all to highlight the good that these services do in keeping the country functioning on a daily basis.
Topic of article: Domestic Affairs; Health
Headline: Live longer in ‘healthy towns’
Authors: Chris Smyth (Health Editor)
Aim of the article:The article is describing recent plans of the NHS’s first venture into urban planning by choosing 10 cities that will be developed to pioneer healthy living embedded in their design.
Agenda of the article: The article is using the words of Simon Stevens, NHS England Chief Executive; to describe these Utopian towns where facilitating good health is the key focus and this will harness technologies in ways that haven’t been used before in this country. The key focus is on older people and children; including promoting “independent living for elderly”, “dementia-friendly” communities and virtual care homes as alternatives to “’institutional’ care homes” and roads where cycling and walking and playing outside are promoted to children. The article shows this as a popular and positive direction that the planned “170,000 residents” can benefit from across the country “from Devon in the south to Darlington in the north” with over 100 councils applying and will start building this year.
Bias of the article:This may be sceptical but there is an element of what could possibly go wrong? which is triggered by the surprising lack of criticism – particularly of costs of these plans – that the writers use. In addition, the only comparison of similar previous plans used being George Osbourne’s branding of Ebbsfleet in Kent as “first garden city in a century.” The article is very supportive of the plans even countering the potential criticism that “developers will be expected to pay” with the assertion that “taking health seriously would be more attractive places to live, making it easier to sell new houses.” The article mostly quotes Mr Stevens, NHS England CEO and uses this quote “ill health caused by laziness, obesity and isolation is vital to saving the NHS from bankruptcy” to heavily endorse these plans which will supposedly cure all of societies health and social care problems with our limitless funds for these “healthy towns.” Moreover there could be said to be an element of totalitarianism in this idea of healthy towns, whereby the occupants are watched through their “skype” that connects all of the houses and have to conform to choosing healthy life choices which ignores the concepts other determinants of health other than the structure of the town you live in.
Front page images from: http://en.kiosko.net/uk/
Reviewed by: Alice Edwards