Thursday 17th March 2016

Papers Reviewed: The Sun, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Times, The New York Times (International Paper)

The Sunsun.750

Topic of article: Economics; Domestic

Headline: Fizzy Rascal

Authors: Tom Newton Dunn (Political Editor)

Aim of the article: The article is analysing the decision of the Chancellor to include the sugar tax on fizzy drinks in his budget.

 Agenda of the article:The article is mostly mocking the Chancellor for this new sugar tax for fizzy drinks with high sugar content including the edited image of him as a “rapper” pouring a can of fizzy drink away. The article portrays the move as irresponsible and poorly thought using the phrase “slapped a surprise sugar tax” and quoting “some Tory MPs” calling it “heavy handed.” They are also using hyperbole with the phrase “Levy has failed all over the world” and the argument that this tax “will hit the poorest hardest” to indicate that this was a bad decision which will not support those who are less well off in society, in addition to the “infuriated” fizzy drink company manufacturers.

 Bias of the article: The article makes an attempt to be balanced by giving the view of “campaigners including Jamie Oliver” who were supportive of the decision but the weight of the article is critical of the move. The use of “Tory MPs” works to legitimise the point of view of the article as valid by politicians but the article lacks any other quotes. The article doesn’t cite evidence of when and where in the world a sugar tax has failed and hit the poorest hardest. Furthermore there is little detail or analysis of any other aspect of the budget and who is likely to benefit or not from it.

The Guardianguardian.750

Topic of article: Economics; Domestic

Headline: Osbourne’s credibility gap

Authors: Larry Elliott (Economics Editor), Heather Stewart (Economics Editor)

Aim of the article: The article is providing the newspapers interpretation of the Chancellor’s budget, with the newspaper providing extensive analysis including not only the front-page and multiple pages within the paper but a separate section dedicated to the impact of the budget.

 Agenda of the article: The article is highly critical of George Osborne and uses multiple sources to contest his ability and tactics in meeting his final target of deficit reduction to a surplus by the end of his term. They describe him using “eye catching measures” such as the tax on sugary drinks to “disguise a looming £56bn “black hole”” separating him from his goal by 2020. They also raise the issue of the potential for the situation of a Conservative leadership battle arising if the referendum result is to leave the European Union and that these “eye catching measures” including his “attempt to woo voters” with tax cuts could be in order to bolster his support against his possible rival Boris Johnson. In addition the article makes the argument  that the tax cuts are going to benefit higher rate tax payers rather than low or middle-incomes, using analysis from Liverpool Economics to support this.

Bias of the article: Sources of support for the articles stance come from the Office for Budget responsibility (OBR) including its director Robert Chote, Liverpool Economics and David Finch “senior economic analyst at Resolution Foundation.” All of the sources support the idea that the Chancellor is highly unlikely to be able to meet his target. Perhaps the most pertinent of all is the highlighting that the OBR was created as an independent body to create growth forecasts and comment on the budget by Osborne himself in 2010 and that this body is deeply sceptical of his aims using phrases such as the Chancellor only being able to make his target by “shuffling” spending, going some way to undermining his strategy. The article doesn’t present positive steps in the budget in any detail, suggesting that the moves for the “next generation” are partially for Osborne’s personal gain or to cover up his inadequacy in meeting his own targets, using criticism from an organisation he established.


 The Daily Maildaily_mail.750

Topic of article: Economics; Domestic

Headline: George’s Awesome Gamble

Author(s): “Daily Mail Reporter” (not mentioned on front page; sourced from website)

Aim of the article: The article is presenting the paper’s view on George Osborne’s final budget before the EU referendum with some details of the budget discussed.

Agenda of the article:Overall the article is suggesting that George Osborne, and the nations’ finances as a whole are in a challenging situation. The article paints the chancellor at a “very optimistic” gambler, literally with their front-page image and in their description of his main gamble of “£9billion tax raid on big business” to fund the cash ISA for under-40s which would cost £850million a year. There is suggestion that he has motives of “wooing Middle Britain with tax cuts” with the budget being “aimed squarely at middle class voters”, “savers” and supporting small businesses; however this is hiding the core issue of the deficit. This is discussed describing  the “rosy forecasts on growth, productivity and taxes” being “blown dramatically off course” with the “£56billion” deficit still remaining and – simultaneously – the Chancellor making a “stunning”, “surprise sugar tax.”

Bias of the article:The article does not purely show Osborne as irresponsible as it goes some way to highlight some positive decisions such as “slashes business rates, helps savers…” however the general tone of the article is that these changes may improve life for “Middle Britain” but the key issue of the UK finances’ “plunging even deeper into the red” are what the writer focuses on. The only outside source of information or opinion is that the “sugar level stunned MPs and raised accusations of ‘nannying’” which gives the impression of a publicity stunt rather than a planned out decision, though the paper counters this with Osborne’s own words.

 The Timesthe_times.750

Topic of article: Economics;Domestic

Headline: Osborne sugars the pill

Authors: Francis Elliot (Political Editor), Sam Coates (Political Writer), Michael Savage (Political Writer)

Aim of the article: The article is informing readers of the salient aspects of the Chancellor George Osborne’s recent budget.

Agenda of the article: The message of the article is mixed, with both criticism and praise for different aspects of the budget, however the general tone is that this budget indicates Britain’s economy is struggling in multiple ways. This is indicated from the outset in the reference to the budget being a bitter pill to swallow that requires “sugar coating.” There are two foci in the article; firstly that the budget appears to “raid big business” in order to provide “giveaways” for young savers, “squeezed” middle class workers, flood victims and small businesses. Their second aim is to highlight that though Osborne is making some positive changes, such as putting the “next generation first” with the sugar tax, the fundamental issue remains that it is seeming decreasingly likely he will meet his “promise” of being in surplus by 2020. They undermine his goals by using phrases such as “sketchy plans” and scepticism in the phrase “his numbers only add up when…”

Bias of the article: The writers have chosen certain aspects of the budget that they feel are the most important to present on their front page and therefore there will, undoubtedly, be areas that they have not covered for example more in-depth analysis of the losses of over “£4.3m” for people with disabilities which they mention briefly at the end. They use statistics from the budget itself and nowhere else is sited as a source of information. The quotes they use are from the Chancellor himself when discussing his desire for a positive legacy regarding his “children’s generation” and from the Office of Budget Responsibility, whom the article use to support their argument that being “in the black” by 2020 is unlikely.

The New York Timesnewyork_times.750

Topic of the article: Supreme Court; Politics

Headline: Obama pick engages Supreme Court battle

Author(s): Carl Hulse (Chief Washington Correspondent)

Aim of the article: The article is describing the wide impact throughout “all three branches of government” of the nomination of Judge Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court’s current vacancy by current President Barack Obama

Agenda of the article: The article is highlighting the relevance of the political stance of Judge Garland as a nominee for the Supreme Court position in the current situation of Trump looking likely to win the race for the Republican presidential nomination. The article explains that senior Republicans fear that Trump will lose the presidential election to Clinton who will then pick a more left-wing nominee for the vacancy potentially producing a Democrat-ruled President, Senate and Supreme Court. In which case such Republicans, including Senator Jeff Flake (quoted in the article) who sits on the Judiciary Committee would prefer to support a “centrist jurist with proven appeal to Republicans” like Garland in order to maintain a balance within the Supreme Court and prevent this Democrat dominance throughout the separation of powers.

Bias of the article: The article cites and quotes two Senators, Jeff Flake and Orrin Hatch –  from Arizona and Utah respectively – who support this idea of supporting the “lame duck” choice of Garland in order to prevent a move to the left of the Supreme Court. The article doesn’t provide information from those who would be against supporting even the “moderate” candidate regardless of political strategy; or information on who Garland is and his background.

Front page images from:

Reviewed by: Alice Edwards



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