Papers Reviewed: The Sun, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Times
Topic of article: Crime; Sport
Headline: Johnson’s Cushy Transfer
Authors: Tom Wells (Home Affairs Correspondent), Robin Perrie (North-East Reporter)
Aim of the article: The article is updating readers as to the location of the prison sentence of ex-footballer Adam Johnson.
Agenda of the article: This is part of a long series of front-pages that The Sun has chosen Johnson for and continues with a similar theme which focuses around animalistic language referring to him as being “caged”, him being cold by using an image where he looks disengaged and unemotional and generally giving the impression that this “footie paedo” is being given a “softer” sentence that he deserves. The newspaper doesn’t approve of him being in a “cushy jail” which they use to refer to the Category B or C prison he is alleged to be moving to, which they describe as having a “all-weather pitch.”
Bias of the article: The article does not use any evidence or cite any specific sources for their information about Johnson being moved or for the level of luxury that they are describing which makes this hard to evaluate. They do not have any specific information from the prison service on why he is being moved or aim to explain this decision but there could be an element of them trying to suggest that he himself is “soft” or at risk of harm as a “paedo” in the “tougher” Category A prison.
Topic of article: Politics
Headline: PM comes out fighting in row over tax affairs
Authors: Anushka Asthana (Political Editor)
Aim of the article: The article is describing the events that took place yesterday in the House of Commons regarding the Prime Minister defending himself against criticisms of tax avoidance involving his own family.
Agenda of the article: The article indicates the significant impact during the past week of the Guardian-led revelations, the ‘Panama papers’, on the government as well as describing how Cameron has been able to manipulate them for his and the Conservatives benefit on several counts. These include the Conservatives becoming more united again “since the start of the battle for Britain’s future in Europe”, highlighting that the government now has created a central register of offshore company beneficiaries and being able to pit their stance of “believing in aspiration and wealth creation” against Labour’s criticisms.
Bias of the article: The article uses quotes from Jeremy Corbyn’s criticisms in the Commons, including the sums for which he sold his shares in his fathers’ company and indicating how central the UK is to the “shell companies set up by Mossack Fonseca.” Cameron himself is quoted in detail however the article is generally critical in tone including undermining his promises by using language such as “he conceded”, “finally admitting he had benefited” and by describing his £100,000 payments from his mother as a “hefty gift” which he believed it was completely “right” to receive. The article contains no other sources of quotes except from the two leaders in the Commons, including any experts on tax or from the general public on these issues.
The Daily Mail
Topic of article: Crime
Headline: Dragged through hell by rape police
Author(s): Ben Wilkinson (South-West Reporter)
Aim of the article: The article is informing readers of the collapse of a rape case against four male students.
Agenda of the article: The article is intended to be highly critical of the police which is a recurrent theme for The Daily Mail, seeming intent on disgracing the detectives in this article and police in many others. The detectives are described as “burying”, “cherry-picking”, “withholding” and “airbrushing” evidence for their personal agenda. Furthermore there is a notable amount of language that could be described as victim blaming which is common in tabloid rhetoric around sexual assault. For example saying they were treated as “guilty until proven innocent”, the “alleged victim” giving “’different accounts’ as a witness in another rape case” and mentioning texts on the victims phone “hinting that she may have consented” which is a rather vague sentence if there ever was one.
Bias of the article: The article comes from the stance that both the police and the “alleged victim” were in the wrong and somehow working together in some sort of conspiracy to make it take “13 months to charge the men.” Overall there is no information on where the quotes the article is using are coming from and there is no representation of the “alleged victims’” point of view, that of the police or any statistics around sexual assault and rape which tend to be the crimes that are least likely to successfully prosecute in the country which is unsurprising when articles like this exist.
Topic of article: Crime/Police
Headline: Elderly betrayed in their homes
Authors: Rosemary Bennett (Social Affairs Correspondent), John Simpson (Crime Correspondent)
Aim of the article: The article is informing the reader about the increase in the number of reports of theft and fraud of older people in the UK.
Agenda of the article: The article is using the shocking statistics of “double” the number of calls to a national helpline, from allegations received by adult social services and the hidden camera footage images of a healthcare worker taking money from an oblivious older woman to make this form of crime against the elderly appear as an epidemic that the newspaper are uncovering in their investigation. The article is stirring up fear and suspicious in readers with older relatives who may become victims of abuse and quotes suggestions that putting hidden cameras in the homes of their loved ones is a good idea.
Bias of the article: The article is aiming to appear to expose this occurrence as growing and widespread and therefore quotes statistics and words from both the charity Action on Elder Abuse, who run a helpline, and from the association of adult social services. There is no quote provided from those who provide care for those who are elderly, and no representation of the many who would never do an act such as this or evidence of the good work that they do. The article is reminiscent of the uncovering of physical abuse in care homes over the past couple of years, whereby the readers are made to feel saddened and naïve that they expected older people to be cared for adequately.
Front page images from: http://en.kiosko.net/uk/; http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs/the_papers
Reviewed by: Alice Edwards