Tuesday 3rd May 2016

Papers Reviewed: The Sun, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Times

The Sunsun.750

Topic of article: Sport

Headline: Blue Done It

Authors: Andrew Parker (Reporter)

Aim of the article: The article is informing readers of the surprising turn of events that led to Leicester City winning the Premier League title.

 Agenda of the article: The article emphasises the shock of the “Foxes” winning the trophy by calling it the “greatest footballing story of all time” and indicating that the odds for them to win were as low “5000/1.” The front page image is of many of the team members celebrating their win at one of the team member’s houses, looking elated as the article suggests they should be.  The focus is also on the “star striker” James Vardy as it is his house and his image they use as the inset.

 Bias of the article: The article contains one quote, which is a tweet from one of the team members Robert Huth expressing his excitement. There is no wider discussion of how likely it is for a team to move up from relegation zone to being champions in a single season or the reasons that contributed to the success of the team except perhaps indicating how close they are as a team as they all celebrate together on the front page.

The Guardianguardian

Topic of article: Politics; International Affairs

Headline: UK’s covert fight against lure of Isis

Authors: Iain Cobain (Senior Reporter), Alice Ross (Reporter), Rob Evans (Reporter), Mona Mahmood (Reporter)

Aim of the article: The article is revealing information regarding a government campaign run by the Research, Information and Communications Unit (Ricu) which is part of their wider “Prevent” strategy to reduce radicalisation of British Muslims.

 Agenda of the article: The article believes that the methods of Ricu are deceptive and are likely – once revealed – to instill distrust of the government which adds to previous concern regarding their wider ‘Prevent’ campaign. They describe the unit infiltrating and using (under “outsourced” guises such as the Breakthrough media company) grassroots and community organisations as bullhorns for their own message. This is despite these organisations themselves being unaware that Ricu remainin “editorial control” and have “final signoff” for their communications campaigns. Effectively the distinction between the government supporting Muslim groups with moderate messages and controlling them in efforts to make their own “propaganda” more influential to “hard-to-reach audiences” is shown as blurred. Furthermore the article portrays the government and Home Office as being “highly defensive” regarding Ricu’s “secretive” actions with them highlighting that “several other former government ministers (aware of Ricu’s work)… declined to be identified.”

Bias of the article: They quote former government ministers who were previously involved in this counter radicalisation agenda who now have their doubts about the methods employed, for example saying that they “could damage trust between the government and Muslim citizens.” Their quoting of the Home Office statement includes the phrasing “to protect communities” which aches of the paternalistic authoritarian stance of the government that the article is describing.  There is no inclusion of those from British Muslim communities or groups except from when they are highlighting how unaware community groups were of the government’s influence.

 The Daily Maildaily_mail.750

Topic of article: Politics; Economics

Headline: Nice work if you can get it!

Author(s): Sam Greenhill (News Reporter), Daniel Martin (Chief Political Correspondent), Mario Ledwith (News Reporter), Tom Payne (News Reporter)

Aim of the article: The article is reporting their “in-depth analysis” that former government ministers and civil servants have been shown to go into private sector jobs in the same area and thereby benefit economically from their time in government.

Agenda of the article: The article is portraying the concept that those who have previously worked in privileged positions in government and the civil service go on to have careers in a similar area, despite having had exposure to information that would be beneficial to the private sector, as unfair. They describe how those, such as their example of Danny Alexander who was Treasury Chief and now works at a Chinese bank, are able to “lobby former colleagues” only to benefit only himself and – we deduce from the implication – the Chinese company he works for. They also are making Cameron appear responsible for this failure as he “promised action…in 2010” and overall are suggesting that the current system of “revolving doors” is inadequate.

Bias of the article: The article doesn’t explain what regulations they would want instead of the current situation which effectively is people using their experience to move up the career ladder. It is not clear where they would prefer them to be working or what restrictions they believe should be in place. The information, and only quotes, are based on that from the watchdog Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba) which already has put into place the rules including those cited in the article of “not exploiting the ‘privileged information’” gained whilst in government. Apart from “two thirds of ministers and officials now take a private job in the same sector” there are no other statistics including considering where these individuals worked before, their income whilst in government versus afterwards and overall what they are actually qualified to do as a job.


 The Timesthe_times.750

Topic of article: Politics

Headline: PM plan new laws to stop Muslim extremists

Authors: Francis Elliott (Political Editor)

Aim of the article: The article is informing readers of some of the expected aspects of the Government’s “Extremism Bill” which is due to be announced on the 18th May.

Agenda of the article: The article has criticism of both David Cameron and multiple components of this bill, however they also go some way in agreeing with Cameron that Islamist extremism is the “struggle of our generation” and hence indicates why it is worthy of front page coverage. Criticism of Cameron includes calling his legacy programme “insufficiently ambitious” and undermining his views on maintaining power if Brexit occurs. Furthermore the article describes parts of the bill as controversially restrictive of freedom of speech including describing introducing Ofcom’s powers to suspend programmes and vetting rules for employers. The use of language makes the Bill’s stance seem extreme including saying “gag individuals and close down premises” whilst also supplying a quote from a “Home Office source” outlining the difficulty of defining of practically “extremism.”

Bias of the article: The article quotes from Theresa May and from David Cameron however they also cite unnamed “allies” and “a Home Office source” in order to erode how viable the Bill is and whether Cameron will even be around as Prime Minister to follow-through his intentions. The article provides a reminder of the “seven disrupted plots to attack Britain” to emphasise the importance of the issue but does very little to describe case for the extent of influence of religious extremism in the UK more fully than this. Furthering this there is an absence from anyone outside of the Government or analysis of the implications for those who could be deemed “extremist” once the bill is introduced.

Front page images from: http://en.kiosko.net/uk/; http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs/the_papers

Also accessed: http://www.pressreader.com/

Reviewed by: Alice Edwards

If you are interesting in becoming part of the Between The Headlines contributors’ team please email readingbetweentheheadlines@gmail.com for further information.



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