Papers Reviewed: The Sun, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Times
Topic of article: Crime, Politics
Headline: Ploddy Ridiculous
Authors: Paul Keaveny (North West News Reporter)
Aim of the article: To report the recent complaints about the use of ‘Allahu Akbar’ by a fake bomber during a police training exercise and to discuss why it was wrong for the police to apologise.
Agenda of the article: The article opens with a large picture of the bomber with an explosion going off beside him and the caption ‘make believe…. The fake bomber’ The writers clearly want us to understand that the situation was an imitation scenario and for training purposes only, and therefore the use of the cry, traditionally associated with Islam and more recently with the ISIS suicide bombers, was only for simulation purposes as well. In their opinion the concern over its use, and the direct link it therefore presents between Islam and terrorists, is only political correctness gone wrong and everyone is being too sensitive, including the Muslims and peace lovers who complained. This attitude comes from a general trend in the newspaper of believing strongly in the direct link between being a Muslim and terrorism, and its attempts to ensure the British public believe this, as well as its disdain for opinions other than its own.
Bias of the article: There is no mention of any interviews with those that reported the simulation in order to understand their opinion. Many of the opinions put forward lacked any cited resources and most of the article was written as an op-ed piece by the Sun. There was a lack of exploration for the concerns of the ‘other side’.
Topic of article: Health, Politics
Headline: NHS watchdog reveals hospital discharge crisis
Authors: Sarah Boseley (Health Editor)
Aim of the article: The article summaries a recent report published by an independent NHS watchdog that has found a high number of cases of unsafe discharge from hospital for elderly and ill patients in the last year. It contains opinion pieces from politicians and organisations as well as explanations of the findings.
Agenda of the article: In the context of the continuing media coverage of the state of the NHS and the junior doctor’s strike this article considers a different aspect of health care provision. It is attempting to present a more complete picture of the challenges facing the modern NHS, as well as highlighting a particularly concerning aspect in which the current system has failed many patients. The inclusion of patient story anecdotes make the information much more intense and visceral in order to interest the average reader, who may not be interested in the logistics, and while it does not explicitly support the ongoing disputes about the NHS there is talk about these issues being a product of conservative inspired cuts to the NHS, possibly intending to demonstrate that the effect of conservative policy to the health system is not limited to the junior doctors’ contract.
Bias of the article: There are a few quotes and opinions offered from a number of sources, including the department of health, patients association, the shadow health secretary and NHS improvements, making this a well balances presentation of the recent report. However there is a lack of information from those directly involved in the discharges at the hospitals. There is also no mention of the number of safe discharges which may have put the numbers into greater perspective.
The Daily Mail
Topic of article: Politics, Global and Domestic
Headline: Corrupt regimes get our aid cash admits Cameron
Author(s): Jason Groves (Deputy Political Editor), Rebecca English (Royal Correspondent) and Daniel Martin (Chief Political Correspondent)
Aim of the article: The article reports on a filmed conversation between the current PM, David Cameron, the Queen and a number of other important figures, in which David Cameron is heard to describe two countries due to attend the upcoming anti-corruption summit in London as being ‘two of the most corrupt countries in the world’.
Agenda of the article: With the release of the Panama papers a few months ago the topic of corruption on an international and governmental scale has been rarely out of the news and this anti-corruption meeting is a first attempt to show governments are addressing the issue. The Mail decides to focus on the comments by Mr. Cameron for a number of reasons. They say that it was a ‘gaff’ and not the first of his, painting him as incompetent and liable to mistakes. They also use quotes from other politicians to describe his comments as both unhelpful for the general summit’s goals and unfair to the current rulers of the regimes mentioned. However, the main focus is on the amount of aid from Britain that goes to the two countries, the cost this has on the taxpayer and the need for better control in Britain of corruption. There is a hint of anti-international aid supply to some of the arguments, as they feel this takes money from the British taxpayers.
Bias of the article: This article includes quotes from both 10 Downing Street and a number of opposition politicians, both Conservative and Labour, ensuring both sides are represented. There was no response directly from David Cameron, although this was likely due to the lack of one. There was also responses from the two countries mentioned.
Topic of article: Health, Politics
Headline: Dementia sufferers abandoned by hospitals
Authors: Chris Smyth (Health Editor)
Aim of the article: To summarise and comment on the recent report by an NHS watchdog which presents evidence about the failure of discharge planning and implementation within the NHS hospitals across the country.
Agenda of the article: The article mentions the ‘decade long funding squeeze’ under which the NHS and hospitals find themselves currently, before going on to report that the failures may be due to an attempt to ‘meet efficiency targets’. The article is clearly against this poor treatment of the elderly and seems to placing the blame not on the hospitals themselves but on those running them and the constraints under which they run, primarily placed there by the government. The use of anecdotal evidence helps to make the information have more impact and is almost feels like a call to arms for the readers to do something about the problem with the system, although the question about who or what the system represents is an interesting question.
Bias of the article: There does not seem to be any quotes or information from those working in the hospitals and so this side is not represented, which may bias the articles tone. There are some interesting and useful numbers given from the watchdog report to allow a more comparative understanding of the numbers – ‘1 out of 8 patients felt they could not cope at home after leaving hospital’. Overall the article seems reliable in a report of one side but there should be more information from within the hospital to better understand the issue.
Front page images from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs/the_papers
Reviewed by: Sam Hewitt