Friday 13th May 2016

The SunScreen Shot 2016-05-13 at 18.32.40

Topic of article: Immigration

Author: Steve Hawkes (Deputy Political Editor)

Headline: Great Migrant Swindle

Aim of article: The article is informing its readers about new figures released on the number of immigrants that arrived in Britain from the EU which was three times the previous official statistics.

Agenda of article: The choice of words in the title of the article which is displayed in large font – Great Migrant Swindle – appears inflammatory. The word “swindle” indicates that deception was used  from government officials to deprive the British public. This article plays right into the anti-immigration rhetoric used by politicians and also the referendum debate. The tone of the article makes it seem as if this was hidden by the government intentionally. Perhaps one can infer from “It means one EU migrant entered the UK every 40 seconds” that migrants are unwanted and this number is too high.

Bias of article: The article does not try to explain why the official statistic on immigration released previously were not correct and why it is now “800,000”. This disparity is because immigration calculated by the ONS is done over one year where as the figure of 800, 000 is from how many EU migrants have applied for national insurance numbers. The Sun is also quoting Priti Patel, a conservative Jobs Minister who is being critical of the Government “These figures, which had to be dragged out of the Government..”. She is also backing Brexit. A pro-EU official has not been represented in this article.

The GuardianScreen Shot 2016-05-13 at 11.50.46

Topic of article: Politics

Author: Anushka Asthana (Joint political editor), Alan Travis (Home Affairs Editor)

Headline: Brexit Tories warned over immigration

Aim of article: The article is informing its readers about the content of a speech that Sir John Major, the former conservative prime minister, will give to the Oxford Union. He is warning the anti-EU camp not to concentrate their arguments to leave on the topic of immigration “in a manner that can raise fears or fuel prejudice”.

Agenda of article: The overall narrative of the article appears to support John Major’s “thinly veiled criticism” of the leave supporters. It does this by mentioning that official statistics are indeed correct despite “front-page anti-EU accusations by the Sun, Mail and Telegraph of a government cover-up, with Johnson and Nigel Farage claiming that had been a conspiracy..”. The overarching theme of the article appears to debunk the immigration argument that the Leave campaign have been using.

Bias of article: There are a large number of quotes from John Major and therefore an over representation of the pro-EU camp. Only one paragraph is dedicated to the Vote Leave campaign and their thoughts on John Major’s speech. This is an indication that perhaps there is possible bias towards remaining in the EU and past Guardian articles also suggest this.

Daily MailScreen Shot 2016-05-13 at 18.33.06

Topic of article: Politics

Author: Daniel Martin (Chief Political Correspondent)

Headline: What are you so scared of, Dave?

Aim of article: The article is informing its readers about the refusal of David Cameron to debate Mr Johnson or Michael Gove.

Agenda of article: The article is highly critical of Cameron’s refusal to debate. The title “what are you so scared of, Dave” is provocative and also undermining the prime minister by solely using his first name. The rhetorical title and the article itself appears to be implying that Mr Cameron perhaps doesn’t have the debating skills or arguments to win a debate. One can partly understand, due to the Daily Mail’s stance in the EU referendum, why it has chosen to run with this article. The article perhaps begs the question that if the prime minister and the leader of the stay campaign is “running scared of a TV debate” then perhaps it might not be the right decision to vote to stay in.

Bias of article: The article has chosen quotes which are critical of the Prime Minister, nevertheless it attempts to explain why Mr Cameron has decided not to debate “he does not want ‘blue on blue’ attacks on fellow Conservatives” and that he has agreed to debate with the Ukip leader. Despite this, it seems conceivable to think that the Daily Mail is painting the Prime minister as cowardly and  it is not fully elaborating on why Mr Cameron has refused to debate with Mr Johnson and Mr Gove.

The TimesScreen Shot 2016-05-13 at 11.52.34

Topic of article: International news

Author: Sam Coates (Deputy Political Editor), Robin Pagnamenta (Energy editor)

Headline: Secret China plan to take over nuclear power station

Aim of article: The article is informing its readers about the secret potential of the Chinese government building its own nuclear reactors in Britain if EDF does not go ahead with its proposed to build the power plants.

Agenda of article: The overall tone of the article appears ominous at the possibility of China taking over the plans to build nuclear power stations in Britain. It mentions that if China does take over, there could be a threat to national security by “allowing Beijing to bypass British security measures”. In the context of Britain’s recent and successful economic partnership with China, the article’s suggestion of a possible Chinese takeover of the power plants could be seen as worrying.

Bias of article: The source of information is mainly from Lord Howell, which The Times explicitly point out that he is the father-in-law of George Osborne. It is difficult to completely ascertain why it does this, however, Osborn is a key figure in the relationship between Britain and China. Although the article state that a Chinese takeover would mean a fast turn around for building the power plants it does not source any information from Chinese officials of why this takeover could be beneficial. The authors are also explicitly mentioning Lord Howell’s credential: “the Conservative energy secretary under Margaret Thatcher” and “The peer is president of the British Institute of Energy Economics and chairman of Windsor Energy Group. He was formerly chairman of the Energy Industries Council. As energy secretary in 1979..” This adds credibility to his statement mentioned in the article but why it chooses to emphasise this is unclear.

Front page images from: http://en.kiosko.net/uk/

Reviewed by: Bruno Gnaneswaran

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

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