Papers Reviewed: The Sun, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Times
Topic of article: Sport
Headline: Red Faces
Authors: Nick Parker (Senior Reporter)
Aim of the article: The article is informing readers of the discovery of a fake bomb at Old Trafford which led to the evacuation of 50,000 fans on a Premier League match day.
Agenda of the article: The article is describing the security response to the discovery of the “incredibly lifelike explosive device” including the arrival of bomb disposal experts who undertook a controlled explosion of the device. With the headline of “red faces” and highlighting that it will cost “£3million” the article suggests how frustrating the situation would be for supporters and for “bosses.” Considering the options of this inconvenience compared to the risk of a genuine bomb threat this does seem like a positive outcome and the response services appear to be efficient however – despite this – the paper has chosen to put this on their front page.
Bias of the article: Generally the article is short and only quotes from the police with no input from those at the ground, football managers or security experts. The article appears critical using words like “chaos” under the inset photo of Wayne Rooney to make it seem like a fiasco whereas it could be argued that this was a successful drill and there are positives such as the fact that no one was injured that are not reported.
Topic of article: Crime
Headline: Police fear shortage of armed officers
Authors: Vikram Dodd (Police and crime correspondent)
Aim of the article: The article is informing readers that there are insufficient police volunteering to be trained to use firearms to meet the current estimated need after the Paris terror attacks.
Agenda of the article: The article both describes the extent of the problem and provides some explanation for why police officers who are currently firearms trained are “increasingly disaffected” and why others are “deterred” volunteer for training. There is also sympathy for police officers avoiding firearms training with the citing of the case of officer “W80” who was arrested last year after a fatal shooting of a suspect. Overall the article instils a degree of fear in the readers particularly by highlighting that “loss of life (in Paris) was stopped at 130 people” due to the French police being “routinely armed” and comparing this to Britain being currently unable meet our target ratio of “thee armed officers” for “one armed terrorist.” Furthermore the article describes the situation being almost at a “crisis” level with “quite a lot of areas” including “large towns and cities” that would be ill-prepared for a terrorist attack similar to Paris.
Bias of the article: The article uses two key sources for the bulk of its information: deputy chief constable Simon Chesterman who is the national police lead on firearms issues and Che Donald of the Police Federation who represents firearms officers. These two dominate the article and it may be useful to have additional opinions from current front-line officers on their motivations. The police force dominating the article reflects a paternalistic viewpoint and results in little space for alternate opinions regarding security and terrorism in Britain.
The Daily Mail
Topic of article: Health
Headline: Midwives revolt over abortion
Author(s): Sam Greenhill (News Reporter), Ben Spencer (Medical Correspondent)
Aim of the article: The article is persuading readers that the chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) should leave her post after signing the Union up to the British Pregnancy Advisory Service’s (BPAS) ‘We Trust Women’ campaign without midwives support.
Agenda of the article: The article is strongly critical of Cathy Warwick and her “disgraceful betrayal” through her decision to endorse the BPAS campaign, an organisation – the article highlights – that she is chairman of. The message is that this campaign “scraps the 24 week legal cut-off for terminations” which could lead to “healthy foetuses being aborted…for the convenience of the mother or because they were the wrong sex” which the article portrays as wrong. Moreover they describe the campaign as “flying in the face” of an alternate view that the limit should be less than 24 weeks due to “advances in medical science.” They describe midwives being in “open revolt” and “mutinying” suggesting that the majority of those who Warwick is representing disagree with her decision.
Bias of the article: There is little explanation of why the We Trust Women campaign is felt necessary except the short statement released by the RCN upon signing up to the campaign which focuses on the positive effects on women’s safety of decriminalisation. This argument for maternal health and safety is not contested in the article and no distinction made between decriminalisation and the view that abortions after 24 weeks would become an option for any woman in any circumstance. The only other quote included is from a midwife from Northern Ireland and therefore there is no substantiation of their claims of “MPs” , “members of the public” and “thousands” of midwives “revolting” against this.
Topic of article: Religion
Headline: Millions of pounds put into Google by Church
Authors: Kate Burgess (Religious Affairs Correspondent), Gabriella Swerling (News and Business Correspondent)
Aim of the article: The article is reporting on what it sees as hypocrisy within the Church of England through it paying staff hundreds of thousands of pounds and investing millions in Google which has been revealed in their annual report.
Agenda of the article: The emphasis of the article is communicated by contrasting what the Church says and what the church does. Examples of this is quoting the church’s ethical investment and advisory group guidelines indicating “investor engagement” was necessary with companies avoiding tax and then indicating that the Church had “confirmed” they “had not engaged with Google over its tax affairs.” The article repeats this pattern including quoting Archbishop Justin Welby on “obscene” executive pay and quoting the pay of church executive commissioners “£463,000 last year” which they say is “20 times the minimum pay for a parish priest.” Politics is also brought into the article with Liberal Democrat MP John Pugh criticising this news particularly as he was “assured” by Conservative MP and church estate commissioner Caroline Spelman in the Commons this year that they are “drilling down hard on tax avoidance.”
Bias of the article: The article is generally very critical of the Church and specifically cites specific examples in which the Church appear to be ambivalent regarding tax avoidance whilst, in practice, maintaining a public image of fighting it. There is a lack representation of the Church to provide evidence of where they do match their political morals with their economic action. For example: there is also no explanation provided for the amount of money being paid to commissioners or if there are other tactics other than “investor engagement” that they are pursuing to dis-incentivise tax avoidance in their investments.
Reviewed by: Alice Edwards