Papers Reviewed: The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Times
The Daily Telegraph
Topic of article: Crime
Headline: Criminals go to jail only for weekends
Authors: Steven Swindlord (Deputy Political Editor)
Aim of the article: Report on the announcements made during the recent Queen’s Speech by the Prime Minister for future policy changes, with a special focus on proposed changes to community sentences
Agenda of the article: The name of the article is important as it suggests that the changes to the current criminal system would mean a severe lack of ‘justice’ and perhaps the improper punishment for those who have committed crimes. It is meant to be emotive and get a ‘gut response’ from the public who surely do not want all criminals being in jail only on the weekends. The article goes on to say that it is the biggest ‘shake-up since the Victorian era’ perhaps attempting to compare the resulting consequences of the changes as Victorian and out-dated. The idea that to commit a crime automatically condemns someone to be a bad person with few rights in the legal system is one that is adopted here and perhaps shared by the readers of the paper, so changes like this would be big news and viewed as a serious problem.
Bias of the article: There are few quotes from the police and policy makers about the reasoning behind the changes or the specific details of how the changes will be implemented. However this article does mention the scheme to be an initial pilot within only a few police forces, although neglects to highlight this and passes over it quickly, giving the report an unbalanced view on what the changes mean. There are few facts about the current state of the prison system, nor on how the changes could affect these statistics.
Topic of article: Politics, Crime
Headline: May: police are failing abuse victims
Authors: Alan Travis (Home Affairs Editor)
Aim of the article: To report the recent speech given by Theresa May, the Home Secretary, at the annual Police Federation conference and to highlight some of the current problems seen within the police forces in the UK.
Agenda of the article: There have been a number of articles in the recent news about abuse of power by the police, including a recent one about drones being used inappropriately and this does remain a concern for the British public as the police are usually seen, or intended to be seen, as a trustworthy profession. Domestic abuse is a major concern in the UK, as it has been traditionally underrepresented and poorly policed and there is a drive over the past few years to increase awareness. The importance attributed to this subject by the Home Secretary in her speech reflects these two reasons and the article uses this to discuss the concerns felt about the police force currently. It is represented as a flawed institution, that has taken some steps towards improvement but which still has a long way to go. The author was also keen to point out the potential for the Home Secretary to be changing roles soon, using the article as a way of discussing reports, or gossip, within the political sphere.
Bias of the article: There are no quotes or insight from members of the police force, with the Home Secretary being the most quoted person in the article. There is little referenced fact, other than the speech given and so the validity of the arguments cannot be checked. The article does mention a coming independent inquiry so perhaps these facts are being left until this is published.
The Daily Mail
Topic of article: Politics
Headline: Love Tangle MP’s Trysts In Hotel Paid for by Taxpayer
Author(s): Alan Roden (Scottish Political Editor), Gerri Peev (Political Correspondent), Neil Sears (Senior Reporter)
Aim of the article: Report on expense claims made by MP’s from the Scottish National Party (SNP) who were using hotel rooms to have an affair with a journalist
Agenda of the article: The Mail presents this story rather triumphantly as their exclusive report, citing sources ‘tipping them off’ about it, a common tactic used by them to create an illusion of exclusivity in their reporting. The subject matter is a combination of topics that often shows up in tabloids and the news; MPs doing sordid and sexual things they should not be doing and MPs claiming extravagant living costs at the expense of taxpayers. The fact that it was SNP members, a party that currently controls Scotland at the expense of Labour and the Conservatives may be a factor but this is unclear.
Bias of the article: There are no responses given from the two MPs and journalist identified in the article, nor one from the SNP so there is a distinct lack of balance between the two sides. The only evidence cited by the article for this supposed expense claim is from an unidentified ‘source’, making it difficult to check the facts given.
Topic of article: Politics, European Union News
Headline: Heseltine savages Boris Johnson
Authors: Michael Savage (Chief Political Correspondent)
Aim of the article: Report on the most recent news from the EU debate in which Boris Johnson was publicly attacked by another member of the Conservative party for making inappropriate comments and comparisons about the EU, its current organization and proposed future changes it may cause.
Agenda of the article: The EU debate still rages in Britain before the vote on June 23rd and this article offers another view on the party politics and major topics that are coming out of the discussion. Boris Johnson has been on record comparing the EU’s aims to Hitler’s aims and a conservative peer, Mr Heseltine, has said that this shows Johnson is unable to lead the conservative party. What is interesting about this is how these comments reflect another aspect of the EU debate – this is no longer only about a vote to remain in or leave the EU, but also a leadership contest between Boris Johnson and David Cameron. They have been portrayed as the two leaders of the respective sides and comments such as these by Mr Heseltine make it clear that Downing street understands this and must pain Boris Johnson as incompetent, as well as the Leave campaign.
Bias of the article: There are quotes from both Mr Heseltine and from a close advisor of Mr Johnson, giving a voice to both sides of the argument. There could be more reference facts regarding some of the other claims made by Johnson, including the banana regulations, for the public to decide who true or incorrect these are.
Reviewed by: Sam Hewitt