Tuesday 31st May 2016

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

The Sunsun.750

Topic of article: Entertainment; Royal Family

Headline: Jolly hockey strips

Authors: Chris Pollard (News Reporter)

Aim of the article: The article is informing readers that sixth-form students at Marlborough College, the old school of Kate Middleton, hired a “male stripper” as part of their end of term celebrations.

 Agenda of the article: The relationship between the media and the Royal Family is consistently controlled by Clarence House and only occasionally do stories of this critical nature appear. This occurs either through behaviours of individuals (e.g. Prince Harry in Las Vegas) or random and vaguely relevant information like such as this article. It isn’t clear what the paper actually thinks is such a shock: is it the inappropriate use of the girls’ time on this “prank”?  In which case it is not outlined whether this was their free time or during school hours. Or is it that if you are paying £30,000-a-year fees then they think that you shouldn’t behave like this? Or is it just that an opportunity to taint the generally perfect image of Middleton by associating her with this mild St.Trinian’s style debauchery is simply too much for the paper to withhold.

 Bias of the article: There are really only three facts presented in the article: Kate Middleton went to Marlborough College; Marlborough College charges “£30,000-a-year” and “sixth-formers” smuggled in a male stripper and he did, what we assume, was his job. Other than the poor quality photo used on the front page there is no evidence for any of this information and no explanation, as detailed above, of why the actions of these student relates to Middleton. There is no discussion of the general quality of the school, conduct of the students or – in fact – the rest of Middleton’s entire life other than that she attended Marlborough College.


The Guardianguardian.750

Topic of article:  Politics

Headline:  The Final Countdown: Can Cameron keep Britain in Europe

Authors: Rowena Mason (Political Correspondent)

Aim of the article: The article is setting the stage for the final 23 days of battleground for the EU referendum campaigns, focussing mostly on the challenges facing the Remain campaign.

Agenda of the article: This article illustrates their point that politics of the nation are being turned upside down for this referendum by using leaked Remain campaign analysis. They depict the Remain campaign a potentially abrasive alliance of Lib Dems, Greens, Labour, David Cameron and trade unions. The key issue raised is that Cameron needs Labour and left-wing voters to be persuaded to put the referendum above their political allegiances to secure a win. This is a problem for two reasons – firstly that the Labour party’s stance is apparently unclear to their “uncertain” voters and secondly this is confounded by that voting to remain may be indirectly voting to keep Cameron as prime minister. This is because some Brexit MPs have pledged a “vote of no confidence” in Cameron if Brexit was to occur.

Bias of the article: The article is critical of different components of the Remain campaign including Labour who’s “arguments are not cutting through to the mainstream” and for Cameron’s duplicity in his newfound support of Khan who he previously viewed as “unfit” for the mayoral role. However, overall, they focus on the task for the Remain campaign because that is who they support. Perhaps most telling of this is the indicators for what the paper feels will occur if Leave win “A quick divorce, market turmoil – and splits in EU?” versus remain “Sighs of relief…” The article provides no sources here except this leaked memo and doesn’t give details of the challenges to the Leave campaign on this front page.


The Daily Maildaily_mail.750

Topic of article: Politics

Headline: UK’s open coastline shambles: 4 missed warnings

Author(s): Ian Drury (Home Affairs Correspondent)

Aim of the article:  The article is informing readers that the small ports along the British coastline are unprotected from the increasing threat of people smugglers.

Agenda of the article: This article appears to inspire further fears about the “lax” control of British borders at a politically sensitive time considering the looming referendum vote. There is a pitting of the side of “the Government” “ignoring” this issue versus “four reports” which are “sounding the alarm” about border control. The article also outlines both the current reality of “unprecedented numbers” of boats and they also provide potential solution of “a Navy warship” to pick up migrants from the channel. There is also catastrophizing from “several experts” who suggest that the “thousands of migrants” dying in the Mediterranean “could be repeated in the Channel.” The article paints the idea that nobody is safe from this unknown threat until our border control improves, not even those 6000 or so living in the sleepy village of Dymchurch.

Bias of the article: The article presents no side other than its own agenda of criticism of the “complacent” Government and Border Agency. There are no specific sources quoted except from the government saying the threat was “not currently assessed as being significant” which they do not provide a frame of reference for. When people are cited they are vague “several experts” and “border guards” and there is no specifics for the “four reports” such as where and who published them.  Wider than this, there is no outline of what specifically they feel is the problem in the situation and what a long lasting solution would be as surely sending “Navy warships” to “pick up migrants” is unsustainable if nothing else.


 The Timesthe_times.750

Topic of article: Politics

Headline: Minister’s ignored risk of people trafficking

Authors: Richard Ford (Home Correspondent)

Aim of the article: The article is raising awareness of the security threat to British borders from migrants being trafficked in small boats to smaller ports after security has tightened at larger ports such as Calais.

Agenda of the article: The article is raising alarm that Britain’s “small airports and ports” are vulnerable points of entry for people trafficking, using an example of two men being charged for “people smuggling” “18 Albanian migrants” by small boat over the weekend. Moreover the article is highlighting that the Home Office Border Agency have “played down” and “dismissed” this threat despite a report  recently indicating the risks. The article takes an turn by quoting security minister John Hayes suggesting that these same ports are also a “weak link in the fight against Islamist terrorism.” The themes of border control, Islamophobia and frank racism are likely to continue playing out as we move closer to the EU referendum and this article is an example of fuels for those fires.

Bias of the article: The article is highly critical of the Government’s response to this and emphasises the idea that they have underestimated the threat. To support the urgency of this they quote a former chief immigration inspector saying “people would die unless more was done.” They highlight “similar concerns” noted by Keith Vaz and Lord Carlile QC. There is no defence of the Border Agencies decisions other than describing their budget increasing this year and neither is there a discussion of the link between Albanian migrants and the potential portal for “Islamist terrorism” that the article describes. Overall it’s pretty difficult to interpret who the article feels are in the wrong: the Government and Home Office, the “people smugglers” or the migrants or all of them.

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

The Guardian read at: http://www.pressreader.com/uk/the-guardian

Reviewed by: Alice Edwards

Between the Headlines are recruiting for both regular contributors for posts like this and for International publications or one-off analysis – email readingbetweentheheadlines@gmail.com if you’re interested. Support us by following @readBTH on Twitter and liking our Facebook page.


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