Papers Reviewed: The Sun, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Times
Topic of article: Immigration, European Union
Headline: Haul Aboard
Authors: Jack Royston (General Journalist) and Nick Pisa (Reporter)
Aim of the article: To present the findings of an exclusive investigation done by the Sun in which they claim to have revealed a gang of migrant smugglers in the UK
Agenda of the article: To increase the concerns about immigration and the true scale of migrants crossing in the UK from Europe. By revealing this story as an exclusive operation done by the Sun the paper not only makes people feel like their newspaper is the best one to trust for information but they also make the issue seem much larger, as if this story is just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ so to speak. The main picture claims to show a boat used by Albanian migrants who were recently picked up in the Channel being towed through a town in Kent by the smugglers gang. The image brings up emotions of fear that things like this could be happening in a regular little town with a fish and chips shop and we may never know about all the immigrants coming in.
Bias of the article: There are very few sources quoted in the article, with the public being asked to believe that the boat in the picture is the actual boat used by the migrants. There are no interviews with police involved in the rescue operation nor with anyone directly involved in the issue of immigration in the UK, giving this article a feeling of hearsay.
Topic of article: Politics, Crime/Policing
Headline: Revealed: spy agency rift over rendition policy
Authors: Nick Hopkins (Defence and Security Correspondent), Richard Norton-Taylor (Security Editor)
Aim of the article: To report on the involvement of British intelligence agencies in the capture and torture of alleged terrorists during Tony Blair’s government
Agenda of the article: Rendition: (especially in the US) the practice of sending a foreign criminal or terrorist suspect covertly to be interrogated in a country with less rigorous regulations for the humane treatment of prisoners. The exposure of further inhuman practices carried out during the Blair regime comes in the wake of comments this week that he should be in jail facing war crimes. The article seems to place the blame largely on government support of the practice of rendition, leading the reader to see the consequences of the actions as the direct fault of Blair. By including an interview with someone who suffered torture due to these practices we are made to both sympathise with this man who seems kind and undeserving of the treatment and also feel a more personal anger at what the government and Blair has done.
Bias of the article: The article only mentions a ‘whitehall source’ regarding the alleged letter written to Tony Blair so there is no way to verify this. The main bulk of the story comes from a very recent Scotland Yard investigation so in many ways we are being asked to trust this source until the full details are released. However, the story does not include any quotations from people involved in the renditions or in the Blair government during the time so this lacks some balance.
The Daily Mail
Topic of article: European Union, Immigration, Politics
Headline: Immigration Revolution!
Author(s): Jason Groves (Deputy Political Editor)
Aim of the article: To report on the claims made by the Leave campaign about the proposed changes they would seek to implement to the immigration system if they were voted for
Agenda of the article: To present the proposed changes to the immigration system as a ‘revolution’ and an amazing new way of thinking which has only been offered by the Leave campaign. The Mail uses large, bold letters on the front page to draw the reader in and immediately make them think of radical new changes which are favourable to them, as the word ‘Revolution’ commonly evokes. The article goes on to propose that the only hope the UK has to curb its ‘immigration problem’ (a commonly presented theme) is to allow Johnson and Gove to have control of our policies. The article wants readers to feel comforted by the fact that someone has finally come up with a solution to their concerns about immigration and to urge them to vote for the Leave campaign.
Bias of the article: There are few sources cited in this article, including ones that may have served to put these claims into greater perspective. These include not only the specific details about what this point based system would entail, as well as how well the current policies work in Australia and a comparison between immigration numbers there and in the UK. There are no interviews with anyone from either side of the debate, instead quoting only the official statement.
Topic of article: International Affairs, Crime
Headline: US warns of summer terror risk in Europe
Authors: Fiona Hamilton (Security Editor), Graeme Palton (Transport Correspondent)
Aim of the article: To report on the advice recently published from the US State Department about the threat of terror attacks in Europe over the summer.
Agenda of the article: The article presents the advice published in the US as a form of warning to us in the UK about the increasing safety concerns coming from the continent. There is only one mention of the UK specifically and the feeling generated by the article is that the European continent is becoming a dangerous place to be and is perhaps best avoided or at the very least limited from influencing the UK excessively. What is interesting is that these warnings are not new and have in fact been published by European bodies previously, but the fact that this warning comes from the outside the EU and from someone as safety conscious as the US seems to lend more gravitas to the situation. In the current international climate the threat of terror is certainly a concern to be taken seriously but the agenda of the article seems to be to inflate this to a point where Europe seems a dangerous place. Is this related to the EU debate in the UK? If people fear those who walk on the mainland this could influence their desire to continue to allow, as it has been simplified to, the maintenance of ‘free borders’ with a vote to remain in the EU.
Bias of the article: There are two different sources used to give perspective on the terror warnings and this does give the article some balance, especially when you include a security and a terrorism and tourist expert. In order to balance the article a bit more there could have been a more in depth analysis of the current terror warnings around the world and how the American one fits in. The lack of input from English counterterrorist services may also have helped.
Front page images from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs/the_papers
Reviewed by: Sam Hewitt