Papers Reviewed: The Sun, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Times
Topic of article: European Union news
Headline: Checkpoint Charlies
Authors: Steve Hawkes (Deputy Political Editor)
Aim of the article: To report on the European judge’s ruling about the unlawful detainment of an immigrant attempting to cross the Chanel
Agenda of the article: The headline of the article is written in large font and proclaims that the story here is a ‘migrant bombshell’, immediately grabbing reader attention. The use of the phrase ‘Checkpoint Charlies’ in reference to the crossing between East and West Berlin during the 1960’s, the line drawn between Western ‘free society’ and Eastern ‘communist society’ is done purposefully to create the image of the UK being a last bastion of western sensibility, an idea which was comforting post World War II, and to paint the EU as being taken over by unsavoury characters and a place where one is no longer safe. The use of post World War II sentiment is seen often within the Brexit campaign, as this is generally accepted as a time when the UK held great power in the world and is a source of great patriotic pride to many citizens. To evoke the memories of when Britain was great and independently strong helps to foster an attitude of individualism in opposition to the EU sphere.
Bias of the article: The claim that this ruling will ‘open the floodgates’ for immigrant entry into the EU and UK is not substantiated by evidence and it is unclear who is even being quoted with this statement. There are no quotes or references from the judge or the representatives involved in the ruling, nor is there an explanation of the initial incident other than to say that the person locked up had a fake passport. The incident seems to be seized upon as an example of poor EU policy and not backed with evidence.
Topic of article: Economics, Crime
Headline: Ashley admits ‘I broke the law’: the scandal of Sports Direct
Authors: Simon Goodley (Business Reporter)
Aim of the article: Report on the testimony given to MPs by Mike Ashley, the founder and director of Sports Direct
Agenda of the article: The Guardian makes clear that there was an initial investigation performed by them a year ago which exposed concerns about worker rights within Sports Direct. This seems to be a common theme among papers in which they like to show their ability to perform good reporting. The headline immediately draws your attention as it labels these events a ‘scandal’ and the article is successful in generating a feeling of injustice for the workers involved and anger at the company and Ashley in particular. The ability for workers to be treated in this manner in the UK would make the reader contemplate some of the accepted notions that the UK is so far ahead of other countries in maintaining workers rights, as this article draws comparison with the gulags of Soviet Russia. An interesting point may be the connection with the EU debate and discussions over scrapping the European Laws on Workers rights. If an English company can get away with all of this in the UK under the current bill, and indeed it is that bill which is able to prosecute them now, what would they be able to do if the laws were scrapped and a new, less qualified bill enacted?
Bias of the article: The article presents the minutes of the meeting with MPs, quoting both Mike Ashley and spokesmen for the investigations into alleged breaches of employment law. There could be more from workers involved directly with Sports Direct, as their experiences would give a greater understanding of the scale of the issue. The tone of the article is certainly pro-workers rights but Mr Ashley is quoted in his defence of his company, giving him a say as well.
The Daily Mail
Topic of article: European Union news
Headline: What a way to tackle the migrant crisis
Author(s): John Stevens (Europe Correspondent)
Aim of the article: To report on the recent European Commission plans which will attempt to control continued immigration to the EU
Agenda of the article: The article starts off with a large headline proclaiming disbelief about the policies and its agenda is to make the readers feel this as well, and reject the plans as the floundering attempts by a clueless European governing body. The use of Green cards for migrants is ridiculed, with the plan to allow them to bring families with them presented as just another way for more people to arrive in Europe and the UK. As the UK is a member of the European Union the generation of reader anger towards this policy with the idea that the UK have no choice but accept the plans creates further rejection of the EU. There remains little referenced evidence presented, and the article instead relies upon instinctive emotion to proposed plans, with a balanced analysis of the programs left for another time.
Bias of the article: There are no referenced sources or quotes from parties involved in the creation of this program, nor is there any statistical analysis of the effect of green cards in the United States, where they already use them. There is a strong bias towards anti-EU sentiment and the generation of an emotional response rather than a more balanced approach.
Topic of article: International Affairs, Politics
Headline: British police accused of helping Saudi torturers
Authors: Catherine Philip (Foreign Correspondent), Michael Savage (Political Writer)
Aim of the article: To report on concerns over a training program for information gathering that is being given to Saudi Arabian government officials
Agenda of the article: The title immediately decides the mood of the article – it seems hard to agree with the simple sentence given, torturer itself a very strong and emotive word. The story draws a picture of intertwined governmental powers who are of mutual benefit to each other but do not seem to represent the best interests of the public they serve. While the UK supplies information and training to a country with many alleged human rights violations, and in the process allowing the possibility for further infringements, they defend their actions by saying any change would put UK trade at risk and upset the Saudis. The comparison between human lives and trade deals is done effectively and serves to generate anger among the readers. It remains to be seen who will take the blame for these policies though as the article does mention at the end that Michael Gove had already vetoed a contract under concerns about human rights, making it seem as if the Conservatives are already taking action.
Bias of the article: There could have been more sources from within the training program and the government itself regarding the specifics of the program and the knowledge of its implications among cabinet members. The article does reference a training review that would be open to the public to read, making some of the references easily verifiable.
Front page images from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs/the_papers
Reviewed by: Sam Hewitt