Monday 13th June 2016

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

The Sunsun.750

Topic of article: International Affairs; Crime

Headline: America’s Bataclan

Authors: James Beal (US Correspondent)

Aim of the article: The article is reporting the mass shooting of 50 people in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

 Agenda of the article: From the headline which relates Orlando to the November Bataclan attacks in Paris, this article is absorbed in the concept of this being a prime example of Islamic fundamentalist terrorism. The article depicts the  “I.S. killer” as “laughing” as he “slaughtered” clubbers inside Pulse nightclub  in Orlando and also title him “I.S. maniac” and label his photo “mass murderer” as if we didn’t quite understand. The sheer significance of the attack is indicated by the comparison to 9/11 and to the Paris attacks which both shocked the world and were claimed by terrorist organisations.

Bias of the article: As with much of the analysis of the coverage of Orlando, the key issue here is the focus being on the terrorism itself and the origins of the attacker rather than of any wider reaching issues. The Sun avoids any discussion of topics such as why an LGBTQ+ club was targeted or even the debate over gun control or impacts on U.S. politics at such a pivotal time in the election campaigns.  There are no direct quotes provided or any sources for any of the information such as whether there is evidence Isis was responsible for the attacks or why they feel it necessary to describe Mateen as a “maniac” or neglect the fact he is a lifelong U.S. citizen.

The Guardianguardian.750

Topic of article: International Affairs; Crime

Headline: Massacre in Orlando

Authors: David Smith (Washington Correspondent; Washington DC), Richard Luscombe (News Correspondent; Orlando) and Ed Pilkington(Chief U.S. Reporter; Orlando)

Aim of the article: The article reports the massacre of 50 people in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida by a lone gunman Omar Mateen

Agenda of the article: The article is mostly dominated by reporting the facts – as far as they are known – and then providing numerous accounts and responses to the attack. There is emphasis of the overwhelming “horror” of the “slaughterhouse”-like shooting with it described as “the deadliest…in American history” and a very vivid account provided by survivors. There also appears to be a focus on the attack being linked to Islamic State with the FBI “conducting a terror investigation” and Obama discussing the attackers possible association with “terrorist groups.” Further analysis is likely to continue within the paper and there is a suggestion at a homophobic, as opposed to religious, motivation for the attacks by Mateen’s father.

Bias of the article: The article uses multiple sources for their information including the FBI, Obama’s response, a survivor Kenneth Melendez, a mother of a someone at the club, and Mateen’s father. There is a significant amount of space given to Obama as this indicates the gravity of the events and also works towards an image of America “united in grief, in outrage…” This is rather than indicating that what happened in Orlando raises significant issues including the insufficient safe spaces and protections for national and international LGBTQ+ communities, the further igniting of the gun legislation debate, terrorism and Islamophobia and political consequences in a swing state such as Florida. On this front page there is also a Gary Younge comment piece which raises some of these issues; however they are barely touched upon this headline article as it tends towards more descriptive reporting and there is therefore minimal analysis from those involved in those wider debates or communities.


The Daily Maildaily_mail.750

Topic of article: Politics

Headline: Fury over plot to let 1.5M Turks into Britain

Author(s): Jason Groves (Deputy Political Editor), Ian Drury (Home Affairs Correspondent), James Slack (Political Editor)

Aim of the article: The article is reporting information from leaked cables suggesting that the Brussels may allow some Turkish citizens 90-day travel rights within the Schengen zone.

Agenda of the article: Shock horror! The Daily Mail reports pro-Brexit story, this time focussing on Turkish migrants to Britain. The language used throughout the article makes the (pro-EU side of) the British government seem secretive and manipulative of British voters, only 10 days before the EU referendum. They are described as “plotting”, “hoodwinking”, “secretly discussing” and “colluding” to keep these potential plans hidden until after the referendum. The idea itself is described in quite confusing terms with them equating granting 90-day travel rights to some “special Turkish passport holders” to “letting 1.5M Turks into to Britain” as if to permanently reside. There is also ambiguity about how involved the UK government is in these plans which are designed by Brussels.

Bias of the article: The article does nothing to support the opposing concepts that this could be a positive tactic to reduce migrant routes; that the UK government are less involved in this because this deal may not actually include the UK (as they are not within the Schengen area) or that “Turks” coming to the UK, or those who are already citizens, is not actually a negative thing.  There is no response provided for these criticisms from the UK government and there is no space for any critical analysis of what is likely a complex issue. Notably Vote Leave propaganda regularly describes Turkey being close to joining the EU as a negative of staying in the EU and – whatever your opinion of the validity of that point – there is likely racist or perhaps Islamophobic undertones as part of that concern.


 The Timesthe_times.750

Topic of article: International Affairs; Crime

Headline:  He swore allegiance to Isis then shot 50 dead

Authors: Boer Deng (Washington Correspondent; Orlando); Ben Hoyle (US West Coast Bureau Chief; Los Angeles)

Aim of the article: This article reports the events of mass shooting of 50 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida early Sunday morning.

Agenda of the article: It seems clear that this article cares mostly about one thing: the terrorist motivations of the gunman Omar Mateen. Ignoring the fact that Obama saying it was currently “still early in the investigation” the paper only mentions his comment that this was an “act of terror” and continues to strengthen this argument throughout. This includes the origins of Manteen described as “security guard of Afghan descent who was born in New York” interesting if compared to The Guardian’s “a US citizen of Afghan heritage” and making an association between Mateen’s father and a potentially pro-Taliban/anti-US associated TV channel. There is also the comparison to other terrorist attacks such as in San Bernadino “dedicated to Islamic State” and the description that this was the “worst attacks to the U.S. since September 11, 2001.”

Bias of the article:The bulk of the article is reporting of information and there aren’t many individuals quoted. The paper, ever a stickler for authority and justice, includes mainly the FBI, the police and President Obama. The detailed information from the FBI is used to allow the paper to imply that they had the chance to stop him as he was “a suspect” but decided in 2014 he “did not constitute a threat.” As described above there is little discussion of anything in the article other than his links to terrorist organisations, most notably Islamic State. Perhaps surprisingly, they do also raise issue of other potential attacks on the LGBTQ+ community when describing a completely unrelated arrest in Los Angeles in view of LA Pride this weekend.

Front page images from:;

Reviewed by: Alice Edwards

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