Wednesday 15th June 2016

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

The SunSun

Topic of article: Politics, EU referendum, Economics

Headline: Time to mothball the EU

Authors: Rhodri Phillips (Business Editor), Tom Newton Dunn (Political Editor)

Aim of the article: To make a further case for leaving the EU

Agenda of the article: The article aims to show how badly the Remain campaign is losing in the EU referendum. It claims that recent developments have made the argument for Remain even harder to vote for. The use of a poll which puts the anti-EU camp in the national lead by a significant number of points the paper hopes to both show how strong the leave campaign is and sway voters who are potentially on the fence in terms of voting. Sometimes all it requires is the knowledge that one argument seems to have more backing than the other to make people’s minds up. The use of analyst reports which predict favourable economic outcomes for Leave works to support this poll. And then there is the story about EU moths… whether this is simply an attempt at humour or a metaphor for the threat of the EU or both I do not know.

Bias of the article: The only side given any space on the paper is the anti-E campaign. The poll cited by the paper which is deemed as ‘bad news’ for the Remain campaign was in fact carried out by the Sun themselves, and there is no information about the details of this poll, whole the analysts who predicted an economic boom are not cited nor have they been mentioned by any other news outlets.

The GuardianGuardian

Topic of article: Economics, Politics, EU Referndum

Headline: Osborne: vote for Brexit and face £30bn of taxes and cuts

Authors: Anushka Asthana (Politcal Editor), Rowena Mason (Political Correspondent), Philip Inman (Economics Correspondent)

Aim of the article: To report on George Osborne’s proposed budget changes should England leave the EU

Agenda of the article: The article opens with a bullet point summary of the budget changes, made to be bold and catch the attention of the reader. This ensures that no one misses the particulars of the proposal and immediately the reader is thinking of the cost to themselves of these taxes and cuts. The proposed changes are presented with a line saying ‘in a sign of the panic gripping the remain campaign’ – surely not a beneficial analysis for a group that wants to be seen as in control of the argument. The article wants to show that both sides of the issue seem to be reaching fever pitch with their attempts at out claiming the other. While the Remain campaign make ‘panicked’ decisions the Leave campaign speaks of ‘hysterical prophecies of doom and gloom’. However it does describe the Remain campaign in a worse manner, detailing the potential leadership challenge those currently in power may face following the vote. This leaves me wondering, who is worse, the current government or the potential Boris-Gove government which may develop?

Bias of the article: The changing of percentages into actual monetary values when describing the proposed changes in the Budget allows for a more easily understood analysis by readers of article. There are quotes from both George Osborne on one side of the argument and numerous Conservative Leave campaigners on the other, ensuring that the views of both sides are represented. The use of ‘panic’ and prophecies of doom’ when describing some of the arguments make me wonder about an attempt to cloud logic with emotion.

The Daily MailMail

Topic of article: Domestic Politics, Crime

Headline: Clement Freud – Child Abuser

Author(s): Sam Greenhill (News Reporter), Emine Sinmaz (News Reporter) and Claire Duffin (News Reporter)

Aim of the article: To report that former MP and broadcaster Clement Freud has been accused of molesting children by two former victims

Agenda of the article: Over the past few years the news that numerous figures of previous public adoration have been accused of being sex offenders seems to have sadly hardly become news at all. This expose continues in the long line of cases, ranging from Jimmy Saville to Bill Cosby, and features many aspects that remain familiar. The closely hidden secrets behind a famous man’s private life, the previous claims of ‘national treasure’ given to them and the widespread effects their actions on numerous lives. The article wants readers to be the first to know about these claims and to be shocked at them. The possibility that Mr. Freud’s actions were possibly suspected for years by certain watch groups may bring up uncomfortable questions but for now the reader will just be disgusted by the actions of the man.

Bias of the article: The lack of citation of a police report should provoke some level of caution when approaching any criminal claim, and in some ways this scandal may still be regarded as an investigation in progress. The use of quotations from his wife in which she apologises to the victims does seem to conclude the argument however. The article also cannot resist the opportunity to take a shot at Gordon Brown by reminding readers that Clement Freud was described as a national treasure by him in 2009.

The TimesTimes

Topic of article: Economics, Politics, EU referendum

Headline: Osborne to raise taxes if voters go for Brexit

Authors: Francis Elliot (Political Editor), Niamh Lyons (Political Editor – Irish)

Aim of the article: To report on the recent budget proposals set forward by George Osborne that may come into effect if England voted to leave the EU

Agenda of the article: The main headline is short and to the point but also aims to reduce the article to one line that strikes fear into many voters. By focusing primarily on the proposed increases in taxes that Brexit may bring the Times is attempting to show the negative effects a vote to leave could have on the average working person. Directed at an individual and their circumstances, rather than the more abstract whole that is England’s relationship with the EU, this feels like a much bigger issue for the reader. The body of the article continues this theme, listing the numerous fronts on which taxes could be raised. What is especially interesting with this article is that after all the independent forecasts and claims from both parties about what Brexit would mean for the economy this speech by Osborne marks the first time that those in control of the Budget have given any concrete signals of what may be required to balance the books. Nevermind the arguments around austerity, or the fact that very likely if Brexit wins these same people wont be in the positions of power they now hold, this report is meant to make readers fear for the now all too real effects Brexit would have on their lives.

Bias of the article: The article does little to describe and cite the arguments from those in the Leave campaign regarding any proposed budget changes, mentioning that they will set out a counterclaim but giving little explanation of it. The article is primarily leaning towards the Remain campaign and does not give a balanced view on what those in Leave would say to defend their claims.

Front page images from:

Reviewed by: Sam Hewitt



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