Monday 25th July 2016

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

The Sunsun.750

Topic of article: Domestic Affairs; Crime

Headline: Lag bites head off pigeon to get drugs

Authors: Stephen Moyes (News Reporter)

Aim of the article: The article is describing a story of a prisoner at HMP Onley biting the head off a pigeon as part of a dare to earn drugs from fellow prisoners.

 Agenda of the article: Pretty self-explanatory but worth highlighting the derogatory language used to described the prison inmate as a “lag” and a “con” which indicate the paper’s blatant disrespect for those in prison, as if the story coverage itself didn’t do that already. There is an extreme level of disgust in the article describing them as “sick” and the stunt as “horrifying” and emphasising this image of brutal behaviour almost being expected of people in prison.  Honestly what does this one case indicate? The real concern is the extent of drugs in prisons, cuts to the prison service and – possibly – the health of this particular prisoner. However The Sun isn’t interested and just thinks this is grim and so wants to share that with us, end of story.

Bias of the article: There isn’t much in the article and doesn’t indicate the specific source of this story or the, very blurry, CCTV image that is used. There is no discussion of wider issues within the criminal justice system or what to do about them.


The Guardianguardian.750

Topic of article:  Economics; Politics; Domestic Affairs

Headline: Green’s reign at BHS torn apart by MPs

Authors: Sarah Butler (Retail Correspondent), Graham Ruddick (Senior Business Reporter)

Aim of the article: The article is reporting the contents of the recent MP’s report into the financial collapse of British Home Stores, which is highly critical of Sir Phillip Green who was a long-term owner of the business.

Agenda of the article: The article is effectively a character assassination of Green, supported by quotes from the report, and an overall moral tale of the “unacceptable face of capitalism.” The article uses sources to undermine Green’s good business reputation saying that it “lies in the ruins of BHS” and the basis of his knighthood. The attack on Green spans not only himself but the “Billionaire Green family” with them taking “a fortune beyond the dreams of avarice” from BHS.  Furthering this the article uses this story to illustrate the greed of capitalism, particularly placing the 11,000 staff who are becoming redundant and the 20,000 pensioners who are losing out against Green with his “yachts” and suggests that paying back what is owed would be the morally “right thing by the members.”

Bias of the article: Most of the quotes are from the report from the parliamentary committee, this provides substantial weight to the criticism of Green particularly as they can use the “MPs” in “MPs said green had “systematically extracted hundreds of millions of pounds from BHS…”” and the article suggests that this is basically the truth as they have “heard weeks of evidence.” There is very little supporting Green or his family at all, except a short paragraph saying that he was “claiming that he put £421m into the group.” Extending the MP’s opinion is from Frank Field, chair of one of the committees responsible for the report, making the righteous argument saying “what kind of man is it who can count his fortune in billions but does not know what decent behaviour is?”


 The Daily Maildaily_mail.750

Topic of article: Economics; Politics; Domestic Affairs

Headline: The shaming of Sir Shifty

Author(s): Sam Greenhill (News Reporter), Laura Chesters (Business Reporter), Gerri Peev (Political Correspondent)

Aim of the article: The article is reporting the parliamentary committee reports on the demise of British Home Stores and the role of Sir Phillip Green in this.

Agenda of the article: The Daily Mail, ever eager to brand and stereotype, gives us “Sir Shifty” who is a “tycoon” who “plundered”  the “88-year-old chain” disregarding those pensioners who worked for it in order to “enrich his family.” Once again there is the comparison with Green having “awarded himself fat dividend cheques and starving the retailer of investment” alluding to the idea that he would allow his 10,000 staff to literally “starve” as long as he benefits. The paper is also outraged that he still retains his knighthood despite these heinous crimes that “the unacceptable face of capitalism” has allowed and asks “how long can he cling on to his gong?”

Bias of the article: All three of the articles on the topic today (The Guardian and The Times also cover this as their leader) really base their story on the MP’s report and give little defence of Green in any form, effectively indicating that this kind of a man should not be successful in this country. They quote the MPs, the chair of one of the committees who is particularly scathing, but very little alternative view, which may be understandable in the face of the story. There is little context or reference to how this could be prevented in future or what this could mean for other companies.


 The Timesthe_times.750

Topic of article: Economics; Politics; Domestic Affairs

Headline: Billionaire’s greed led to collapse of BHS chain

Authors: Deirdre Hipwell (Retail Editor), Alex Ralph (Market Reporter), Harry Wilson (City Editor)

Aim of the article: The article discusses the contents of a parliamentary report into the collapse of British Home Stores and the consequences for Sir Phillip Green and private company regulation as a whole.

Agenda of the article:The article paints Green as a greedy and dishonourable businessman who manipulated the UK tax system, was recklessly irresponsible with his company and flaunted his undeserving wealth; illustrating this with his “£100million, 300ft vessel” being purchased just as “ BHS entered administration” leaving thousands jobless. There is a damning statement from the report reading that though BHS “to an extent created him. Now it could also bring him down” which highlights the momentousness of this report and the potential results it could have not only for Green but for “regulation…and codes of conduct” of private companies in order for this not to happen again.

Bias of the article: Similarly to The Guardian article there is an assumption that the MP’s report is effectively infallible due to them spending “three months investigating the failure of the department store” and therefore they are who are mostly quoted. Conversely, the article does provide more quotation from Green including his accusation of “clear prejudice” against him and his family from the parliamentary inquiry and his defence of his ownership and sale of BHS. Generally though most points are quickly undermined like describing the new owner as a “former bankrupt racing driver” who they portray as incompetent. Separate to the disgracing of Green – which may or may not happen – there is little to describe what wider business consequences of this will be or relevance to other companies that have failed in the past half-dozen years.

Front page images from:

Reviewed by: Alice Edwards


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