Papers Reviewed: The Sun, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Times
Topic of article: Politics
Headline: Danczuk’s romp with girl, 22, on office desk
Authors: Ruth Warrander (News Reporter)
Aim of the article: The article is describing that Labour Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk has had sex with a younger female in his office.
Agenda of the article: The article is making Danczuk seem “sleazy” in a number of ways: first they highlight the age gap of 27 years between the pair twice in the article and add in that he is a “dad of four”, secondly they indicate that having sex in his “taxpayer funded constituency office” is shameful in their eyes and finally the article describes how he “met the woman days earlier on twitter” as if all sexual encounters should still require courting in the modern age. Effectively, this is the stuff that The Sun lives for; there actually isn’t anything legally wrong with any of this: the female is not underage, Danczuk himself is not currently in a relationship, but it’s just juicy enough for a front page. Interestingly the article doesn’t include that Danczuk was, in fact, suspending for some time last year for allegedly sending sexually explicit texts to a 17 year old and is, himself, a prominent campaigner against the historical political child sex offences. But – let’s be fair – they need something for the inside pages too.
Bias of the article: The article does nothing to defend Danczuk’s behaviour or normalise it in any way, choosing sensationalism as their drive for the article when really what it is saying is: man has sex with woman! Be shocked! The only source provided in the article is allegedly from the female involved saying “He was sex mad” which is further tainting the image of Danczuk as some sort of sex-obsessed fiend with no morals. There is no verification of any aspect of the story and, as highlighted above, no context.
Topic of article: International Politics
Headline: Fury as Trump insults Muslim soldier’s family
Authors: Jon Swaine (New York), Lauren Gambino (Cleveland Heights)
Aim of the article: The article is describing the response of the Khan family to comments made about their son, a captain in the US forces, by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Agenda of the article: The paper is asking one key question: how far is too far for Donald Trump? Because, yet again, he has made some outrageously offensive comments that the newspaper portrays as resulting in “widespread astonishment.” Trump appears callous, “totally incapable of empathy” and Islamophobic, however none of these surprise us at this point. But what the paper suggests is that this time may be different and has the potential to be his “most damaging controversy” yet. This is because whilst tooting his anti-Islamic horn he is also insulting the family of a US solider (and many others) and thereby desecrating a traditional pillar of the United States, which unites those against him far stronger than previous controversy may have. Moreover, the article illustrates this “widespread astonishment” by quoting even the Republican John Kasich disapproving of Trump’s words.
Bias of the article: Generally the article is, unsurprisingly, critical of Trump and supplies no arguments or sources in support of him. They use numerous sources including the Clintons, both parents in the Kahn family and Kasich just to give a wider spread of views that all agree. Generally there is little description of how the US public have interpreted these events: are they jaded by his words or does this really hold more significance? Is the army as important to voters as it is believed to be? And overall: is the old adage, any press is good press, actually true for this man?
The Daily Mail
Topic of article: Politics
Headline: Dave’s gongs for his cronies
Author(s): James Slack (Political Editor), Jack Doyle (Political Correspondent)
Aim of the article: The article reports the contents of the prime minister’s outgoing honours list.
Agenda of the article: The article is basically painting the “ex-Prime Minister” as a man who has stopped caring about the implications of his actions and is childishly “ “sticking up two fingers” to the country” by giving honours to his friends and supporters as he leaves power. The paper particularly focuses on the fact that Cameron has given only one Vote Leave supporter a place in this list as if this is his bitter last mark, to benefit those who were loyal to him in the referendum that destroyed his primacy. The images used in the article also suggest at the what the paper believes may be the superficial nature of the rights those on the list have to any honours: the paper doesn’t provide any additional description other than one “aide who put Osbourne on a diet” and “Sam Cam’s fashion stylist” as if these two individuals did nothing else.
Bias of the article: The article is wholly discerning of Cameron and there is nothing to support him or the rights to those on his list to having any accolade for what they have done. The newspaper describes “Tory MPs led furious attacks” and “to the rage of many key figures in the Conservative party” however no specific MPs are actually named and so no sources can be verified in the article. There is no context to why the ex-Prime Minister has the privilege of giving out these honours, previous recipients and what they did to deserve them, or whether the honours are actually worth anything themselves.
Topic of article: Politics; Domestic
Headline: Prime minister’s top aide broke rules on lobbying
Authors: Oliver Wright (Policy Editor)
Aim of the article: The article is informing readers of government staff breaking probity laws, using new Prime Minister Theresa May’s chief of staff Fiona Hill as their prime example.
Agenda of the article: This is not fresh news, in fact we’ve seen it many times before and now the new Prime Minister has been tainted with it too. The concept that former members of government staff get rich by divulging privileged information and using contacts for their new lobbying firms is seen as morally wrong by the paper. The article calls for the government to “police” the rules by enforcing former staff asking departments for permission to start new careers in a potentially questionable commercial roles. The article reminds us of Cameron’s “ “crony” politics” and is making it seem that May’s staff might not be drastically different to his as Hill is her joint chief of staff. There is implication that there is a culture of this practice being acceptable in government with them quoting “39 senior civil servants” who did apply for permission last year, suggesting that many more may have neglected this responsibility.
Bias of the article: The article is based on the classic “investigation by The Times” and an unnamed “Whitehall source” with none of this information being verified including the facts of Ms Hill’s employment which the paper details at great length. Though the article is highlighting that this may be a widespread issue it doesn’t detail any other way of preventing it other than better policing of the current, possibly failing, system. Furthermore there are no viewpoints on what wider consequences, except the moral outrage this causes when exposed, this may have for government policy, investment and effectively corruption within our government.
Front page images from: http://en.kiosko.net/uk/
Reviewed by: Alice Edwards