Monday 8th August 2016
Papers Reviewed: The Sun, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Times
Topic of article: Domestic Affairs
Authors: Patrick Gysin (Reporter)
Aim of the article: The article is informing readers that Kidz Fest festival in Essex was charging money for children to play in boxes.
Agenda of the article: The article is highly critical of the event organiser Tom Bembury as they are suggesting that the “old crisp boxes” used to create the castle was indequate for the “£36 per family” entrance cost. The article also reports that the police were called to the event as “raging” parents requested a refund for the event.This is the most standard local newspaper fodder I have ever seen. All in all it is really critical of the concept of children being encouraged to play in a cardboard castle which, in fact, sounds like one of the most inspirational creations at a children’s event I have heard in the era of Pokemon Go.
Bias of the article: The only source provided was “one parent” who described it as “a complete disgrace” , there is no alternate opinion provided in the article and to be honest no explanation of any other aspect of the event and what they were getting for their money.
Topic of article: Sport
Headline: Russia banned outright for competing in the Paralympics
Authors: Owen Gibson (Chief Sports Correspondent, Rio de Janeiro)
Aim of the article: The article informs readers that the entire cohort of Russian Paralympians preparing to compete in Rio at the end of this month have been banned from the competition due to allegations of doping-related corruption stemming from the top of the Russian government.
Agenda of the article: The article is scathing in its analysis of the Russian government’s attitude towards the Olympics and Paralympics and implicates both Vladimir Putin and head of the Russian sports ministry Vitaly Mutko in this debacle. The article also judges the failure of those running the Olympics, the IOC, to go to the length that the International Paralympic Committee has and ban athletes from the ongoing games despite similar accusations applying to their athletes. The article appears to agree that this decision by the IPC was the right one and that it is the Russian government rather than the Paralympians themselves that are responsible for the potential doping and ““medals over morals” position.”
Bias of the article: The focus of the article is the derisive quote from IPC President Sir Philip Craven whose quote includes him describing the Russian government showing “blatant disregard for health and wellbeing of athletes” and having “thirst for glory at all costs.” The opposing argument is described in far less detail but is equally unreserved with a spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, from the Russian sports ministry calling the decision “strikingly filthy and inhumane” and goes on to indicate that it could undermine “human rights standards” without any explanation of how provided. The quote is also noted to have been a “Facebook posting” which the articles notes in order to delegitimise it further.
The Daily Mail
Topic of article: Domestic Affairs
Headline: A law unto themselves
Author(s): Lucy Osborne (Mail Investigations Reporter)
Aim of the article: The article is reporting the findings of a Daily Mail investigation into senior police staff allowances.
Agenda of the article: The article continues with the paper’s relentless dedication to undermining the police force of Britain. This time describing how despite “top salaries” and “64 days holiday a year” police staff are also claiming from the taxpayer for things the paper feels are “astonishing” including moving costs for new jobs and household bills. The paper seems to feel that this is horribly unfair and it is their righteous task to expose this to the public, as per usual the vigilante Mail attending to the wrongs of society. The article also indicates that they feel it is farcical that at the same time the police “claim resources are so stretched that (they) cannot fight crime effectively.”
Bias of the article: Perhaps unsurprisingly there is actually no authentication of where the information for this investigation has come from, and as they are presenting the classic the police are greedy pigs who take tax payers money for their holidays line they omit any suggestion of balance to their article. There is no critical appraisal of why this may be happening, the extent to which claiming extortionate expenses actually occurs within the police force or how to prevent this in the future.
Topic of article: International Affairs
Headline: Assad takes revenge after rebels break siege
Authors: Bel Trew (Middle East Correspondent, Cairo)
Aim of the article: The article is describing the break of the government siege of Aleppo, the second key city in Syria, by the ‘rebel’ forces.
Agenda of the article: Primarily the article is reporting tactics and statistics of the development and describing it as “unprecedented” and “one of the most significant setbacks for government forces since when the conflict began in March 2011.” The article is notably in support of those attempting to break the siege and describes an almost biblical scene of the break in the siege allowing fruit and vegetables to be delivered to “malnourished residents” who had been “eating only canned food.” There is also some discussion of the consequences of this, potentially “embolden outside powers including the United States” to further support the ‘rebels.’ Moreover there is a slightly confusing description of the relationship between the ‘rebel’ forces and al-Qaeda with them including “al-Qaeda’s former affiliate in Syria” and another saying the advancing rebel group “split from al-Qaeda ten days ago.”
Bias of the article: The source of the information in the article is not always provided however the main two sources seem to be the Syrian Institute for Justice in Aleppo and the “UK-based” Syrian Observatory for Human Rights which both describe the extent of the fighting regarding the bombs, mines and death toll. This generally creates an image of the very powerful Russian-backed government forces not managing to control the opposition’s advances. In addition the article describes “civilians in eastern Aleppo took to the streets to celebrate the advance” and thereby indicates that the Syrian people are against the government forces. There is no interrogation of the independence of the Observatory or Institute themselves and therefore their statistics could be skewed. In addition there is no attempt to provide a balanced description of what the conflict currently looks like, who is on both sides or where the Syrian population stands on the issue, as most of this appears to be assumed prior knowledge.
Front page images from: http://en.kiosko.net/uk/
Reviewed by: Alice Edwards