Papers Reviewed: The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Times
Topic of article: Sport
Headline: GB swimmers ‘lost out to cheats’
Authors: Robert Kitson (Sport Correspondent, Rio de Janeiro)
Aim of the article: The article is updating readers on the ongoing debate around doping in the Olympic Games, particularly focussing on swimming and quotes from the GB head coach Bill Furniss.
Agenda of the article: The article, unsurprisingly perhaps, is clearly patriotically supportive of the “successful” GB team and the “100% model of what a swimmer should be” giving the example of “brilliant” Adam Peaty. A significant amount of column inches are given to quoting Furniss, who is clearly deeply angered at the lack of use of lifetime bans from the Games for those who have ever tested positive in a drugs test. The idea that British athletes have been “penalised more than any other nation” due to team GB apparently never using performance enhancing substances permeates through the article. However, despite the highlighting of multiple fourth places causing Furniss anguish, the nation is still positioned second on the table inset.
Bias of the article: The article supplies the alternate side by voicing those, including athlete Efimova, who argue that after serving their bans they should be given “a second chance” to compete at the Games once they are clean. However the overwhelming feeling in the article is this idea of purity and “trust” in athletes who have never failed a drugs test, epitomised by Team GB in the article, and the concept that those doping should not be tolerated at all in the competition. On this front page there is little discussion of the roots of doping, except a mention of the Russian “systematic state-sponsored doping” in Sochi 2014, or whether historical doping unfairly improves athletes potential eternally and thereby should disqualify them on those grounds.
The Daily Mail
Topic of article: International Affairs
Headline: Defeat of Iraq War Vultures
Author(s): Larisa Brown (Political Correspondent)
Aim of the article: The Daily Mail are reporting their “victory” that Public Interest Lawyers(PIL), who investigated claims from “suspected Iraqi insurgents” apparently against British soldiers who fought in Iraq, have collapsed and are under investigation from the National Crime Agency.
Agenda of the article: The content of the article is not entirely clear: it appears that the paper has published numerous articles on PIL who they believe to be executing a “taxpayer-funded witch-hunt” and “breaching legal rules” and therefore readers may understand more than I do. However the general feeling is that this firm was “tormenting” British soldiers using their “Iraq Historic Allegations Team” who would “drag military veterans through the courts” and so the theme emerges; the article exudes unquestionable respect for military personnel and a notable lack of such respect for the Iraqi’s who have made the claims against them.
Bias of the article: The information that the article is based upon is simply the news that PIL will “permanently close” which was from a document submitted to the High Courts. There are no other quotes in the article and no evidence for why the paper feels that the claims were unfounded and therefore the legal firm were in the wrong. There is also no source for the claim that the legal investigation included “heavy-handed detectives” and – in fact – no information provided from those who had been under investigation.
Topic of article: Politics; International Affairs
Headline: False claims clog asylum system
Authors: Richard Ford (Home Correspondent)
Aim of the article: The article discusses Home Office figures on the topic of asylum seekers in the UK that The Times have obtained.
Agenda of the article: The article is written in a way that demonises asylum seekers and criticises the current immigration system in the UK and the politics surrounding it. The article focuses on the point that a proportion of asylum applications, quoted as “70 percent” in the article, are being made by those who are currently in the UK either illegally or on expired visas. Language used to describe them include “by hook or by crook” and “overstayers” and the article also indicates it believes that many of these people are not the “young Syrian family fleeing” as Theresa May describes but actually are “economic migrants.” There is no action to outline what the paper means by the terms: asylum seekers, migrants, illegal immigrants or “overstayers” despite them quoting May distinguishing between groups of “these people.”
Bias of the article: The article quotes heavily from sources that are likely to disagree with the current immigration system including unknown “critics” deputy chairman of Migration Watch UK and, powerfully, Prime Minister Theresa May. The paper does highlight the campaigning stance of Migration Watch before quoting their spokesman however generally the article doesn’t provide any balanced analysis of the issues or any defence of those who are applying for asylum. In addition there are quotes from Rob Whiteman, previously of the UK Border Agency, who describes the challenges to ministers if they try to “deport hundreds of thousands of people” which it sounds like the article may support.
Front page images from: http://en.kiosko.net/uk/
Reviewed by: Alice Edwards