Monday 12th September 2016

Papers Reviewed: The Sun, The Guardian, The Times

The Sunsun-750

Topic of article: Crime

Headline: Line of duty

Authors: Paul Sims (News Reporter)

Aim of the article: This is a classic incendiary moralistic Sun article degrading a responsible individual, this time involving a Major who oversees Royal security filmed snorting “powder-like substance.”

 Agenda of the article: This is being reported by the paper because the major involved was on duty whilst the event happened and as their “source” highlights this could have increased the risk of a security breach for the royal family. To provide evidence article includes a still from the video and another of the major themselves, in order to ridicule them. Furthermore  this being made front page news suggests that the paper may feel that the individual is unfit to serve their current post and this article is supporting an inflammatory public response to them continuing their employment.

 Bias of the article: The brevity of the article means that there is only one quote provided from an unnamed source just providing their opinion rather than fact. There is no effort made, with the exception of the low resolution image, to verify the information that the article provides. In addition there is no defence of the individual whatsoever, no explanation or analysis of how common such behaviour is, how this could have occurred on duty or any sense of disciplinary procedures that may follow.

The Guardianguardian-750

Topic of article:  Domestic Affairs, Economics

Headline: Minister seeks inquiry into courier’s pay

Authors:  Robert Booth (News Reporter)

Aim of the article: Booth’s article is describing the multifaceted political criticism of the courier company Hermes regarding working rights for their apparently ‘self-employed’ staff following a prior Guardian investigation one month previously.

Agenda of the article: The article is unsurprisingly portraying the side of the unsung, the couriers, who are reported to being paid less than national living wage, are “forced to work through illness and bereavement” and face “appalling bullying” at the hands of Hermes. There are emotive examples to illustrate these points including a courier keeping a bucket in the car when working whilst unwell and another losing their rounds whilst caring for their wife with cancer. The article bolsters this using topical political discussion surrounding the issue including a report into the issue by Frank Field MP and business minister Margot James requesting and HMRC investigation.

Bias of the article: Hermes are represented very poorly in this article, and though there are a fair few paragraphs given to the international companies’ response, generally it is the familiar territory of Hermes saying they didn’t have sufficient information to comment but would act on any complaints. The political support behind the couriers, who the company highlight are “less than 1% of its workforce”, further delegitimises Hermes in the article however the legal case against the company is ambiguous. There isn’t much discussion of the wider debate around self-employed workers or the apparent recent rise in questioning working arrangements for example Uber and Deliveroo.

The Timesthe_times-750

Topic of article: Crime

Headline: Crack down on white-collar crime

Authors: Frances Gibb (Legal Editor), Oliver Wright (Policy Editor)

Aim of the article: This effectively describes plans, proposed by Cameron and now being pushed through by May, to make company boards legally culpable for the role of their employees in money laundering, false accounting and fraud in order to address “corporate behaviour.”

Agenda of the article: The article is supportive of these new changes from the government and describes how they “bring Britain more into line with the tough approach…in the United States.” In addition the writers use numerous presumed experts such as the explanation from attorney-general Jeremy Wright QC to emphasise the need for the changes to end the reign of limited corporate liability particularly at the level of boards.

Bias of the article:  The article is markedly one-sided and is dominated by indicating how this a worthy campaign by the Prime Minister and there is a fundamental lacking in any further analysis of the move. There is no discussion of what this means politically, how it will be received by the business community and what anyone other than two QC’s think about this, particularly other political parties. The Times is being a cheerleader for this new offence being introduced and fails to attempt at any semblance of journalistic criticism or question of why May has chosen to do this now.

Front page images from:,

Reviewed by: Alice Edwards


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