Papers Reviewed: The Sun, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Times
Topic of article: Sport
Headline: Vardy: My race shame
Authors: Sean Hamilton (News Reporter, Deputy Head of Content)
Aim of the article: The article reports the “regret” of England football players Jamie Vardy for drunken racist comments to a student.
Agenda of the article: The article is an odd combination of condemning Vardy’s actions by reporting them as front page news and a focus on his remorse and shame including a serious portrait of the player and quoting him saying “some people will never forgive me.” The article also describes him as “3 Lions ace “and “England footie star” highlighting the player’s significance in the sport and as a representative of the country which surely indicates how serious his racial abuse was despite them describing it as a “boozy incident”. This is an uncomfortable admission relating to racism in a post-Brexit era coming from a young public figure and context, that Vardy was reported making other racist slurs in 2015, are left out of the article.
Bias of the article: Perhaps the most interest aspect of the article is that it noticeably focuses on Vardy’s response and regret as opposed to the event itself and there is very little information about where and what was said to the unnamed “student.” Vardy is the only one quoted in the article, for example not including the victim of the abuse, and furthermore there is no information whether there could be criminal or employment consequences for Vardy after this event.
Topic of article: Economics
Headline: Co-op giant in record payout over low wages
Authors: Robert Booth (News Reporter)
Aim of the article: The article is reporting the Midcounties Co-op underpaying two members of their newspaper delivery staff and subsequently paying £18,000 in missing wages between them.
Agenda of the article: This is a continuation of the newspaper’s coverage of a growing number, it reports, of companies breaking the law by paying their staff below minimum wage. This has previously included, and noted in the article, Uber and Hermes whose workers have had similar minimum wage disputes with their employers. The article highlights what it feels is the hypocrisy of the Midcounties Co-op slogan of “a better, fairer world” when staff are reportedly being paid below the minimum wage “for at least four years.” Furthering this is the issue of discrimination, with one of the two individuals involved being shown to be underpaid due to their disability meaning that their rounds took longer.
Bias of the article: The article is resoundingly reporting this as a twist on the big bad company abusing the rights of its workers, with the co-op nationally generally assumed to be an ethically sound employer, hence the “fairer world” irony. They emphasise the legitimacy of supporting the workers through indicating that HMRC and a spokesperson for the Department of Business are both involved in this issue. The article uses the personal stories of the two individuals to increase reader empathy for their situations and contrasts this with describing the Midcountries Co-op making “£21m in operating profit last year.” On the other hand there is clearly a description in the article of the Co-op encouraging staff that may have been underpaid to come forward which means that they are, somewhat, addressing the issue.
The Daily Mail
Topic of article: Politics; Armed Forces
Headline: Fury at Blair war crimes hypocrisy
Author(s): Larisa Brown (Defence Correspondent)
Aim of the article: The article describes the response to Tony Blair, prime minister responsible for Britain’s entry to the Iraq war, saying criminal investigations into soldiers involved in the conflict “should never have been launched.”
Agenda of the article: Whatever you think of The Daily Mail, one thing is for sure; when they take on one of their moral-high-ground campaigns they are pretty diligent with it. This article continues with their anger and disbelief, on behalf of army veterans, that a number of those on the front line are now having criminal charges brought against them regarding their time in the conflict. The wonderful thing for the writers of this article is that pretty much everyone has a bad word to say about Tony Blair so there is no lacking in sources to criticise his statement and highlight his “hypocrisy.”
Bias of the article: Those quoted in the article all are critical of Mr Blair, including classically unnamed “soldiers and MPs”, “a former Army major” and “a Tory MP” and there is no attempt at a balanced argument. There is no discussion of the key issue underlying the article: that the article believes that this was an unjust war which Blair entered ignoring “expert advice.”
Topic of article: Politics
Headline: ‘Lily-livered’ May denies going soft on migrants
Authors: Francis Elliott (Political Editor), Sam Coates (Deputy Political Editor)
Aim of the article: This article describes the heat of the argument between former and present Prime Ministers, Cameron and May, regarding immigration.
Agenda of the article: The article indicates that May did not support Cameron in either his emergency brake on immigration or in the Remain campaign, and uses recent books to support this point that she was unsupportive and potentially implies she was disloyal to the Prime Minister as home secretary. Effectively there is also the implication that these behaviours as foreign secretary would have contributed to David Cameron losing the party leadership after Brexit, with the suggestion that May could have even been an “enemy agent” secretly working for Brexit rather than her leader’s remain.
Bias of the article: The rebuttal from May’s team is likely to be detailed on the inside pages, however in this article there is very little support for her. The information provided being from “two new books on Brexit” interestingly including one written by the political editor of The Sunday Times, Tim Shipman, carrying the claim that “most angered No 10.” Due to the quotes being from books these are generally described as “claims”, though the paper does detail that one of them was “Mr Cameron’s communications director” or “spin doctor” which doesn’t provide masses of hope of neutrality.
Front page images from: http://en.kiosko.net/uk/
Reviewed by: Alice Edwards