Thursday 29th September 2016

Papers Reviewed: The Sun, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Times

The Sun1

Topic of article: Sport

Headline: It’s a Phoney old Game

Authors: Nick Parker

Aim of the article: The article reports on increasing demands for police to question Allardyce over corruption allegations. 

Agenda of the article: It is clear that The Sun has already made up their mind that Sam Allardyce’ should be punished further after his proven unethical stance as Football manager during an undercover investigation. The article hopes to imprint this agenda on readers too, by attempting to convince readers that there are growing calls for a police probe into corruption within the FA. Who are these calls coming from? George Linekar. If that wasn’t enough, the article ensures that readers are left with bitter sense of injustice as the story creates an impression that rather than being punished sufficiently, Allardyce has been given a nice payoff of £1million, after being forced to quit as football manager.  Leaving the impression that Allardyce has not really paid for embarrassing British Football with his greed. 

Bias of the article: The article does little to report Allardyce’s defense to all that he has been accused of. Additionally, the “£1million payoff” that The Sun talks about was probably already included in his contract in the case of resignation, but htis possibility is not mentioned. What concerns me is that whilst the topic of corruption within the FA is a legitimate topic for a newspaper to report on, The Sun aims to center this concern on Sam Allardyce alone, rather than question whether Allardyce’s behaviour is symptomatic of a larger problem within football. Is that fair? 

The Guardian2.jpg

Topic of article: Politics

Headline: Corbyn: time to end trench warfare and take on Tories

Authors: Anushka Ansthana, Jessica Elgot

Aim of the article: The article focuses on the Labour Party conference, particularly on Jeremy Corbyn’s pleas for Labour to unite under a ’21st century socialist vision’. 

Agenda of the article: This story is quite a contrast to The Sun’s as it aims to mostly report the facts surrounding the Labour Party Conference events. Particularly, it draws attention to the “socialist” vision that Corbyn wishes to pursue, stating key policies such as banning arms sales to countries with recorded reports of human rights abuse or war crimes. The article does note that some members walked out of the conference to demonstrate the predictable fight that Corbyn will have  regarding uniting the party. Overall, the article is generally focused on reporting the Labour Party Conference in a non-opinionated way. 

Bias of the article: The article quotes Jeremy Corbyn, particularly important as it states policy that he wishes to pursue as Labour leader. This article feels non-biased mostly because anyone with even a minimal understanding of the Labour leadership race knows how divisive Corbyn’s reelection was for Labour. The article remains neutral despite this divisive context, even when reporting on the members who walked out of the conference. 

The Daily Mail3

Topic of article: Health

Headline: 4 in 5 has a heart that is older than they are

Authors: Sophie Borland 

Aim of the article: The article reports on a research study by UCL into heart health, using self reported responses.

Agenda of the article: The Daily Mail attempts to do what it does best. And today is no different. Create a moral panic. This time, shock horror, 4 in 5 people have hearts older than their age! Except, oh wait. The measuring principle guiding that statistic includes people with hearts only one year older than their ages, which in the grand schemes of health scares, fails to be as big of a concern as the Mail attempts to portray. The article aims to make people feel panicked about the state of obesity in the country, and attempts to do so by convincing readers that they all have hearts that are aging prematurely. There is no mention of how stress can also affect cardiovascular health, nor smoking and drinking. So what does this story attempt to do? Scare everyone into thinking they’re dying and blame it on their obesity. Except, not being obese alone does not exempt you from having poor cardiovascular health.

Bias of the article: The article inappropriately promotes the notion that 4 in 5 people have poor cardiovascular health. As talked about above, that’s a huge exaggeration. The article fails to stress how this research study is self-reported by members of the public who use the NHS heart age calculator. Therefore, the heart age calculator is based on estimation, rather than evidence, and the participants are likely to already have concerns regarding their cardiovascular fitness if they are seeking out a heart age calculator. So the study is not really representative of the whole UK as the Mail attempts to convince us. There is nothing wrong with reporting on health concerns that doctor’s have and research studies regarding health. However, there has to be balanced reporting on research and writers should not deliberately distort the dangers. Or … well, they might give people actual heart attacks…

The Times4

Topic of article: Domestic Affairs 

Headline: Abuse Inquiry in tatters after Lawyer suspended

Authors: Sean O’Neill

Aim of the article: The article reports on further developments into the child sex abuse investigation

Agenda of the article: The Times is back at it again with attempting to sway public opinion against inquiry’s into past miscarriages of justice. This time, it is clear that they think the Child Sex abuse investigation is a complete shambles, and Theresa May in particular is deemed responsible for wasting taxpayer money. The report is mostly negative, discussing in detail the amount of money clearly deemed wasted on this inquiry, the expected 10 more years it will take to finish, and the amount of resignations from prominent figures of the inquiry. 

Bias of the article: Now I’m not saying that The Times doesn’t have the right to the national inquiry into account, particularly as it is funded by tax-payer money. Of course it does. But the story does little attempt to provide a defense of the inquiry for readers. For example, it states that the inquiry is likely to last another 10 years (although from whom did it get this estimate?) Inquiry’s genuinely do take a long time to develop, that’s just the nature of them. For example, the inquiry into the Stephen Lawrence’s murder took 6 years. This leaves the question, does the Times just view public inquiry’s into injustice as ‘wasted money’? Sadly, that’s the impression given by this article. 

Front page images from: http://en.kiosko.net/uk/

Reviewed by: Albana Aruqaj

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