Wednesday, 26th October 2016

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

The Sunsun

Topic of article: Crime, Popular Culture

Headline: The Cliff Papers

Authors: Tom Wells (Home Affairs Correspondent)

Aim of the article: Report on recently released evidence in the court case between Cliff Richard and the BBC.

Agenda of the article: The story is presented as a major legal scandal, with a headline in large, prison letter font to represent case files and the use of the words ‘daming’ and ‘sickening’ to make the reader think of the BBC as a terrible organisation. What’s interesting here is the choice of story the Sun leads with. By not reporting on the Calais migrants, the Heathrow runway 0r numerous other pieces of news, the Sun is clearly putting entertainment and a predetermined agenda above reporting. This story is afforded little space within all other newspapers, making one wonder about the severity of the case and yet the Sun continues reporting as front page news, primarily because this is a chance to expose the BBC as evil.

Bias of the article: The article is extremely anti-BBC and takes every attempt to paint it as a criminal organisation which acted for its own benefit by throwing a man under the bus. Sounds an awful like another newspaper mentioned here…

The Guardianguardian

Topic of article: European Union, Politics

Headline: Exclusive: leaked recording reveals what May really thinks about Brexit

Authors: Nick Hopkins (Defence and Security Correspondent), Rowena Mason (Political Correspondent)

Aim of the article: Report on remarks made by Theresa May during the referendum campaign regarding her concerns over Brexit.

Agenda of the article: The article starts with the word ‘Exclusive’ to inform the reader that this story will not be seen in any other paper, hoping to entice the buyer to pick it up. The body of the article describes recorded conversations PM May had with bankers before the Brexit vote regarding her concerns about the effects leaving the EU would have. By juxtaposing these with reports about her weak pro-EU stance during the referendum and recent comments made as PM the paper hopes to show how she has manipulated her opinion, as displayed to the public, to further her political gain. If she was so worried about the economic effects of Brexit, why wouldn’t she have campaigned more to remain? And why would she have proposed to leave the European convention on human rights? While this is reported as a means of damaging the reputation of the PM it is hardly a surprising news story, as she comes from a long line of Conservative ministers who are masters at the art of public deception and appeasement.

Bias of the article: There is no referencing of the source of the material, although this may very well be released at some point in the near future. The lack of a response from May’s side means that not both sides have been reported within the article, and the topic of the article is primarily aimed at discrediting May. However, many of her comments were already public knowledge and questioning her stance on Brexut is a fair question in light of her current statements towards leaving the EU.

The Daily Mailmail

Topic of article: Health, NHS

Headline: Don’t have your NHS baby out of hours

Author(s): Sophie Borland (Health Editor)

Aim of the article: Inform readers of a recent report that said 3 out of 4 labour wards have no consultants on overnight.

Agenda of the article: The article is clearly taking aim at consultants and the NHS staffing levels. It leads with a report done by the Royal College regarding staffing levels on labour wards over the weekend and nights. The headline of the article is posed as a warning towards would be mothers and is meant to strike fear into them. It then goes on to make conclusions from the reported figures that it is deathly dangerous to have your baby on a hospital ward at night because they will be attended by ‘overstretched midwives and exhausted junior doctors’. What’s interesting is that their claims of data backing the statements up are not referenced and they neglect to mention the fact that consultants are rarely on labour wards anyway as most births are dealt with by midwives and juniors during the day. Instead, the article seeks to scare women into potentially not attending hospital in the event of a night time birth, which may have severe consequences, and to attack consultants for their work practises. This may be the next step in the breaking of the doctor’s unions, with juniors nearly defeated it’s the consultants who are next.

Bias of the article: The article does not reference many of the claims and conclusions made, especially on the report it uses at its focus. Has the Royal College interpreted these figures in the same way? Additionally it offers no balanced argument without quotes from the Royal College or relevant consultants and hospital managers.

The Timestimes

Topic of article:

Headline: Heathrow runway may be built over motorway

Authors: Graeme Paton (Transport Correspondent), Francis Elliott (Political Editor)

Aim of the article: Report on concerns over the recent announcement of the planned new runway being built at Heathrow.

Agenda of the article: The announcement of approval for Heathrow’s planned new runway has instantly become both an economic and political battle. The article leads with a single concern over the structure of the new runway but contains no fewer than 5 or 6 subjects of debate. With a featured picture of protestors above the headline the article drives home the idea of public disapproval towards the plans and continues with a general tone of disagreement with the proposals. Quotations about the costs of the runway serve to show readers how much will be taken out of the economy and there are repeated warnings of traffic disruption. The reader is meant to feel that the issues regarding the proposal have not been considered fully and to perhaps feel opposed to the plans.

Bias of the article: The tone of the article is very anti-runway and so it focuses mainly on the financial and commuter impacts. There is little reporting on the potential benefits of the plans which may have served to inform readers about the reasoning behind the approvals. However, there are real causes for concern over the runway proposals and so the article does its job of informing the readers.

Front page images from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs/the_papers

Reviewed by: Sam Hewitt

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