Papers Reviewed: The Sun, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Times
Topic of article: Entertainment, Celebrity
Headline: Don’t mess with me Argentina
Authors: Nick Parker (Senior Reporter)
Aim of the article: Inform the readers about a recent incident involving Jeremy Clarkson and an airline attendant.
Agenda of the article: The article sets up to defend its own columnist Jeremy Clarkson by reporting his version of events as factual evidence on the front page. The paper names the attendant in question and says he ‘crowed’ and went on a ‘tirade’ about the Falklands in front of the TV star. The writing is set up to place Clarkson as the normal star making his way home with friends before being attacked by a ‘stupid, bitter, twisted little man’. The use of colloquial insults and laddish humour engendered by Top Gear would work for many of the fans of the show and this article is just another piece to add to the Clarkson legend. It also offers the paper another way of saying that Argentina was in the wrong about the Falklands, a handy piece of post-empire pride for Britain.
Bias of the article: The article offers few facts, instead mainly relying on Jeremy Clarkson’s account of events. Later in the article they do report the response of the attendant but this is conveniently hidden away from the front page.
Topic of article: Business, Economics
Headline: Revealed: The aggressive tax avoidance scheme costing the taxpayer ‘hundreds of millions of pounds’
Authors: Simon Goodley (Business Reporter)
Aim of the article: To report on an exclusive undercover investigation finding that employment agencies use a sophisticated network of outsourced employment companies to avoid paying tax on workers contracts
Agenda of the article: The article follows similar patterns seen in all new and exclusive stories – a large front page spread, bold words anointing the information revolutionary and frames from undercover camera work. The overall impression given is that this paper brings you the exclusive news no one else will and the reader should buy the paper. This can be a very effective marketing tool and one seized upon by the Guardian here. The actual content of the article is indeed shocking, and the use of separated statistics helps to highlight some essential points regarding who gains and who loses from this situation. By displaying statistics about the increasing trends regarding precarious work in the UK, and juxtaposing this with the information that companies are profiting to the tune of hundreds of millions of pounds off these contracts the paper hopes to create a sense of injustice and anger. This is accentuated even more by the choice of highlighted quote about morals from the shady business man – and the worst part are these people involved are English. Tax avoidance apparently isn’t just the sole territory of benefit scroungers.
Bias of the article: The information comes exclusively from the Guardian and its reporting so there is little verifiable sources to accompany it. However the presence of video helps to back up claims, although there is no response from the accused company within the article. Additionally the use of an tax barrister to analyse the information would surely only be reported if it agreed with the Guardian’s piece so while this offers insight into the ways of interpreting legality within the scheme it may be biased.
The Daily Mail
Topic of article: Health, Technology
Headline: Under-5s glued to screen 4 hours each day
Author(s): Laura Lambert (TV & Radio Reporter)
Aim of the article: Inform the readers about a report detailing the increasing use of computer screens by young children.
Agenda of the article: The main aim of the article is to raise awareness and create concern about the amount of time children spend on screens, and perhaps to initiate action to counteract this trend. There is a potential solution to the problem offered towards the end of the front page, ‘ We need national guidelines’, and the concerning news given just before may have been aimed to prime the reader to want to take action. For some people reading the article they may not realize the importance of an active life, without too much screen time, and the article helpfully acknowledges the dangers of ignoring aspects of a child’s development, seeking to show how essential the findings of this, and their own reporting on it, are.
Bias of the article: The writing attempts to remain neutral, reporting the findings of the report and speaking with a literacy advisor to explain the consequences of the findings. The use of ‘online addicts’ does seem to sensationalize the findings but overall there is little bias here.
Topic of article: Politics, European Union
Headline: ‘Chaos’ and confusion over plans for Brexit
Authors: Deborah Haynes (Defence Editor), Francis Elliot (Political Editor)
Aim of the article: Report on recent claims that the Government is incapable of dealing effectively with the required duties around an effective Brexit
Agenda of the article: The article’s title begins with ‘Chaos’ in quotations, as if to highlight the message of the report and to create the image of a government, hidden away from the public and with no plans. According to the article two separate reports have come out in the past few days that question the government’s Brexit plans, their ability to pursue them effectively and the impact their secretiveness may have on the outcomes. Detailing a list of complaints and warnings about the direction Brexit is heading, the paper is attempting to inform the readers that all is not well behind the inexpressive façade of Theresa May. There may be an intention for readers to more openly question the governments handling of the process, or to just be aware of what the country’s vote has lead to.
Bias of the article: The article is highly critical of the government, and refutes nearly all the official responses to the Deloitte letter. It is therefore hard to determine the balance in the writing, especially as there is no space for a direct response from someone in the government. However the information has sources named and so is easily verifiable.
Front page images from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs/the_papers
Reviewed by: Sam Hewitt