Monday 21st November 2016

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

The Sunsun-750

Topic of article: Crime, Entertainment

Headline: Strictly star battered by thugs

Authors: Emma Daly (TV Reporter)

Aim of the article: The article informs readers of the attack of a Strictly Come Dancing professional dancer in Blackpool on Saturday night after the live television show.

Agenda of the article: The article indicates the severity of the action by “thugs” or “a gang of youths” by describing Marquez’s requirement for dental surgery. There is no suggestion at the motivation of the “ambush” or details of whether it was a random attack or motivated. The article, rare for the newspaper, doesn’t provide motivation for the attack except perhaps that he is known as a professional dancer. The article describes the “battering” by the “youths” enhancing the public’s image of young people as violent when they provide no evidence of the age of those who attacked him.

Bias of the article: The article provides no quotes or evidence of their story but remind readers of Marquez’s face with a photograph. There is no inclusion of analysis why the attack may have happened or consequences for the individual on the front page.

The Guardianguardian

Topic of article:  Politics; Economics

Headline: Revealed: cost of austerity for 6m families

Authors: Patrick Butler (Society, Health and Education Policy Editor), Rajeev Syal (Senior Reporter)

Aim of the article: The article is reporting the results of the Policy in Practice study of 187,000 UK households regarding welfare reforms of the current government considering the impending autumn statement.

Agenda of the article: This article is persuading readers that Theresa May’s government is further damaging the lives of the “just about managing” (or “Jams”) low-income working families. This is including claims that this government’s austerity budget could be worse for those who rely on some form of government support than Cameron’s government. The article indicates that May sought to appear supportive of “ordinary working-class families” from the outset of her leadership but is now choosing to provide “tax breaks and an annual £2bn investment fund” to support “big businesses” rather than support these families.

Bias of the article: The article is based on research that it describes in detail in order to legitimise t: from 17 districts, analysis using housing benefit and council tax data supplied by local authorities etc. The article is generally critical with Chancellor Phillip Hammond’s bureaucratic and lengthy response and the equally statistically “spokesman for the Department of Work and Pensions” are the only responses to the claims made in the article. There is nothing provided from the charities or local councils who are said to be “alarmed” and “worried” or for the people that they are concerned for.

 The Daily Maildaily_mail-750

Topic of article: Health

Headline: 2 in 3 chickens have superbug

Author(s): Sean Poulter (Consumer Affairs Correspondent)

Aim of the article: The article is reporting a study from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Public Health England on E. coli presence in high-street chicken samples in the U.K.

Agenda of the article: Perhaps Sean Poulter or The Daily Mail itself has a metaphorical bone to pick with chicken farmers, butchers or supermarket chains because this article is effectively scaremongering readers into not buying any chicken due to possible health consequences. The story itself is moderately confusing to read and contains a fair amount of technical medical jargon, which may have fallen into common tabloid parlance but doesn’t mean it is understood by the general public. The claim is that the strain we should be concerned about doesn’t cause you to get the “vomiting” bug, “urinary tract infections” or “sepsis” that the article also throws into the mix but actually remains in the gut and can result in later resistance to cephalosporin antibiotics. This apparently long-term and maybe irreversible consequence of eating the most commonly eaten meat in the UK (1) is – no doubt – likely to put off consumers.

Bias of the article: The statistics of two thirds or 78% are assumed to come from a “government study” cited at the end of the article, this is described as “much bigger and found a much higher infection rate” than the comparatively “small study” at the University of Cambridge. So the paper takes two trusted sources but tells us relatively little about the study itself, except this vague “bigger” vs. “small” and the scientific explanation in the bulk of the article further confuses me. There is no explanation by a health professional or a representative from the Univerisy of Cambridge or the government department. Nor anywhere that the article specifies which of the two studies cited the data is from. Notably and unsurprisingly the article doesn’t include views of those involved in the manufacture or selling of chickens.


The Timestimes

Topic of article: Politics

Headline: May pledges tax cuts to win back business vote

Authors: Sam Coates (Deputy Political Editor)

Aim of the article: The article outlines the contents of the Prime Minister’s speech to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) today.

Agenda of the article: The article focuses on May’s “change of tone” and spends the first half of the article contrasting her opening speech at Tory conference which was tough on tax avoidance, using foreign workers and the ineffectual leadership of companies such as BHS. The Times links Trumps promise of dropping corporation tax to 15% in an effort to promote business to May’s reiteration of Tory plans to keep UK corporation tax lowest in the G20. Generally the article feels wary of May’s choices in the speech and portrays her somewhat as a political chameleon, changing her colour to “win back” the “disaffected” business community in the context of pro-business Trump becoming the most powerful man in the world.

Bias of the article: The article generally quotes from May at her Tory conference speech and then the quotes from the CBI speech today. There is also a quote from “business leaders” criticising May and an unsubstantiated final sentence regarding disagreements between the chancellor and Prime Minister. Overall the contrast of her two speeches make her appear somewhat fickle, with her stance changing dramatically, from one of for “ordinary working-class families” to one of tax breaks for big business.

Front page images from:

Reviewed by: Alice Edwards

(1) A Guardian datasheet on meat consumption in the past few decades is interesting: as is an Independent article on chicken consumption:


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