Wednesday 7th December 2016

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

The Sunsun

Topic of article: Business, Health and Safety

Headline: Curse of the Corsa

Authors: Rob Patterson (Reporter)

Aim of the article: To report on concerns over the safety of certain Corsa car models

Agenda of the article: The article continues from its probe in April in which it supposedly exposed other failings in Vauxhall cars. The Sun is evidently very proud of itself for conducting this work and ensures that readers are reminded, as this kind of impact journalism is presumably one of the major selling points of paper newspapers to the general public. This specific concern seems to be the most serious yet, with claims that it may cause ‘flames to explode through the dashboard’, and an accompanying picture of a car in flames. The general feeling of the article is one of fear and anger at the Vauxhall.

Bias of the article: The picture of a burning car is not even referenced as actually being an example of what happens due to the mechanical fault, instead being used create fear and panic in the reader. Again this is a piece of investigative journalism which has not been backed up by official findings, so caution must be used when interpreting the facts.

The Guardianguardian

Topic of article: Politics, Brexit, European Union

Headline: May forced to reveal Brexit plan to head off Tory revolt

Authors: Rowena Mason (Political Correspondent), Anushka Asthana (Political Editor), Jon Henley (European Affairs Correspondent)

Aim of the article: To inform the reader about the current state of affairs surrounding Britain’s plans to exit the EU

Agenda of the article: The growing public and media concern over what a Brexit deal will actually look like continues to dominate newspapers. The government is presented as having poor organization which is in reactionary mode. May is ‘forced’ to reveal plans, she faces a revolt and attempts to turn the debate to her own advantage. It is interesting that the paper uses the impending Tory revolt as the headline reason for revealing the plans, and only includes a small amount on the pressure from Labour which also led to the announcement. In most cases it seems that Labour have become of secondary importance as their political influence is routinely hidden or reduced by reports. When even following the shambles that May has gotten herself in people still trust her more than Corbyn with the economy you know something must be wrong.

Bias of the article: The article does little critical analysis of the main issues. They effectively report what has happened, and what politicians have said but leave no room for deeper concern over the apparent lack of communication and understanding existing between the EU ministers and Britain, or the fact that so many of the pre-Brexit promises continue to be broken. In fact this U-turn by the government is almost presented as a triumph, with previously rebelling Tory MPs claiming they will now vote on the governments side. Brexit is being accepted while lying down and very few in the media are actively challenging many of the fall-outs from it, instead ensuring they still have a strong reader base.

The Daily Mailmail

Topic of article: Crime

Headline: A victory for common sense

Author(s): Richard Pendlebury (Reporter) and Sam Greenhill (News Reporter)

Aim of the article: To inform readers that a soldier previously court martialled for alleged murder of Taliban will be granted a new appeal

Agenda of the article: The article presents a picture of unabashed patriotism; the soldier in question is in full military dress and standing in front of a British flag. Images like this have a significant impact on generating public feelings of nationalism and protectionism, a sense that the army is beyond reproach and must be supported in all respects. An effective tool, as America has shown, but one less rarely used in Britain. The paper is also very proud of itself and its readers for helping to fund this new appeal, and makes sure to announce this, developing a personal connection with the readers.

Bias of the article: Heavily in favour of the soldier and his circumstances, the paper does little to analyse the rationale behind the original conviction. There are no sources from the military to give their opinion and devotes much of its time to patting itself on the back for helping the family out.

The Timestimes

Topic of article: Health, NHS, Economy

Headline: NHS pays £430,000 salaries to stand-ins

Authors: Chris Smyth (Health Editor)

Aim of the article: To report on the recent findings of an NHS watchdog which says temporary bosses are being payed twice what permanent employees are

Agenda of the article: It seems that papers will go to any length to blame everything but the Government for the problems of the NHS. Another day, another article that ignores the chronic underfunding of the system, the ambitions of major politicians to privatise the NHS for their own gains and the still ongoing junior doctors contract which is being imposed in February. We are in an extremely difficult time for the NHS and, yes, paying large sums for stand-in managers is definitely an immoral and unhelpful practice but the underlying causes of these issues are routinely ignored, with blame being hurled at doctors, nurses and hospitals rather than those that refuse to allocate adequate resources.

Bias of the article: The article’s main source is a letter supposedly seen by the Times, making this report impossible to verify at this time and potentially subject to significant bias in reporting. There is also very little critical analysis of the primary issue, with no discussion of how this fits into the bigger picture of NHS debt and cost.

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

Reviewed by: Sam Hewitt

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