Papers Reviewed: The Sun, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Times
Topic of article: Health
Headline: £500k health tourist
Author(s): Jen Pharo (Reporter)
Analysis: Report on the story of a woman who went into labour on board a plane bound for Heathrow, and the fact that the taxpayer will end up paying the bill. Using anecdotal evidence instead of a systematic review of the facts behind so called ‘health tourism’, the Sun knows how to engage with its readers and create a desired emotional response. By citing a personal story the article can both create a figure on which to easily place scorn and blame, while also extrapolating the individual’s story to represent a general whole who are deserving of this original scorn. It is much easier to place blame on a single person than a mass, and by announcing that the taxpayer will have to foot the bill, a claim which is dubious as the average citizen will likely experience no ill effects from this healthcare charge, the paper creates a sense of injustice for the reader. The article does not examine the reasons for the woman to be flying, other than to blandly declare it ‘health tourism’, nor does it consider early labour or any multitude of causes for an unplanned pregnancy. There is little investigative journalism here, just a story seized upon in order to place further blame for UK problems on immigrants.
Topic of article: Economics, Politics
Headline: UK faces return to inequality of Thatcher years
Author(s): Larry Elliott (Economics Editor), Katie Allen (Economics Reporter)
Analysis: Summarise a recent Thinktank report which warned that Britain may be facing a period of the greatest inequality since Thatcher, and examine the proposed causes of this. The article’s headline uses opposition towards Thatcher and her policies that it supposes most of its readers will posses, evoking images of the ‘Thatcher years’ to express the level of inequality. While this may be statistically correct, in many circles the connection would not be as meaningful. The article uses a single Thinktank’s report as the main focus of its report, but makes sure to mention that these forecasts agree with other’s done independently, giving the predictions more validity. And while many may say these are ‘only forecasts’, the identification of worrying trends is much more important than worrying whether what it warns of does occur. As the article says, the prime ministers focus on barely managing families is correct, based upon these predictions, and more preventative measures must be put into place. What is especially interesting is the use of certain economic parameters to predict thee future inequalities, ones that an average person may not initially consider or know about, such as rising global oil prices and sluggish wage growth. This is a bringing back of the ‘experts’ that Brexit attempted to banish and these forecasts must be listened to.
The Daily Mail
Topic of article: Health
Headline: Health tourism ‘chaos’ draining the NHS
Author(s): Sophie Borland (Health Editor)
Analysis: Report on the Commons committee’s announcement that the NHS struggles with charging overseas patients. The Mail declares the issue ‘chaos’, the perfect word when place in bold on a front page to draw readers, as well as set the tone for the further report. One imagines doctors chasing foreigners down the hallway and that polish man from next-door cleaning out the medication cupboard, all while your poor granny waits for her hip x-ray. Ridiculous yes, but what I’m trying to say is that there is a narrative which is being created here through the clever use of bold headlines and simplified interpretations of news reports which feeds into the kind of thinking which can easily imagine dark men stealing from behind nurses backs. The report itself says that hospitals struggle to charge overseas patients effectively and more should be done to correct this. At no point does it mention people travelling here specifically to take advantage of our lax health cost policies, nor does it envision we should turn all these foreign visitors away. The article does little analysis on what could be the cause of this inability to effectively police our healthcare charges, and it ignores the most telling bit of the report: ‘ Hospitals should be given extra cash to issuing more invoices.’ This is not just an issue with overseas patients, but also an issue with the general state of healthcare funding in the UK, and the Mail spends all its energy generating hatred towards foreigners.
Topic of article: Transport, Economics
Headline: Rip-off rail fares scrapped
Author(s): Graeme Paton (Transport Correspondent), Andrew Ellison (Consumer Affairs Correspondent)
Analysis: Announce new policies to reduce excessive multi-leg train ticket costs and discuss the reasons behind the changes. The article declares the rail fares as being ‘rip-off’, an evocative term that must surely be aimed at the publics’ inner emotions, as if to say – look we feel the same as you when we see how much the train ticket will cost, and thank god these are being gotten rid of. It helps create a bond with the reader and encourages further interest. The Times went on to make it clear that the reason such changes had been considered was due to its own investigations into the matter, declaring to the public once again that they are on their side, and fighting the good fight. Having these investigations ensures that the paper can present evidence of their cutting edge journalism and makes them continue to be directly relevant in people’s lives, despite the increasing use of online news sources. The body of the article goes on to discuss the ways in which the fares have worked and how they will be scrapped, giving a modest analysis of the issue, without interviewing anyone from the train company, although a brief statement was included from the RDG. To conclude the paper discusses why these changes may not be enough to combat the issues and so sets up further investigative journalism to come.
Front page images from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs/the_papers
Reviewed by: Sam Hewitt