Papers Reviewed: The Sun, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Times
Topic of article: Crime, Health
Headline: ‘Doctors’ cancer scam to butcher women
Author(s): Neil Syson (Reporter)
Analysis: Report on the uncovered scam by a surgeon who falsely diagnosed women with breast cancer and performed mastectomies in order to cash in on the private surgery fees. The article’s headline uses the strong and emotive worj ‘Butcher’ and makes it seem as if the doctor’s scam was intended to kill women. This would surely grab the attention of many passer’s by. The story is also paired with a smug-looking photo of the doctor in question, perhaps to allow the reader to put a face to an emotion, notably anger and disgust. What is extremely interesting for me in this article is the fact that this scam was uncovered in a private healthcare practise and yet there is no mention or critical analysis of the dangers of the private system. The Sun and other newspapers spend pages discussing the waste in the NHS, the lazy doctors and the foreign nurses or patients who fill the hospitals. But when a case potentially brings up the dangers inherent in a system with a lack of oversight or quality control, one that costs so much and yet often does not deliver quality care, such as the private healthcare system this is ignored and passed over for a focus on the individual behind it. It is the individual’s fault, not the system they say. And yet its always the NHS’s fault, not the individual
Topic of article: Business
Headline: Green stumps up £363m in BHS pensions
Author(s): Graham Ruddick (Senior Business Reporter) and Sarah Butler (Reporter on Retail and Ethical Business)
Analysis: Report on and analyse the paying of £363 million by Philip Green into a BHS pensions fund in order compensate those that suffered from the stores closure last August. The article makes it clear that Green did not pay this money out of any respect or empathy for the former employees, but rather as the result of a court case brought against him by MPs. There is no love lost for Green by the paper, which repeatedly references ‘a deal to help the billionaire keep his knighthood’ and the suffering of former employees. This ensures that readers are shown the ugly side of Philip Green and are aware of the damage he has done, and a sense of anger and injustice is created. There is an interest in the media and public of showing that the rich do get their comeuppance sometimes, and perhaps this article goes towards this, but it is tinged with bittersweet victory, as so many of the former employees testify to. They call it ‘the least he could do’, and are sure to still suffer from the collapse of the store. This fact, interestingly, is little mentioned although seemingly important – although Green has personal wealth of billions he is still leaving the pensions fund underfunded and while the payment helps it isn’t enough. And yet MPs who brought the case forwards declared triumph, their reputations intact or bolstered, while the poorer employees were left to suffer. And maybe that is what this article is about, the well-trodden path that ends with the privileged ones sailing off on their yacht while the rest are left unemployed and on benefits.
The Daily Mail
Topic of article: Politics, Economics
Headline: Insurance hikes: now the retreat
Author(s): James Salmon (Pensions and Investments Reporter) and Jack Doyle (Political Correspondent)
Analysis: To inform readers of the debates around the recent announcement of changes to insurance policies made by the Justice secretary Miss Truss. The Mail loves to be a champion of the people, and will inevitably report on anything that enables them to support this image. The scheme is immediately portrayed as something aimed at ‘penalising millions of drivers’, and this would immediately draw attention from prospective readers. Although the article reports a bare-bones analysis of the proposals it lacks any clear picture of what type of changes the public would be facing – we are told the scheme adds £300 to premiums for older drivers but not the age cut-off or the pay-out details. We are also not provided with sources in order to check or verify any of these facts. The paper most likely does not consider this important or interesting enough for the readers, and prefers to focus on the criticisms of the scheme and the potential of changing it. The paper also mentions the crippling increases in business rates which are also affecting the economy, but it is perhaps more telling what is not mentioned. Brexit is never once considered as playing a role in any of these circumstances, and why would it? This paper supports an independent UK and the consideration that this may be harming the economy would be unthinkable. Equally PM May is not mentioned either – surely this scheme change would have been viewed by the upper reaches of the government and especially the PM so it seems this is another mistake but by keeping her clear of the problems the paper hopes to pass off blame to the Justice secretary, keeping the PMs image clean. And thirdly, where is the opposition from Labour is this is such a crippling scheme? It seems the only ones making themselves heard criticising the Conservatives are members of the same party.
Topic of article: Business
Headline: Green made to pay up in biggest ever pension deal
Author(s): Deirdre Hipwell (Retail Editor) and Marcus Leroux (Trade Correspondent)
Analysis: Report on and analyse the paying of £363 million by Philip Green into a BHS pensions fund in order compensate those that suffered from the stores closure last August. This article starts off on a slightly more positive note than the similar one in the Guardian, calling the payment made by Green ‘the biggest ever pension deal’. And while this may be true, the article does go on to reference a figure said to be closer to the amount required as £571 million, a far cry from what has been agreed as the biggest pensions payment. So there seems to be a discrepancy between the ability to quote a nice figure and the acceptance that this isn’t enough. And yet the legal proceedings will now be called off and his estate, managed from Monaco, the tax haven of the British rich, will presumably not be questioned again. There is something depressingly domestic about the ability to accept someone taking millions from a company and employees over years without asking for a deeper dissection of the guilty party and their liability. He still owns other high-street chains, who’s to know if he’s still involved in the same practices to those that downed BHS. Will Topshop be the next casualty? But then the Brits would revolt surely, Topshop is an institution, where would we get our £5 crop-tops and hottest spring styles from? But for a country that couldn’t even muster a serious opposition to raising educational fees by £6,000 pounds I wouldn’t expect too much.
Front page images from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs/the_papers
Reviewed by: Sam Hewitt