Papers Reviewed: The Sun, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Times
Topic of article: Politics, History
Author(s): David Willetts (Defence Editor)
Analysis: Report on the death of the former IRA general and architect of the Good Friday Agreement, Martin McGuinness. The Sun goes with the headline ‘Unforgiven’, just in case anyone was wondering what the paper thought of Mr. McGuinness. Called an IRA killer and terrorist, Mr. McGuinness is painted as getting off easily with the crimes he committed and of being lauded as a hero, while a decent British soldier (not one of those bloody Irish!) is on trial for a shooting linked to the IRA upheavals. The paper is championing the British spirit and using the resentment of the past to demonise a man who they see as being evil. While the guilt of Mr. McGuinness is not something for me to discuss, the fact that he was one of the main players in brokering a peace deal between the IRA and Britain and has worked since then to ensure the peace continues surely must count for something? And while the British soldier, Mr. Hutchings, may be guilty of only defending himself or reacting to the atrocities of the IRA, does this make him the paradigm of good? The paper plays heavily on the idea that a soldier of your country is a good man without question, a nationalistic view that threatens acceptance of others. The article also makes sure that the readers know that the lefty politicians Blair and Corbyn ‘led tributes’ to the deceased, painting them as enemies of the state along with Mr. McGuinness.
Topic of article: Crime
Headline: Covert Met police unit accused of using hackers to spy on protesters
Author(s): Rob Evans (Journalist)
Analysis: To report on allegations against the Metropolitan Police that they had used foreign hackers to access and monitor the private email accounts of reporters and protestors. The article is also imploring the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) to investigate the claims. The article comes following an anonymous source giving details about the hacking to an MP. The subject of the article, continued and covert government surveillance of citizens, has been seen before during the NSA leaks and certainly strikes a cord with Guardian readers. It has increasingly seemed that protestors and left-wing members of the media/public have been targeted for extra surveillance while those on the right and in power, as the Conservatives have been in government for the past 5 years, continue about their lives. From the reporter Glen Greenwald having his laptop seized to allegations like this, dissenting voices in the public sphere are being monitored. When you have abuses of power like this, while it may not directly affect those monitored with punishment, it does dissuade others from following a similar path and unsettles those affected. Therefore it cannot go unchallenged, and the article uses the story as a way of asking for a formal investigation from the IPCC. By informing the readers as well it ensures that there will be public knowledge and concern over the allegations and makes sure the issue will be less easily covered up or passed over by the government. Although the source of the information remains anonymous and so cannot be verified by the reader, the paper interviews numerous protestors affected by the alleged hacking who do confirm the existence of the information. A statement from the police would have been interesting and offered another side of the story but as this is an exclusive story the Met may be waiting to make one.
The Daily Telegraph
Topic of article: Terrorism, Politics
Headline: New terror threat behind iPad ban
Author(s): Steven Swinford (Deputy Political Editor)
Analysis: To inform readers of the recent ban on larger electronic devices in airplane cabins on flights from many Middle East and North African locations to the UK. The article focuses mainly on the effect this travel ban (of sorts) will have on British citizens. It bemoans the possible damage that could be inflicted on the larger electronic devices if placed in the hold and includes a cartoon commentating on the ban. The considerations given to British citizens are juxtaposed with a lack of analysis into the effects this will have on other nationalities and on the potential reasoning behind and American-centric justification of the ban. What the paper seems more concerned about is the damage to electrical goods, indicating a lack of interest in political commentary when it may challenge the narrative generated by the fear of terrorism. In order to appeal to the individual reader the paper makes the article direct the majority of its attention to the consumer goods that may be damaged, mentioning an ‘iPad ban’ in the headline.
Topic of article: Terrorism, Politics
Headline: Flight ban on laptops after new bomb fears
Author(s): Graeme Paton (Transport Correspondent), Deborah Haynes (Defence Editor), Sean O’Neil (Crime Editor)
Analysis: To inform readers of the recent ban on larger electronic devices in airplane cabins on flights from many Middle East and North African locations to the UK. The ban reported here follows a similar American one implemented one day earlier. The paper reports that although this ban is similar to the US one it differs in the airports affected, pointing out that this may cause confusion. By mentioning the American ban the paper may be trying to show how the UK is attempting to collaborate with or at least imitate US actions, perhaps with the intention of forming a bond not seen since the Blair years. This was certainly the indication given when May and Trump held hands during their first meeting, and communication followed by shared actions between the two countries may be the first step. Despite this, the paper points out that the bans are different, possibly resulting in confusion, indicating that this bond is not quite functioning. What it does seem to say is that we have entered a new age of anti-terrorism, where technology is recognized as being ever more dangerous and something to be more tightly controlled. Additionally, the use of targeted travel related bans, aimed at countries deemed to be terrorist related, serves to isolate these areas, or at the very least single them out and could have worrying consequences. The article has only one interview with an intelligence source, and they inform the readers that the ban was not made on specific evidence bur rather on ‘concerns over a culture’ – perhaps pointing out the ability for countries to act on feelings rather than evidence, surely not an entirely beneficial transition.
Front page images from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs/the_papers
Reviewed by: Sam Hewitt