Papers Reviewed: The Sun, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Times
Topic of article: domestic affairs
Headline: Intruder held at George school
Author(s): Mike Sullivan (Crime Editor)
Analysis: This article reports on a potential “security scare” for Prince George, as a woman attempted to get into his school unauthorised twice in a 24 hour period. The incident is treated very seriously by the paper, who describe it as a “major royal security scare”. The gravity of the story is reflected in the size of the font, which towers over the image of Prince George in his school uniform. The headline – which is concise to the point of grammatical incorrectness – gives the story a sense of drama and urgency. In contrast to assessment of the incident as a major security scare, it is later revealed that Prince George was not at the school at the time of the incident, and as such was not in any real danger. The online version of the article (found at https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/4458384/prince-george-thomass-battersea-school-woman-arrested-breaking-in/) makes an alarming connection between the incident and nationality, as one eyewitness is noted to say she thought the woman “could be from overseas” because she had witnessed passports being checked, thus subtly supporting anti-immigration views by making a link between non-UK nationals and criminal behaviour. Eyewitnesses and royal representatives are quoted, giving some credibility to the article, but overall the story is reported in a very sensationalist way, as if Prince George had actually been harmed in some way by this event.
Topic of article: Domestic Affairs
Headline: Graham Taylor accused of role in sex abuse cover-up
Author(s): Daniel Taylor (Chief Football Writer)
Analysis: This article reports on an inquiry into historic sexual abuse allegations within English football, focusing on the possible involvement of former England manager Graham Taylor. The article centres on allegations that Taylor, who died earlier this year and is described by the author as “revered and hugely popular”, did not report known cases of paedophilia, and simply told a victim who reported a case of abuse to him to “move on”. The author suggests that Taylor could have prevented further cases of abuse if he had not discouraged victims from reporting the abuse, or if he had reported it himself. His alleged involvement has been framed as a “cover up” of the abuse. The article goes on to focus more widely on the actions of Aston Villa, where Taylor was employed at the time of the abuse, suggesting a more pervasive trend of covering up sexual abuse. The article reports on the findings of the inquiry, and also includes the voice of one sexual abuse victim, Tony Brien. The voice of Dave Richardson, the assistant manager of Aston Villa at the time of the sexual abuse, is noted as lacking from the story, which is explained as his refusal to comment. In place of a comment, the author draws on a letter which was written by Richardson and previous statements given by him. A potential discrepancy between Richardson’s statements and other evidence is used to support the claims of a cover up, adding further drama to the story.
The Daily Mail
Topic of article: International Affairs
Headline: A hurricane force farce
Author(s): Claire Ellicott (Political Correspondent)
Analysis: The article is reporting on international aid rules set by the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which are restricting the access of several British territories that have been affected by Hurricane Irma to foreign aid, on the grounds of their financial status. The article is critical of the OECD rules, as the use of the word “farce” in the title suggests. The author claims that the OECD rules have been blamed for “hampering the relief effort” in the affected islands, which include Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands, although does not state who has voiced this opinion or note other opinions. The islands are described as having been “flattened” by the hurricane, suggesting the level of damage that they have sustained, and thus the ridiculousness of restricting aid to these territories. The author notes several other nations that are eligible for international aid under the OECD rules, which include India and China, which have been described as having “booming economies”, and North Korea. Without commenting on whether the territories should be eligible for aid, the suggestion that India and China would not need international aid based on economic growth seems to ignore their current economic situation somewhat. The inclusion of North Korea in the author’s list seems to serve to rile the audience, by suggesting that the OECD will allow financial support to nations that conflict with Western values, whilst prohibiting financial support for Western territories. It is noted that the islands will still receive £57m from the UK government, but as a result of the OECD rules this has to come from beyond the foreign aid budget, which the author argues has restricted the amount of money they are able to receive. This claim is based on that of an unnamed minister, who is the only source to feature on the front page.
Topic of article: Economics
Headline: Amazon in £1.5bn tax fraud row
Author(s): Oliver Wright (Policy Editor)
Analysis: The article reports that Amazon was accused yesterday of “failing to cooperate fully” in addressing tax evasion, which some foreign companies who sell through the website may be committing. The article centres on evidence that was presented to Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee yesterday by HMRC, whose figures suggest that online retailers, such as Amazon, may be evading tax on up to a third of sales. The impact of the evasion is put in terms of financial impact on the taxpayer – “HMRC estimates that online VAT fraud costs the taxpayer between £1 billion and £1.5 billion a year”. The use of this large figure, which it ought to be noted is not representative of the scale of tax evasion occurring through Amazon, but through all online sellers, exaggerates the scandal of the story, but also connects it to the wider issue of online VAT fraud, while the framing of the effect in terms of taxpayers serves to encourage an emotional response from the audience. HMRC and MPs’ voices are represented in the article, but Amazon representatives do not feature on the front page.
Front page images from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs/the_papers
Reviewed by: Evelyn Jager