Wednesday 14th June, 2017

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

The MetroMetro

Topic of article: Politics

Headline: May goes into extra time

Author(s): Daniel Binns (Current Affairs and Music)

Analysis: Inform readers about the current Conservative-DUP coalition negotiations and the impacts this may have on Britain. The Metro attempts to tie politics to sports with its headline referencing the France-England friendly played last night. This may be used to generate more interest from members of the public who would not normally bother to read the political news. The tone of article is highly critical of May and the DUP negotiations, pointing out numerous demands and possible conciliations that the Tories will have to agree to in order to hold power. A particular focus is on the return of the ‘troubles’ between religious groups in Northern Ireland, with quotes from the opposing party (to the DUP) showing how precarious the situation is. Overall the article shows readers that the consequences of the possible deal could be bad for the UK, and that when a former PM from your own party warns you to not do something to stay in power then it may not be such a good idea after all!

The GuardianGuardian

Topic of article: Politics, European Union

Headline: May told: UK can still back out of Brexit

Author(s): Jessica Elgot (Political Editor), Anushka Asthana (Political Editor)

Analysis: Report on Theresa May’s recent state visit to Paris and the ongoing negotiations surrounding Britain leaving the EU. The Guardian begins with the headline ‘May told…’, an opening statement that sets the tone of the article, with May placed in the position of an embattled and subdued PM who is now taking orders from European and British ministers, rather than giving them. Macron tells her she can still turn back on leaving the EU, a proverbial olive branch or a slight dig at her sudden weakness in negotiations? The Guardian and other left of centre papers often quote the assurances of European politicians that Britain can still reverse its decision, perhaps as a way of weakening the hardline stance that the Conservatives and right-wing media take. The use of words such as ‘tight-lipped’ ‘overshadowed’ and ‘disappointment’ also create a negative impression of May and her current position, showing her as weak and ineffectual. The article then transitions into an analysis of the EU negotiations, where May is shown to be turning back on her previous commitments to a ‘hard Brexit’, again presenting her as weak. There are numerous quotes from Conservative ministers but it would have been nice to have the opinion of a Labour minister or other opposition figure.

The Daily MailMail

Topic of article: Health, NHS

Headline: Cut-price doctor will see you now

Author(s): Claire Duffin (Reporter)

Analysis: Discuss the impact physician associates may have on the NHS and healthcare delivery in the UK. Going with a typical sensationalising headline, the Mail aims to drive up public concern around seeing a ‘cut-price doctor’ by making them imagine they are being called into see one of them. They hope to insinuate that the care you will receive is sub-par, backed up by the paltry two years of training they have before entering the medical profession. The Mail also calls them ‘medics’, suggesting that you may unwittingly be given one of these semi-doctors when you are in grave need of a fully trained medic. The general aim of the article is to raise public awareness of the physician associates program and to create fear that the public will receive poorer medical care as a result. And while these are important concerns that must be addressed there is a lack of self-awareness in the paper, as analysis of the scheme does not considered the impacts of governmental policies and large societal prejudices that result in a cash deficient NHS and poor staffing numbers that originally drove the creation of this scheme, instead approaching the issue as a stand-alone problem. There should have been more quotes from working doctors within the NHS and perhaps physician associates in order to fully understand the respective positions.

The TimesTimes

Topic of article: Politics, European Union

Headline: Hammond pushes Tories to ditch Brexit trade plan

Author(s): Oliver Wright (Policy Editor), Sam Coates (Deputy Political Editor)

Analysis: Report on the negotiations going on within the Conservative party around leaving the EU and the changes that have occurred following the election. The Times focuses on the changing stances on numerous Brexit policies as the Conservatives deal with the fallout of the general election, and presents much of the information as a ‘Times exclusive’. This helps to show readers that the paper gets information that others do not and hopes to build brand loyalty. The bulk of the article focuses on the two camps within the Tory party, the Remainers and Brexiteers and seems to be setting the stage for a larger battle. With the opportunities available to ambitious politicians after the election, the paper seems to be saying, there will be a number of policy flashpoints, with one department even described as being in a ‘street-fighting mode’. Despite all the potentially negative consequences this could have for the Conservatives, their ability to guide a stable government and many local policies the Times does not delve too deeply into the disagreements or likely fallouts, instead choosing to present this as good, almost light-hearted (see ‘street-fighting mode’, like a videogame) discussions, surely not a stance it would have taken were Labour in this position. The paper does a good job of explaining the customs union and how it impacts negotiations for its readers, which allows a deeper understanding of the issues discussed. But it would have been nice to have quotes from the Treasury or other parties involved.

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

Reviewed by: Sam Hewitt

 

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Wednesday 10th May, 2017

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

The Daily MirrorMirror

Topic of article: National News

Headline: School trip girl, 11, dies at theme park

Author(s): Martin Fricker (Senior Reporter)

Analysis: Inform readers about the tragic accident that occurred at Drayton Manor theme park on Tuesday. The Mirror, a tabloid newspaper, leads with the story of the theme park accident, in the knowledge that tragic accidents like this will always sell better than any politics or world events headlines. The article and sub-heading goes on to paint a vivid picture of the incident, describing ‘horrified friends’ as they ‘looked on’, saying she ‘plunged to her death’. These phrases are very emotive and help to elevate the readers already developed sense of sadness, as well as, along with an action picture of the ride, allowing them to almost re-imagine the scene as it happened – feeding the morbid fascination hidden inside all of us. The Mirror includes a quote from the theme park, allowing them to have an apologetic voice with the terrible accident.

The GuardianGuardian

Topic of article: Politics

Headline: Corbyn: business tax rise will pay for £6bn boost to schools

Author(s): Heather Stewart (Joint Political Editor), Jessica Elgot (Westminster Political Reporter)

Analysis: Report on Corbyn and Labour’s newest election pledge to overturn corporation tax and raise cash to fund numerous new policies. The Guardian leads its front-page with a Labour election slogan, again giving a voice in the media to Labour policies, something that is often lacking. Just a quick browse through today’s front pages will show no mention of Labour policies, replaced by smiling pictures of May and her husband and stories of Labour ‘splits’. The Guardian endeavours, often alone to report the positive movements of the Labour party. The article uses an effective bullet-point system to summarise the main pledges, enabling the reader to quickly glance and take-in the information. There is a lot of talk about Labour ‘differentiating from the Tories’, with this statement once seen as a common complaint levelled at the party but perhaps being consciously shown here to not be an issue. Reporting on the accusations aimed at the current Conservative government regarding their education policies creates a juxtaposition between the positive and hopeful Labour policies vs the maligned and damaging Tory policies, leading readers towards a decision on which party is best. There are no quotes or sources from either party which would have given a better balanced view on the story.

The Daily MailMail

Topic of article: National News

Headline: Girl, 11, dies in theme park horror

Author(s): Andy Dolan (Midlands News Reporter)

Analysis: Inform readers about the tragic accident that occurred at Drayton Manor theme park on Tuesday. The Mail chooses a simple and non-political headline today, instead focusing on the theme park accident, because they know that people cannot resist a good accident story. There is something fascinating about the ability for a tragic story to draw attention so much more effectively than anything else, and this is story must surely have been chosen on this understanding. The mention of the girl’s age is done to accentuate the fact that this was a young child and the accident that much more tragic. The article goes on to semi-accuse the theme park of negligence, based on visitor reports, which seems a slightly stunning change of direction. If indeed there had been knowledge of malfunctioning rides for two days before the accident then surely this is a criminal case, yet the Mail simply throws it in there as if this comment means nothing. There is also a careful connection formed between this accident and those at Alton Towers two years ago, increasing both the sadness of the incident and perhaps the injustice felt by readers who remember the culpability of the theme park in that instance. A quote from the theme park or police would have given additional information to the reader.

The TimesTimes

Topic of article: Health/Public Services

Headline: Stop splitting up elderly couples

Author(s): Greg Hurst (Social Affairs Editor), Rosemary Bennett (Social Affairs Correspondent)

Analysis: Report on comments made by the president of the family division of the High Court regarding the division of elderly couples when they move to social housing. The headline plays to the public’s emotional connection and inherent respect for elderly citizens, as the stark accusation it makes will no doubt make readers consider their own parents being split when older and generate an angry or protective response. The practice of splitting older couples is no doubt a terrible thing to do but this article lacks any sense of deeper analysis into the issue. Content to quote repeated social service directors and judges about the inhumanity of the situation, it feels as if the writers have decided that the superficial sense of anger and injustice associated with their headline must be reinforced and sustained through the reading of the article. But does patting yourself on the back about your own sense of injustice really do much good? There is no analysis of the reasons that care-homes are struggling to accommodate elderly couples, or the general decline of social support that has made every care-home workers’ job that much harder. A vilification of care-homes without an understanding of deeper issues does no one any good, least of all those elderly couples that you claim to have such a serious concern about.

Front page images from: http://en.kiosko.net/uk and http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs/the_papers

Reviewed by: Sam Hewitt

 

Wednesday 3rd May, 2017

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

The SunSun

Topic of article: Business

Headline: Quids on the skids

Author(s): Rohdri Phillips (Business Editor)

Analysis: Inform readers about the faults and breaks in the new pound coins in circulation. The Sun uses its business editor to tell everyone that the new pound coin is flawed and reported to break with alarming frequency. Why this needs a business editor is beyond me but the paper does revel in the government’s failings, despite a long standing support of everything the Conservatives do, although the Royal Mint is perhaps a bit more a-political and so fair game. The subject of the article is aimed at the average reader who doesn’t want to read about the politics being reported around the rest of the media. It’s perfect stuff to read about, laugh and move on with one’s life.

The GuardianGuardian

Topic of article: Politics, EU

Headline: I’ll be bloody difficult in EU talks, says PM

Author(s): Anushka Asthana (Joint Political Editor), Jennifer Rankin (Brussels Correspondent)

Analysis: Report on Theresa May’s reaction to the leaked transcripts of her lunch with the European Commission President Juncker and the on-going disagreements about upcoming negotiations surrounding Britain’s exit from the EU. The Guardian features a headline which not-so-subtly implies that Mrs. May is a difficult woman and will make the upcoming EU negotiations harder than they could be. The Guardian is a strong supporter of the Remain campaign and Labour, so uses this story as a vehicle for presenting the disarray that exists with the Conservatives’ plans for Britain leaving the EU, their current relationship with the EU ministers and leaders and the failures of May’s leadership. The article details criticism of May from numerous fronts, in the EU and from the liberal democrats, and uses strong words such as ‘disastrous’, ‘attack’ and ‘blood difficult’ to create the image of a process going up in flames. The article also features an unnamed source reporting from the government’s side and offering their side of the story. This helps in balancing the reporting but also ends up effectively juxtaposing the viewpoints and stance of the EU leaders with that of May and her cabinet, showing the numerous dissimilarities between them. It is not meant to encourage us. Alongside the article the Guardian has also included a string of photos aimed at embarrassing May, showing her eating chips in an odd way while evoking the scandal from the previous general election of Miliband eating a bacon sandwich. Not quite as effective without a plea for everyone to ‘keep this man out’ but certainly an attempt by the paper to harness some of those emotions.

The Daily MailMail

Topic of article: Health

Headline: IVF clinics peddling false hope over egg freezing

Author(s): Katherine Faulk (Executive Features Editor), Paul Bentley (Daily Mail Investigations Editor), Sara Smyth (Daily Mail Investigations Unit)

Analysis: Inform the readers about a recent investigation by the Mail that showed an IVF clinic had over-exaggerated the fertility success rate of freezing ovarian eggs. The Mail has gathered this story through exclusive, undercover investigation and they make sure that every reader knows this by branding their reporters part of an ‘investigations unit’ – this shows people that this paper not only reports news but makes it, and can be trusted to expose all the terrible crimes that wouldn’t otherwise be punished. Before the article is even discussed though it does seem odd that their undercover reporter faked a fertility need, despite many women waiting months for these appointments. The article continues to say that the reporter was told false information and claims that this represents a wide-spread problem. Yet there is no evidence in this front-page that this was anything more than a single dishonest doctor. The main aim of the article may be to shock and anger readers so that they are aware of the problem and perhaps gather enough public outcry to induce change, but the paper reports that there is already an investigation into the findings. The article does not include any comments from the hospitals regarding the facts and so both sides are not reported effectively.

The TimesTimes

Topic of article: Politics, EU

Headline: You can’t lead Brexit talks, EU tells May

Author(s): Oliver Wright (Policy Editor), Bruno Waterfield (Brussels Reporter)

Analysis: Report on the EU’s stance on negotiations for the upcoming exit talks and May’s comments regarding them. The headline of the article is meant to represent the EU’s new tough line stance in negotiations. Coming after May had reportedly promised to personally supervise and engage in EU talks, the article compares this with the EU’s understanding of the process and shows readers how much disparity there is in the two sides. While May attempts to make the election about who will represent Britain in negotiations, she does not seem to understand the basic regulations surrounding the process, the paper seems to say. Relationships are awkward and strained as May attempts to take the lead and push her agenda while the EU consistently rebuts her comments. This effectively presents a picture of confusion and disarray in the government, all while it puts a strong face on for the British public. And yet the manner in which the EU negotiations are reported are always setting Britain against the EU, an us vs. them mentality that has worked so well in galvanising the public that sometimes you wonder whether instead of horrifying people with ineptitude these articles in fact only serve to make the EU seem even more autocratic?

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

Reviewed by: Sam Hewitt

 

Wednesday 26th April, 2017

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

The IndependentIndependent

Topic of article: Politics

Headline: We want May in TV debates, say voters

Author(s): The Independent (newspaper)

Analysis: Report on a poll that claimed the public were in favour of seeing Theresa May participate in television debates before the General Election in June. The Independent leads with a quoted demand as if it is coming directly from the public voice, an effective tactic when reporting the results of a poll. The stance of the paper is that May must be afraid of something for her to avoid the debates and that by avoiding the debates she will be going against the will of the people. The paper does not mention which poll they are quoting on the front page, whether this was done by the paper or an independent group. The picture posted on the front is an unflattering photo of a squinting May, giving her a slightly confused look which may serve to make is easier to distrust and point the finger at her as avoidant of discussing the real issues. At least that is what it seems the paper would like the readers to do, and as the Independent is a strong supporter of Labour this may not be too hard for their readers. The front-page ends by giving the last word to Labour, allowing them to publicise their standpoint on May’s avoidance and giving readers a useful way to think of May’s stance on the debates – if she doesn’t want to take part then she must be ‘running scared’.

The GuardianGuardian

Topic of article: Education, Politics

Headline: MP’s condemn ‘wasteful’ free school policy

Author(s): Sally Weale (Education Correspondent)

Analysis: Inform readers about a recent report that detailed the failings in funding and maintaining both free and state schools in the UK, as well as discuss the implications this has for the government’s educations plans. The Guardian, long a supporter of Labour, features a damning report and analysis on one of the Conservative party’s major policies over the past few months, namely the delivery of education, with this focusing specifically on the practise of building more free schools across the country. As the general election run-up finishes it’s first week, the papers have begun to examine specific policies put forward by the major parties and it seems like education could be a major battle-ground in the election. In regards to this the Guardian gives a full expose to the report published by a cross-party committee that slams the Conservative’s history on education. The mention in the first paragraph of ‘cross-party’ is important to inform readers that this is not just a labour backed smear of their opponents but rather a researched and considered consensus opinion. The article focuses mainly on the different criticisms by the report on the funding of free schools, hoping to show the public that the Tories, despite their claims of being fiscally responsible and good leaders are actually spending far too much money on a system that does not work while neglecting massive areas of education that could be funded with what they waste. The article is well written and attempts to analyse the stories behind numbers quoted, with quotes from the committee that wrote the report. However, it could have contained a comment or quotes from the Conservatives to balance the viewpoints out.

The Daily MailMail

Topic of article: Crime

Headline: Maddie police chasing ‘critical lead’

Author(s): Chris Greenwood (Crime Correspondent), Vanessa Allen (Reporter)

Analysis: Inform readers about the latest advancement of the Madeleine McCann case and the most recent lead being followed by the Police. The McCann kidnapping case is a tragic and drawn-out nightmare for the family, but it is also a favourite story for the tabloid media. Knowing that most readers would feel some form of personal connection or fear regarding the story of a young, cute girl stolen from under her parents’ noses during a holiday, whenever a new lead of accusation comes out in the case it is splashed all over the front-pages. In this case, as the 10th anniversary of the kidnapping approaches the Mail feels it needs to inform everyone about a vague lead that the police are now following up but will not comment on any further. A large picture of the infant Madeleine alongside the main story helps to form a sympathetic bond between the reader and this poor, innocent girl who has been missing for so long. It can also be argued that this case has been seized upon by the media as the perfect example of devious foreigners and difficult to handle European countries, as reporting has repeatedly focused in the ‘burglars’ at the Portuguese sea-side resort and the poor cooperation or failings of the local police department. What better time to remind readers about the dangers of the continent then on the eve of an election which based on the on-going negotiations to, in some form, keep these dangerous foreigners out of the country.

The TimesTimes

Topic of article: Economy

Headline: Borrowing falls to lowest level since Brown years

Author(s): Philip Aldrick (Economics Editor)

Analysis: Report on figures released by the Office of National Statistics that show Britain’s borrowing has fallen to levels closer to those seen pre-financial crash of 2008. The Times goes with a headline that serves to bolster the Conservative’s claims about their command of the economy, and in this instance it seems the paper is banking on most people’s impression of the following report being influenced by the positive spin introduced in the headline. The bold headline and subheading present an image of an economy and government who have performed miracles by wiping out a huge amount of debt in such a short time, debt often ascribed to the Labour party. What is interesting is that the paper includes a reference to the ‘Brown years’, perhaps giving some credit to the previous Labour leader but this seems overshadowed by the insinuation in the subheading that the government has rapidly reduced the debt. But when a reader continues into the main body of the article they quickly find out that these levels referred to were found on the eve of the financial crash in 2008, hardly a ringing endorsement of confidence, and that they are only at these levels because they do not take into account a bill which will be paid in the next financial year. The article uses numeric values to help people get their head around the values, but there is little analysis of the underlying trends and true meaning of the numbers, only a short warning statement from an economist that can be easily avoided. The overriding impression given by the article is that the current government have done a good job reducing the borrowing deficit, when an analysis of some small facts hidden among the words could indicate something completely different.

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

Reviewed by: Sam Hewitt

Wednesday April 19th, 2017

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

The SunSun

Topic of article: Politics

Headline: Blue Murder

Author(s): Tom Newton-Dunn (Political Editor)

Analysis: Report on Theresa May’s announcement of the snap general election in Britain, scheduled for the 8th of June. The sun claims to know the results of the election already, claiming that she will kill off Labour and all MPs opposed to leaving the EU – a triumphant victory for their favourite PM. The paper likes to use emotive words such as crush, kill, smash and murder to describe what May will do to her opponents, making her seem not so much like a politician but more like a rampaging conqueror from Game of Thrones. But that honestly seems like what much of these right-wing media outlets imagine themselves and their chosen politicians to be like, perhaps picturing the famous knights of Medieval England fighting the great dragons. Yet dragons never existed and half of those ancient knights were French anyway so they wouldn’t be around anymore.

The GuardianGuardian

Topic of article: Politics

Headline: May: give me my mandate

Author(s): Anushka Asthana (Political Editor), Peter Walker (Political Correspondent)

Analysis: Report on Theresa May’s announcement of the snap general election in Britain, scheduled for the 8th of June. The Guardian goes with a headline that conjures images of May throwing a tantrum on the floor, screaming ‘give me my mandate!’ and it continues this negative analysis on the PMs motivations and methods throughout the article. The paper wastes no time in honing in on the reasons behind the snap election, throwing aside the reasons quoted by May in her speech to highlight the major one, namely the current polling results that put the Conservatives so far ahead to Labour. This is no attempt to unify Britain, but an attempt to gain a greater majority in Parliament before the significantly negative effects of Brexit hit Britain hard, and so drive the Tory vision for the future. The paper points out that May has actually gone against her promises to not have an election, made as recently as October, the beginning of what will surely be common complaint against her – that you can’t trust anything she says as she had changed her mind/actions so many times. From being a supporter of the Remain campaign to the main driver in Britain leaving the EU May has consistently shown that she will do whatever it takes to remain in power. This includes blaming everyone but herself for the divisions so evident in Britain at the moment, as she accuses opposition parties of hindering her progress towards a better Britain. There are kinder words reserved for Corbyn, as he welcomes the chance to fight an election, but true hope for his chances are scarce, as the article mentions the predicted landslide win for May and the arguments within Labour already evident. And so the election campaign begins, with May and the Tories blaming everyone else for the country’s problems and Corbyn ignoring the impact of Britain leaving the EU.

The Daily MailMail

Topic of article: Politics

Headline: Crush the Saboteurs

Author(s): Daily Mail

Analysis: Inform the readers about Theresa May’s announcement of a snap general election on the 8th of June. The Mail praises May’s move, claiming it will clean out Parliament and get rid of the moaners who want Britain to suffer. And by moaners the Mail means anyone that doesn’t agree with every aspect of May and the Conservative’s EU policies, forgetting yet again that 48% of the population voted to remain. The media has waged a war on the almost half the population that voted to remain in the EU, as if their opinions are suddenly worth nothing, or even worse amount to sabotage of British interests. And then their favourite spokesman Nigel Farage sells himself in America to talk down to Britain and EU – such great British values eh? The paper includes a large picture of May’s stare at the reader, to give her a sense of power and superiority to those moaners.

The TimesTimes

Topic of article: Politics

Headline: May heads for election landslide

Author(s): Francis Elliot (Political Editor), Sam Coates (Deputy Political Editor)

Analysis: Inform the readers about Theresa May’s announcement of a snap general election on the 8th of June. The Times opts for an overwhelmingly positive analysis of the PMs announcement and prospects of winning, barely even mentioning Labour and Corbyn. The headline predicts a massive win for the Tories and the article continues with this premonition, going on to analyse why this landslide win will be beneficial for Britain. They quote the rise of the pound, on a six-month high that has had its timescale conveniently recalibrated from the massive crash following the EU vote. They quote the possibility, given by ‘experts’, that a bigger majority for the Tories will result in a softer Brexit as she withstands the hard factions in her party. Where is the evidence that this will happen? It is much more likely that she gets a majority and is able to bypass parliament to implement policies beneficial to the Conservatives, which should be terrifying if we simply examine their recent track record on the NHS and education. But hey, if you say something enough maybe it will come true, although its more likely that people will just believe it and in the end I guess that’s all that really matter. There is no analysis of the Conservative’s reprehensible record over the past year, in favour of glossy lines about May’s polling majority. The Times parrots government announcements and makes the transition from slight questioner of Brexit to mouthpiece of the Conservatives.

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

Reviewed by: Sam Hewitt

 

Wednesday April 12th, 2017

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

The Daily MirrorMirror

Topic of article: Crime

Headline: The terrorist’s lair

Author(s): Daily Mirror (newspaper)

Analysis: Show how normal yet evil the flat of Khalid Masood, the Wesminster attacker, is. Showing a mix of pictures, the Mirror uses reader’s fascination with crime photos to present the contents of Masood’s flat in a similar manner. They want the reader to look at his face and imagine him in his ‘lair’, painting him as an animal. The picture of a London scene hangs over the table, poignant reminder of his actions a few weeks ago and perhaps a reminder of the terrorist attacks of July 7th so many years ago? His actions were despicable and should never be forgotten, but it feels like a highly simplified impression of a complicated situation, with commentators content to print the word ‘terrorist’ above his picture and leave it at that. No need to think about any motivation now, or consider the ways in which the crimes of a foreign man are treated so differently to the crimes of a white supremacist, he hated freedom and leave it at that please, we don’t like thinking too much over here.

The GuardianGuardian

Topic of article: Politics, International Relations

Headline: Putin’s Syrian stance hardens as Tillerson heads to Moscow

Author(s): Emma Graham-Harrison (International Affairs), Julian Borger (Washington Correspondent), Spencer Ackerman (New York Correspondent)

Analysis: Report on the state of Russian relations with the West, in particular reference to the events of the past week, in setting the stage for the US secretary of state’s visit. The Guardian leaves the reader in no doubt that relations are currently strained between Putin and the leaders of the West. Alternating with a series of allegations from first Russia, about planted evidence, then the US, with fresh evidence of Assad’s guilt, the article describes the deteriorating situation as a ‘tailspin’. There is however an acceptance that where as before it seemed the West were unified in their approach to Russian indiscretions, in the form of sanctions, now it is the UK and US who stand alone in support of each other. For a long time it was expected that what the US decided to do in foreign policy would for the most part be followed by Europe and their associated countries. This was due in some part to the military and financial might of the US, and held up by claims that the US had shown it knew how to approach world matters. But as Putin reminded everyone, America’s track record over the past 20 years isn’t good and seems to be approached with caution by the rest of the world. The article is also concerned with the changes in tact that the Trump government has shown recently; once thought to be a possible bridge in building relations with Russia, they have now seemingly turned their back on this, and where once dismissive of Nato they now exhibit uncommon favour towards the organisation.

The Daily MailMail

Topic of article: Health

Headline: We’ll fight on to save Charlie

Author(s): Vanessa Allen (Correspondent), Sarah Rainey (Feature Writer), Jim Norton (North-West Reporter)

Analysis: Inform readers of the judge’s decision that the 8-month old child who requires ventilatory support to live may be legally removed from life-support, and that his parents have not given up on overturning the decision. The paper puts a large picture of the child in question, Charlie, and his father together on a bed staring at the camera following the judge’s decision. The picture is purposefully sombre but emotional, showing a father’s love for his child and imploring the reader to put themselves in the father’s position and consider their actions in his place. As many readers will be parents themselves this will surely not be a difficult thing and will raise a natural emotive response around protecting their child, and the actions of the family are surely natural and noble. However there is much that this story does not report in regards to the case, and this is likely due to the desired reaction from readers. The article does not mention the structural brain damage that doctor’s believe Charlie has suffered, something that no interventions, no matter their advancement, have been able to reverse. Nor does it mention that Charlie is nearly incapable of recognising his parents, so that although they believe there is some reaction he does not acknowledge the world around him as the picture would have you believe. And it does not describe the judge’s ruling in detail, which is much more magnanimous and understanding of the family’s situation than the simplified ‘allowed to die’ report would have many believe.

The TimesTimes

Topic of article: Politics, International Relations

Headline: Johnson stung over sanctions

Author(s): Sam Coates (Deputy Political Editor)

Analysis: Report on Boris Johnson’s attempts to get endorsement within Europe for new sanctions against Russia, and the current state of Russian relations in the West. The Times favours a more British-centric viewpoint of the recent events, leading with a dig at the current foreign secretary. The article paints him as both a poor negotiator with weak convincing abilities, unable to get Europe on board with the wishes of America and Britain, and as a ‘poodle of Washington’, bowing to every wish coming from the capitol. This is accompanied with a sub-title reporting on Trump’s spokesman’s claims that ‘even Hitler didn’t sink that low’ when describing the use of chemical weapons. Comedic if it wasn’t such a horrific piece of misinformation, the two countries have their recent failings placed alongside each other, perhaps to show how inadequate they are. The bullet point recap of the recent events gives a chaotic picture, and this is not helped by the further criticism of Johnson. Ultimately, the quote from the Italian PM gives the impression that Britain and America stand alone once again in their foreign policy expectations.

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

Reviewed by: Sam Hewitt

Wednesday 5th April, 2017

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

The SunSun

Topic of article: Crime, Celebrity

Headline: Beaten, broken, betrayed

Author(s): Simon Boyle (Associate Showbiz Editor), James Beal (US Editor)

Analysis: Report on Mel B and her husband’s domestic problems and accusations made by her regarding abuse she received from him. The Sun loves a good celebrity gossip story and while these are surely sad circumstances, with Mel B allegedly beaten and abused for many years during her marriage, the paper manages to turn it all into money. They harness the public’s interest in the lives of celebrities, as well as the morbid love of violence and crime, and place it front-page. The picture of Mel B showing her bruised and swollen jaw is juxtaposed with a snarling picture of her ex-husband, giving the impression of an angry and evil man. The paper also bullet points the nastier aspects of the accusations made by Mel B, so that prospective readers will be immediately drawn to pick the paper up. While domestic abuse is a serious subject, the Sun is quite happy to objectify women on page 3 and make money off of their pain.

The GuardianGuardian

Topic of article: Environment, Health

Headline: Revealed: the illegally toxic air at schools

Author(s): Sandra Laville (Senior Reporter), Matthew Taylor (News Reporter), Helena Bengtsson (Editor for Data Projects)

Analysis: Report on an analysis of air pollution levels at schools around the UK and the consequences of the findings for children’s health. The article narrowly outweighs the neighbouring picture and article on the deadly chemical attack in Syria, saying something about the importance that the paper has attributed to this story. The report is based on exclusive work done by Greenpeace and the Guardian, and the desire to demonstrate their ability to create news is something that the papers hold very dear. By splashing it out on the front page they are hoping to show the reader that in order to get cutting edge reporting they will have to come to the Guardian. The subject of the analysis being children and schools addresses a very important concern of families and indeed most everyone – the safety of children. The report could have mentioned the high levels of air pollution in England, as demonstrated recently by the warnings in London, but this would not evoke such a strong protective emotion compared to when we hear that the places where children are meant to learn and socialise and be safe are suffering from similar air pollution. The article mentions that these high levels of pollutants have been shown to impact lung development and so this article could be seen as a way of ensuring that public attention is raised to the point that there can be a push for something to be done about the situation. Additionally the writers are very critical of the governmental policies that have led to the air pollution levels, quoting a withering analysis of the near criminal failure of the current attempts to address the problem. As a long-standing critic of the Conservative government the Guardian obviously want to point out that these worrying levels of pollution would not be found if there had been more stringent restrictions in place. There are quotes from the government and numerous other MPs addressing the issues, on both sides of the argument.

The Daily MailMail

Topic of article: Economics

Headline: PM: I’ll protect diesel drivers

Author(s): Jason Salmon (Reporter), Jason Groves (Political Editor)

Analysis: Report on Theresa May’s comments regarding impending tax rises for high-emission cars and the people this will affect. The Mail portrays Theresa May as the protector of the average English person, a common trope with the paper who was recently accused of objectifying women by commenting on the legs of Mrs. May and Sturgeon. A staunch supporter of the PM and an important ally in presenting a good front to the public, the Mail can be relied on to spin the story their way. The article lays blame at the feet of everyone but the conservative government for the debacle surrounding false assumptions on the safety of diesel cars. Tony Blair’s chief scientist (whatever that means) is wheeled out after admitting some part in the scandal, but the specific details are brushed over, before targeting the ‘climate-change obsessed ministers’ and the new mayor of London Sadiq Khan. Watch out all who displease the Mail, you may find your name linked to a major scandal! While the paper is blaming everyone remotely linked to the left, they are also carefully constructing a powerful mentality of ‘us and them’ for their readers. It’s us, the protectors of the average citizen who represent your wishes, against the lying scientists, the scheming MPs and thieving lefties who want to take everything from you. It alienates people and makes them fearful, allowing easier control and the Mail is a master of this, while hiding it behind the face of ‘real’ news. There is little balance in this article, with all quotes from opposing viewpoints framed as ‘stunning admissions’.

The TimesTimes

Topic of article: International News, War Crimes

Headline: Outrage against Assad after nerve gas attack

Author(s): Catherine Philip (Diplomatic Correspondent), Bel Trew (Egypt Reporter), Hannah Lucinda Smith (Freelance Journalist)

Analysis: Inform readers of the recent nerve-gas attack and bombings that killed up to 100 people in Syria. The main page features a large picture of a child receiving medical care, presumably following these attacks. At any point, seeing a young child suffering will evoke strong emotions of pity and sympathy for the child, and anger towards those that inflicted the pain. And in this picture the child is staring straight at the camera, looking directly at the reader and almost imploring them to help. This is one of the first examples of reporting and open condemnation of the brutal attacks carried out by the Assad regime in Syria, and it feels like the media here has just woken up to the terrors of the Syrian people. There were banal descriptions of citizens in rebel controlled areas being moved away from fighting in Aleppo, and when they discovered evidence of mass genocide and death camps these were reported in smaller stories. Now the article adopts an angry and wrathful tone, mentioning the emergency meeting of the UN and the widespread uproar from major leaders in the West. There is constant reference to deadly attacks in 2013, which were 10x worse than this one, and yet I struggle to remember any papers reporting on this incident. Overall, the article is attempting to inform readers about the cruelty of the Syrian regime and possible implore leaders for a substantial response to the attacks. The only question remains – what will this response be? Armed invasion of the country will surely be taken off the table following the events in Afghanistan and Iraq, and it was only a week or two that US bombs killed hundreds of innocent victims, so what other options are left?

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

Reviewed by: Sam Hewitt

Wednesday March 29th, 2017

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

The SunSun

Topic of article: European Union, Brexit

Headline: Dover & out

Author(s): The Sun

Analysis: Report on the upcoming triggering of Article 50 and the beginning of negotiations for Britain to leave the EU. The Sun channels nationalism and features the iconic White Cliffs of Dover on their frontpage, with a message printed on it, presumably so large that the French could read it from Normandy. The article is celebratory in nature, claiming the day as a momentous one for Britain, one in which the country will finally escape the tyranny of the EU. There is no analysis of the challenges lying ahead during the negotiations, but rather a sunny ignorance and hope that all will end up alright and we didn’t every really need the EU did we? The paper likes to refer to the EU as ‘our neighbours’ in a patronising way, the kind you wave at as you open the door in the evening but would never accept an invitation to their barbecue because, well you just don’t like the look of them. Gone is all concern for reporting the news with balance in mind, but rather the pushing of a nationalistic agenda that sees a prosperous future ahead despite any real knowledge of how this will be achieved.

The GuardianGuardian

Topic of article: European Union, Brexit

Headline: Today, Britain steps into the unknown

Author(s): Anushka Asthana (Joint Political Editor), Rowena Mason (Deputy Political Editor)

Analysis: Report on the upcoming triggering of Article 50 and the beginning of negotiations for Britain to leave the EU. The Guardian has long been an advocate for the Remain side in the EU debate and once again affirms this stance, using a large graphic of Europe as a puzzle with Britain removed. Possibly interpretable as a way of showing that while the unity of Europe is a puzzle that must be pieced together, the disappearance of Britain does not actually degrade the overall integrity of the whole. It is also a reminder that we do not fully know what will come in the following years, with a cautionary quote printed in bold as the headline, proclaiming that Britain now steps into the unknown. And while the unknown can be a place to find oneself and gain a better understanding, the focus of the article is heavily on the potential for chaos and discord in the unknown. There is talk of the historical context of the previous EU agreements, entered into by the major European powers following World War II. This is a way for the paper to remind readers how the EU came to be formed – it was not just an arbitrary grouping of countries in order to enslave them to Brussels, as many papers would have you believe, but a relationship that held the area together following years of turmoil. And in the future, as it develops, the Guardian does not see a new dawn but rather the extension of arguments already firmly entrenched among the opposing sides in the Government, within the Conservative party and the public. This is a country divided and the deliverance of Britain’s EU exit is unlikely to mend things, despite all the calls for solidarity from those that campaigned on a platform of divisiveness.

The Daily MailMail

Topic of article: European Union, Brexit

Headline: Freedome

Author(s): N/A

Analysis: Report on the upcoming triggering of Article 50 and the beginning of negotiations for Britain to leave the EU, as well as on the recent acquittal of a British marine who was charged with the murder of an unarmed and injured opposition fighter. The paper places the headline in all capitals so that it dominates the front page – FREEDOM. The triggering of article 50 is seen as Britain getting out of the tyrannical clutches of the EU as if it has been suffering under the weight of chains for the past 50 years. The PM is shown signing the letter that ‘tells EU: we’re out’. This presents the issue as Britain taking the upper hand, dictating the time and terms of its departure from the EU, with little regard for the complexities involved in these negotiations. It is a simplification of the process that ensures readers will feel they can understand the issue and regard their opinions as well informed, despite a complete lack of knowledge. Then who needs those liberal elites who have spent their lives studying the economy and political negotiations? It is a dumbing down of the politics of this country and world. By also reporting on the acquittal of Marine A the paper attempts to show it is championing the good British values of freedom, justice and fighting for your country.

The TimesTimes

Topic of article: European Union, Brexit

Headline: The eyes of history are watching

Author(s): Francis Elliot (Political Editor), Oliver Wright (Policy Editor)

Analysis: Report on the upcoming triggering of Article 50 and the beginning of negotiations for Britain to leave the EU. The Times focuses on the historical implications of the signing of Article 50, framing Theresa May with the letter under a painting of the first PM of England. A PM who famously (apparently) was quoted explaining why he kept Britain out of the wars of Europe. An admiral sentiment, for a time when there was perpetual war on the mainland, but surely a sign of the manner in which much of the media has approached the imminent departure from the EU – that of a once great country who had got along just fine outside of European control and one that could do just fine again. And yet there is a lack of analysis and understanding of the changing nature of global politics and trade deals that renders this argument somewhat obsolete. The Times attempts to put a comforting spin on the proceedings as well, quoting May as she attempts to ‘draw a line’ under the recent disagreements and promises a bright future. This type of argument attempts to silence the critics by saying ‘look we have promised a better future, why can’t we all be friends now’, all the while ignoring their divisive actions that brought people to this point. The article acknowledges the challenges lying ahead but consistently goes back to the sweet promises made by the government that ‘all will be fine’.

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

Reviewed by: Sam Hewitt

 

Wednesday 22nd March, 2017

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

The SunSun

Topic of article: Politics, History

Headline: Unforgiven

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.

The GuardianGuardian

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 TelegraphTelegraph

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.

The TimesTimes

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

Wednesday 15th March, 2017

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

The SunSun

Topic of article: Royal Celebrity

Headline: Throne Idle

Author(s): Emily Andrews (Royal Correspondent)

Analysis: Report on Prince William’s lack of attendance at royal events, especially when compared to the Queen’s. The article calls the claims a ‘scandal’, and says Prince William is being lazy and acting in a manner unfit for a future King. Even while his elderly and at times poorly grandmother has attended numerous events he has not, and now goes of skiing instead of acting royal, which is surely a terrible thing and a scandal. It does beg the question of why does it matter, but this is perhaps a larger issue to those who are more up-to-date with the happenings of the royal world. It is an indication of the British interest in the Royal family that the holidays of the prince are scrutinized so deeply, as well as perhaps an admittance that the Queen’s time is coming to an end, with a focus on the presumed successor and his ability to act ‘royal’. There was no comment from Prince William to defend his side.

The GuardianGuardian

Topic of article:  Politics, European Union

Headline: SNP tells May: there is still time for a deal

Author(s): Amushka Asthana (Joint Political Editor), Severin Carrell (Scotland Editor)

Analysis: Discuss the possibility of a second Scottish Independence Referendum and the reasons behind the conversation that began with Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement of a possible referendum. The headline of the article places the word SNP before May, and frames the remaining words as a challenge directed at May. By doing this, the article is setting the tone for its content, indicating that it is the SNP and Scotland that is dictating the terms of the conversation. With the Scottish government endorsing this proposed referendum vote and the SNP controlling the majority of the government the concerns voiced by Nicola Sturgeon must be taken seriously, the paper implies. What Scotland seems to offer to those who are opposed to Brexit is a vision of an alternative to simple acceptance of the Conservative’s anti-EU line. 48% of Britain voted to remain in the EU, and yet May and her government are determine to bring Britain 100% out of Europe, leaving many British feeling ignored a hopeless for the future of the country within the frame of a global community. Funny words to write, as they perhaps mirror the concerns voiced by many Leavers during the campaign, but certainly a reflection of the mood. But then there is Scotland, standing up to the unstoppable wave of Brexit that only seems to gather strength with every passing day. And the Guardian, with its pro-remain stance and left-leaning readership understands this and so reports these Scottish actions. The article itself does offer balanced opinion directly from both sides, being the only front-page that interviews a SNP politician and a member of the Scottish conservative party.

The Daily MailMail

Topic of article: Business, Technology

Headline: Shaming of Web Giants

Author(s): Daniel Martin (Policy Editor)

Analysis: Report on the recent Commons home affairs committee panel meeting that questioned the bosses of major Internet companies about their ability to police the content they present online. The headline contains the word ‘Shaming’ in bold, an evocative word that draws attention and evokes images of men with their heads in their hands. Although the actual process is hardly likely to have occurred in this manner, it does inform readers of the simplified purpose of the panel grilling and may ensure that more readers pay attention to the growing concern about policing hatred online. Some of the biggest companies on the Internet were at the meeting, although the paper does not report any of the companies responses to the accusations and questions, making a balanced opinion hard to formulate. Meanwhile the article does offer specific examples of the failings associated with the companies, allowing readers to better understand the examples of an issue that is the focus of the article. However, it is telling that the article does not offer a conversation on how to address these concerns, or analyse the larger issue of comprehending and policing the growing digital space. The paper is more concerned with reporting how these social media bosses were ‘lashed’ by MPs, allowing readers to be angry at the Internet companies without being offered a pathway to relieve this anger and address the issue.

The TimesTimes

Topic of article: Politics, European Union

Headline: Scots want to remain in UK, new poll reveals

Author(s): Sam Coates (Deputy Political Editor), Lindsay McIntosh (Scottish Political Correspondent)

Analysis: Discuss the possibility of a second Scottish Independence Referendum and the reasons behind the conversation that began with Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement of a possible referendum. The headline proudly proclaims that a new poll reveals Scotland wants to stay in the UK – however this poll was conducted by the paper itself and as we will see from the article there is no small amount of bias in the framing of the independence question, bringing up questions about the validity of the poll. In some ways it feels as if the poll has been conducted to quiet fears from within the UK, not to truly gauge the mood of Scotland. It feels like one of those pep-talks you give yourself before going into an exam, and perhaps reflects a general concern around the Scottish stance on Brexit. While this poll may be an accurate reflection of the Scottish people’s opinions the framing of the issue reflects an ingrained belief in Britain that Scotland is purely a provincial outpost of the mainland and should know when its beaten (cough Braveheart cough). Ms. Sturgeon ‘ambushed May, and ‘suggested May was not elected by anyone’. Strong words in defence of the Prime Minister for a paper that has been critical of May’s handling of Brexit as recently as last week. But it seems that when the small country to the North threatens Britain then everyone is offended, its like when the big brother says ‘yeah I make fun of my little brother but no one else is allowed to’. It seems to reflect a lack of respect for Scotland, but also a growing concern that the Independence vote will go ahead. The paper reports on May’s sending of two top minister to Scotland, as a sign of her ‘seriousness’, although they will not meet with any SNP members, making me question her ‘seriousness’. Altogether, the article does not interview any members of parliament, on either side, and uses a manufactured poll done by the paper, without proper references, in an attempt to allay fears for Scottish independence and prove that Britain is still strong.

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

Reviewed by: Sam Hewitt