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For the second piece of my citizenship coursework, I was told to analyse and compare two articles from two different newspapers, published on the same day and about the same issue – terrorism. The first newspaper article I read was The Sun. The Sun is a tabloid daily newspaper published in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland with the highest circulation of any daily English-language newspaper in the world. It is famous for its gossip section and moreover its pictures of nude women on page 3 (the term page 3 is recognisable as the third page in The Sun by nearly everyone).
It is a right wing newspaper, published by News Group Newspapers of News International, which is a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. The newspaper tries to appeal to the ‘average’ reader by using everyday colloquial language. The story I am analysing made the front page of the newspaper and was continued on pages four, five, six and seven.
The amount of pages used for the story is very unusual compared to all other previous articles featured in The Sun – this shows the importance of it. The article is about those who were arrested for the alleged involvement of the July 7th blasts.
The Story is headlined ‘Got the Bastards’ and is in an extremely large font size – covering half the page. The second article was featured in The Guardian and was also about the arrests. The Guardian is a British newspaper owned by the Guardian Media Group. It is published from Monday to Saturday in the Berliner format.
The newspaper is ‘moderately’ left wing – believing in equality of everyone etc. Unlike The Sun, the Guardian tries to appeal itself to those of more of an educated background by using high quality of writing and paying good attention to detail.
The story of the arrests made the front page in The Guardian and was continued on page two, three and four. Two comments regarding the issue also appeared on other pages (22 and 23). Unlike The Sun, the headline is informing and hardly the same size – it is entitled, ‘Entire alleged bomb ring held after raids in London and Rome’. Both newspapers expand on the same issue – terrorism. The main beginning of this type of terrorism began on the 26th of February 1993, when a suspected car bomb exploded underneath the World Trade Center in New York, killing at least five people and injuring scores more.
In May 1994, four men – Mohammed Salameh, Nidal Ayyad, Mahmud Abouhalima and Ahmad Ajaj – were sentenced to life for bombing the World Trade Center. In October 1995 Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, a blind cleric who preached at mosques in Brooklyn and Jersey City, was sentenced to life for masterminding the bombing, Rahman’s organisation, the Islamic Group, was believed to have links to Osama Bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network. The next attacks where carried out by Osama Bin Ladens al-Qaeda network, which resulted in the death of thousands – overshadowing the bomb blasts of 1993.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, nineteen terrorists affiliated with al-Qaeda hijacked four commercial passenger jet airliners. The hijackers crashed two of the airliners into the World Trade Center in New York City – one plane into each tower. In addition to the 19 hijackers, 2,973 people died; another 24 are missing and presumed dead. Another two aero planes were flown into the pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania. These events resulted in a ‘War on Terrorism’ being declared.
Ever since then, the Americans and the British have, and arguably still are on their highest ever ‘alert’, they have invaded two countries fighting this ‘war’ and a third may also soon be invaded. Another terrorist attack and the one being commented on in both newspapers occurred here, in London. They were detonated on the 7th July 2005. The attack consisted of a series of coordinated bomb blasts that struck London’s public transport system during the morning rush hour. At 8:50 a. m, three bombs exploded within 50 seconds of each other on three London Underground trains.
A fourth bomb exploded on a bus nearly an hour later at 9:47 a. m. in Tavistock Square. The bombings killed 52 innocent commuters, the four suicide bombers, and also caused a severe, day-long disruption of the city’s transport and mobile telecommunications infrastructure. After the attacks the entire world was again in dismay and shock. The killing of innocent civilians is seen as the ‘cowards’ way of getting what they want and the issue remained in the newspapers (national, local and international) for a long while after the blasts.
Both of the aims of the newspapers were to describe the capture of the suspects who apparently carried out the attacks. The Sun is more biased to its point of view whereas The Guardian takes a more ‘neutral’ stance. They were both published on the 30th of July 2005 and both endeavour to influence the reader with their point of view on the subject. Four men were arrested (Muktar Mohammed-Said, Hussain Osman, Ramzi Mohammed and Yasin Hassan Omar) under the ‘suspicion of carrying out the terrorist attacks’ and the newspapers try to show the major points – who, what, where, how etc.
Due to the political allegiance of The Sun it shows the suspects as being guilty before the trial. The Sun tries to portray the suspects as ‘bastards’ who were caught like ‘rats in a trap’. They try to show the ‘police swoop’ as pure genius and that the arrests had been a brilliantly deployed master plan. They go on to say that those arrested were in fact the men who carried out the attacks. Furthermore, by using descriptive language and producing images they have made it easy for those who were arrested to be identified and put under shame.
The Sun tries to humiliate the suspects by showing how they were arrested (naked) and making sure that after reading the article the reader will be certain that these are the men who carried out the attacks. Like The Sun, The Guardian’s writing and neutrality is based on its political allegiance. It is a left wing newspaper – therefore trying to promote equality between everyone unlike the right side of the political spectrum which does not promote equality – the extreme right actually are fascist. The Guardian shows a larger variety of actual evidence but does not come to any conclusion regarding whether the suspects are innocent or guilty.
The language used is more sophisticated and is much more informing allowing the reader him/her self to make assumptions and conclusions as to whether they were responsible or not – making it a much more reliable source. The languages used in both texts are completely different. The Sun uses mainly colloquial language, while The Guardian uses formal language. The styles of writing are also contrasting – The Sun uses large fonts and attractive headlines – its images take up most of the space of the page. Unlike The Sun, The Guardian uses a relatively small size font and the text takes up most of the page.
The images used in the tabloid make the attraction to the average reader – with to much text there would be less attraction and potential of the reader being bored. The broadsheet has images – but to help the reader visualise what is written in the text. The main image in The Sun is that of a naked man with his hands up surrendering which takes up the entire page, the word ‘Bastards’ is also written under him implying that he is the bastard. The story is continued on page 4; this is so the reader flicks through pages 2 and 3 before reading the article and page 3 is what they are famous for.
The other headline used on the fourth page is also in an extremely large font entitled, ‘Caught Like Rats In A Trap’ – this is extremely humiliating to the suspects and the two words ‘rat’ and ‘trap’ rhyme. In Contrast, The Guardian’s headline is a lot more formal and informing and also less accusing – the word ‘alleged’ is used showing that they have not yet been thrown into jail. The average reader would see this and be warded off straight away by the long headline and small sized text but the more sophisticated reader would be intrigued and would patiently read on.
The Sun uses a lot of emotive language unlike The Guardian. Its article is more like a story to entertain the reader rather than inform him/her. It has a humorous tone and uses many different techniques of writing to keep the reader reading. The actual headline used, ‘Caught like rats in a trap’ is a simile – it is comparing how they were caught to how a rat is caught. It paints a harsh image in the already believing that the suspects are guilty readers mind – the ‘bastards’ have been punished.
When describing actual action. The Sun makes it seem to have a nice pace, like a story ‘dramatic’ words are used; ‘a team of cops… urst in’. Clear words to show the difference in language can be seen by the way The Guardian describes the suspects to have been ‘arrested’ and ‘detained’ whereas The Sun describes them as have been ‘pounced’ and ‘swooped’. The Guardian also uses emotive language; it describes the raid as ‘dramatic’. It also uses emotive language when giving witness accounts to the actual incident – showing that they believe that the bombings were wrong and the people who did it should be punished, but only once suspects have been proven to have done it until then they remain innocent.
The Sun mainly quotes those who are typically going to read their newspaper – the average Joe. One of those quoted was an average ‘neighbour’ who makes fun of the suspect by saying that ‘it looked to me like he wanted to get shot’ and ‘he didn’t have a top on’. The quotes are short, simple and effective – they give support to what The Sun is reporting and therefore strengthen the ‘fact’ that those who were ‘swooped’ away by the police are guilty. The Guardian does not use as many quotes to strengthen its article – the ones it use are sufficient enough.
Instead of questioning the average Joe, they gain quotes from a ‘senior Scotland yard source’ who’s remarks are much more dependable and reliable than a ‘neighbours’ because he/she would have an accurate idea of the situation and what happened. Of the two papers, The Guardian is most informative – it contains high profile responses and an accurate reading of what actually occurred. It is more reliable and has more ‘real’ information in it. However, The Sun is more of an interesting read as it contains comical humour and is overall more exciting.
I feel that the story has not been reported well in The Sun at all. It is written with a bias point of view and is verging on being xenophobic. Its writers were narrow minded and have judged the accused before a trial has taken place as guilty which is morally wrong and against the law of society. Unlike The Sun, The Guardian took a more responsible approach when writing its article. It covers larger detail and actually presents what happened in an informing way rather than a comical one – as newspapers are supposed to do.
In fact the way that The Sun has portrayed them is a definite defamation of character – which could result in the company being sued for libel. I do not think that whether all the suspects are guilty or innocent can be concluded from either of the articles. However, the suspect Hussain Osman seems to me as guilty – if he had nothing to hide he would not have fled the country. Others may hold a completely different view to mine because of inconclusive evidence or they believe what The Sun has reported.
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