The main functions of newspapers surely include that of informing and to some extent even educating their readers.
Editorial bias of course then slants the information rightwards or leftwards; or towards readers' supposed preferences as was the case of page 3 of the Sun (possibly page 3 photos are no more now?). Slants of the latter kind are clearly aimed at improving circulation and thus advertising income though editors have to be alert to changing fashions and avoid patronising their readers - a double pitfall which the editor of the Sun's old style page 3 was at risk of tripping into.
The Budget statements last week seem to have resulted in a widespread malaise hitting newspaper editors. As yet this malaise has not been diagnosed but an apt pithy description of its symptoms seems to me to be that of assuming that readers are all so self centred that they are incapable of understanding or wanting to comprehend the concept of the common good. Mostly people agree that the UK has borrowed heavily in the past to pay for services and welfare provided through government. Mostly too people recognise that the counterpart of borrowing is repaying.
In the absence of new wealth being created whether by taxation or otherwise, repaying entails reducing the benefits which have been supported by government borrowings. Thus far is simple fact.
Controversy arises about how the government exercises it discretion to balance benefit reduction with borrowing repayments with a further argument to the effect that the balancing exercise should be postponed for another generation to tackle. The democratic processes and elections have settled that (latter) aspect of the argument at least for the time being so let repayment begin.
No one wants their own benefits to be cut and mostly we would prefer the hoards of very wealthy people that we assume exist, to pay. Newspaper editors if they have had more than a rudimentary education would tend to know that there is no such pain free method of balancing the government's financial books not least because there are insufficient numbers of very rich people to pay the extra tax monies required. Instead of analysing the budget in those terms newspaper editors seem to patronise their readers by banding about silly slogans such as "granny tax" and "millionaires budget", as if the whole attempt by the Coalition at restoring a semblance of sense and balance to the nation's finances is based on supporting rich Tories. This malaise affects the supposedly right wing newspapers as much as the left leaning ones.
The "granny tax" epithet is applied to the freezing of a tax allowance currently enjoyed by the over 65s and precluding those just about to reach that age including yours truly, from enjoying that allowance at all. However as that age group has not really been asked to forgo any of their government provided benefits before (unlike the rest of the population) the newspapers' moans on its behalf are contrived and unbalanced. I assume that the epithet is headlined in that way mainly with a view to newspaper proprietors' profits.
Likewise the UK's millionaires will pay far more tax as a result of extra stamp duty being levied on corporately held houses and on mansion houses than before whereas the reduction of the 50% income tax rate to 45% is unlikely to affect the tax take much one way or the other. Also the increase from 40% to 50% tax when imposed by the last government was emphasised at the time as being temporary and even 45% is higher than the 40% then prevailing. Again newspaper headlines on those aspects were more sensationalist than fair.
Overall my impression is that newspaper editors are pandering more to their readers' ignorance of matters fiscal now than they did even only a few years ago and that the concepts of informing let alone educating their readerships is sadly being relegated almost to the realm of the unimportant as a consequence.