One of the down-sides of my being a predominantly weekend-based blogger, is that when stuff of significance happens mid-week I’m a bit rubbish at reacting.
By now, every one in the UK knows what we’ve always known: that the deaths of 96 football fans at Hillsborough in 1989, 27 years ago, were “unlawful”.
I’m not going to comment on that. You don’t need me to. You can just watch this:
What I am going to comment on is Kelvin MacKenzie’s response to the jury’s decision.
In case you don’t know who Kelvin MacKenzie is, let me enlighten you. At the time of Hillsborough, he was the editor of The Sun newspaper, which, again in case you are unaware, is owned by the same company which owns The Times, The Sunday Times, and, until recently when it was found to have illegally hacked phones and was forced to close, the News of the World. Yes, that’s right, News International, owned by one Rupert Murdoch.
Here’s the front pages of The Times and The Sun on the day after the verdict was announced:
Notice anything missing from them?
Back in 1989, in the immediate aftermath of Hillsborough, MacKenzie signed off stories that claimed some Liverpool fans urinated on police and picked the pockets of the dead. They were printed under the headline banner: “The Truth”.
Only they weren’t the truth. Those claims were found to be entirely without foundation and the product of a smear campaign designed to shift the blame from authority onto victims. A smear campaign orchestrated by the police. And claims which MacKenzie did nothing to investigate or even check, preferring to just accept – and print – what the police were telling them. The earliest example we have of the cosy relationship between News International and the police, right there.
But now, post jury decision, he tries to position himself as a victim, that he was hood-winked into printing those lies.
Poor old Kelvin. How hard his life must be, knowing he has lost precisely none of his relatives due to the incompetence of the police officers he actively sought to defend at the time.
There’s only one song to play:
Well, actually, there’s two. I was saving this for a “Same Title, Different Song” post, but this is way more important: