The former editor of The Sun, Kelvin MacKenzie, has reportedly claimed that the newspaper’s allegations about Liverpool supporters at Hillsborough was "the truth".
The Sun famously claimed that Liverpool fans had caused the tragedy (which resulted in the loss of 96 lives) by drunkenly storming the gates, and also alleged that fans urinated on the bodies of the dead and pickpocketed them.
Then-editor MacKenzie made a grovelling apology the next day, but The Sun is still boycotted by many Liverpool fans because of those horrendous accusations.
The paper then issued a formal apology in 2004, saying they were "truly sorry" for making "the most terrible mistake in history."
However, in a stunning display of insensitivity, MacKenzie has now apparently told a business lunch in Newcastle that he was forced to apologise by owner Rupert Murdoch and he still stands by his allegations.
"I went on the World at One the next day and apologised. I only did
that because Rupert Murdoch told me to," he said, according to the
"I wasn’t sorry then and I’m not sorry now because we told the truth. There was a surge of Liverpool fans who had been drinking and that is
what caused the disaster."
All The Sun’s allegations were disproved by the Justice Taylor inquiry
into the tragedy
Now, whilst MacKenzie may wish to report on the tragedy from a certain angle, which all journalists do, to report either lies or uncorroborated reports as front page headlines, claiming it to be the truth is incredibly insensitive and atrocious when there are people who are still grieving from that day. What did MacKenzie hope to achieve by echoeing this terrible sentiment? Even if he did report ‘the truth’, does it make him a brave reporter for standing out on such an emotive issue? Or does him make him a heartless moron? If you compare terrible lies of The Sun after Hillsborough and what happened with Piers Morgan and the ‘Iraqi Soldier Abuse’ photos of late, you see what should happen in this scenario. Morgan presented photos as fact in the Mirror which were then proved to be faked. The huge offence taken by the people in and around the armed forces resulted in an outcry that lost him his job and his reputation. With this comparison, it’s mind boggling that MacKenzie should hold these lies dear, and worse still, continue to peddle these ridiculous and hurtful comments.
The Taylor Report said that the principal cause of the disaster was the failure of police control. Taylor described the failure to cut off access to pens 3 and 4 as a blunder of the first order. He said that the officer in charge, Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield, "froze". Lord Justice Taylor described Chief Superintendent Duckenfield’s words to Graham Kelly as ‘a disgraceful lie’ ". Where the Taylor Enquiry sat for 6 weeks, heard statements from 3,776 witnesses, read 1,550 letters, 71 hours of video evidence and viewed hundreds of photographs, MacKenzie made a callous and snap judgement on what he saw on TV second hand.
What do you think about this? Was MacKenzie right to stand by his stance of ‘the truth’? Or should he be made to pay in some way for his allegations? [Mof Gimmers]