The verdicts from the new inquests into the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans as a result of a crush at Hillsborough stadium in April 1989 have dominated the headlines from the moment the verdict that all 96 were unlawfully killed was read out in court. Broadcasters and newspaper websites are leading on the news. Even the Murdoch Sun covered it.
As I posted last year, the Sun had already disrespected the dead fans at the start of the week following the disaster, showing some of those crushed against the fence at the front of the central Leppings Lane end pen. Other papers decided the photographs were too graphic and refused to run them. Not Kel. His motivation was to sell more copies and stuff the niceties. Then came the planted smear story.
South Yorkshire Police, with the assistance of local Tory MP Irvine Patnick, had concocted a narrative which blamed the Liverpool fans, in the process attributing actions to them which, if true, would repulse all those upstanding and decent readers who were still prepared to trust what the Murdoch press printed. Everyone in the Sun newsroom apart from MacKenzie knew the story was a deliberate smear. But nobody would stand up to him, such was his bullying and authoritarian manner.
The revulsion across Merseyside was immediate, and sales of the Sun there have not recovered to this day. They are unlikely to ever recover. Other papers which had used the smear story realised their mistake, withdrew the claims, and apologised. The Sun had that chance. It declined and doubled down. It took twenty-three years for the apology to come. Even then MacKenzie claimed he was right, or that it was someone else’s fault.
In any case, the lack of sincerity in that apology was demonstrated when MacKenzie was gifted a twice-weekly column back at the Sun, a berth he still occupies. Now that today’s verdict of Unlawful Killing has been given, it is time for the Sun to show that it really is sorry about its actions in the week after the Hillsborough disaster, and all the years the paper spent ignoring their mistake, it must show Kelvin McFilth the door.
He has shown no contrition whatever since his return to the Murdoch fold. Indeed, hardly a column passes without sneering, demeaning and degrading references to Liverpool and those who hail from the city. After all, the Sun’s former stablemate, the late and not at all lamented Screws, was closed for less. The time has come for Rupert Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks to not just say sorry, but show they mean it.
News UK must sack Kelvin MacKenzie. You can help by signing the petition HERE.