Yesterday, at Preston Crown Court, former Police superintendent David Duckenfield was found not guilty of gross negligence manslaughter over the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans in the crush at the Leppings Lane end of the Hillsborough stadium at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final. Relatives and friends of those who died were deeply unhappy: was no-one responsible for the crush, and the subsequent deaths?
But covering the continuing grief of those relatives was a mere side-show for one newspaper where high principles have never been allowed to stand in the way of pursuing More And Bigger Sales For Themselves Personally Now since 1969. Yes, the acquittal has been splashed all over the front page of the Murdoch Sun. “Hillsborough Cop Cleared … STILL NO JUSTICE” thunders the headline.
The supporting article tells “FURIOUS Hillsborough families branded British justice ‘shameful’ yesterday after police match commander David Duckenfield was cleared of any involvement in the deaths of 95 Liverpool fans … Gasps were heard in the public gallery, while one relative screamed ‘Stitched up again!’ and others collapsed in tears when the verdict was read out”. It’s almost as if the Murdoch goons cared.
There is even a “30 Years Of No Justice” timeline. But one item is missing from that list, and anyone who has covered the Hillsborough disaster and its long and painful aftermath knows what it is. It is the shameful, deliberate and utterly inexcusable behaviour of the same Murdoch paper that is today pretending it gives a flying foxtrot about all those Liverpool fans it spent so much time slagging off back in 1989.
Then, under the less than benign editorship of the deeply unpleasant Kelvin McFilth, the paper blamed Liverpool fans for the disaster, despite its infamous “THE TRUTH” front page admitting that the cops had given the order to open the Leppings Lane gates, the action that precipitated the crush - because, at the same time, no-one guided fans to the side pens, where there was room. So they went straight on into the crowded middle pen.
Other papers had run the same untrue story, but soon realised the error of their ways and apologised. The Sun did not. Even when Kel said sorry, he made it clear that he was only doing so because Rupert Murdoch had leaned on him to do so. Finally, when he eventually admitted the story was bogus, he blamed his sources - rather than conceding that it was his job as editor to make sure the material they fed him was genuine.
Meanwhile, the Sun was boycotted in Liverpool and later across Merseyside. The loss of sales ultimately forced the Murdoch press to own up. But there has been no forgiveness, and nor will there be. Today’s front page splash is all about trying to bust the boycott, but it will not work. Only at the very end of the article is it conceded “In the wake of the tragedy, The Sun wrongly repeated police allegations that fans were to blame. We subsequently apologised ‘for our gravest error’”. Mealy mouthed and hiding behind quote marks.
The Sun’s so-called journalism was crap in 1989. It’s still crap today. There is no reason why the 30-year boycott should end. Ever. Don’t buy the Sun.
Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by adding to its Just Giving page at