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What now for The Sun and its "version of the truth"?

Original Source: THE MEDIA BLOG: WED 12 SEPTEMBER 2012
Will Sturgeon at 15:13 Sep 12, 2012

The families of Hillsborough's 96 victims today had it confirmed that the names and reputations of their loved ones were dragged through a mire of false allegations in an attempt to cover up the truth of the tragedy and deflect blame from the police.


In a series of shocking revelations it emerged that 164 police statements were doctored in order to shift blame onto the fans and away from the police.


Delivering the findings to Parliament, David Cameron spoke of "the denigration of the deceased" and the role newspapers played in spreading false allegations in the days following the tragedy.


No paper did so more than The Sun which now faces fresh calls to offer the full and frank apology that has for so long been demanded by Hillsborough campaigners.


Cameron said:


"Several newspapers reported false allegations that fans were drunk and violent and stole from the dead. The Sun's report sensationalised these allegations under a banner headline "The Truth." This was clearly wrong and caused huge offence, distress and hurt."


Earlier this week, the journalist who wrote The Sun's controversial story broke his silence on the matter to say he was "aghast" when he saw the headline that editor Kelvin Mackenzie had written on his story.


"A version of the truth"


Speaking to the BBC for a documentary entitled Hillsborough: Searching for the Truth, shown earlier this week, Arnold said:


"On The Sun, Kelvin MacKenzie was the rather controversial editor at the time. He liked to write his own headlines... He wrote the headline 'The Truth'... When I saw the headline 'The Truth' I was aghast, because that wasn't what I'd written.


"So I said to Kelvin MacKenzie, "You can't say that"... "And he said 'Why not?' and I said 'because we don't know that it's the truth. This is a version of 'the truth'."


It has long been known that the headline was the work of a previously unrepetent Kelvin Mackenzie and the stained reputation the former Sun editor must now drag behind him for what remains of his days is well deserved. But the entirely false allegations should never have been on the page.


Arnold claims he was just doing his professional duty. "If an allegation is made it is your duty to report it," he told the BBC.



That isn't true. When newspapers report allegations it is not because they have to but because they want to.


What's more it is their decision to present those allegations in as shocking a light as possible in order to sell newspapers. We have seen it recently in cases such as the reporting of entirely false allegations against the parents of Madeleine McCann as well as school teacher Christopher Jefferies.


As for the suggestion there can ever be "versions of the truth", that is as ludicrous as it is insulting to all of those wronged by these particularly nasty lies.


The fact is, there are no "versions of the truth" there are lies or the truth. The fact The Sun and Kelvin Mackenzie in particular tried to blur the line between the two over the deaths of 96 innocent football fans and contributed to a 23 year cover up remains the most indelible stain on that newspaper's reputation.


Tomorrow The Sun has the opportunity to finally write The Truth about Hillsborough but it is impossible to imagine the paper will ever be forgiven by the families and campaigners who have fought so hard for justice for the 96.


Update: Kelvin Mackenzie issues Hillsborough apology


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