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Murdoch: The Truth

by ceebs Thu Sep 13th, 2012 at 11:23:00 AM EST

Yesterday a Hard hitting report was published covering the Hilsborough disaster, one of the UK's worst sporting tragedies, where 96 individuals died in a disastrous crush at the Leppings Lane end of the Hilsborough football stadium.  Hilsborough was an old stadium, with a flawed design, and with a flawed safety plan,  and with the addition of terribly flawed policing on the day, was a disaster waiting to happen. Police opened a gate to relieve crowd pressure outside the ground, which forced people into one of the internal crowd areas, and that led to a crush against  fences and barriers.For a full view of what happened that day look Here for a view of the Incident, and here for significant exerpts from todays report

New details that have emerged from the latest report are that police  activity Caused the crush, then ineptitude resulted in 41 of the people who died not receiving the proper medical attention down to police and other emergency services having poor planning for such a situation, and poorer implementation.  

In the days following this disaster, police officers re-wrote their initial notes, to quote from the report "Some 116 of the 164 statements identified for substantive amendment were amended to remove or alter comments unfavourable to SYP." subsequent investigations have either managed to miss this entirely or fail to apreciate the scal of the changes.

As investigation into the cause of the tragedy commenced The local police started pushing out a selection of misinformation to distract from their failings.  They put out claims that the police had been attacked by fans while they had been helping the injured, that fans had urinated on police who were helping, that fans had been drunk, and that they had been stealing from the bodies of the dead.  All of these stories were pushed out through a local news agency, who didn't pass it on until their reporters had been told this story by four separate senior policemen in the local force and by the local MP. all had provided the story unprompted,   The Agency passed this story on but with caveats that it was suspicious of the story. Several newspapers reported this with appropriate questions for the police, The Mirror going as far as to say that the  police were putting about a dishonest story. However the Sun, the Murdoch tabloid national Published the story in full with no dissent, under the Banner headline "THE TRUTH" and  Rupert Murdochs attack dog Kelvin McKenzie has never lived this down

Hillsborough Tragedy: Kelvin MacKenzie, Former Sun Editor, Apologises To Liverpool For 'That Headline'

The reporter who wrote the story, Harry Arnold, later said told the BBC he regretted the headline, which he insisted was MacKenzie's, but said he had written the story in a "fair and balanced" way.

"When I saw the headline, 'The Truth', I was aghast because that wasn't what I'd written. I'd never used the words the truth," he said.

MacKenzie told him not to worry and said he would "make it clear that this is what some people are saying".

 Since that point  Liverpool and The Murdcoh empires relationship have irrevocably broken down. Sales of The Sun in that part of the country have dropped to close to zero. With a vast majority of newsagents throughout the city refusing to stock the paper. Immediately after Kelvin rang the Manager of the Liverpool side the phone call is reported to have gone like this

*    Kelvin MacKenzie: Kenny, we have a bit of a problem.
*    Kenny Dalglish: Aye.
*    KM: How can we resolve it?
*    KD: See that headline you put in, `THE TRUTH'? Just have another one, as big: `WE LIED. SORRY.'
*    KM: Kenny, we can't do that.
*    KD: I can't help you then.

Kelvin did eventually issue an apology, but then in 2006 at a business meal he said that the entire apology had been Ruperts idea and that he was "not sorry then and I'm not sorry now." It is not till today, Twenty three years after the original mistake that he has finally issued a full and unreserved apology, although even now, in a weasel way he has sought to shift the blame onto others.

Since then a Campaign groups of fans, supporters,  and politicians from The Liverpool area have worked hard, attempting to get some form of Justice for the 96 victims, decades of pressure finally resulted in an independent review, headed by the Bishop of liverpool, staffed by specialists in the Media, medicine and policing, along with Archivists and document researchers. The current reprot is the  outcome of two years of search through tens of thousands of documents.

Yesterday evening and Today, current and ex editors of the sun have come out to finally apologise,  but this is widely seen as far too little, far too late.  How a news organisation could in any way claim to have any reporting skills when it had misreported a story so terribly and refused to correct  the reporting for over 20 years, instead playing on a a created myth of  a city wrapped in self pity  is beyond understanding.  

That this has been allowed to go on for over 20 years is a stain that  Police , politicians and  media that parroted the line should be deeply apologetic for. And today a Former Chief Constable of the South Yorkshire force has come out to say that it is essential that any investigation is taken forward to prosecution of those responsible. However other Senior officers seem less than apologetic.

Why was it  done and why was it allowed to happen? Well Liverpool was one of the centres of the Left in the country.  And the South Yorkshire police in the previous few years had been involved in Crushing the miners
Hillsborough and Battle of Orgreave: one police force, two disgraces | Football | The Guardian

They were two of the bitterest landmarks of the 1980s, but the connections between them have not previously been fully appreciated - the Hillsborough disaster, 23 years ago this Sunday, in which 96 Liverpool supporters died, and the "Battle for Orgreave" five years earlier, the most violent episode of the coal miners' strike.

Speaking to the Guardian, the prominent lawyer Michael Mansfield QC and the Merseyside MP and shadow cabinet minister Maria Eagle said they believed South Yorkshire police's conduct at Orgreave and in its aftermath, when it brought failed prosecutions against 95 miners, revealed a culture of malpractice with impunity that had not been remedied by the time the same force policed the Hillsborough disaster in 1989.

The similarities between the events have not been fully explored, they argue, but the links will help to inform the Hillsborough families' fight for some form of justice - the full truth about what happened to the victims, and accountability from those culpable.

It has been argued that the police commanders were allowed to get away with it in case they were needed for further industrial disputes,  but the current report does not show that there is any written evidence of this happening.

So where next?  Firstly  The original flawed inquest result must be overturned, The decision by the coroner to say that all fatalities had occurred by 3:15 now looks like  an extremely bad decision that prevented investigation of the police and ambulance service role in the  fatalities. After this, If a case can be made for perverting the course of justice, then we must see those involved up before judge and Jury.  But on top of this, with yet another  example of the poor morals of the Murdoch Newspaper stable, people should commit themselves further to not Buying the Sun.

Further Worthwhile Reading



Thanks to helen for some sugested Changes

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Sep 13th, 2012 at 11:23:39 AM EST
[ET Moderation Technology™]

I added a wikilink to the Hillsborough Disaster, for non-Brits.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 13th, 2012 at 12:08:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A British disease? | Alex Thomson's View
What is it with Britain? Because whatever else went wrong at the Leppings Lane tunnel, it points yet again to a dispiriting and deeply corrosive British disease.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Sep 13th, 2012 at 11:29:01 AM EST
that is an excellent article. I wanted to have a long rant about how the cover up is just another in a long line of similar miscarriages of justice, but he said it all and more.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Sep 13th, 2012 at 01:30:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I excuse nobody, but I would like to put in a word for news journalists and stringers out in the field. Under immense pressure to file copy to deadlines, there is usually little time, even with a major incident, to do more than ask questions - if allowed - at press conferences, buttonhole anybody relevant for quotes, get a few vox pops and that's it. No time to check facts or do background - though many use wikipedia and the usual tools when they can.

Their copy is filed and it goes into the system that styles the copy, which means styling that the sub-editors think will sell to their readers - and not annoy the advertisers. The subs write headlines and cross headings. Then it will run past the lawyers if there might be anything contentious.

You've seen in movies the relentless reporters chasing a big story, following up every lead. That only happens on the investigative side of journalism. It is not a freedom that a daily news journalist knows.

And remember, when journalists go to a news story, they have an incomplete picture.  So they rely on the 'who, what, where, when and how' basic questions. If they manage to answer all those before the copy must be filed, they have done well.

All I am saying is that the vast majority of field news journalists are struggling to do a good honest job, and to serve their readers, not the advertisers.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Sep 13th, 2012 at 11:54:04 AM EST
I must say that all the Journos I've met out in the field have been hard at it, grabbing everything possible. and much of the desk work problem is down to continued cuts in staff and funding

The main problem here doesn't appear to have been them, they all appear to have been relatively straight, the Mirrors crew for example refusing to have their names put to the police criticism, and threatening that if it was used they would all quit as they could categorically say it was untrue. The Suns man on the ground similarly being assured that his copy would not be used in the way that it was.

The morally horrible work appears to all have been done at editorial level

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Sep 13th, 2012 at 12:18:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
tbh, it's quite plain that most journos behaved with much more responsibility than their seniors, who were seeking to emphasize the most salacious and sale-able angles.

but the Sun and, indeed much of the tabloid press, had and still have form. The whole phone tapping affair is all about the distortion of news values at Sun/NotW and others where people's tragedies are simply fodder to be fed into the news cycle with no regard to the damage done to their lives

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Sep 13th, 2012 at 01:35:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well going back to my Leveson stats, Junior reporters appeared no more forgetful than those of other papers, and hence apparently dishonest through omission. it wasn't till you got to the senior ranks that there was any noticeable difference band then figures spiralled up rapidly out of control.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Sep 13th, 2012 at 01:48:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
*    Kelvin MacKenzie: Kenny, we have a bit of a problem.
  •    Kenny Dalglish: Aye.
  •    KM: How can we resolve it?
  •    KD: See that headline you put in, `THE TRUTH'? Just have another one, as big: `WE LIED. SORRY.'
  •    KM: Kenny, we can't do that.
  •    KD: I can't help you then.

they still haven't done it. Their headline today was "The real truth". That ain't the same and they'll get no forgiveness from it.

WE LIED. SORRY  that might do it, but nothing less

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Sep 13th, 2012 at 01:22:53 PM EST
Yes a typical push the blame onto someone else strategy from them.  and you're right, until they stand properly and understand where and why they went wrong and admit it, there is nop hope

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Sep 13th, 2012 at 01:31:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...trying to put this into context now that printed newspapers are, perhaps, on the way out...
by asdf on Fri Sep 14th, 2012 at 02:10:02 PM EST
BBC - South Yorkshire - History - What happened next...
Lesley Boulton is the woman about to be hit on the head by a mounted police officer at Orgreave in June 1984. We found out what happened to Lesley in the moments before and after John Harris' photograph was taken.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Sep 14th, 2012 at 09:56:07 PM EST

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