Sun headline

Mock up of what The Sun should publish.

The result of the Hillsborough Independent Panel’s enquiry into the disaster in which 96 soccer fans lost their lives is welcome but is a damning indictment of the police and government at the time. The families have always known the scale of the cover up and it’s a scandal that it has taken 23 years to get to this point.

Kelvin MacKenzie’s apology to the people of Liverpool and today’s headline story in the Sun are in the words of one the victim’s parents too little, too late. Trevor Hicks, who lost two daughters, rightly  branded MacKenzie as ‘low life’.

The former editor’s claim that he was misled by the information he was given by a senior police officer and a senior local MP is no defence.

It is any responsible journalist’s job to check details  before publishing stories, especially when they are so damning. This didn’t happen then and frequently doesn’t happen now as tabloids in particular mostly work on the basis that they shouldn’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.

What is doubly outrageous is that MacKenzie continues to operate in his self-appointed role as spokesman for the common man. After last year’s riots in the UK, the BBC gave him airtime on a Newsnight debate to voice his bigoted views. He dismissed all the rioters as “scumbags” and called for the army to be brought in to shoot them with rubber bullets.

It was this same rush to judgement and unequivocal  bias towards the establishment which led to the what the newspaper now belatedly acknowledge was the blackest day in its history.

While the media and institutions remain hand-in-glove with society’s real ‘scumbags’ the corruption and lies that prevented the truth of Hillsborough from being made public for so long will not be an isolated case.