The Truth

The Truth by Nick Harman (OTK) (Original link

The “Truth” – The background, the actual publication, and evidence
exposing the claims as being false.

Truth –
1. the quality of being true, genuine, actual, or factual
2. something that is true as opposed to false
3. a proven or verified fact or principle
4. faithful reproduction or portrayal
5. honesty, accuracy

The start of the reporting of the ‘untruth’s’ can be traced back to around 4.15pm on Saturday 15th April 1989, when Graham Kelly, the then Chief Executive of the FA, was interviewed by the BBC and he told them that the police had implied (Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield – match commander, who was in charge of his first major match and who gave the order for the gates into the ground to be opened earlier, had told spoken in the police control box that Liverpool fans had rushed the gate) that the gates had been opened unauthorised by the fans, thus causing the tragedy.
Mud had been thrown and a lot of it was to stick…….Stories flashed around the world and many newspapers (that extended way beyond The Sun – most, if not all papers originally condemned Liverpool fans) reported that drunken Liverpool fans were the real cause of the disaster.

I put the dictionary meaning of ‘truth’ at the start of this publication……….please keep referring to the actual meaning of ‘TRUTH’ and you will see a common theme of lies, cover ups, lack of honesty and even less accuracy. The truth – far from it.

On Wednesday 19th April 1989, tabloid reporting reached a new gutter low when The Sun newspaper (with Kelvin MacKenzie the then editor and on his personal instruction) ran the hard hitting front page headline ‘THE TRUTH’.
The newspaper ran three bulleted sub-headings with the following text –
‘Some fans picked pockets of victims’
‘Some fans urinated on the brave cops’
‘Some fans beat up PC giving kiss of life’

The story that accompanied these headlines talked of ticket-less drunken fans forcing the gates and attacking rescue workers (police, firemen, ambulance crews, etc). It spoke of the dead and dying being pick-pocketed and being urinated on. A quote, which was attributed to an unnamed policeman (isn’t it funny how they, in the main, remain nameless), claimed that a dead girl had been abused and that Liverpool fans ‘were openly urinating on us and the bodies of the dead’.

The Truth – far from it.

This sensationalism journalism was used at a time when the media circus had already labeled and painted the picture that the city of Liverpool (and its’ people) were rebellious and anarchistic.
Negative images and stereotypes of ‘scousers’ were important elements in debates about complex political-economic issues affecting the city. Much of the national press reporting in the immediate aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster echoed well-worn themes and assumptions.
What better way to fan the flames to the world than to run headlines, only days after the disaster, that virtually said they had killed their own and that those involved were less than innocent victims – a political agenda to further put down the people of Liverpool and to sell more newspapers, without any regard for the grieving families or survivors feelings.

In their history of The Sun (Stick It Up Your Punter), Peter Chippendale and Chris Horrie wrote:’As MacKenzie’s layout was seen by more and more people, a collective shudder ran through the office [but] MacKenzie’s dominance was so total there was nobody left in the organisation who could rein him in except Murdoch. [Everyone] seemed paralysed, “looking like rabbits in the headlights”, as one hack described them. The error staring them in the face was too glaring. It obviously wasn’t a silly mistake; nor was it a simple oversight. Nobody really had any comment on it—they just took one look and went away shaking their heads in wonder at the enormity of it. It was a “classic smear”.’
The legacy for those directly affected by the disaster was one where grieving relatives, trying to deal with their loss, were faced with an additional burden of defending the innocence of loved ones, mainly due to these rash, early, sensationalised, headlines. Survivors, many of whom had witnessed profoundly traumatising events and suffered terrible injuries, both physically and mentally (and are still suffering), were themselves subjected to the ‘finger of blame’. Despite the efforts of the all connected with the Hillsborough disaster to counteract the persistent myths relating to blame and causation, misconceptions continued to (and still do) influence debate.
The Sun’s coverage of the Hillsborough Disaster was both extremely inaccurate and damaging for the newspaper. By all accounts it was entirely the doing of the then editor Kelvin McKenzie, the man who coined ‘Gotcha’ to celebrate the deaths of 368 Argentine sailors during the Falklands War.
‘The Truth’ headlines brought out feelings of anger in Merseyside (and beyond) and an immediate ‘boycott’ was successful. Thousands of copies were stolen and burnt, and even to this present day many shopkeepers refuse to stock this comic of a newspaper. The Hillsborough Justice Campaign also organised a national boycott of the ‘paper’, which again hit its sales. Even fifteen years after the Hillsborough disaster, the circulation of The Sun in Liverpool is still believed to be only 12,000 copies a day where previously it was around 200,000.
As stated earlier, it wasn’t just The Sun (in the immediate aftermath of the disaster) that peddled the vicious lies but it was The Sun’s hard hitting headlines and their refusal to back down (a quick apology, etc….) that would stay, rightly, in the minds of many in the region.

Lord Justice Taylor’s official inquiry into the disaster disparaged The Sun’s story and was unequivocal as to the disaster’s cause: ‘The real cause of the Hillsborough disaster [was] overcrowding, the main reason for the disaster was the failure of police control.’
Taylor had clearly laid the blame of the disaster with the police and general organisation (choice of venue, etc…..).
Nowhere did it mention drunken fans pick pocketing the dead or dying.
Nowhere did it mention fans urinating on the emergency workers.
Nowhere did it mention fans beating up a PC who was giving someone the kiss of life.
All the lies The Sun had peddled (which had been allegedly fed to them from un-named police sources) had been proved to be completely un-true……lies, lies and more lies had been used to cover up the real reasons of the disaster, from a panicking police force (amongst others), possibly worrying about their pension funds and early retirements, rather than the truth.
Taylor’s report proved that all these unsupported allegations from anonymous police officers or quotes from the Police Federation, were found to have been distorted or completely fabricated.
MacKenzie tried to explain his newspapers reporting on the disaster (specifically The Truth headlines and report) in 1993 when talking to a House of Commons National Heritage Select Committee.
Trying to wash his hands of any blame for publishing ‘The Truth’ headlines and story (and it’s not the last time) he said “I regret Hillsborough. It was a fundamental mistake. The mistake was I believed what an MP said. It was a Tory MP. If he had not said it and the chief superintendent (David Duckenfield) had not agreed with it, we would not have gone with it.” This explanation (explanation not apology take note) was not accepted by the families and survivors of the disaster.
The Sun itself attempted a rather, to say the least, pathetic attempt at an apology. The apology was so called issued ‘without reservation’ saying it had ‘committed the most terrible mistake in its history’. This was issued on the 7th July 2004, over 15 years (yes, 15 years) since the tragedy and was also in response to criticism aimed towards Wayne Rooney, who had sold his life story to the rag. The so called apology was again widely not accepted.
So was ‘The Truth’ really the truth (or intended to be anything like the truth) ?
Truth –
1. the quality of being true, genuine, actual, or factual
2. something that is true as opposed to false
3. a proven or verified fact or principle
4. faithful reproduction or portrayal
5. honesty, accuracy
The answer to all 5 points above, in relation to the ‘The Truth’ headlines of The Sun would unanimously be false. The truth – far from it. ‘The Truth’ was based on un-named sources, who, from minutes after the disaster, tried to cover up the real truth, to enable them to clear their guilty consciences.
I will end with an extract from Kenny Dalglish’s autobiography:
Kelvin MacKenzie, the Sun’s editor, even called me up.
“How can we correct the situation?” he said.
“You know that big headline – ‘The Truth’?” I replied. “All you have to do is put ‘We lied’ in the same size. Then you might be all right.”
Mackenzie said: “I cannot do that.”
“Well,” I replied, “I cannot help you then.”
That was it. I put the phone down. Merseysiders were outraged by the Sun. A great many still are’.
After reading this, if you were in any doubt before, there is absolutely no excuse to buy or even read The Sun newspaper, Liverpool fan or not. Please continue to educate people of ‘The Truth’.


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