It really does beggar belief that Kelvin MacKenzie is seeking recompense from South Yorkshire Police because he says he has suffered “personal vilification for decades” as a result of the Sun newspaper’s discredited reporting of the Hillsborrough disaster.
Who does the former tabloid chief think he is? At a time when we should be supporting the demands for justice by the families of the 96 fans who died in April 1989, it is an insult of staggering proportions that the man whose newspaper helped support the cover-up that blamed the victims for their own death is seeking to line his own pockets.
MacKenzie. lest anyone forgets, was the editor who penned that offensive front page headline “The Truth” following the tragedy, claiming that Liverpool fans urinated on police officers resuscitating the dying and stole from the dead.
He did so ignoring desperate pleas not to run the headline from his own reporter Harry Arnold, who told the BBC: “When I saw the headline ‘The Truth’ I was aghast because that wasn’t what I’d written.”
The story was based on quotes distributed to all the national newspapers by a reputable Sheffield news agency. But the rest of Fleet Street made it clear they were allegations and none gave it anything like the prominence of the Sun’s story.
Now, writing in The Spectator, MacKenzie is claiming he was the victim and he wants an “apology and recompense.” It is no surprise that his demands have sparked an angry response on Merseyside.
Sue Roberts, secretary of the Hillsborough Families Support Group, said: “The gall of that man to paint himself as a victim and for him to ask anybody for an apology – it beggars belief. He was responsible for a story which was part and parcel of a cover-up designed to blame innocent victims for the disaster. He is trying to turn the tables, he is trying to excuse his role in the cover-up and it stinks.”
McKenzie’s arrogance was highlighted by Channel 4’s Alex Thomson last week when he unsuccessfully asked the former editor for an interview: “Mr Mackenzie explained he was in the middle of writing an article for The Spectator and did not wish to do a TV interview with me. He then added: “F*** off.”