When Kelvin Mackenzie wrote about Ross Barkley as a gorilla and made the usual tedious, stereotypical, disparaging remarks about the city of Liverpool, he knew exactly what he was doing. After all, he has been writing this kind of toxic drivel for many years. Playing to the gallery of those Sun readers who seem to like one-sided, dubious stories about groups in society they feel they can look down upon, Mackenzie has come up with a classic piece of what might be called nuanced racism. That The Sun has subsequently suspended this odious man is neither here nor there; they happily sanctioned the piece about Barkley in the first place.
After all, let us not forget this is the man who was editor of The Sun in April 1989, when it lied through its teeth about the appalling events at Hillsborough and had the temerity to do so under a headline of ‘The Truth’. When you look at the many dubious stories this sorry excuse for a newspaper has covered over the years, often about vulnerable groups, who they know will find it difficult to fight back, then it is hard to believe that those who run it know what the word truth means. It was a wonder they could even spell the word back in 1989…
I do wonder what the likes of Rupert Murdoch and Kelvin Mackenzie make of the supposedly new phenomenon of fake
news and alternative facts. A wry smile perhaps? Have they not been indulging in them for years? How many times has The Sun had to print apologies for inaccuracies, tucked away on inside pages, a fraction of the size of the original sensationalised story, with the damage done? While there is no proper, independent regulation of the press, they can, of course, get away with it….
It was also surely no coincidence that Mackenzie wrote this article about Ross Barkley around the anniversary of Hillsborough. To have done so, shows a calculated insensitivity, even by his appallingly low standards. And for any reader thinking it is just Liverpool The Sun has a problem with, I would remind them of how badly miners from our region, many of whom were Newcastle United supporters, were treated by The Sun in the 1984/5 strike. Do you honestly think the powers that be at the Sun have a high regard for any of us?
It is time for football as a whole to oppose The Sun. Let us not forget how many football fans for years sadly accepted the lies of The Sun about Hillsborough. They seemed to gladly allow their own prejudices to accept what this awful newspaper was saying. Yet, please let us remember that The Sun was disparaging fellow football fans…you know like you and me. And The Sun has been proved beyond all doubt to have been wrong. On the positive side, the superb solidarity shown by Newcastle United supporters at the Crystal Palace game last season, when they broke into You’ll Never Walk Alone, was United fans at their best.
The Sun loves to claim to be the mouthpiece of ordinary people, while in reality doing all it can to sow division, so that the rich and powerful can continue to cream off the wealth, while people who might be struggling are encouraged to blame asylum seekers, gypsies, benefit claimants, the disabled and goodness knows what other powerless group of people, for their predicament. Anybody, but the rich and the powerful….. The Sun has seen Scousers as another group to pick on, but might be finding it has bitten off more than it can chew.
The Sun has no interest in the game of football other than, making money out of it. This was, after all, the sister paper of the disgraced News of the World, a newspaper, which, while talking about British troops as ‘our boys’, was all the while busily hacking the phones of relatives of dead servicemen. Similarly, while claiming to be so patriotic when England makes it to major finals, The Sun happily undermines the team and manager, with snide stories; remember how Graham Taylor was treated? Or his immediate predecessor Bobby Robson? Let’s face it, The Sun is no supporter of the game of football….and football fans of all teams should turn their back on it, while it would be nice to see Alan shearer consider his position as a columnist…..
And talking of patriotism, just what percentage of his taxes does the New York domiciled Rupert Murdoch actually pay? Surely, if the likes of Murdoch and Lord Dacre of the Daily Mail, who just happens to live in France, paid their taxes properly, then we could reopen some of the libraries that have been closed, ensure the future of our NHS and perhaps even dispense with the need for foodbanks.
A good newspaper tells the truth to power, not lies about the powerless. Everton are right to ban the Sun. The treatment of Ross Barkley, another young English talent the oh-so patriotic Sun seems determined to try and destroy. And the city which Everton come from has been appalling. Why would Everton want a rag with such an awful track record regarding basic common decency anywhere near them? What possible purpose would it serve them?
For that matter what purpose does this desperate newspaper serve any of us?
Peter Sagar April 2017