The Sun and Liverpool Football Club have rather notoriously not been the greatest of friends. On April 19th, 1989, the newspaper ran a reprehensible front-page piece on the Hillsborough Disaster, spreading a horrendously distorted version of the facts under the spectacularly ill-judged headline of 'The Truth'. The sub-headlines, which painted the Liverpool fans involved (better known as 'the victims') as barely-human thugs weren't any better.
The editor responsible, Kelvin MacKenzie has now, more than 23 years later and only after evidence was unearthed that he participated in what amounted to a huge cover-up of the basic facts, offered up an apology:
Today I offer my profuse apologies to the people of Liverpool for that headline. I too was totally misled. Twenty three ago I was handed a piece of copy from a reputable news agency in Sheffield in which a senior police officer and a senior local MP were making serious allegations against fans in the stadium. I had absolutely no reason to believe that these authority figures would lie and deceive over such a disaster. As the Prime Minister has made clear these allegations were wholly untrue and were part of a concerted plot by police officers to discredit the supporters thereby shifting the blame for the tragedy from themselves. It has taken more than two decades, 400,000 documents and a two-year inquiry to discover to my horror that it would have been far more accurate had I written the headline The Lies rather than The Truth. I published in good faith and I am sorry that it was so wrong.
In other words, it was wrong but it wasn't my fault; don't shoot the messenger. Charming. At some point, one of the people directly involved in this mess -- whether that's the police who helped demonise the victims to preserve their own image or those involved in the pack of lies which masqueraded as coverage -- will have the guts to take some measure of responsibility. Apparently, that won't be today.