The Hillsborough Disaster and the Rupert Murdoch School of Journalism

Rupert Murdoch and the truth are hardly close acquaintances, as can be witnessed by the nightly fiction that spews forth from Fox News. In fact, a much more accurate statement would that the truth and Rupert Murdoch have an antagonistic relationship not terribly different from Itchy & Scratchy. For you Brits who may have stumbled across this article, another rehashing of the Hillsborough Disaster and the subsequent tragedy of Rupert Murdoch’s The Sun’s reporting of it is old news, possibly long forget. But many Americans, you must understand, have not yet learned of the utter depths to which the media owned by Rupert Murdoch will sink in order to earn circulation and revenue.

The Hillsborough Disaster, for you Americans who confused the media owned by Rupert Murdoch with journalist entities, was the worst stadium tragedy in British history. It happened at a soccer game, as you might expect. Too many people in too little space dominated by a structure incapable of handling such stress. The result was the death of 96 people. The Wednesday after the Hillsborough Disaster, Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper The Sun, and only The Sun, ran this headline: THE TRUTH”, “Some fans picked pockets of victims”, “Some fans urinated on the brave cops”, “Some fans beat up PC giving kiss of life”.

Despite the fact that there was not so much as a single shred of eyewitness testimony to these allegations, except from the police of course, that rather unique and specific brand of journalistic integrity known as the Rupert Murdoch School of News Reporting gripped the so-called journalists of The Sun and they went full speed ahead. Speaking of the integrity of the police, one reporter even quoted a British copper as suggesting that the body of a dead girl had been abused. Many people actually believed the allegations because initial claims were that the Hillsborough Disaster had been caused by that old bugaboo of British soccer, hooliganism. Of course, perhaps too much blame should not be cast toward those who accepted that people were urinating on the police since viewers of Fox News by the millions believe that Barack Obama is a Muslim terrorist born in Cairo.

It all comes back to Rupert Murdoch. The Hillsborough Disaster was bad enough, but the way The Sun’s scurrilous reporting compounded the evil may be even worse. This little story of how Rupert Murdoch’s minions work is, as indicated, very old news to the British. Most of them have by now figured the mechanics of how Rupert Murdoch operates. Most Americans have figured it out by now, too, but there are still a great man people who are handing the reins of power to this Australian kook-aburra. We’re not talking about those who watch Fox News like it’s a religious channel, but the deregulatory policies supported by Republicans and Democrats alike over the last fifteen years has allowed Rupert Murdoch to grab up just about every media outlet he wants. Fox News is just the most famous. From 20th Century Fox to the National Geographic Channel to the Wall St. Journal and that’s just the media holdings of Rupert Murdoch here in the great USA. Talk about putting the brakes on immigration: why not let’s start with Australians who are taking million dollar jobs away from Americans rather than Mexicans working for two dollars under minimum wage.

Conservatives should especially be appalled by the Hillsborough Disaster. After all, all Americans know that British football hooligans who would urinate on the police have to be skinhead fascists, right? It was a bunch of skinheads who picked the pockets of the dead have to be skinhead oi!-yelling fascists. Well, guess what, conservatives. Do you know where you wind up when you get to the end of the line of your way of thinking? Look it up, although if you look it up you will probably wind up on that bizarre alternative universe of journalism controlled by the man who oversaw The Sun’s historically untruthful headlines. Stay away from Rupert Murdoch’s version of the truth because the next time you suggest that fascism is a left wing ideology you will be laughed at.

As a side note to all this, I first came across the reality of the Hillsborough Disaster and The Sun’s notorious “reporting” of it when I watched the British crime drama Cracker and the episode titled “To Be a Somebody.” Highly recommended.