I speak of course of the Sun's 'Truth' article following the Hillsborough disaster, a disgraceful, unsubstantiated, hate-filled piece of drivel that piled on the hurt to families still feeling the raw pain of losing their loved ones in a disaster just days before.
The article rightly led to a boycott of the newspaper, which is still observed by thousands on Merseyside.
In 2004 the newspaper apologised for "the most terrible mistake" in its history.
MacKenzie, however, stands by his bile, stating at a business lunch in 2006: "I wasn't sorry then and I'm not sorry now because we told the truth."
Note the use of "we". And yet the story from The History of the Sun (Peter Chippendale and Chris Horrie) paints a very different picture:
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".
Amazingly this scummy man's career continues, as does his obvious hatred for Liverpool, Merseyside and Scousers.
Not only does the twisted oaf continue to write for the Sun, he is somehow regularly given air time on TV and radio.
A simple google search reveals his bent views are continuing to offend so I wouldn't expect anyone, in jest or otherwise, to suggest he is worthy of again holding the title of editor of a national newspaper again.
So imagine my surprise when this disgrace to the profession of journalism is mentioned in an article about the current editor of the Sun, an article which has the penultimate sentence: "Bring back Kelvin MacKenzie".
What publication would publish such a notion? The Journalist - The National Union of Journalists magazine which goes out to all members.
You couldn't make it up.
This is the man who once said: “When I published those stories, they were not lies. They were great stories that later turned out to be untrue - and that is different. What am I supposed to feel ashamed about?”
Livid, I wrote to the editor of The Journalist. The reply? Well you couldn't make that up either...
--------------------------------------------------The article in full from The Journalist, September/October 2009:
WHAT'S WRONG with showbiz writers like the Sun's Dominic Mohan becoming editors of national newspapers? He follows people like John Blake, Piers Morgan and Andy Coulson in the move from editing the Bizarre column to the paper itself.
Aside from the hardly needed confirmation of the Sun's devotion to mindless celebrity, there are three things wrong:
First is the way their journalism is produced: the celebrity industry is happily dependent on the whims of the stars and chicanery of their agents. Not a good model for news journalism.
Second is the fact that it makes the editor a celebrity. Showbiz columnists love to write about their own obsessively partying lives and to get themselves photographed looking all matey with the stars.
And third is the authority they wield with our rulers. Piers Morgan is constantly bragging about the access he enjoyed to Downing Street when Tony Blair would apparently drop whatever inconsequential matters he was engaged with to take his counsel.
I do not hold Prime Ministers in high regard but I do recognise they are busy people and I find the notion that they should have to give their coveted attention to these vain and prattling groupies rather unsettling, don't you?
Bring back Kelvin MacKenzie. He may be a boorish reactionary but his news values do at least relate to the real political world.
My email to The Journalist:
Reply from The Journalist:
I refer to the article in 'Gripe' on page 31 of your current issue with the headline 'Hey Prime Minister'.
While I take the point about showbiz reporters becoming editors of national newspapers signalling a sign of a slip in standards of journalism, I am gobsmacked by the last paragraph advocating the return of Kelvin MacKenzie to the role of editor at The Sun.
The article describes showbiz reporters' methods as "not a good model of news journalism".
And Mackenzie's is? Should you need reminding he is the man responsible for The Sun's "The Truth" headline which accused Liverpool fans at the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 of urinating on police and robbing victims.
It lost 200,000 sales in a week, its reputation on Merseyside and was condemned by the Press Complaints Commission.
In July 2004, it tried to make amends by printing a full-page apology, describing its coverage of the disaster as "the most terrible mistake in its history".
As for Mackenzie, he is still refusing to apologise to the families of the 96 people that died in the disaster.
To call for the return of this man displays amazing ignorance and insensitivity. A simple google search can tell you all you need to know about him.
Tuesday, 15 September, 2009 4:50 PMthanks neat letter - obviously it was not a serious proposal!