I awoke this morning to see my Twitter and Facebook feeds dominated by criticism of the Sun’s front page. Realistically, this was going to the case today irrespective of how they handled the Hillsborough inquest. There are, quite rightly, thousands of blogs, social media posts and news stories which illuminate why the Sun, Hillsborough and the condemnation of a city and football fans more generally is such an important issue. Indeed, if you’ve no idea what I’m talking about, you should read more about the subject.
I’m fascinated not just by the lack of coverage of Hillsborough, but also the stories they decided to run given they were surely aware it would be the focus of so much attention. I would have imagined, had the inquest not delivered its verdict yesterday, that the two main stories would be either the continuing doctors strike (which isn’t featured) and the financial dealings which lead to the administration of BHS (which receives some focus).
However, the main story is about Cameron using social media to discuss EU referendum tactics which is portrayed as dishonest given there will be no historical record of the discussions and the messages can be destroyed to avoid any Freedom of Information requests.
There are two interesting considerations of this choice of story. Firstly, on a day when there was bound to be lots of coverage paid to their front page, they selected a story criticising the Remain campaign and attempts to portray it as undemocratic. It is easy to see why an out supporter, like Murdoch, might want that image subtly placed in people’s minds and it perhaps demonstrates how important Brexit is to his interests.
But, more importantly, if the Sun is determined to put pressure on government ministers to reveal what was discussed in important meetings which are off the public record, perhaps it could turn its attention closer to home. It’s a shame the paper didn’t reveal the content of discussions between Murdoch and high ranking public officials. We shouldn’t let the condemnation of the Sun’s refusal to acknowledge the Hillsborough verdict overshadow questions of just how sincerely it believes ministerial conversations which affect us all should be made public.