Murdoch has responded to some of the arguments against the newspaper by saying that critics are "snobs" who want to "impose their tastes on everyone else", while MacKenzie claims the same critics are people who, if they ever had a "popular idea", would have to "go and lie down in a dark room for half an hour".
Both have pointed to the huge commercial success of the Sun in this period and its establishment as Britain's top-selling newspaper, claiming that they are "giving the public what they want". This conclusion is disputed by critics. John Pilger has said that a lates edition of the Daily Mirror , which replaced the usual celebrity and domestic political news items with an entire issue devoted to his own front-line reporting of the genocide in Pol Pot's Cambodia , not only outsold The Sun on the day it was issued but became the only edition of the Daily Mirror to ever sell every single copy issued throughout the country, something never achieved by The Sun.
In January Murdoch shut down the Bouverie Street premises of The Sun and News of the World , and moved operations to the new Wapping complex in East London, substituting the electricians' union for the print unions as his production staff's representatives and greatly reducing the number of staff employed to print the papers; a year-long picket by sacked workers was eventually defeated see Wapping dispute. During this period, The Sun gained a reputation for running sensationalist stories of questionable veracity.
Solar wind and flares
The story alleged that British comedian Freddie Starr , while staying at the home of a writer and old friend of his named Vince McCaffrey and his partner Lea LaSalle  in Birchwood , Cheshire, had, after returning from a performance at a nightclub in the early hours, found little to eat in their house.
Starr put LaSalle's pet hamster, she was reported as saying, "between two slices of bread and started eating it". She contacted an acquaintance who worked for The Sun in Manchester. The story reportedly delighted MacKenzie, who was keen to run it, and Max Clifford, who had been Starr's public relations agent.
Fuelled by MacKenzie's preoccupation with the subject, stories in The Sun insinuated and spread rumours about the sexual orientation of famous people, especially pop stars. Eventually resulting in 17 libel writs in total, The Sun ran a series of false stories about Elton John from 25 February The singer-songwriter was abroad on the day indicated in the story, as former Sun journalist John Blake , recently poached by the Daily Mirror , soon discovered. Television personality Piers Morgan , a former editor of the Daily Mirror and of The Sun ' s "Bizarre" pop column, has said that during the late s, at Kelvin MacKenzie's behest, he was ordered to speculate on the sexuality of male pop stars for a feature headlined "The Poofs of Pop".
In , the Press Council adjudicated against The Sun and columnist Garry Bushell for their use of derogatory terminology about gays. The Sun also ran an editorial further arguing that "At last the truth can be told In other words, impossible.
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So now we know — everything else is homosexual propaganda. Critics stated that both The Sun and Lord Kilbracken cherry-picked the results from one specific study while ignoring other data reports on HIV infection and not just AIDS infection, which the critics viewed as unethical politicisation of a medical issue. Lord Kilbracken himself criticised The Sun 's editorial and the headline of its news story; he stated that while he thought that gay people were more at risk of developing AIDS it was still wrong to imply that no one else could catch the disease.
The Press Council condemned The Sun for committing what it called a "gross distortion". The Sun later published an apology, which they ran on Page Journalist David Randall argued in the textbook The Universal Journalist that The Sun 's story was one of the worst cases of journalistic malpractice in recent history, putting its own readers in harm's way. At the end of the decade, The Sun ' s coverage of the Hillsborough football stadium disaster in Sheffield on 15 April , in which 96 people died as a result of their injuries, proved to be, as the paper later admitted, the "most terrible" blunder in its history.
Under a front-page headline "The Truth", the paper printed allegations provided to them that some fans picked the pockets of crushed victims, that others urinated on members of the emergency services as they tried to help and that some even assaulted a police constable "whilst he was administering the kiss of life to a patient. The front page caused outrage in Liverpool , where the paper lost more than three-quarters of its estimated 55, daily sales, and still sells poorly in the city more than 25 years later around 12, The Sun has lost many millions of pounds in revenue in sales and advertising from the boycott on Merseyside.
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On 7 July , in response to verbal attacks in Liverpool on Wayne Rooney , just before his transfer from Everton to Manchester United , who had sold his life story to The Sun , the paper devoted a full-page editorial to an apology for the "awful error" of its Hillsborough coverage and argued that Rooney who was only three years old at the time of Hillsborough should not be punished for its "past sins".
In January , The Sun 's managing editor Graham Dudman admitting the Hillsborough coverage was "the worst mistake in our history", added: "What we did was a terrible mistake. It was a terrible, insensitive, horrible article, with a dreadful headline; but what we'd also say is: we have apologised for it, and the entire senior team here now is completely different from the team that put the paper out in In May , Kelvin MacKenzie, Sun editor at the time of the Hillsborough disaster, returned to the paper as a columnist. Furthermore, on 11 January , MacKenzie stated, while a panellist on BBC1's Question Time , that the apology he made about the coverage was a hollow one, forced upon him by Rupert Murdoch.
MacKenzie further claimed he was not sorry "for telling the truth" but he admitted that he did not know whether some Liverpool fans urinated on the police, or robbed victims. On 12 September , following the publication of the official report into the disaster using previously withheld Government papers which officially exonerated the Liverpool fans present, MacKenzie issued the following statement:. Today I offer my profuse apologies to the people of Liverpool for that headline. I too was totally misled. Twenty three years ago I was handed a piece of copy from a reputable news agency in Sheffield [White's] in which a senior police officer and a senior local MP [Sheffield Hallam MP Irvine Patnick ] 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, , 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. Trevor Hicks, chairman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, rejected Mr MacKenzie's apology as "too little, too late", calling him " lowlife , clever lowlife, but lowlife". Following the publication of the report The Sun apologised on its front page, under the headline "The Real Truth". With the newspaper's editor at the time, Dominic Mohan, adding underneath:.
It's a version of events that 23 years ago The Sun went along with and for that we're deeply ashamed and profoundly sorry. We've co-operated fully with The Hillsborough Independent Panel and will publish reports of their findings in tomorrow's newspaper. We will also reflect our deep sense of shame. Liverpool FC supporters and a significant majority of the City of Liverpool's residents have continued to boycott the newspaper as a result of the Hillsborough tragedy. The newspaper said the decision "is bad for fans and bad for football".
The newspaper was banned by Everton F. The Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson described the article as "disgrace" and a "slur" on the city.
The Sun remained loyal to Thatcher right up to her resignation in November ,  despite the party's fall in popularity over the previous year following the introduction of the poll tax officially known as the Community Charge. This change to the way local government is funded was vociferously supported by the newspaper, despite widespread opposition, some from Conservative MPs , which is seen as having contributed to Thatcher's own downfall.
The tax was quickly repealed by her successor John Major , whom The Sun initially supported enthusiastically,  believing the former Chancellor of the Exchequer was a radical Thatcherite. On the day of the general election of 9 April , its front-page headline, encapsulating its antipathy towards the Labour leader Neil Kinnock , read "If Kinnock wins today, will the last person to leave Britain please turn out the lights". The Sun led with a headline "Now we've all been screwed by the cabinet" with a reference to Black Wednesday on 17 September , and the exposure a few months earlier of an extra-marital affair in which Cabinet Minister David Mellor was involved.
Despite its initial opposition to the closures, until , the newspaper repeatedly called for the implementation of further Thatcherite policies, such as Royal Mail privatisation,  [ verification needed ] and social security cutbacks, with leaders such as "Peter Lilley is right, we can't carry on like this".
The Sun 's comment was that "The only serious radicals in British politics these days are the likes of Redwood, Lilley and Portillo". Between and , The Sun 's circulation peaked. Its highest average sale was in the week ending 16 July , when the daily figure was 4,, The highest ever one-day sale was on 18 November 4,, , although the cover price had been cut to 10p.
The highest ever one-day sale at full price was on 30 March 4,, On 22 January , The Sun accused the shadow chancellor Gordon Brown of stealing the Conservatives' ideas by declaring, "If all he is offering is Conservative financial restraint, why not vote for the real thing? The Sun switched support to the Labour party on 18 March , six weeks before the General Election victory which saw the New Labour leader Tony Blair become Prime Minister with a large parliamentary majority, despite the paper having attacked Blair and New Labour up to a month earlier.
Incredible photos depict man loading the sun into his car
In exchange for Rupert Murdoch's support, Blair agreed not to join the European Exchange Rate Mechanism which John Major had withdrawn the country from in September after barely two years. Misjudging public response, The Sun 's editor David Yelland demanded to know in a front-page editorial whether Britain was governed by a "gay mafia" of a "closed world of men with a mutual self-interest".
Three days later the paper apologised in another editorial which said The Sun would never again reveal a person's sexuality unless it could be defended on the grounds of "overwhelming public interest". In , the paper was accused of racism by the government over its criticisms of what it perceived as the "open door" policy on immigration.
The paper rebutted the claim, believing that it was not racist to suggest that a "tide" of unchecked illegal immigrants was increasing the risk of terrorist attacks and infectious diseases.
It did not help its argument by publishing a front-page story on 4 July , under the headline "Swan Bake", which claimed that asylum seekers were slaughtering and eating swans. It later proved to have no basis in fact. Subsequently, The Sun published a follow-up headlined "Now they're after our fish! Following a Press Complaints Commission adjudication a "clarification" was eventually printed, on page The photographs caused outrage across the world and Clarence House was forced to issue a statement in response apologising for any offence or embarrassment caused.
Despite being a persistent critic of some of the government's policies, the paper supported Labour in both subsequent elections the party won. For the general election , The Sun backed Blair and Labour for a third consecutive election win and vowed to give him "one last chance" to fulfil his promises, despite berating him for several weaknesses including a failure to control immigration.
However, it did speak of its hope that the Conservatives led by Michael Howard would one day be fit for a return to government. When Rebekah Wade now Brooks became editor in , it was thought Page 3 might be dropped. Wade had tried to persuade David Yelland , her immediate predecessors in the job, to scrap the feature, but a model who shared her first name was used on her first day in the post.
On 22 September , the newspaper appeared to misjudge the public mood surrounding mental health, as well as its affection for former world heavyweight champion boxer Frank Bruno , who had been admitted to hospital, when the headline "Bonkers Bruno Locked Up" appeared on the front page of early editions. The adverse reaction, once the paper had hit the streets on the evening of 21 September, led to the headline being changed for the paper's second edition to the more sympathetic "Sad Bruno in Mental Home".
The Sun has been openly antagonistic towards other European nations, particularly the French and Germans. During the s and s, the nationalities were routinely described in copy and headlines as "frogs", "krauts" or "hun". As the paper is opposed to the EU it has referred to foreign leaders who it deemed hostile to the UK in unflattering terms. An unflattering picture of German chancellor Angela Merkel , taken from the rear, bore the headline "I'm Big in the Bumdestag" 17 April Although The Sun was outspoken against the racism directed at Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty on television reality show Celebrity Big Brother during , the paper captioned a picture on its website, from a Bollywood-themed pop video by Hilary Duff , "Hilary PoppaDuff ",  a very similar insult to that directed at Shetty.
On 7 January , The Sun ran an exclusive front-page story claiming that participants in a discussion on Ummah. It was claimed that "Those listed [on the forum] should treat it very seriously. Expect a hate campaign and intimidation by 20 or 30 thugs.