Harry Arnold said in Hillsborough: Searching for the Truth:
“On the Sun, Kelvin MacKenzie was the rather controversial editor at the time. He liked to write his own headlines.
“He wrote the headline ‘The Truth’, and the reason I know that is I was about to leave the newsroom when I saw him drawing up the front page. When I saw the headline ‘The Truth’ I was aghast, because that wasn’t what I’d written.
“I’d never used the words the truth, “this is the truth about the Hillsborough Disaster” – I’d merely written, I hoped and I still believe, in a balanced and fair way.
“So I said to Kelvin MacKenzie, “You can’t say that”.
“And he said ‘Why not?’ and I said ‘because we don’t know that it’s the truth. This is a version of ‘the truth’.
“And he brushed it aside and said ‘Oh don’t worry. I’m going to make it clear that this is what some people are saying’. And I walked away thinking, well I’m not happy with the situation. But the fact is reporters don’t argue with an editor. And in particular, you don’t argue with an editor like Kelvin MacKenzie.”
The BBC say they’d made requests for Kelvin MacKenzie to comment or respond, but he didn’t until today, when he said he offered his “profuse apologies” to the people of Liverpool for the headline, and claims
“I too was totally misled. Twenty-three years 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.”