Friday, 2 March 2012

The Black Book of Fleet Street

Chapter 14. The Thoughts of Kelvin MacKenzie, editor of Britain’s biggest selling newspaper the Sun, 1981-1994.

What Kelvin wanted
“... He rushed off, leaving one of the newsdesk minions to explain the new rules of the game patiently to other startled hacks who were standing around. ‘When will you lot get it through your heads that Kelvin’s not interested in whether things are true or not,’ he told them. ‘What you’ve got to do is give him what he wants.’”

On his readers
“... Mackenzie rapped out his picture of the Sun’s older reader. ‘He’s the bloke you see in the pub – a right old fascist, wants to send the wogs back, buy his poxy council house, he’s afraid of the unions, afraid of the Russians, hates the queers and weirdoes and drug dealers..."

On violence
"'I’ve got a story about someone who’s confessed to seventeen rapes,' MacKenzie had said on 13 June. ‘Is that a record? If it’s a record I want it on the front page.’ ... His management style was revealed in his offering a knife to an elderly worker on the art desk and advising him: ‘Do us all a favour, you useless c***- cut your throat.’"

On race
"... ‘Well, Botha has said the days of white power are over in South Africa. What he doesn’t say is what’s going to happen when the darkies come down from the trees,’ was one of MacKenzie’s choice remarks. ‘No, I’m not having pictures of darkies on the front page,’ said deputy editor David Shapland ... the night an Asian man won Sun Bingo, ‘That’s the last things our readers want – pictures of blacks raking it in.’"

On AIDS and homosexuality
"A report in the paper in February quoted an anonymous ‘psychologist’ at an AIDS conference in Washington DC as advocating mass killings of gays. ‘All homosexuals should be exterminated to stop the spread of AIDS. It’s time we stopped pussyfooting around,’ he supposedly said.
MacKenzie responded to hacks expressing mild concern about the paper’s approach to the subjects with jeers like ‘Come out, have we eh? One of them, are we, eh?’ followed by a shout across the editorial floor: ‘Watch out, folks! There’s a botty burglar about!’"

All quotes from Peter Chippindale and Chris Horrie, Stick It Up Your Punter! The Uncut Story of the Sun Newspaper (Simon & Schuster, 1999. Revised edition.)


David W. Kasper said...

You forgot to include a Page 3 'Stunna' pic to go with this!

William said...

It's a family blog, I didn't want to lower the tone!

Matt Moore said...

I cannot image MacKenzie using the word "proxy". Poxy, however...

William said...

Quite right. Amended.