Media ethics: The Sun confesses, kind of

(UPDATE 12/08/09: Thanks to a reader for pointing out that I had not noticed the date on this Sun piece that I refer to, as 2005!, I’ll try to be a bit more up-to-date in future!)

You have to read it to believe it.

The Sun, a downmarket British tabloid newspaper owned by News International, ran a seemingly innocuous headline on their website today:

“Julian Brooker apology”, it said.

One assumed a correction for a minor factual error was in order.

Click on the headline however, and a different story emerges.

I won’t paste it all here, but after a dreadful accident in which a young man was killed, the Sun’s journalists seem to have gone insane in “sexing up” the story.

Here’s an extract from the apology:

“His parents have asked us to make clear he was not turned into a fireball, was not obsessed with the number 23 and didn’t go drinking on that date every month.
Julian’s mother did not say, during or after the inquest, her son often got on all fours creeping around their house pretending to be Gollum.”

The rest is here.

A shocking example of how far media standards have fallen in the UK.

Would our Press Complaints Commission do anything about this? Unlikely.

One for Private Eye’s “Street of Shame” section, I would have thought.

If you want to know more about how standards have fallen so low, go here.


  1. Hi Toby, the "Julian Brooker apology" appears to have been published in April 2005. Strange if the Sun links to it from its front page more than four years later.

  2. Hi Wiebke,

    Thanks for pointing out my mistake!

    I added a proviso at the beginning of the post.

    One thing: I don't believe I suggested it was on their homepage.


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