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“Their Royal Heilnesses” Seriously?

sun nazi debacle

This week the Sun, a prominent UK newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch, featured a shocking front cover with an image photo-shopped from a film stolen from the palace with the headline: “Their Royal Heilnesses.”

A clip from a 1933 family video shows Edward VIII teaching his nieces, the seven-year-old future Queen, her three-year-old sister Margaret along with the late Queen Mother, how to perform the Nazi salute in the gardens at Balmoral.

Without revealing how they obtained film footage of the Queen and her sister as children, the editors claimed to protect the public’s interest in knowing that Edward VIII: “The man who briefly became our King was already a fan of Hitler – and remained so as late as 1970, long after the Holocaust’s horrors were laid bare.”

Members of the Royal Family were disappointed by the privacy invasion as the Sun exploited footage shot eight decades ago and apparently stolen from the personal family archive.

Other tabloids chimed in: ‘The Sun has sunk to a new low’: British public reacts with fury after tabloid publishes 80-year-old pictures of the seven-year-old Queen and the Queen Mother being taught a Nazi salute.”[i] 

Messages across social media defended the target: the queen was just a young girl, 1933 featured a pre-war Hitler just rising in power, Rupert Murdock with his deceit and manipulation is a disease in the body politic, just inciting more hatred….

High level officials agree: Labour MP Barbara Keeley declared that there’s certainly enough moral outrage about misjudgement in history to go round: referencing an image of The Sun’s controversial 1989 front page photo and article which criticized Liverpool fans for the Hillsborough disaster that killed 96 spectators. New evidence shows that there was much more to that tragedy than revealed in the official story.[ii]

The irony is that few seemed prepared to back up PFA’s Gordon Taylor who made the same point when he remarked that pro-football star Ched Evans: “wouldn’t be the first person or persons to be found guilty and maintain their innocence and then been proven right. If we’re talking about things in football we know what happened, what was alleged to have happened, at Hillsborough and it’s now unraveling and we’re finding it was very different to how it was portrayed at the time, indeed by the police at the time.” Critics are offended by his comparison as if the Court of Law and Court of Public Opinion are so very different these days….

Rather than focus upon the point of media exploitation of tragedy, crisis and official misjudgment or cover-ups, new editors chose to fan the flames of indignation with the Hillsborough Family Support Group: claiming wide-spread “distaste for a thought process in which Taylor seemed to put giving emotional ballast to his case for Evans above respect for what the families went through.” As they say in England, that’s just rubbish. One may disagree with Taylor about Evan’s return to football, but his reasoning related to media abuse of power is dead on.

Full essay forthcoming August 2015.

[i] By Ollie Gillman and Imogen Calderwood and Elaine O’flynn For Mailonline and Emily Davies and Harriet Sime for the Daily Mail, Published: 17:13 EST, 17 July 2015 | Updated: 12:17 EST, 18 July 2015

[ii] Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3165923/Pictured-Queen-taught-NAZI-SALUTE-Edward-VIII-secret-1933-film-Balmoral.html#ixzz3gHjt4Kgh

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