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Rupert Murdoch's Useful Idiots

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Yesterday in the Boston Globe, world class bell-end Alex Beam did his best to stir up Liverpool's "internet terrorists" with a poorly researched, foolishly conceived look at the club with a particular focus on the Hillsborough Disaster. It's been the talk of all the forums and Twitters for the last little bit, and though refuse to link to it for rather obvious reasons, let's get right to some choice cuts from his grand asshattery:

The few sane people I have talked to about Liverpool understand that these are early days for New England Sports Ventures and that meaningful changes probably won’t come until Liverpool’s season ends in May. None of those sane people are in Liverpool, however. Even by the deranged standards of European soccer, Red fans are totally bonkers. Their excitable Internet fan sites are still agonizing over a 21-year-old soccer riot that killed 96 people. One website,, is publishing yet another exhaustive history of the incident, and still actively promotes a boycott of Rupert Murdoch’s tabloid The Sun, two decades after the paper accused Liverpool fans of pickpocketing the corpses, and other outrages.

Maybe another "exhaustive" history of events is needed, seeing as you didn't manage to pick up on the fact it wasn't, you know, a riot. Complain that the fans are too intent on trying to get the historical record straight before idiotically misrepresenting history, thereby justifying supporters continuing to fight to get the historical record straight. Round and round and round we go, and in the end it's some brilliant work right off the top, Mister Beam.

In a lengthy interview with one of the fan sites, (kop refers to a part of Anfield stadium), Henry confined himself to boilerplate Belispeak: “This club needs everyone on the same page every day. Every day. We need everyone focused on what needs to be done in the next match facing us and during that match,’’ blah blah blah. He comes across as bloodless and dispassionate, talking about soccer in the same breath as his auto racing interests and baseball — one management template for all. That kind of talk won’t sit well by the Mersey, believe me.

Believe you? I'm pretty sure you already threw away any right to represent yourself as some kind of authority on Liverpool.

There are other worrisome facts: It’s impossible to imagine a high-gloss player-franchise, a la David Beckham and his appalling wife, moving to doggy Liverpool...

Alright, we might be able to agree on the part about a certain wife being appalling, but I must have missed the bit where good old Manchester was a glittering global metropolis on par with London and Tokyo and New York. In any case, that's enough out of you, Mister Beam, and I think we can all agree he's an idiot, then? Good, glad that's settled.

The rather blindingly obvious point Beam misses in his unfortunate misrepresentation of Hillsborough and the continuing fight over how it is to be remembered is that that continuing fallout isn't so much about the event itself as it is about the reaction by varies parties to the disaster. The remaining anger is largely at the lies, the coverup, the eager and idiotic jumping into the fray with "facts" by Rupert Murdoch's rag, the Tory complicity in the aftermath, and then the way that down the years those responsible--both for the disaster and the coverups at varying levels--have fought tooth and nail to keep the blame where they originally intended it to be (mis)placed: squarely at the feet of Liverpool's supporters. And they've obviously had some continuing success--see the existence of one Beam, Alex, for one example--even if most are aware of the truth these days.

In the beginning it was similarly useful idiots--useful to those who didn't want the truth coming out, that is--who caused the Hillsborough Disaster to grow into what it remains to this day. If there had been an honest and open accounting, without slander and deceptions that continued through the years, it would have been a sadly remembered tragedy--part of the club's history still, but not part of its present identity in the same way it is when so many have spent two decades fighting the injustice of not only the disaster itself but the way things were dealt with in the aftermath by all manner of parties with various axes to grind or asses to cover. The sad irony Beam misses is that without people doing much the same as he is now, he wouldn't be in a position to make a colossal fool of himself by denigrating the continuing efforts of Liverpool supporters to clear the names of those who died because Liverpool supporters wouldn't have had to spent all those years fighting.

The reality is he's worthy of little more than ridicule for his unchecked stupidities, but as is so often the case in these sorts of matters there will inevitably be some small portion of those who read his piece who will either be unaware of the truth or who will have a vested interest in using his words to further perpetuate the lies, and that is what raises his article above something to be pointed and laughed at and turns it instead into something to be heaped with scorn.


As an addendum for the few passers by who might not be up to speed, The Hillsborough Justice Campaign is a good place to start to get informed, as is Ed's collection of related videos from earlier this year.