The Sun is often cited as being controversial, bigoted and often flat-out incorrect, yet things took a harsh turn when the tabloid ran a story on England cricketer Ben Stokes and his family. The story focused particularly on a family tragedy that occurred over three decades ago in New Zealand – where Stokes originally hails from.
Stokes took to Twitter to call out the newspaper, describing them as ‘immoral’ and ‘disgusting’. The 28-year-old all-rounder has had a successful summer and was part of the team that won the 2019 Cricket World Cup and hero of the Ashes Test match.
In the statement, Stokes described the pain that the story had reignited in his family. “For more than three decades, my family has worked hard to deal with the private trauma inevitably associated with these events and has taken great care to keep private what were deeply personal and traumatic events.”
He requested that the public respect his and his family’s privacy.
Since Stokes released his statement, many have taken to Twitter to share the hashtags #DontBuyTheSun and #BoycottTheSun in solidarity.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t mark the first time that The Sun has faced hot water. As a tabloid newspaper, it has managed to publish some of the worst stories in British press, earning a reputation of journalistic deceit. Sensationalism is a major factor for its sales and thus, over time, The Sun has been perceived as responsible for misleading and sometimes frankly absurd stories.
Most notably, following the Hillsborough tragedy where many lost their lives due to a fatal crush during a football match in Liverpool in 1988, the newspaper published a story with unfounded claims on how victims were harassing police officers, urinating and pickpocketing the dead. After the story, most newsagents in Liverpool refused to sell the paper and would refer to them as ‘The Scum’. Despite an apology several years later, natives of Liverpool are not quick to forget the inflammatory story.
Most recently, footballer Wayne Rooney became the latest victim of the tabloid. Rooney similarly took to Twitter to express his anger at the paper for making claims that he had cheated on his wife with an unknown woman in Vancouver. The footballer firmly stated on his Twitter: “The Sun – Enough is Enough.”
With a long history of fuelling ignorance and spreading lies, The Sun still manages to be one of the most read newspapers in the UK. Its constant reliance on techniques steeped in immorality and cruelty should no longer be allowed within media, as according to Ben Stokes: “This is the lowest form of journalism, focussed only on chasing sales with absolutely no regard for the devastation caused to lives as a consequence.”
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