The Sun

The Sun

Infobox Newspaper
name = The Sun

caption = "The Sun" in January 2005, featuring Prince Harry in nazi costume.
type = Daily newspaper available Monday to Saturday except Christmas Day.
format = Tabloid
foundation = 1964
owners = News International
political = Conservative,Right-wing and Populist
headquarters = Wapping, London
editor = Rebekah Wade
website = []

"The Sun" is a tabloid daily newspaper published in the United Kingdom and Ireland with the highest circulation of any daily English-language newspaper in the world, standing at an average of 3,121,000 copies a day between January and June 2008 and with a daily readership of approximately 7,900,000, of which 56 per cent are male and 44 per cent female [ Newspaper Marketing Agency ] ] . By circulation it is the eighth biggest newspaper in any language in the world, [ [ - World Largest Newspapers ] ] one place behind its Sunday stablemate the News of the World, although their circulations are close and these places were briefly reversed during May 2008 [ [ Sun makes history as the News of the World falls further behind | Greenslade | ] ] . It reaches 2.9 million readers in the ABC1 demographic and 5.0 million in the C2DE demographic, compared to the 1.5 and 0.1 million respectively of its upmarket stablemate "The Times". It is published by News Group Newspapers of News International, itself a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. [cite news|url=|title="The Sun" facts & figures|publisher=Newspaper Marketing Agency] [cite news|url=|title="The Times" facts & figures|publisher=Newspaper Marketing Agency]


The Sun was first published as a broadsheet on 15 September 1964 [ [ BBC ON THIS DAY | 15 | 1964: The Sun newspaper is born ] ] - with a logo featuring a glowing orange disc. It was launched by owners IPC (International Press Corporation) to replace the failing Daily Herald. The paper did not live up to IPC's expectations. Circulation continued to decline and it was soon losing even more money than the Herald had done. In 1969, IPC decided to throw in the towel. The tycoon Robert Maxwell, desperate to buy a British newspaper (which he later did, with the Mirror Group in 1984) offered to take it off their hands and retain its commitment to the Labour party, but admitted there would be redundancies, especially among the printers. Rupert Murdoch had already bought the "News of the World", a sensationalist Sunday newspaper, the previous year, but the presses in the basement of his building in London's Bouverie Street sat idle six days a week. Seizing the opportunity to increase his presence on Fleet Street, he made an agreement with the print unions, promising fewer redundancies if he got the paper. He assured IPC that he would publish a "straightforward, honest newspaper" which would continue to support Labour. IPC, under pressure from the unions, rejected Maxwell's offer, and Murdoch bought the paper for £800,000, to be paid in instalments. [Greenslade, Ch. 9] He would later remark: "I am constantly amazed at the ease with which I entered British newspapers." [Chippindale and Horrie, Ch 1.]

The early Murdoch years

Murdoch appointed Larry Lamb as his editor. Lamb was scathing in his opinion of the Mirror, the paper where he had recently been a senior sub-editor. He shared Murdoch's view that the measure of a paper's quality was best measured by its sales, and he regarded the Mirror as overstaffed, and primarily aimed at an aging readership. Lamb hastily recruited a staff of about 125 reporters, who were mostly selected for their availability rather than their ability. [Chippindale and Horrie Ch. 1] This was about a quarter of what the Mirror currently employed, and Murdoch had to draft in staff on loan from his Australian papers. Murdoch immediately relaunched "The Sun" as a tabloid, and ran it as a sister paper to the "News of the World" [Chippindale and Horrie, Ch 1] . "The Sun" used the same printing presses, and the two papers were now managed together at senior executive levels.

The tabloid Sun first published on 17 November 1969, with a front page "splash" headlined HORSE DOPE SENSATION - an "exclusive" in which a racing trainer admitted to the paper that he was doping his horses.

The paper copied its rival "The Daily Mirror" in several ways. It was the same size and its masthead had the title in white on a red rectangle of the same colour as the "Daily Mirror". The front page had the same general style and it could easily be picked up by mistake. Sports news was on the back pages in both. The text was written for a slightly lower reading age than the Mirror. The Mirror's "Lively Letters" was matched by "Liveliest Letters", and the comic strip "Garth" by a comic strip "Scarth" featuring a frequently naked woman. Later strips included "Striker", set in the world of football; "Axa", about a barbarian woman in a post-apocalyptic world; Hagar the Horrible, the comic adventures of a home-loving Viking warrior; and "George and Lynne", a domestic gag-a-day strip about a couple and their friends and neighbours. George and Lynne were normally pictured naked but discreetly covered.

Sex was used as an important element in marketing the paper from the start. While the "Daily Mirror" frequently featured a pin-up photograph of a young woman in bikini or lingerie, ostensibly as a fashion item, "The Sun" dispensed with the excuses; it featured what were openly glamour photographs of women, wearing fewer clothes than their "Mirror" counterparts. Exactly a year after it was first published, The Sun printed a topless model on Page 3 for the first time. The Page Three girl gradually became a daily staple of the paper. Features such as 'Do Men Still Want To Marry A Virgin?' and 'The Way into a Woman's Bed' began to appear. Serialisations of erotic books were frequent; the publication of extracts from "The Sensuous Woman," at a time when copies of the book were being seized by Customs, produced a scandal and a gratifying amount of free publicity. [Chippindale and Horrie]

Despite the industrial relations of the 1970s - the so-called "Spanish practices" of the print unions - "The Sun" was very profitable, enabling Murdoch to expand to the United States from 1973.

Politically, "The Sun" in the early Murdoch years remained nominally Labour, although in the two 1974 elections, the paper's attitude to Labour was "agnostic", according to Roy Greenslade in "Press Gang" (2003). The then editor, Larry Lamb, was originally from a Labour background, with a socialist upbringing. Deputy editor Bernard Shrimsley was a middle-class uncommitted Conservative.

In 1978 "The Sun" overtook the "Daily Mirror" in circulation, partly thanks to extensive advertising on ITV, voiced by actor Christopher Timothy.

A year later the paper caused a small stir by changing tack politically, endorsing Margaret Thatcher in the 1979 general election. On 3 May it ran the unequivocal front page headline, VOTE TORY THIS TIME.

Thatcherite king of the tabloids: the 1980s

The Sun's sale grew and grew during the 1980s and the paper became increasingly brash under the editorship of Kelvin MacKenzie. Bingo, introduced in 1981, was a key driver of the circulation rise.

In 1986 Murdoch shut down the Bouverie Street premises of "The Sun" and "News of the World", and moved operations to the new Wapping complex in East London, blocking union activity and greatly reducing the number of staff employed to print the papers; a year-long picket by sacked workers was eventually defeated (see Wapping dispute).

MacKenzie's Sun was an ardent supporter of Margaret Thatcher and her policies, and maintained its support for the Conservatives when she was succeeded by John Major in 1990. On the day of the general election of 9 April 1992, its front-page headline, encapsulating its antipathy towards the Labour leader Neil Kinnock, read "If Kinnock wins today, will the last person to leave Britain please turn out the lights". Two days later The "Sun" was so convinced its front page had swung a close election for the Conservatives it declared "It's The Sun Wot Won It".

Circulation peak

Between 1994 and 1996, The Sun's circulation peaked. Its highest average sale was in the week ending 16 July 1994, when the daily figure was 4,305,957. The highest ever one-day sale was on 18 November 1995 (4,889,118), although the cover price had been cut to 10p. The highest ever one-day sale at full price was on 30 March 1996 (4,783,359). In common with almost all other UK national newspapers, the circulation has since declined. [News International Circulation Reports Archive]

The Sun goes Labour again

"The Sun" switched support to Labour on 18 March 1997, six weeks before the landslide General Election victory which saw Labour leader Tony Blair become Prime Minister. Its front page headline read THE SUN BACKS BLAIR and its front page editorial made clear that while it still had reservations about some New Labour policies it believed Blair to be "the breath of fresh air this great country needs."Fact|date=September 2008 John Major's Conservatives, it said, were "tired, divided and rudderless".Fact|date=September 2008 Blair, realising the influence the paper could have over its readers' political thinking, had "courted" it for some time by granting exclusive interviews and writing columns. In exchange for Rupert Murdoch’s support, Blair agreed not to join the European Exchange Rate Mechanism. [ [ BBC - Radio 4 - Factual - A Very Special Relationship ] ] The paper has supported Labour in both the subsequent two elections, in 2001 and 2005, despite being a persistent critic of some of its policies, particularly on closer ties with Europe.

"The Sun" today


The Sun relies heavily on stories and occasionally scandals involving celebrities and the entertainment industry, contained in its general news pages as well as in sections such as Bizarre (pop music stories and gossip) and TV Biz (television stories, concentrating on soaps and reality TV).

An award-winning section titled Something for the Weekend [] , published each Friday, covers a wide variety of other contemporary music and arts not normally found in the main part of the paper. Coverage of the British monarchy is regular or even daily, albeit without the dominance it had in the paper in the 1990s during the life of Princess Diana. Politics is always found on Page 2 but can be elsewhere in the news pages. World news is scattered throughout the news pages, rather than in a self-contained section, with stories given prominence in line with their strengths as perceived by the paper. Crime coverage has increased during 2007 and 2008, mainly to reflect the paper’s “Broken Britain” campaign to highlight the increased lawlessness it perceives to be rife. Other themes high on The Sun’s news agenda are illegal or legal immigration, child sex abuse and security lapses. NHS scandals are frequently covered, though the paper also has a Health section which covers general health issues and treatments.

Page 3, prominently displaying a model aged between 18 and about 27 posing topless, is still a daily feature in the paper, as it has been since 1970.

The Sun has a large sports section, placed at the back of the paper and with football as its mainstay, though personal stories about prominent sportsmen and women will often be found in the news pages.

Politically, the paper's stance has been less clear under Prime Minister Gordon Brown than under Tony Blair. Its editorials are very critical of many of Brown's policies and often more supportive of those of Conservative leader David Cameron, but they have stopped short of suggesting that Cameron would make a better Prime Minister or the Conservatives a better Government.

The current editor is Rebekah Wade, the first female editor in the paper's history.

Rupert Murdoch, head of The Sun's parent company News Corporation, speaking at a 2007 meeting with the House of Lords Select Committee on Communications, which was investigating media ownership and the news, said that he acts as a "traditional proprietor". This means he exercises editorial control on major issues such as which political party to back in a general election or which policy to adopt on Europe.cite conference
title = Minute of the meeting with Mr Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, News Corporation
booktitle = Inquiry into Media Ownership and the News
pages = p. 10
publisher = House of Commons Select Committee on Communications
date = 17 September 2007
location = New York
url =


The Sun has been a regular winner at the British Press Awards, the "Oscars" of British journalism [ [ The British Press Awards 2007 - Press Gazette ] ] . Here is a list of winners since 2000:

2000 – Front Page of the Year (Solar eclipse); Cudlipp Award for excellence in tabloid journalism: John Perry, Neil Roberts, Phil Leach for Hold Ye Front Page; Sports Photographer of the Year: Richard Pelham.

2001 – Front Page of the Year (I’m Only Here For De Beers); Reporter of the Year: John Kay.

2002 – Scoop of the Year: Briony Warden, Internet baby traders.

2004 - Reporter of the Year: John Kay; Photographer of the Year: Terry Richards; Sports Reporter of the Year: Neil Custis.

2005 - Front Page of the Year (Hutton Report Leaked); Reporter of the Year: Trevor Kavanagh; Cudlipp Award (Band Aid 20 campaign); Financial Journalist of the Year: Ian King; Cartoonist of the Year: Bill Caldwell.

2006 – Front Page of the Year (Harry The Nazi); Reporter of the Year: Oliver Harvey; Showbusiness Writer of the Year: Victoria Newton.

2008 – Reporter of the Year: Tom Newton Dunn; Scoop of the Year: Tom Newton-Dunn; Cudlipp Award (Help for Heroes campaign); Campaign of the Year (Help For Heroes).

Positive impact

The Band Aid 20 charity pop single, which raised around £3million for Africa after its release in 2004, was the idea of a Sun executive, who persuaded Sir Bob Geldof to become involved [ [ ::: BAND AID 20 ::: ] ] . The paper gave the recording and release of the record blanket coverage in a campaign that won the paper a British Press Award in 2005. The single was a re-recording of Band Aid’s 1984 original Do They Know It’s Christmas and featured, among others, Bono, Sir Paul McCartney and members of Radiohead and Coldplay.

The Help for Heroes charity, championed by The Sun, raised £7million in the eight months to June 2008 for injured British servicemen and women – a record for a start-up British charity [ [ Help for Heroes - A charity for the wounded in Britain’s current conflicts ] ] . The campaign won two British Press Awards in 2008.

The Sun’s long-running Free Books For Schools promotion and campaign, in which readers collected tokens from the paper to be exchanged for school books, put 3.5million books worth nearly £20million into the 98 per cent of UK schools which registered for the scheme. The achievement won The Sun a Business In The Community award. [cite journal |last=Sun |first=The |year=2000 |month=20 July |title=Books For Schools Is A Winner]

Two books written and produced by The Sun were endorsed by the Government for use in schools. Hold Ye Front Page, which told 2,000 years of world history in spoof Sun pages, sold almost 100,000 copies. The then Education Secretary David Blunkett, later a Sun columnist, recommended every school should have one as an “ideal” aid for teaching history [cite book |title=Hold Ye Front Page II |last=Perry |first=John |coauthors=Neil Roberts |year=2000 |publisher=HarperCollins |location=UK |isbn=0007108117 |pages=128 ] . Giant Leaps, a science version along similar lines and jointly produced with the Science Museum (London) in 2006, was endorsed by the then Prime Minister Tony Blair, who read passages from it during a speech at Oxford University, [ [ Tony Blair backs Giant Leaps ] ] and by Education Secretary Alan Johnson, who hailed it as a breakthrough for science teachers. [ [ Sun book knockout science aid | The Sun |News ] ] The book was a finalist in 2007 for the Royal Society Prizes for Science Books General Prize, the most prestigious award for popular science writing [ [ Royal Society Prizes for Science Books Longlist Announced ] ] .


The Sun is famous for its headlines – be they witty, pertinent, outrageous or blatantly offensive. Some of the most memorable front page headlines include [News International archive] :

*THE BIG D-DAY DIDDLE (16 February 1971) – The claim that traders were using decimalisation as a ruse to hike prices.

*CRISIS, WHAT CRISIS? (11 January 1979) – Reporting the attitude of a seemingly oblivious Prime Minister Jim Callaghan as he returned from holiday in the middle of the so-called “Winter of Discontent

*VOTE TORY THIS TIME (3 May 1979) – Backing the Conservatives for the first time since The Sun’s relaunch as a Labour-supporting paper.

*STICK IT UP YOUR JUNTA (20 April 1982) – As Margaret Thatcher rejected a peace move by Argentina during the Falklands War.

*GOTCHA (4 May 1982) – Outrageous headline revelling in the sinking of the Argentine ship the General Belgrano.

*A NEW SUN IS RISING TODAY (27 January 1986) – After the paper’s highly controversial move to Wapping.

*FREDDIE STARR ATE MY HAMSTER (13 March 1986) – Entirely made-up story about a then-famous British comedian.

*GOODBYE AND GOOD RIDDANCE (27 October 1989) - Resignation of Nigel Lawson as Conservative Chancellor.

*UP YOURS DELORS (11 November 1990) – A message to French EU commissioner Jacques Delors, who was promoting the single European currency.

*BASTARDS OF BAGHDAD (22 January 1991) – As Saddam Hussein paraded two captured British airmen on TV during the first Gulf War.

*IT'S PADDY PANTSDOWN (6 February 1992) – Paddy Ashdown, leader of the Liberal-Democrat party, admits a five-month affair with a secretary.

*IF KINNOCK WINS TODAY WILL THE LAST PERSON TO LEAVE BRITAIN PLEASE TURN OUT THE LIGHTS (9 April 1992) – Backing the Conservatives against Labour's Neil Kinnock at the 1992 General Election.

*IT'S THE SUN WOT WON IT (11 April 1992) – Claiming credit for the Conservative victory.

*NOW WE'VE ALL BEEN SCREWED BY THE CABINET (17 September 1992) – A joke at the expense of the Conservative government, rocked by sex scandals and then responsible for the Black Wednesday crisis during which mortgage rates rocketed.

*TOE JOB TO NO JOB (25 September 1992) – Resignation of Cabinet Minister David Mellor over an affair.

*I WAS CARLOS THE JACKAL'S DRIVING INSTRUCTOR (18 August 1994) – Revealing that a British man, Ron Fisher, taught Venezuelan Carlos how to drive before he became, as he was in 1994, the world’s most famous terrorist.

*THE SUN BACKS BLAIR (18 March 1997) – Switching political sides for the General Election in 1997.

*ZIP ME UP BEFORE YOU GO GO (9 April 1998) – On the arrest of pop star George Michael in a public toilet in Los Angeles.

*IS THIS THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN IN BRITAIN? (24 June 1998) – Front page editorial attacking Prime Minister Tony Blair for pushing Britain towards further European integration.

*I’M ONLY HERE FOR DE BEERS (8 November 2000) – Jewel thieves attempt to steal a De Beers diamond at the Millennium Dome, a tourist attraction in South-East London.

*DAY THAT CHANGED THE WORLD (12 September 2001) – Covering the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America.

*SLING YOUR HOOK (21 January 2003) – About the hook-handed Islamic preacher Abu Hamza, a regular Sun hate figure, later jailed for inciting terrorism.

*SHIP, SHIP HOORAY (14 January 2004) - The suicide of serial killer Dr Harold Shipman.

*HARRY THE NAZI (13 January 2005) – Scandal of Prince Harry wearing a Nazi uniform to a fancy dress party.

*HOW DO YOU SOLVE A PROBLEM LIKE KOREA? (10 October 2006) – As North Korea tested a nuclear weapon.

*PORNOCCHIO (19 March 2008) – A reference to the "glamour modelling" past of Sir Paul McCartney’s ex-wife Heather Mills as the judge in their divorce case called her a liar.


The Sun’s brash headlines and bold presentation of news have made it a consistent subject of controversy and criticism throughout Rupert Murdoch’s ownership.

Page 3 girls

The appearance of the first topless Page Three girl, Stefanie Rahn, on 17 November 1970, caused little offence. She was presented as a one-off “Birthday Suit Girl” to mark the first anniversary of the relaunched Sun. Controversy was only ignited over the next four years when the topless Page 3 girl gradually became a regular fixture, and with increasingly risqué poses. Both feminists and many cultural conservatives saw the pictures as pornographic and misogynistic. A public library in Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire, banned the paper because of its “excessive sexual content”. The Labour MP Alex Lyon, who later married fellow Page 3 opponent Clare Short, waved a copy of The Sun in the House of Commons and suggested the paper could be prosecuted for indecency. Much later, in 1986, Ms Short attempted in vain to persuade Parliament to outlaw the pictures. Although the anger generated by Page 3 has waned with the rise of “lads’ magazines” during the 1990s and a generally more permissive society, it still has many enemies. As recently as 2005 a college in Lewisham, South-East London, banned The Sun from the campus because it felt its Page 3 pictures were degrading to women. [cite book |title=Page 3, The Complete History Laid Bare |last=Perry |first=John |year=2005 |publisher=News International |location=UK |isbn=1845792297 |pages=160 ]


The Sun’s strong support for Britain and, in particular, British troops (which it routinely calls “Our Boys”) has led to lapses of judgement causing considerable offence. Most notorious was the headline GOTCHA, which celebrated the torpedoing of the Argentine ship the General Belgrano during the Falklands War of 1982. The headline was changed for later editions when the extent of Argentine casualties became known.

In 2003 the paper was accused of racism by the Government over its criticisms of what it perceived as the “open door” policy on immigration. The attacks came from the Prime Minister’s press spokesman Alastair Campbell and the then Home Secretary David Blunkett (later a Sun columnist). The paper rebutted the claim, believing that it was not racist to suggest that a “tide” of unchecked illegal immigrants was increasing the risk of terrorist attacks and infectious diseases. It did not help its argument by publishing a front page story on 4 July 2003, under the headline "Swan Bake", which claimed that asylum seekers were slaughtering and eating swans. It later proved to have no basis in fact. Unperturbed, The Sun published a follow-up headlined "Now they're after our fish!". Following a Press Complaints Commission adjudication a "clarification" was eventually printed - on page 41. [ [ Sun accused of Swan Bake 'myth-making' - Press Gazette ] ]

The Sun has been openly antagonistic towards other European nations, particularly the French and Germans, who were, during the 1980s and 1990s, routinely described in copy and headlines as “frogs”, “krauts” or “hun”.The paper is opposed to the EU and has, in the past, referred to foreign leaders who it deemed hostile to the UK in unflattering and arguably borderline racist terms. Former President Jacques Chirac of France, for instance, was branded "le Worm". An unflattering picture of German chancellor Angela Merkel, taken from the rear, bore the headline "I'm Big in the Bumdestag" (17 April 2006).Despite the paper's more enlightened editorial approach during the last decade, lapses persist. The Sun was outspoken against the allegations of racism directed at Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty on television reality show Celebrity Big Brother during 2007, but then captioned a picture on its website, from a Bollywood-themed pop video by Hilary Duff, "Hilary PoppaDuff" [ [ The Sun online catches the Jade Goody bug ] ] , a very similar insult to that directed at Shetty.


The Sun’s sensationalist coverage of the 1989 Hillsborough football stadium disaster in Sheffield, where 96 people died and 730 were injured, proved the worst blunder in its history. Under a front page headline "THE TRUTH", the paper claimed that some fans picked the pockets of crushed victims, that others urinated on members of the emergency services as they tried to help and that some even assaulted a Police Constable "whilst he was administering the kiss of life to a patient" (19 April 1989). Despite the headline, written by Kelvin MacKenzie, the story was based on allegations either by unnamed and unattributable sources, or hearsay accounts of what named individuals had said - a fact made clear to MacKenzie by Harry Arnold, the reporter who wrote the story. Although the disaster occurred before TV cameras and a mass of sports reporters, no evidence was ever produced to substantiate the Sun allegations [12] . The front page caused outrage in Liverpool, where the paper lost more than three-quarters of its estimated 55,000 daily sales and still sells poorly to this day (around 12,000) [ [ Sun's cup coverage doubles sales in Liverpool | Media | MediaGuardian ] ] . It is unavailable in many parts of the city, as many newsagents refuse to stock it. It was revealed in a documentary called "Alexei Sayle's Liverpool" that many Liverpudlians won't even take the newspaper for free, and those who do simply burn it or tear it up.

On 7 July 2004, in response to verbal attacks in Liverpool on Wayne Rooney, then a young Everton player who had sold his life story to The Sun, the paper devoted a full-page editorial to an apology for the “awful error” of its Hillsborough coverage and argued that Rooney should not be punished for its “past sins”. In January 2005 The Sun's managing editor Graham Dudman admitted the Hillsborough coverage was "the worst mistake in our history". He added: "What we did was a terrible mistake. It was a terrible, insensitive, horrible article, with a dreadful headline; but what we'd also say is: we have apologised for it, and the entire senior team here now is completely different from the team that put the paper out in 1989" [ [ No end to the Sun's sorry tale | Media | The Guardian ] ] . However, in May 2006, former editor Kelvin MacKenzie, the man behind the Hillsborough coverage, was rehired as a Sun columnist. Furthermore, on 11 January 2007, MacKenzie went on record as a panellist on BBC1's Question Time as saying the apology he made after the disaster was a hollow one, forced upon him by Rupert Murdoch. MacKenzie further claimed he was not sorry "for telling the truth" but he admitted that he did not know for sure whether some Liverpool fans urinated on the police, or robbed victims. [cite news
last =
first =
coauthors =
title =No apology for Hillsborough story
work =
pages =
language =
publisher =BBC
date= 2007-01-12
url =
accessdate = 2007-02-23

Freddie Starr "ate my hamster"

Despite its soaring sales The Sun of the 1980s earned a reputation for running stories based on few facts. The most blatant example gave the paper arguably its most famous headline: FREDDIE STARR ATE MY HAMSTER (13 March 1986). The story alleged that British comedian Freddie Starr had been staying at the home of Vince McCaffrey and his 23-year old girlfriend Lea La Salle in Birchwood, Cheshire, when, after returning from a performance at a nightclub in the early hours he demanded La Salle make him a sandwich. When she refused, he went into the kitchen, put her pet hamster Supersonic between two slices of bread and proceeded to eat it. Starr, in his 2001 autobiography Unwrapped, said he only stayed at McCaffrey's house once, in 1979, and that the incident was a complete fabrication. He wrote: "I have never eaten or even nibbled a live hamster, gerbil, guinea pig, mouse, shrew, vole or any other small mammal." [cite book |title=Unwrapped |last=Starr |first=Freddie |year=2001 |publisher=Virgin Books |location=UK |isbn=1852279613 |pages=300 ] The man behind the story, British publicist Max Clifford, asked about the story years later on TV, admitted he had made it up and justified it on the basis it boosted Starr’s career enormously.

Mental health

On 22 September 2003 the newspaper misjudged the public mood surrounding mental health, as well as its affection for ex-World Heavyweight champion boxer Frank Bruno, who had been admitted to hospital. The headline Bonkers Bruno Locked Up appeared on the front page of early editions. The adverse reaction once the paper hit the streets on the evening of 21 September, and was criticised on TV news bulletins, was so immediate and so strong that the headline was hastily changed for the paper's second edition to the more sympathetic Sad Bruno In Mental Home [ [ - SANE News: I forgive you, my Sun ] ] .

Elton John/Homophobia

In 1987, The Sun falsely accused gay pop musician Sir Elton John of having sexual relationships with rent boys. In another story it accused him of removing the voice boxes of his guard dogs because their barking kept him awake. Elton sued over both stories and won £1million in libel damages, then the largest payout in British history. The Sun ran a front-page apology on 12 December 1988, under the banner headline SORRY, ELTON. The Elton John story was fuelled by the homophobia rife on the paper during the 1980s and to a lesser degree the 1990s. Gay Church of England clergymen were described in one headline in November 1987 as “Pulpit poofs.” Stories frequently speculated on the sexual orientation of famous people, and pop stars in particular. Television personality Piers Morgan, a former Editor of the Daily Mirror and of The Sun's Bizarre pop column, has said that during the late 1980s, at Kelvin MacKenzie's behest, he was ordered to speculate on the sexuality of male pop stars for a feature headlined "The Poofs of Pop". He also recalls MacKenzie headlining a story about the first homosexual kiss on BBC television soap opera EastEnders "EastBenders" [ [ No stereotypes were harmed in the making of this film - Telegraph ] ] . Even much later – after Cabinet Minister Peter Mandelson was "outed" by Matthew Parris (a gay former Sun columnist) on BBC TV’s Newsnight in November 1998 - The Sun's then Editor David Yelland demanded to know in a front page editorial whether Britain was governed by a "gay mafia" of a "closed world of men with a mutual self-interest". Three days later the paper apologised in another editorial which said The Sun would never again reveal a person's sexuality unless it could be defended on the grounds of "overwhelming public interest". These days homophobia is largely absent from The Sun's pages.


*Sydney Jacobson (1964–1965) (previously editor of the "Daily Herald" before the name change)
*Dick Dinsdale (1965–1969)
*Larry Lamb (1969–1972)
*Bernard Shrimsley (1972–1975) (Lamb was "editorial director", supervising both the "Sun" and "NOW")
*Larry Lamb (1975–1980) (Lamb took an enforced six month sabbatical before being sacked by Murdoch)
*Kelvin MacKenzie (1981–1994)
*Stuart Higgins (1994–1998)
*David Yelland (1998–2003)
*Rebekah Wade (2003–)

The Scottish Sun

There is also a Scottish edition of "The Sun" launched in 1987, known as "The Scottish Sun". Based in Glasgow, the paper sells for just 30p. "The Scottish Sun" is often referred to as "a downmarket, English-based tabloid" by the "Daily Record". It duplicates much of the content of the English edition but with additional coverage of Scottish news and sport.

In the early 1990s, the Scottish edition became notable as the first major newspaper to declare support for the pro-independence Scottish National Party. At the time the paper elsewhere continued to support the Conservatives, who were then becoming an increasingly marginalised force in Scotland. This stance, however, became somewhat problematic following "The Sun"'s adoption of support for Labour elsewhere in the UK, given that the SNP were seen as Labour's main challengers and fiercest rivals in Scotland. The Scottish edition was forced to employ some convoluted logic to justify its eventual withdrawal of support for the SNP in favour of pro-union Labour.

However, the "Scottish Sun" had performed a major U-turn by the time of the Scottish Parliament election, 2007, in which its front page featured a hangman's noose in the shape of an SNP logo, stating "Vote SNP today and you put Scotland's head in the noose" [] This drew heavy criticism, even from those who opposed the SNP.

The Irish Sun

There is also an Irish edition, based in Dublin with a regional edition for Northern Ireland, known as the Irish Sun. It contains much of the same content as the main UK edition, but with quite a lot of Irish news and editorial content, as well as advertising. It tends to replace articles that would be seen as anti-Irish with ones more palatable to their readership there. One notable example is how the release of the film "The Wind That Shakes the Barley" was covered, with the UK editions describing it as "designed to drag the reputation of our nation through the mud" and "the most pro-IRA ever", [cite news|last=Hall|first=Mick|url=|title=Ken Loach hits back at English tabloids|publisher=Indymedia Ireland|date=1-6-2006] whereas the Irish edition described it as giving "the Brits a tanning". [cite news|last=Greenslade|first=Roy|url=|title=A classic example of newspaper spin|publisher=The Guardian|date=] It uses a slightly bigger sheet size than the UK version, and costs €0.90. The "Irish Sun" has the highest circulation of any British paper in the Irish market.

Related newspapers

Other newspapers published by other companies within the UK with "tabloid values" are the "Daily Express", the "Daily Mail", the "Daily Mirror", the "Daily Star", and the "Daily Sport". Of these, only the Mirror supports the Labour Party. The others are Conservative, although The Sun has been a critical supporter of New Labour from 1997. See List of newspapers in the United Kingdom for a comparison of "The Sun" with other newspapers.

Note: the sister Sunday paper of "The Sun" (also published by News Group Newspapers) is the "News of the World" – the "Sunday Sun" is an unrelated tabloid newspaper, published in Newcastle upon Tyne.

* The first newspaper to carry the Sun masthead was published in 1792 by the Pitt government to counter the pro-revolutionary press at that time.

* The "Toronto Sun" in Canada modeled itself on the newspaper, including a sunshine girl (who has never been topless). The "Sun" masthead has since spread to many other cities in Canada.

* The Sun has also been adopted in "Nigeria" as "The Sun" or the "Daily Sun", With the page-3 girl dubbed "The Sun Girl". The Nigerian counterpart shares the same iconic red and white masthead with the British paper.

* In The United States, The "New York Post", owned by Murdoch's News Group Newspapers as well, is a somewhat milder counterpart of The Sun, with broadly conservative views of American politics, and extensive coverage and gossip of celebrities which often serve as the full front page headline even when other local papers are reporting something more significant.

* Also in the US, American Media Inc. publishes a supermarket tabloid called simply "Sun". The content of the paper is satirical and sensationalist. Stories often involve Bible prophecy or Nostradamus. Its masthead is modelled on "The Sun", only with an American flag replacing the red background.

* In June 2008, the Sun became the first national newspaper to produce a Polish language version [] (Polski Sun). Six editions were produced for Poland's group matches in the Euro 2008 football tournament.

Other information

* "The Sun" is known in Cockney rhyming slang as "The Currant Bun". [cite news|url=|title=Cockney rhyming slang dictionary|]


Further reading

*Peter Chippindale & Chris Horrie "Stick It Up Your Punter! The rise and fall of The Sun", 1990, Heinemann; 1999, Pocket Books

*Roy Greenslade "Press Gang", 2003, Macmillan

ee also

*Tabloid ("red top")
*Yellow journalism
*Hold Ye Front Page
*Page Three
*Dear Deidre
*The Premier
*Freddie Starr

External links

* [ The Sun - Official website]
* [ VickyWatch - blog detailing innaccuracies of Showbiz Editor Victoria Newton]
* [ BBC: On This Day 1964]
* "BBC", 14 September 2004, [ Forty Years of the Sun]
* [ Newspaper Marketing Agency Facts & Figures]
* [,,1686500,00.html Wapping: legacy of Rupert's revolution] , 15 January 2006 - "The Observer":

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