More On Roy Greenslade

Ruth Dudley Edwards has written this cutting assessment of Guardian blogger, academic journalist and Sinn Fein confidante, Roy Greenslade.

The intro to the piece says he is a correspondent upon whom a green mist has descended. Personally, my problem with characters like Greenslade is not that mists have descended upon them, whether green, red or blue, but that they are dishonest about it happening. There is absolutely nothing wrong with journalists holding political views; the error is in not declaring them when writing about the subject. In Greenslade’s case his sin lies in not admitting his sympathy for Sinn Fein when he writes about the party or matters which concern it and in case of any misunderstanding by readers my opinion of this would be the same, and often was at a time when it was unpopular and even career threatening to say so, if it was Eoghan Harris writing about the North.

A reader, Sean Gallagher has written in to say that SF MP, Pat ‘Smiler’ Doherty is the uncle of Roy’s wife. Can anyone confirm this?


9 responses to “More On Roy Greenslade

  1. Pingback: BC subpoenas are legally dumb and dumber « seachranaidhe1

  2. How unbiased is any contribution by Ruth Edwards?

  3. Not at all unbiased, Sherdy. But at least with RDE she advertises her politics and you know what you are getting. WIth Greenslade he hides his politics. If he was upfront about them I would have no problem with him, but he isn’t. He pretends to be apolitical while shilling for the Shinners. That’s what this is really all about, journalistic ethics. That’s why people are writing about him; not his Sinn Fein politics but the fact that he won’t come clean. But clearly that has passed you by.

  4. The politics and journalism of Mr Greenslade are also discussed on this Cedar Lounge Revolution thread :

    It is useful to know the “submerged” viewpoint of an author writing about Ireland. There is little “submerged” about Ruth Dudley Edwards who is never off-message. She frames her writing within support for the British state, its repressive apparatus, and its native satellites in Ireland. Justifiable rejection of Professor Greenslade’s dishonest analysis of the Boston Tapes conrtroversy should not lead to, for example, agreeing with the Dudley-Edwards rejection of the argument that most mainline British media operated a “hierarchy of death” in relation to Ireland – Greenslade is right about that.
    Also, the cedar lounge contributor who criticises use of the insult “Greenslime” has a point – don’t let the Professor drag us all down to the vulgar abuse deployed by his ally Mr Morrison, the former Sinn Féin spin-doctor.

    I had no idea that the actor Natascha McElhone is the daughter of Greenslade’s partner Noreen, and do not know if there is a family relationship with the Sinn Féin West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty – it is a small world! You can choose your friends, but not your family…..

    • john, i neither like nor agree with RDE’s politics but at least she’s honest about them and her journalism. you know where you are with her, she tells you what her politics are and you can judge her properly. with RDE you know you are dealing with a journalist who is open about her right-wing, pro-British politics. greenslade does not do that. he hides his political allegiance, which in his case happens to be for sinn fein, behind a facade of objective journalism. personally i don’t care what his politics are as long as he is open and honest about them which he has not been. RDE does not write under pseudonyms for party newspapers, greenslade has.

      in this matter i can at least claim a consistency that stretches back over the years. in the days when the workers party captured RTE’s current affairs television department i was one of the few journalists in ireland willing to expose them. their offence was the same as greenslade’s, they pretended to be engaged in neutral journalism while propagandising for a political viewpoint, in their case a particularly intolerant and undemocratic viewpoint. when i did that i was hailed as a hero by people like greenslade’s political colleagues but now that one of theirs is practising what the workers party used to do, it is suddenly okay, something that should not be criticised. it is rather like their attitude towards censorship; it was only bad when the shinners were the targets.

      one of the specialities of the workers party’s media wing, which as you know well stretched way beyond RTE, was to besmirch and disparage people whose views, activities and politics they disapproved. greenslade does the same. another word for besmirching and disparaging is to slime people. in this way he fully deserves the appellation greenslime.

  5. Thanks Ed, we are on the same page regarding Professor Greenslade – my objections to Ms Dudley Edwards stretch beyond a disagreement with her political views; her journalistic ethics are less than perfect, taking this for example : “Following the Cannes prize announcement, for The Wind That Shakes the Barley, Ruth Dudley Edwards wrote in the Daily Mail on 30 May 2006 that Loach’s political viewpoint “requires the portrayal of the British as sadists and the Irish as romantic, idealistic resistance fighters who take to violence only because there is no other self-respecting course,”[4] and attacked his career in an article containing inaccuracies.[5] The following week, Edwards continued her attack in The Guardian, admitting that her first article was written without seeing the film (which at that stage had only been shown at Cannes), and asserting that she would never see it “because I can’t stand its sheer predictability.”[6]” taken from her Wikipedia page :

    This is par for the course in the newspaper Dudley Edwards writes for regularly, the Sunday Independent – and carried over, in this instance, to the British journals the Daily Mail (no surrprise) and the Guardian (which ought to have known better!).

    • i don’t disagree john and i would never regard RDE as any sort of role model for journaists. Her flaws and prejudices are known and visible; RG’s are hidden and implicitly denied. That’s my only main beef.

  6. Ed

    I feel you are being somewhat disingenuous here, RDE worked and existed in a totally different environment to Mr Greenslade, If he had come out openly for SF do you really believe he would have edited a British newspaper, etc, or later found a safe birth in English academia?

    I would suggest not, there is an argument to be made that he should now be clear about his Irish political allegiance, but in the past he would have been brain dead to do so, especially as at the time he was a very ambitious fellow.

    The difference between Ruth and Roy, is she was going with the then political flow he against it. If he had revealed his support for SF he would have ended up beached.


    • Mick
      Those strictures most certainly do not apply nowadays, I’m sure you’ll agree. Mr Greenslade would pay no penalty at all in 2012 for parking his car in Sinn Fein’s garage, in fact quite the opposite. Yet he still keeps those sympathies secret when he writes about matters that touch on SF while being very quick to accuse others of doing what he does, allowing their politics to inform their journalism, with much less evidence. That is wrong and I think that is what sparked off the current row.

      You’re right that back in 1988 or 1989 when he wrote in AP-RN under the King George pseudonym that he would have paid a penalty and wouldn’t now be part of the journalistic establishment. But it was not that he wrote for AP-RN that caused my criticism but that he was behaving in a way that journalists should not, in a way that damages journalistic credibility and tarnishes the profession. Journalists should always write under their own names or not at all. It is ethically wrong for any journalist to behave otherwise.

      Let us examine his motives. He was working at the Sunday Times at that point and was so angry at that paper’s coverage of the Gibraltar killing (who can forget the trashing of Carmen Proetta?) that he thought the best way to respond was to write for AP-RN. I remember feeling just as angry at the Sunday Times but what I and many other reporters did was to go and report the story accurately, or as accurately as we could. We set out to show that the Sunday Times got the story wrong and did so, implicitly, out of political bias, i.e. pro-Thatcher, anti-IRA preferences.

      Roy Greenslade had several options open to him short of doing what he accused his own paper of doing, that is indulging his political preferences. He could have challenged his own paper’s coverage, sought support among colleagues or the NUJ for this viewpoint, gone public with his critique or he could have done what many do when they find themselves in intolerable positions: he could have quit. More honourable options than writing under a false name existed, albeit more damaging to career prospects, income and so on.

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