Roy Greenslade

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Roy Greenslade played an ignominious role as a crass propagandist during the 1990s campaign against the British mining union and its leader, Arthur Scargill. In his latest book, Tell Me No More Lies, John Pilger reproduces a long investigative-journalism piece by Seumas Milne about this sordid affair, and in the preface to that article states:

"… With the exception of the Guardian, Milne's paper, critical facts were suppressed or misrepresented and a malevolence or 'savagery', as Milne describes it, was directed against Scargill by tabloid and broadsheet commentators and editorial writers alike. Roy Greenslade was the Daily Mirror editor who ran the anti-Scargill campaign. He called it a 'genuine piece of investigative journalism' which he published 'more in sorrow than in anger'. When Maxwell bragged on television about his paper's 'story of the decade', Greenslade was at his side. It was almost ten years before Greenslade apologised to Scargill. He is now, remarkably, the Guardian 's commentator on the tabloid press and professor of journalism at City University."
John Pilger, Tell Me No Lies: Investigative Journalism and its Triumphs, Jonathan Cape 2004, p. 285.
"On 27 May Roy Greenslade penned a piece for the Media Guardian. In it he admitted that a major smear campaign run against miners’ leader Arthur Scargill was a pack of lies."
Barry White, The Scargill Smears – It was all lies, admits Roy Greenslade, Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom (CPBF), August 4, 2002.

Memorable Quotes

"Here we have a source who denies having said what a BBC reporter claimed he said to him. And he is not the kind of source the BBC says he was. That's just about as bad as journalism can ever get."
— Roy Greenslade, quoted in: Andrew Cawthorne, BBC denies misquoting Gilligan, Reuters, July 20, 2003. This quote pertains Andrew Gilligan's report that intelligence personnel in the UK insisted that there weren't any WMD in Iraq. The irony is that Greenslade was the main operator in a black propaganda campaign and used his newspaper for political ends; now he pontificates about his profession.
"In this newspaper last Friday, media commentator Roy Greenslade repeated the journalistic dictum that no control of media is possible 'without preventing them also from their proper public service role, holding governments and institutions to account'. If a senior police officer declared it impossible to prevent his colleagues beating confessions out of suspects without damaging the force's ability to obtain convictions, there would be outrage, mainly in the press.
— John Waters, UK media corruption exposed, Irish Times (subscription), August 4, 2003.
"Most tabloid newspapers - or even newspapers in general - are playthings of MI5."
--Roy Greenslade quoted in Richard Keeble, Secret State, Silent Press (John Libbey 1997).

Recent Articles by Greensdale

  • Roy Greenslade, Writers on the frontline, Guardian, Oct. 30, 2004. This is Greenslade's review of Tell Me No Lies. Since the above quote appears in the book it is interesting to find this comment: "I am happy to praise him, despite his forthright criticism of my greatest journalistic mistake - the false accusation against Arthur Scargill that he misused miners' strike funds when I was editor of the Daily Mirror - which he repeats in this book." NB: There is an issue about the propriety of Greenslade reviewing this book given that there are non-flattering references about him in it.
  • Roy Greenslade, At court with George, Guardian, Nov. 22, 2004. Greenslade writes on the libel case brought by George Galloway against the Telegraph. During the bombing campaign against Baghdad in March 2003, the Telegraph's reporter, David Blair says he entered a bombed out foreign ministry building and recovered a box conveniently labeled "Britain", and found "evidence" that Galloway supposedly received money from the Iraqis. (Galloway succeeded in a legal action against the Telegraph but the issue of whether the documents were planted and if so by who was not canvassed in the court case. However, note that Galloway won a libel court case against the Christian Science Monitor after it was revealed that the documents used to smear him were in fact fabricated.) NB: Again, there is an issue of propriety for Greenslade to cover this event. In the past, he played a role in smearing Scargill, and now he is commenting on a similar court case.

External Resources

  • City Univ. Biography
  • Gordon Thomas and Martin Dillon. Robert Maxwell, Israel's Superspy: The Life and Murder of a Media Mogul. New York: Carroll and Graf, 2002. References to Greenslade (pages: 119, 187, 209, 235, 237, 266).