Wednesday, November 5, 2014

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Greenslade & Greenshirts

In his media coverage of Sinn Fein Roy Greenslade knowingly acts as a shill for the party rather than a journalist trying to convey accuracy and enhance public understanding. Writing in the same vein about Sinn Fein’s detractors as Alan Dershowitz does about critics of Israel, he is better described as a professor of propaganda rather than the professor of journalism he purports to be. 

In a blog post last week the testimony of Máiría Cahill, the woman Sinn Fein has said was a rape victim, was called into question by Greenslade on the basis of her political beliefs and not on the strength or weakness of her account of the incident in which she described being assaulted. It hardly taxes the imagination to conjure up the type of hammering I would take from Sinn Fein were a member of the party to approach me and claim to have been raped by a republican opposed to the Good Friday Agreement, and I raised misgivings about her claim solely on the grounds of her party membership and political beliefs.

In that sorry piece Greenslade scripted in his own prejudice rather than any bias he presumed Cahill to have. Despite the criticism directed his way – so effective that the comments section on Monday’s piece had a verboten notice slammed on it - in his latest missive in defence of Sinn Fein Greenslade made no attempt to resile from his position of last week, instead maintaining about Cahill that ‘the highly relevant factor of her political allegiances has been ignored by Irish newspapers, with the notable exception of the Irish Mail on Sunday.’

Highly relevant to what? It is not at all relevant to the rape that Sinn Fein claim she endured. It is very relevant to the construction of the negative image of Cahill as yet another “enemy of the peace process” that Greenslade seeks to project. What bearing her political beliefs or affiliation might have is insinuated into the discourse with absolutely nothing to substantiate it other than its own assertion.

In Monday’s column Greenslade focused on the supposed media demonisation of Gerry Adams. Unlike last week’s piece he made what he called a full disclosure: ‘I have written in the past for the Sinn Féin newspaper, An Phoblacht.’ While making his full disclosure he was somewhat less forthcoming about the affiliation of the person whose allegations against the media in an Irish Times letter formed the spine of his critique. Enda Fanning is a Sinn Fein figure in Dublin who spends a lot of time chasing after people on the net, shooing, scolding and chiding them for not being in awe of his party leader. As entitled to his views as the next person, Fanning’s complaint of a media bubble being the cause of Gerry Adams facing difficult questions hardly amounts to an embracive and non-partisan critique, even if it is understandable that living in a cultic bubble inflated by the belief in presidential infallibility, might lead one to see the world in that strange way.

Greenslade’s broadside against the Irish media was built around the opinion of someone from his own political stable who happens to agree with Greenslade, but for some reason is not subject to the ‘highly relevant’ full disclosure clause that Greenslade thinks should be mandatory for others. The irony is crying out to be named.

A discussion of irony deficiency would be incomplete in the present context were it to be denied the following gem. Greenslade approvingly cites Fanning that:
Perhaps in the light of recent events it is now time that we review our use of a judicial courts system ... Why not set up a council of journalists and politicians who can pass down verdicts on a person's innocence or guilt? There should be no evidence required, with a simple majority opinion damning a person.
“A council” is an appropriate choice of wording given that the above template belongs to the Provisional IRA army council on which Gerry Adams served for three decades, its verdicts littering border roads. They haven’t gone away, you know.

3 comments :

Dixie said...

Trying to defend Adams is like being completely wrapped in stretch and seal, tossed into the Atlantic off Galway Bay and told to swim to Wales.

The fact is, Máiría Cahill has them running round like chickens in a farmyard and she has roasted a few of them into the bargain.

With the truth, which they can't handle.

larry hughes said...

You have to ask if an intelligent articulate journalist is prepared to defend the fiendish indefensible, what is in it for him?

AM said...

Larry,

he has done some fine work over the years on other things. On this one he has gone with the line and must know in his heart that political beliefs are not a criterion for assessing the strength of a rape allegation. The highly relevant issue in any rape must be does the account stand up, not whether the person who claims to have been raped was in the SDLP, UUP, RNU, TUV, all of which don't agree with SF.

He might at some point apologise - he has in the past where he later concluded he was in the wrong about something. Although I actually felt he was right in one of those cases for arguing that journalists and media organisations should not use libel laws. I didn't think he should have apologised then but he made a strong case for having done so.