Exactly what beef does Roy Greenslade have with freedom of speech?
The Pythia of Journalism has jumped on his high horse and is waving his red knickers in the air. A mixed metaphor, I know, but an arresting image which I hope you will forgive once you know the facts.
The object of Greenslade’s outrage: that the group editor of Newsquest south London – publishers of the Surrey Comet, Richmond Times and various freebie Guardians and websites across SW London – that this self-same group editor, Andrew Parkes, should dare pen and let alone publish an Editorial in – get this – Local Newspapers! Shame on him! For hath it not been written in the First Book of Greenslade: No editor (or editrix) of a newspaper be it ever so local or ever so humble shall comment – on pain of a thunderbolt from the slightly wonky eyes of Pythia himself – on any subject which may affect (NOT “impact on”, mind) their readers.
Pythia opines: “It is virtually unprecedented for local papers to publish hysterically right-wing opinions.” Yer-what? Unprecedented? Since when? Local papers do not often swim into Greenslade’s ken then, although that doesn’t stop him pontificating on them. There have been “hysterical” right wing local papers as long as there has been “moronic” left wing local papers.The Guardian started out as a local paper, Greenslade, in Manchester, don’t you know. Guess in which camp most thinking people place your “local” newspaper, Roy. And the call for a debate on capital punishment predates Parkes’ editorial. But for Pythia, who obviously does not agree with capital or corporal punishment, it won’t do, it just won’t do.
Pythia’s stupidity is betrayed by this: “In view of the riots, it was to be expected that papers – especially those publications serving areas hit worst by the looting, vandalism and arson – would urge that the people responsible should be brought to justice, and even to say they should be dealt with firmly.”
Greenslade: get out a copy of your AtoZ and look up Croydon. I know it’s sarf of the river and you and your mates at the Guardian probably don’t have an idea where that ghastly area may be. But you might remember that it was the centre of some pretty serious riots. Does the name “Reeves” mean anything to you? Croydon happens to fall within Parkes’ circulation area. It is one of those which was “worst hit by rioting”. On that basis, you tell Parkes to shut up?
Greenslade: you are an arse. And what’s more, you’re a left-wing, champagne socialist arse, who if someone suggests something that isn’t in the diktats of the bien-pensantry of N1 must be shouted down. The odious hypocrisy of someone writing a blog about journalism seeming to call for curtailment of freedom of speech, using a droit de seigneur command of “Oi, you yokel locals – know your place!” is pretty sickening, frankly.