This has been signposted on the front cover, readers being told “‘I want to make the Daily Mail a force for good’ … How Geordie Greig changed Britain’s most divisive newspaper”. And to that I call bullshit: the Mail is still thundering away in Full Dacre mode on occasion, and the only effect of that claim will be to have his predecessor throw a swearing fit.
Worse, Greig’s track record as editor of the MoS does not suggest that the Mail is going to become pure as the driven snow overnight, indeed, quite the opposite. Consider two examples of what passed for journalism on his watch - one, the selective suppression of news which had a clear public interest, and the other a gratuitous and crude smear job.
The power of the press rests not merely on what it chooses to publish, but what it does not, and in the latter category are stories which are suppressed for the press’ benefit. Greig was intimately involved in one of the most recent and, indeed, most infamous, that of Tory MP John Whittingdale and his significant relationship with a dominatrix.
As James Cusick, formerly of the Independent, told, Greig agreed there was a pubic interest in running the story. “According to Mail on Sunday staff, Greig made a moving speech to the gathered team, saying this was the type of political story that defined great newspapers, and if the MoS backed off, it had no right to call itself a newspaper”.
Why's that c*** from Crewe putting me on his f***ing blog?!?!?
But “Months later, a friend of [Olivia] King [the dominatrix] said Whittingdale had offered his partner an assurance that nothing would be published … When the small team of journalists returned to the Mail’s Kensington headquarters on the Tuesday they expected to redouble their efforts to track down [Ms] King. Instead Greig simply told them the investigation was to stop. No further explanation was offered”.
Whittingdale was useful to the press: he had stalled on implementing Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act, which they wanted. In exchange, several papers passed on the story. Then, at the end of 2017, came a smear with which I admit some familiarity. The MoS sent a hack to snoop on self-employed beautician Danielle Hindley.
The paper lumped her business in with what it described as “rogue beauticians” and “cosmetic cowboys” on the word of a disgruntled former customer. No medical evidence for the paper’s claims was provided. The hack sent to investigate busted the IPSO editor’s code and, indeed, not even IPSO was prepared to defend the MoS.
Ms Hindley took the MoS to court after campaigning group Hacked Off became involved. Her case concluded earlier this year. The MoS did not even attend court; they took some time to pay the damages that had been agreed. It happened on Geordie Greig’s watch.
Now he talks about being a force for good. He really is having a laugh.
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