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Greenslade (sort of) sticks up for the Sun in row over that Page One picture

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By Noel Young, Correspondent

February 16, 2013 | 3 min read

The Sun, under fire on Friday because of its front page with a huge picture of Oscar Pistorius's dead girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in a bikini, has found defenders if that's the word - most notably Guardian columnist and ex-Mirror editor Roy Greenslade.

The offending Page one

With Pistorius accused of murder,Labour MP Chris Bryant, had tweeted: "This is a simply despicable front page. It glories in domestic violence. @rupertmurdoch apologise." John Prescott tweeted : "I really hope every member of the shadow cabinet thinks twice before writing for the Sun after that front page."

Greenslade wrote in the Guardian , " What do people expect of the Sun? Sure, its front page is tasteless. Yes, it is also sexist. But the paper is like that every day in every way.

"There is, of course, no harm in taking the opportunity to point it out. But I suspect the complainers are talking to the converted; in other words, people who don't read the Sun regularly, if at all .

"Some 7 million people are estimated to read each copy of the Sun and, though the numbers are decreasing, it remains Britain's most popular paper.

"The figures may be disheartening to those who believe in better, particularly those who loathe sexism, but it's obvious, if sad, that it is deeply embedded in working class culture.

"So a large slice of the British population just doesn't view the Sun's content (or the Daily Star's for that matter) in terms of sexism, which takes us back to that page 3 debate again. As for taste, it is always in the eye of the beholder.

"So complain away. Argue the case. Embarrass Rupert Murdoch. But also understand that cultural change takes time."

The Sun's former deputy editor, Neil Wallis also spoke up for his former newspaper in a series of tweets. One said that the storm over the Sun page one "is totally fake" and contended it was the result of complaints from "the usual suspects who never read the paper anyway."

Greenslade said Wallis was" surely right about that". But to balance why might look like pro-Sun comments , Greenslade added, "One bright fact to note: The Sun and the Daily Star used to sell, between them, more than twice as many copies as they do now. That's progress, is it not?"

Actually it's not. The Sun's fall is merely part of the horrendous decline in daily papers sale which has seen Greenslade's old paper. for example fall from a once-lofty five million to just over a million today.

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