The last thing a supposedly knowledgeable pundit wants to do is to show the world that they do not have the grasp of their subject that their job title suggests they should. And if that pundit is part of the Pundit Establishment, one of those talking heads wheeled out by the broadcasters to pontificate on issues du jour, showing you’re not up to the job is right out. The Pundit Establishment never admits its ignorance.
Yes Tom, you goofed and got caught
Which brings us to the Sun’s non-bullying political editor Tom Newton Dunn, who has today opened mouth and inserted boot in no style at all on the subject of the EU. The Murdoch doggies at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun sound off about the hated European Project every day, so they must know a little about it, right? Er, wrong.
After the suspect in the Berlin Christmas Market truck attack, Anis Amri, was shot dead by Police in Milan - resorting to drawing a gun when asked for ID was a bit of a give-away - the fact that he had managed to leave Germany and travel via France to Italy was used by Newton Dunn to show that the Sun was right about, er, something. “Before being shot dead, Anis Amri left #Berlin for France, and then Milan - having started in Italy. Death knell for EU freedom of movement” he declared, going wrong as he did so.
Allie Renison pointed out that what he was talking about was Schengen, not freedom of movement (Britain is not part of the Schengen zone). Newton Dunn had goofed. But he could not admit it, so back came “no. voters won't see it like that. won't want terrorist sleepers to move countries and embed”. Thus he dug himself in deeper.
IP Yardley also scolded him for confusing Schengen and freedom of movement. So once again, back came Newton Dunn: “no voters won't see it like that. won't want terrorist sleepers to move countries and embed”. Let’s take this one nice and slowly, for Sun inmates everywhere. If Amri had been a terrorist “sleeper”, how would border checks have detected him? If he hadn’t done anything wrong by that point, he wouldn’t get stopped.
And his counter to Ms Renison’s suggestion that the press had some duty to inform (this may have come as a shock to anyone in the Baby Shard bunker) just dug him in yet deeper: “stop blaming media, always the reserve of the deaf and lazy. My last [point] stands”. Hello Tom! If you don’t know what you’re talking about, there’s no use hiding behind the “don’t shoot the messenger” excuse.
In any case, if the media is presenting a selective picture - as Newton Dunn must inevitably do if he translates his ignorance into copy for the Sun - there is nothing wrong with someone calling they out for it. And the hypocrisy implicit in his Euro-bashing is not hard to rumble. Take his claim “Ministers lash out at euro judges for ruling against new eavesdropping powers despite the fresh terror crisis”. Bad, eh?
Except the snooping overreach was A Very Bad Thing when he was on the wrong end of it recently. Tom Newton Dunn cannot admit that he has messed up. The iron law of the Pundit Establishment means he must carry on digging himself in deeper, rather than come clean and own up. The Sun’s political editor doesn’t know his subject. End of story.