Last night saw the awards season getting into full swing with the British Journalism Awards: as Press Gazette has told, “Some 400 journalists from across the industry attended the event held at the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms”. PG’s Dominic Ponsford chaired a judging panel featuring the great and the good of the Press Establishment, gathered together to pass judgment mainly on themselves.
It's bizarre how anyone gives the SOB the time of day
Thus the old problem of both the Press and Pundit Establishment comes around again: operating in their own closed world, they slap one another’s backs, echo the same groupspeak, all the time oblivious to circulation figures and advertising revenues in freefall, and of course trying desperately to ignore anything out there in the New Media world.
Only by such means could the Sun’s deeply repellant Dan Wootton have been given the Arts and Entertainment journalist of the year award, mainly for a column - the Bizarre feature in the Sun - most of which he does not write. Moreover, Wootton, unlike for example Will Gompertz of the BBC (crazy name, crazy guy), would not be able to identify “Arts” if it jumped up and kicked him in the undercarriage.
Still, there he was, luxuriating in the moment, the grovelling commendation “Dan Wootton’s stories show a showbiz journalist at the top of his game. The interviews show many years worth of earned trust” ringing in his ears, and wanting to make sure everyone knew that he knew the people worth knowing: “I am so honoured to be the Arts and Entertainment journalist of the year at the British Journalism Awards, which recognise revelatory journalism in the public interest. I could only do this because of these brave stars. Thank you @celinedion @louist91 and @antanddecofficial” he gushed.
Sadly, this only served to show what a complete shit Wootton is: he couldn’t even be bothered using the correct Twitter handle for either Louis Tomlinson or Ant and Dec. And his award was in significant part for his articles on Ant McPartin.
It gets worse: quite apart from Wootton, or someone on his behalf, inventing a pack of malicious lies about Alexandra Burke, one of the contestants in the current series of Strictly Come Dancing, he was revealed recently by Private Eye magazine to have been involved in yet more low and less than totally principled behaviour.
Condemning the use of the word “Faggot”, Wootton had told “Let me be very clear, the F-word - which I do not like to say, even as a gay man - used in that context is incredibly damaging”. The Eye then detailed three occasions when Wootton had forcibly outed three gay or bisexual men against their wishes. You can read the account online HERE.
No surprise, then, to see that many of the replies to Wootton’s self-congratulatory Twitter excursion are less than complimentary. Giving him the time of day is bad enough: to give Wootton an award after all the smearing, borderline racism, gay-bashing, and succession of pack of lies that are churned out in his name, is an insult to good journalism.
But never mind - keep up the mutual back-slapping any pretend nobody outside the bubble really matters. I mean - what could possibly go wrong?