Few journalists enjoy a higher media profile than the Sun’s non-bullying political editor Tom Newton Dunn: when he is not occupied with being a snotty and snooty pain in the neck to those working in the House of Commons, he is inexplicably in demand by the broadcasters to bestow his superior insights on the political scene. Sadly, though, his credibility has taken a series of knocks recently, culminating in the Corbyn Fake News spy claims.
It should not be forgotten that the same Newton Dunn who fetches up on the BBC’s Sunday Politics panel, or on occasion participates in the paper review on The Andy Marr Show (tm), has had his name on the by-line of some of the most misleading, inflammatory, and downright untrue stories peddled by his paper. This may not yet deter the BBC’s bookers, but the viewing public are not so easily taken in by this charade.
Newton Dunn was the culprit when the Sun peddled its false “1 in 5 Brit Muslims’ sympathy for Jihadis” claim in November 2015. The poll used to generate this headline had been run by Survation, as YouGov, the paper’s usual pollster, had declined to be involved.
The question that generated the headline was as follows: “Which of the following statements is closest to your view? … I have [a lot of/some/no] sympathy with young Muslims who leave the UK to join fighters in Syria”. But there are many groups that qualify as “fighters in Syria”, not least the Free Syrian Army (FSA). Newton Dunn’s conclusion was not mere exaggeration, but forthright dishonesty.
It was not an isolated example of his abysmal standards: in the run-up to the EU referendum, his name appeared on the by-line of the infamous “QUEEN BACKS BREXIT” story. It was only later that Newton Dunn, along with his deeply unpleasant editor Tony Gallagher, fouled up sufficiently that the story was exposed as single source hearsay - courtesy of another Murdoch asset, Michael “Oiky” Gove.
Now, Newton Dunn has put his name to stories claiming Corbyn should “come clean” on his alleged relationship with a Czech diplomat who turned out to be a liar and a fantasist. Jan Sarkocy was the only source for his claims. The source who claimed Jezza had told him what Mrs T would be wearing the next day. The source who claimed his country - a stony broke totalitarian state - paid for a Wembley pop concert.
What is worse is that Newton Dunn is a stinking hypocrite: he’s a Remain supporter, working for a paper which is rabidly pro-Leave. He’s sold his soul for an easy life. And now he’s put his name to the worst Fake News episode in the UK since the fake Iraqi WMDs. His reputation is in tatters. He is, more than ever, a mere figure of fun.
That will not trouble the bookers who line him up as one of “The Commentators Who Count”, a joke claim if ever there was one. Newton Dunn will carry on peddling whatever line the 13th floor hands down to him. But, however keen the broadcasters are to put him on their shows, the public know that, when they see him on their screens, they are being sold a pup. They know his opinion is not worth the hot air from which it is formed.
Tom Newton Dunn is bust. Yes, there he goes, on his way … out.