The Internet never forgets. And nor do those who use it, noting URLs and taking screen shots as they go. So when the Sun’s non-bullying political editor Tom Newton Dunn made the howler to end all howlers recently (well, until he fouls up yet again), his attempts to airbrush the embarrassment out of his personal history was always destined to be a campaign that developed not necessarily to his advantage.
Newton Dunn’s name appeared on the by-line of a Sun article titled “HIJACKED LABOUR” which claimed “Ex-Spooks say Corbyn is at the centre of a hard-left extremist network … Jeremy Corbyn is at the centre of an extraordinary network of hard-left extremists pieced together by former British intelligence officers”. This was accompanied by an image which appeared to be derived from “The Traitors’ Chart”, a wacko conspiracy theory.
So wacko, in fact, that it pointed the finger at the Guardian, Stand Up To Racism, the Labour NEC, the BBC, the People’s Assembly, and, er, me. It also included Open Democracy, precipitating a complaint to alleged press regulator IPSO. The allegation against OD was that it took funding from George Soros.
That was the level of conspiratorial drivel on show. It also explained the Murdoch goons hurriedly pulling the piece. But as the Internet never forgets, it was with the certainty of night following day that Newton Dunn would have his Wikipedia entry duly annotated with the howler. So it came to pass. And he was not a happy bunny.
So unhappy was Newton Dunn that he went on to Wikipedia and deleted the account of his involvement, using the excuse “Falsehood, so deleted”. But there was no falsehood. So the account went back up. And in any case, there are two other incidents in his recent past that by themselves should have been sufficient to see him out of a job.
There was, for instance, “1 in 5 Brit Muslims’ sympathy for jihadis”, a claim that was mostly untrue, and known to be untrue before the paper hit news stands. Far from withdrawing this Islamophobic drivel, the article was backed up by a rant from disgraced former editor Kelvin McFilth. And there was one more Newton Dunn howler.
That was the allegedly exclusive “QUEEN BACKS BREXIT” front page, which generated a rare complaint to IPSO from Buckingham Palace. The sole source for Newton Dunn’s article is believed to have been Michael “Oiky” Gove. Lesser hacks might have been sacked for having their names on any of those by-lines. Not Newton Dunn.
Time was that hacks would be sent down the road for inventing their own facts, and indeed, former Times editor Charles Wilson did just that to alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson. Now, journalism has sunk so low that making up stuff is a badge of honour, the stuff of which pay rises are made.
But when those hacks who have so shamelessly disgraced themselves and their profession try it on where the playing field is a little more level - like on Wikipedia - they swiftly become unstuck. Tom Newton Dunn is one of their number.
All of which shows you the level of Sun journalism. I’ll just leave that one there.
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