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Wednesday 22 April 2020
Dan Wootton On Disinformation
The complaint heard from some media organisations is that they do not get to put questions at the daily Downing Street briefing on the Coronavirus pandemic; the major broadcasters get asked first and it is very much a lottery who gets an opportunity after they are done. But one figure from a very fringe broadcaster, with an audience which hardly escapes the media noise floor, managed to put his question yesterday.
Dan Wootton ...
... on his specialist subject
To the surprise of many, and disgust of many more, that individual was the deeply unpleasant Dan Wootton, executive editor of the Murdoch Sun, although he was called in his capacity as drive time host on TalkRADIO. Wootton’s question, to Health Secretary Matt Hancock, was on disinformation, and specifically that coming out of China. The response to his being called showed the high regard in which he is held. Or maybe not.
Ross McCafferty set the suitably solemn tone. “Dan Wootton asking a question at the daily Coronavirus briefing. We are through the looking glass, lads”. Michael Hogan suggested some detail. “Dan Wootton: ‘Can we blame the coronavirus pandemic on Meghan Markle? If not, can we anyway?’” And that was from his fellow media professionals.
Others were not so subtle. “Anyone notice if Dan Wootton had managed to scrub the blood of Caroline Flack off his hands before appearing at the briefing? Get in the bin you horrific peddler of misery” was one response. “Define irony. Dan Wootton asking about stopping disinformation. Working for The Sun. What an absolute bellend” was another.
Matt Turner showed the irony meter cranked over to the max as he noted “Dan Wootton, from The Sun, asking about disinformation”. And Anthony Frost talked of “the irony of Dan Wootton asking a question about fake news like his entire ‘career’ hasn’t been based off of chatting shit”. What kind of disinformation? Michael Walker of Novara Media was there.
“Dan Wootton was given a slot at the government press conference and he ignored PPE, testing etc to try to provoke some state-sanctioned China-bashing. Well done to Hancock for not bothering with a follow up”. The Sun’s China obsession again. Nick Parry added “Dan Wootton of The Sun being sniffy about China’s ‘disinformation’ at the briefing there. Like Myra Hindley looking down her nose at how you discipline your kids”.
The feedback on his performance was not favourable. “Dan Wootton desperate to get his porcine face back on our screens. Get back to rifling through celebs’ bins you wankmop” offered one Tweeter. Another mused “Dan: Hi, Dan Wootton, the Scum newspaper … Matt: Oh, Jesus. Go on. Dan: Yeah, Corona virus is bad and shit but do you think Meghan Markle should apologise to her dad and who do you think is gonna win Britain's Got Talent this year? Matt: Erm”. It wasn’t going very well. And it wasn’t going to get better.
“Thanks Dan Wootton for your question. Next we have a question off Desperate Dan of The Dandy” suggested one observer, while Jennifer Cassidy of the University of Oxford concluded “If Dan Wootton (a journalist from the SUN newspaper) asking Matt Hancock (a Health Secretary who contracted the virus) HOW the government intends to stop the spread of disinformation/conspiracy theories surrounding COVID-19 isn’t 2020 in a nutshell, I don’t know what is”. The press briefing’s credibility not looking good there.
Remember what John McDonnell said: you can’t be a journalist and work for the Sun.
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