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Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Tom Newton Dunn’s Tariff Mardy Strop

The lack of factual accuracy in the pages of the red-top, and indeed, mid-market tabloid press, has been the stuff of jokes for decades. What has now been brought into sharp focus is that those working in the service of the publishers have little interest in such trivial actions as correcting falsehood and misinformation - especially when the subject is the hated EU, where propaganda routinely prevails over boring old reality.
Nowhere was this more evident than in a Brexit boosting article yesterday in the Murdoch Sun, proclaiming “Booze, coffee and trainers will all be cheaper from next year after £30bn of post-Brexit tariffs slashed”. The “Booze” part of that is, in the case of anything produced in the UK or the EU, a flat-out lie - unless the UK cuts VAT and duty (doubtful).
And the details given as examples were seriously wrong, as Jim Cornelius pointed out. “Here's The Sun. ‘.. tariff on a typical bottle of white wine, for example, will fall from the EU rate of £11.45 per half/litre to £10’ WTF. Where have those numbers come from? Let's look at the ACTUAL new tariff. There is NO CHANGE!” £11.45 tariff on a half litre of wine?
That’s real wacko stuff: the internal tariff is zero, and externally, well, the tariff on (for instance) a bottle of wine from Australia works out at about 9p. Someone at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun had failed sub-GCSE maths in no style at all.
So it should not have surprised the Murdoch goons when Jonathan Portes of King’s College London passed adverse comment on their shoddy journalism. “Yes, journalists at the Sun really have their fingers on the pulse. How out of touch do you have to be to think that the typical bottle of white wine at Tesco's is subject to a ‘EU tariff rate' of £11.45/half litre?” He also tagged the paper’s non-bullying political editor Tom Newton Dunn.
And TND was not happy. “Did I write that? No. You really need to get out more Jonathan” came the lockdown-friendly reply. No, he didn’t write that. But he’s the political editor, and the ball’s in his half of the pitch. No matter, he then attacked Portes. “This was a typo Jonathan, long since corrected - as well you know because the journalist who wrote it told you personally. Some might think that spending lockdown trawling the internet for things to make snidey comments about isn’t the behaviour of a professional economist”.
Bloody odd typo, if indeed typo it was. But a most revealing mardy strop from Newton Dunn, to which Portes responded “Apparently [Tom Newton Dunn] thinks professional economists should spend lockdown doing irrelevant theoretical research rather than trying to stop the Sun repeatedly misleading millions of its readers about post Brexit tariffs”.
By this time, others were joining the battle, with Steve Peers of the University of Essex also unimpressed. “The first paragraph also contains a falsehood. Don't your journalists check their work, or have the common sense to realise that a £17 tariff on a bottle of wine is absurd? And it's not an error in an obscure tweet, it's in a national newspaper”.
It seems the Murdoch goons confused “half litre” and “hectolitre” (a hundred litres). Or double the number you first thought of, and shift the decimal point two places.

Tom Newton Dunn’s regard for prioritising accuracy is most revealing. And matters are hardly likely to improve under his designated successor. I’ll just leave that one there.
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Anonymous said...

Odd that Newton-Done should use the word "professional".

Especially since he doesn't have even a passing relationship with it. Like all Murdoch jobsworths.

J said...

Wow, who would have thought that Tom "lets publish actual neo-nazi propaganda in the S*n" Newton Dunn[ce] would make shit up and fail to correct things when called out... well I for one am shocked!

2catlady said...

I think it tells you how much s*n reporters pay for a bottle of wine that they don't realise that their readers are unlikley to pay anything like the amount they claim is the cost plus tax.