The Matrix Project is an effort to document personal factors that undermine powerful journalists’ claims of objectivity and impartiality. Are factors such as an elite education, establishment connections, personal wealth and interests in rival fields compatible with journalistic integrity?
This page looks at GB News and MailOnline journalist Dan Wootton. For more information on the database click here.
Learn about the significance of a private/Oxbridge education here
Dan Wootton attended state school and graduated from Victoria University in his native New Zealand.
Learn about the significance of the Revolving Door here
Dan Wootton has no significant professional experience in politics or business
Learn about the significance of Establishment Connections here
Salary/Indications of Wealth
Learn about the significance of journalists with an unusual level of wealth here
Neither Dan Wootton nor GB News have disclosed any salary information.
The Guardian reported that “GB News spent millions of pounds building a full television studio and hiring some established names in the industry on large salaries.” (Source) Wootton was a headline early recruit to GB News and featured heavily in early promotional material. Arguably only Andrew Neil, whose GB News contract was worth £4 million in total (source), had a higher profile ahead of the channel’s launch. This supports The Guardian’s supposition that Wootton is on a large salary.
As a point of reference, the Office for National Statistics list the average UK salary for 2021 as £26,193
Complaints / apologies / CONTROVERSIES
Learn about the significance of complaints/apologies here
Appearance Before Leveson Inquiry – As former News Of The World showbusiness editor, Dan Wootton gave evidence to the Leveson Inquiry into the phone-hacking scandal that led to the paper’s closure.
HIV Controversy – Dan Wootton was publicly criticised in 2015 by journalists (including Owen Jones), charities like the Terence Higgins Trust and the British Medical Journal over an article he published in The Sun titled “Hollywood HIV Panic”.
Terrence Higgins Trust Executive Director Shaun Griffin stated: “At its best this is irresponsible journalism, at its worst an insidious headline grab. It is impossible to comment on the details here because there aren’t any…”
Move to the Right – Private Eye (Issue 1554) report that “Wootton’s rightwards drift since he reinvented himself as a shock jock, first on News UK’s TalkRadio and now on the TV channel allegedly chaired by Andrew Neil, has surprised former colleagues from the Sun and the News of the World. They remember him as the proponent of ‘cancel culture’ who famously demanded that Johnny Depp be sacked from the Fantastic Beasts film franchise over what were, at that point, unproven claims of domestic violence, and got Jack Maynard removed from I’m a Celebrity in 2017 by unearthing what he called “totally unacceptable” homophobic language the YouTuber had used online when he was 16.”
Private Eye also record Wootton praising singer Sam Smith for, in Wootton’s words “bravely asking friends to stop using gender pronouns as part of a move to officially becoming non-binary.” – not the kind of statement usually aired on GB News!
IN THEIR OWN WORDS…
The broadcast media in the UK has become increasingly dominated by the very narrow viewpoints of the London metropolitan elite. Nothing showed that more than the Brexit referendum. It’s important that doesn’t happen again.Dan Wootton, Former Editor at News Of The World and The Sun, former prime-time talkRADIO presenter, current GB News Presenter and MailOnline columnist (all organisations based in London)
Dan Wootton did not have an elite education and has no discernible establishment connections. He is, however, likely to be earning a “large salary” and claims to represent the viewpoints of those out-with the London Metropolitan elite, despite having worked in the mainstream, London based-media since he was 21. How sincerely Wootton holds the beliefs he espouses via right-wing media channels would appear to be questionable, based on past statements reported by Private Eye.
Impartial? Independent? Holding the powerful to account?
Learn more about the Matrix Project here.
Do you value the work of The Free Press? If so, please subscribe to our mailing list to receive a monthly e-mail update and use the share buttons to spread the word!