A GB News programme hosted by Conservative MPs Esther McVey and Philip Davies broke impartiality rules by failing to represent “an appropriately wide range” because it didn’t include any Left-wing viewpoints, Ofcom has ruled. The Telegraph has the story.
The TV channel was found to be in breach of the broadcasting code for the third time this year over a show featuring an interview with Chancellor Jeremy Hunt.
Ofcom said Esther McVey and Philip Davies, two sitting Conservatives who present a Saturday morning show, failed to properly scrutinise the Chancellor when he was interviewed ahead of the Budget in March.
The broadcast watchdog received 45 complaints about the March 11th episode of ‘Saturday Morning with Esther and Philip’.
An investigation found that the programme was “overwhelmingly reflective of the viewpoints of different strands of opinion within the Conservative Party”.
It added: “There were only very limited references to wider perspectives on U.K. economic and fiscal policy in the context of the forthcoming budget.
“For example, no real attention was given anywhere in the programme to the viewpoints of politicians, political parties, organisations or individuals that either, for example, criticised, opposed or put forward policy alternatives to the viewpoints given by the three Conservative politicians.”
The broadcasting code requires impartiality on “matters of major political and industrial controversy” and says that “an appropriately wide range of significant views must be included and given due weight”.
Ofcom has the power to impose fines, demand corrections or in extreme cases remove licences for breaching the code, although GB News’ breach was not seen as serious enough to warrant a penalty. …
Ofcom said that all three MPs had been in broad agreement on the principle that taxes should be cut to boost the economy.
Worth reading in full.
If failure to include Left-wing views in a TV show is a breach, why is a failure to include Right-wing views – a frequent failing of mainstream broadcasters – not also a breach? Or is this yet another instance where it only goes one way? What about the persistent failure to include anti-Net Zero viewpoints, anti-lockdown viewpoints or anti-Covid-vaccination viewpoints in mainstream TV shows? Whole swathes of opinion are regularly excluded from mainstream broadcasting. But when GB News dares to air a show where no one on that particular programme thinks the U.K.’s current historically high tax levels shouldn’t be cut, it’s suddenly a problem deserving of reprimand. Non-woke views are censored; woke views are mandatory.
GB News said it was “disappointed” by the ruling and that Ofcom had an “imprecise” definition of “due impartiality”. A spokesman said: “We take compliance seriously, and we believe our programme embraced this. We will reflect on Ofcom’s view.”