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Jul 19th, 2023

What the public thinks about the rise of channels like GB News and TalkTV – and Ofcom’s role

By 38 Degrees team

Almost 90,000 people have signed our petition Ofcom: Hold GB News to account, and this number is growing by the day.

Clearly this is an issue that a lot of people care about. So we decided to learn more about their thoughts. Just under 15,000 members of the public took part in our online survey about GB News, TalkTV and Ofcom – here’s what we found out.

  • 85% of those polled believe Ofcom should create new rules to better control these types of TV channels. Only 10% believe new rules shouldn’t be created, and 5% don’t know.
  • 82% believe the rise of these kinds of channels is bad for democracy. Only 12% believe them to be good and 6% don’t know.
  • 85% believe MPs should not be allowed to present shows on news channels. Only 11% believe MPs should be able to present shows on news channels, and 4% don’t know.
  • 81% believe MPs should not be allowed to interview fellow MPs on news channels. Only 14% believe MPs should be able to interview fellow MPs, and 6% don’t know.
  • 74% believe GB News and TalkTV are not presenting impartial news. Only 17% believe they are, and 9% don’t know.
  • 82% don’t believe Ofcom is doing a good job in ensuring these channels present unbiased news. Only 6% believe Ofcom are doing a good job, and 13% don’t know.
  • 35% said they had seen social content from GB News and TalkTV, 29% have never watched, 26% have watched previously, and 10% said that they are a regular viewer of GB News or TalkTV.

We also asked: What would you like to say to Ofcom with regards to the investigation into GB News and TalkTV?

8,368 people answered, and below is a selection of the responses.

“The morning GB News programme with Eamonn Holmes is the only one which I feel is impartial. The others are so biased it puts me off watching them. A good news presenter should not give away their political leanings. Many however actually boast about them actually having stood for the Brexit party and now run Reform UK. Such biased reporting needs to be stopped especially when the BBC is held to account for supposedly biased reporting.”

“We must not go the way of the US – we are used to being able to trust what news we hear in this country, goodness knows social media is allowed to put out all sorts of weird and wonderful ideas already, please don’t let our news broadcasters go down the same route.”

“I want Ofcom to regulate news channels to ensure impartial reporting and protect the truth so that democracy can function as it is intended to.”

“New rules need to be introduced to stop these channels bypassing the existing rules by claiming they are talk shows, they are no such thing. They do not provide balanced viewpoints on their subject matter but just push their political bias at the viewer in an attempt to convince the viewer to adopt their political bias as the norm.”

“The importance of this investigation cannot be overstated. Impartial news and impartial presentation of facts and evidence about important issues is at the heart of a thriving democracy. The very peace and future of our country is at stake. Although the viewing figures of these channels are still low, we cannot be sure the real influence is designed to come from using clips and inflammatory messaging on social media. The influence on increasing levels of hate crime is clear particularly against those from the transgender community. We only need to look to the recent past and the use of propaganda to see how risky leaving these channels on regulated is.”

“To Ofcom: It is your task to monitor, impartially and without bias, for truth and factual reliability of contents broadcast. Do this consistently.”

Survey Methodology
Fieldwork Dates: 7th – 11th July 2023
Data Collection Method: The survey was conducted online. An email was sent to 38 Degrees supporters asking them if they wished to take part in the survey.
Sample Size: 14,496

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