BBC Breakfast is celebrating it’s 20th anniversary this year; 20 years on-air delivering breaking news and the hot topics of the day, week and month. But with being a flagship news program comes the criticism and divided opinion of viewers because at the end of the day, you can’t please everyone, and host Dan Walker, 43, is very aware of the sacrifices presenters make being in the public eye.
But while he takes the heat on occasions from disgruntled viewers on social media, he also explains it’s important to defend the program that strives to bring its audience the most up to date and accurate reports.
In a recent interview, Dan spoke about how driven he is to protect his colleagues from Twitter trolls who accuse them all and the program of not doing the job properly, and he admitted he’s “getting better” at handling the negativity, escpecially throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
“I just really care about the programme and the people I work with,” he said.
“I don’t like it when people have gotten the wrong idea, or accuse Louise or somebody who works on the programme of not doing their job properly or pandering to somebody or not doing their research.
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The BBC host clarified that it’s not the job of the presenter to “shout down” the government, but they are there to ask them the right questions.
“It’s our job to ask the right questions at the right time, to ask them why they’re doing things… and you’re not doing that?” he told The Mirror.
“To be able to speak to, for example, the Health Secretary and say: ‘Tell us about testing,’ and to ask him again about testing, and to make sure we try our best to get to the bottom of why they’ve made those decisions, it’s a strange sort of privilege, but also quite a big responsibility.”
His co-star Louise Minchin chimed in, adding: “We’re in a unique position to inform the audience. And when we’ve got a government minister on, a lot of it is just about fact-finding,” she said.
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“What does this mean? What is the evidence behind it? We’ve had a government minister pretty much every day since March 23.”
But despite the flurry of ministers the program has sported throughout the on-going public health crisis, the show has come under intense scrutiny from not only viewers, but from rival ITV program Good Morning Britain, which is currently being boycotted by the government.
“Our job, especially when we work for the BBC, is to be impartial,” Louise continued, after the Beeb has been at the centre of many rows about biased reporting.
“You can ask the questions, and you can ask them three times, and the audience can make the judgments. That’s not for us to make.”
Dan also refutes the accusation that the BBC have been “biased” over big stories such as Covid and Brexit.
“The job has become a bit more intense, we’re under a lot more scrutiny,” he admitted.
He continued to explain that some “huge stories” have happened in the last few years that have made it more important than ever to be accurate.
“Brexit followed immediately by the general election and followed immediately by coronavirus,” he listed.
“The whole population have been talking about what we’re talking about.”
BBC Breakfast airs weekdays from 6am on BBC One.