Plaudits and goodwill from unionists for GB News coverage

The newcomer GB News has won praise for its coverage of the Twelfth of July celebrations yesterday — and plenty of goodwill from unionists after stepping in to fill the void left by the BBC.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 12th July 2022, 4:29 pm

The channel’s coverage was hosted by the former First Minister Dame Arlene Foster, with former soap star Charlie Lawson swapping the Rover’s Return in Coronation Street with a stint as a roving reporter as he took to the streets to discuss the day’s festivities.

The historian Dr Gavin Hughes joined Dame Arlene on the podium to offer insight on the cultural and historic significance of the occasion.

The channels’ decision to step in and provide coverage had been welcomed by several figures within unionism, including the Upper Bann MLA Diane Dodds and the TUV leader Jim Allister.

Yesterday, DUP MP Sammy Wilson offered his view to the News Letter.

“It’s a first time for GB News and I think they are to be congratulated for recognising that this is an important cultural event for people who regard themselves as British,” he said.

“GB News, at least, tries to maintain some standard of Britishness while the BBC with all its wokeness appears to be embarrassed about its own country - which it has its name attached to and is funded by.”

He continued: “I think it is good that GB News has come in and filled the gap and I’m sure that for those who couldn’t get out to the Twelfth they will have appreciated that they had at least some way of seeing the parades.

“I hope that it leads to more people turning to GB News, and turning away from the anti-British BBC.”

Mr Wilson said the fact that the private sector, and GB News in particular, were able and willing to step in showed that there is a “very good case for not giving public funding to the BBC”.

He added: “Obviously GB News, wanting to extend its coverage in Northern Ireland, made a commercial decision and I hope they get a good response and it lifts their ratings up. GB News has to persuade an audience to come to it, whereas the BBC doesn’t.

“I think it’s an indication of the way the broadcasting model has to evolve now - Netflix, GB News, Prime, they have to persuade an audience.”

In a statement last month,a spokesperson for the BBC said it had taken the decision “after careful consideration” and based on editorial considerations.