Mark Dolan: GB News is for you and we’re not going anywhere

Mark Dolan: GB News is for you and we’re not going anywhere
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Mark Dolan

By Mark Dolan

Published: 29/01/2022

- 21:36

The people who don't like us can't stop talking about us

It’s a funny old place, GB news. The people who don't like us, can't stop talking about us. This week, the highly talented BBC presenter and Guardian columninst Jay Rayner tweeted the following:

"Email arrives: would I go on GB News to talk about Barry Cryer? I’m terribly sorry. I’ve just checked my diary and it appears I have to stay in and stick pins in my eyes."

Following the official launch of our late night comedy news programme Headliners at 11pm, which I host every Friday, Saturday and Sunday and which the brilliant Dominic Frisbee and Simon Evans present Monday to Thursday, this was the reaction, of the very funny, smart and prolific ex Radio 4 comedian Mitch Benn.

I suspect, that the views of all of these people, in regard to the channel, are born out of ignorance, having never watched it. I would no sooner take artistic criticism from this lot, than I would take marital sex tips, from the Pope. And of course it's ok not to like us. Although those that do, are a growing army. Over a billion digital views, since we came on air less than a year ago, more column inches than you could throw a stick at, and this programme beat Sky News last weekend at 10pm and 9pm, on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

So we're doing something right. All thanks to you of course. Ratings are flying across the board, starting with Eamonn and Isabel first thing in the morning to Dan Wootton at night. We are on the march. We are feisty, noisy, cheeky and hopefully, a bit different. So why are these public figures, so keen to strike out? After two decades in broadcasting, I've had plenty of invitations onto programmes, of which I'm not a fan. It's a polite thanks but no thanks from me, and that's the last you’ll hear of it.

There are channels and TV programmes I'm not wildly keen on, good luck to them. I want as many voices in our media landscape as possible. It’s surprising that Eleanor Penny doesn’t share that view, given her twitter says she contributes to the famously left wing Novara Media channel.

I like Novara Media and think they have a lot of compelling stuff to say. I want to hear them, watch them and read them.

Surely a journalist worth their salt, would encourage a diversity of views from our news outlets, in the way for example, that you have the Guardian and the Telegraph which, although different, are in my view both great papers. But too many of my colleagues want the whole of the media to be an echo chamber. So why do we exist? And why am I minded to think, that should continue? That we shouldn’t bow to these bullies, who want us to disappear, to go away?

Well it’s you. I've had an astonishing number of emails from you, describing GB news as a breath of fresh air. I've heard that phrase so many times, it's hard to ignore. It’s telling. A breath of fresh air. And what we're getting from many figures in the mainstream media is hot air. It's like Neil Young - the rock star who was brilliant 50 years ago, withdrawing his music from Spotify in order to get free speech presenter Joe Rogan cancelled.

It seems that these broadcasters, journalists, rock stars and comedians want to narrow not broaden the media landscape. They want to shut down debate. And they don't want you to have a voice. Well as far as I'm concerned, if these people hate GB news, they hate you. That’s the message isn’t it? I did wonder if I should do a we feel your pain about Jay Rayner, as I have done so about Ian Dale, Mark Kermode, Taylor Swift and Andrew Neil. I’d love to.I discussed it with the production team but unfortunately they said Jay’s nowhere near a big enough name for that item. He didn't make the cut. The responses to Jay Rayner's tweets are interesting. He had some support from his loyalists.

But here's what others had to say.

The brilliant American author and self-help guru Dale Carnegie once said “nobody kicks a dead dog”. So these attacks are motivated by something. And it seems they are motivated by a desire to see us fail. And why would that be? Perhaps it's because we are British news channel that actually likes Britain. Perhaps it's because it dares to think that Brexit brings with it yes challenges, but opportunities too. And a majority of people voted for it to happen, so we should honour that. And I say that as someone who voted Remain. Perhaps it’s because we've dared to question the Covid narrative.

Our faces have been covered, half a trillion quid has been borrowed on our behalf, schools, playgrounds and GP surgeries have been chained shut, so we're entitled to ask whether that was a good idea or not. This place offers an alternative approach, an alternative tone and an alternative point of view. Is something he's arrogant bullies don't want you to have. We won’t always get it right and we’ve been through more sound engineers, than Hugh Hefner’s been through young actresses. What is most interesting is the desire by these characters to lie about our channel. They deliberately mischaracterised the place.

Our on air and off air talent come from all backgrounds, all races, ages, creeds, social class, age and political point of view. For every former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, there is ex Labour MP Gloria De Piero. For the record, let me share my political position – I’m neither left nor right. I am a liberal. And like so many of you, I feel politically homeless. This place is arguably the most diverse channel in the country, in all senses of the word.

So what motivates us? What is our agenda? Well we want to inform, stimulate and entertain, in equal measure. Most importantly we want to hear what you think, we want to help you think and we don’t want to tell you what to think. In the end, we're not answerable to any celebrity, any journalist or any politician, we're answerable to you. That's the GB News guarantee. This place is FOR you, it's about you and it belongs to you. And it's always will be. And just for the record, we’re not going anywhere.

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