Ofcom has found GB News to be in breach of its code over Covid vaccine comments, in the first of two rulings investigating the Mark Steyn Show and the first time it has fallen foul of the regulator’s code.
In an episode last April, host Steyn quoted official data from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) to say that the vaccines caused higher infection, hospitalization and death rates, but four viewers complained that these comments were “dangerous” and drew “fatally flawed conclusions.”
Steyn said in the program that UKHSA data on those people that had, and those that had not, received a third Covid vaccination dose could be compared because the two groups included approximately the same numbers of people.
Ofcom, however, said in today’s ruling he had failed to take into account other factors such as the significant differences in age or health of the people in the two groups.
Steyn’s insistence that the results were definitive was found to be in breach of section 2.2 of Ofcom’s Broadcasting Code, and were labeled “potentially harmful and materially misleading” by the regulator.
GB News defended its presenter, stating that the programs’ “purpose is unmistakably to challenge the status quo and question official narratives” but that it has “at no stage adopted an ‘anti-vax’ approach and that has always been made clear to the audience.”
Steyn left GB News last month due to a contract dispute regarding whether he would have to pay Ofcom fines if found liable. Ofcom has not yet said if GB News will be fined over today’s breach.
Separately, his former show is being investigated by the regulator following an interview with author Naomi Wolf in which she claimed women were being harmed by Covid vaccines as part of an effort “to destroy British civil society”. Ofcom received more than 400 claims about Wolf’s comments.
Examining Covid disinformation has become a major part of Ofcom’s work over the past couple of years. The BBC has also fallen foul of the issue and was forced to apologize recently when a presenter failed to challenge a vaccine-sceptic cardiologist, who claimed the jabs could cause heart damage.
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