BBC backlash as viewers slam ‘disappointing’ Van-Tam interview ‘Dodging questions’

Jonathan Van-Tam: UK is 'running hot' with COVID-19 cases

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On Wednesday morning, BBC Breakfast hosts Sally Nugent and Charlie Stayt were back to bring viewers the latest news headlines. However, towards the end of the programme, BBC Breakfast and Radio 5Live teamed up to bring viewers a half an hour special interview with the Chief Medical Officer.

Nugent was joined by her fellow BBC presenter Rachel Burden where they questioned the MP over the coronavirus vaccine and wearing face masks.

Burden quizzed Van-Tam over whether MPs should wear face coverings in the House of Commons.

“Do you think MPs should be setting an example and wearing a mask at all times when they are working in the House of Commons?” the host asked.

“I have given my advice about the kind of settings and the differences between them about when people should be wearing a face covering,” he replied.

Burden interrupted: “That is a high-mobility and high interaction environment so, in that case, it would fall into the category of one of those places masks should be worn.”

“I don’t think I am in a position to judge every single type of interaction that occurs in any work premises including the House Of Commons,” Van-Tam explained.

Burden went on to ask the MP about wearing face masks in schools.

The presenter proceeded to ask whether he thinks people in the UK think the pandemic is over.

He added: “I think you’re right that too many people think that this pandemic is now over.

“I personally feel there are some hard months to come and it is not over.”

Some viewers were left outraged by the interview.

Some criticised the host’s questioning technique, while others were unhappy that Van-Tam seemed to “dodge” answering some of the questions.

Taking to social media, Kathy raged: “Totally gone off Van-Tam. Won’t directly answer questions. Has he been ‘got to’ #BBCBreakfast.”

Gerz said: “When asked a clear question about mandatory wearing of masks on public transport Jonathan Van-Tam talks about other settings, and the importance of vaccination and says NOTHING about the mandatory wearing of masks on public transport. This is not good enough.” (sic)

While Ian wrote: “#BBCBreakfast Van Tam has bent to the establishment he is considering his answers carefully at times not even answering the questions it’s like he has been briefed by Boris.”

“They’ve got to JVT. Won’t answer anything. Disgraceful. Used to be the truthful one #BBCBreakfast,” Kate tweeted.

Clive penned: “I used to really respect Professor Jonathan Van Tam, but here he is on #BBCBreakfast ducking or sitting on the fence for all the difficult questions. How hard is it to say YES, all MPs should #WearAMask!” (sic)

Annie went on to point out: “So JVT won’t answer straight questions about masks because he doesn’t want to upset his Tory minders Disappointing but not unexpected.”

Stephen added: “Very disappointed in Jonathan van Tams answers. Sounds like he’s been told not to step out of line by the govt. Not impressed #BBCBreakfast.”

“Van-Tam not answering and dodging questions in fear of upsetting the apple cart #BBCBreakfast,” Anthony said in frustration.

BBC Breakfast airs weekdays at 6am on BBC One.

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