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Good Morning Britain fans were left 'furious' on Tuesday morning, as presenter Susanna Reid compared the BBC to the NHS.
During the controversial debate, guest John Sweeney argued that the BBC is a national institution – arguing that it is "not just entertainment" and provides "honest news" to the public.
He even went on to compare the UK's situation to that in Russia, arguing: "You should go to Russia. There you'll see a closed society where, actually, you don't go to prison because there isn't a license fee in Russia but what there certainly is is political power where there is no scrutiny.
"One of the things the BBC does is provide scrutiny to power, and I get worried when the government say 'Let's kill this thing'."
But Richard Madeley soon wondered whether John didn't take ITV's news as seriously as the BBC.
"What is intrinsically more noble and more representative of this country of the BBC's news at 10 and ITV's news at 10? Why is the BBC's news at 10 intrinsically more valuable than ITV's news at 10? I don't understand that."
John hit back: "I wasn't saying that. Actually ITV has more scoops and better packages, I would say, but that's an internal argument with BBC management – which I'm very happy to have at any time."
It was Susanna Reid's comparison to the NHS that most riled viewers at home, as they took to social media in droves to complain about the controversial segment.
Susanna said: "It's interesting what comes to mind when you say why should I pay for the BBC license fee when I don't listen to Radio 1 or Radio 3?
"You pay for the NHS even though you may never want IVF or you may never need cancer treatment."
One posted: "@susannareid100 the NHS is used by every single person of the country at some point or another, so why would we not pay for it? The BBC ain't watched by everyone!"
As someone else wondered: "Did I really hear Susanna compare paying for the BBC to paying for the NHS?"
"It will never be comparable to the NHS and I'm furious that you can confidently hold this debate whilst our rights and freedoms hang in the balance!" someone else fumed.
A fourth viewer wrote: "How dare Susanna Reid compare the NHS to BBC as to why we should pay TV license. I am 55 and don't watch the BBC, as Susanna claims older people watch it. Don't speak for me Susanna!"
However, other fans were immediately more supportive of the BBC, with someone writing: "I'd personally pay it for the David Attenborough series alone. I watch a lot of stuff on the BBC and think on the whole it produces quality stuff."
Another fan agreed: "Who else gives me excellent children’s TV, 6 Music, Science documentaries, comedy? There is no competition The government is dismantling the institutions that stop it becoming much more powerful."
While a third said: "Didn’t the BBC provide educational programmes etc for children through lockdown? As a housebound person it provides me with so much for less than £4 per week with no adverts, yes it’s worth the money."
GMB airs weekdays from 6am on ITV.
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- Good Morning Britain
- Susanna Reid
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