Dan Walker is a well kent face if you are into football and enjoy Football Focus on the BBC. He is about to become a whole lot better known, as he is due to be the new face of BBC Breakfast. Normally this would only merit a couple of paragraphs in parts of the mainstream media, but Dan is different.
Why did the Daily Mail, Times, Independent and Telegraph (amongst others) run lengthy articles about Mr Walker? Is Dan the first Transgender presenter? Is he the secret love child of one of the Royals?
No. It’s worse than that – he’s a Christian!
And not just a Christian, but a Baptist Christian. Even worse than that he actually believes in the fourth commandment and has chosen not to work on Sundays.
It gets worse…Apparently Dan Walker is a creationist! This shocking revelation is enough to have the liberal intelligentsia up in arms and so Mr Walker is being pilloried.
The most astonishing article was Rupert Myers’ piece in the Telegraph. Myers began by stating ‘The BBC has done nothing to explain how someone who believes that God literally created the Earth in seven days can present the news accurately’.
The fact that this can be written in a serious newspaper indicates how dumbed down and irrational parts of Britain have become. Why would the BBC have anything to explain at all? Presenters are there to present the news. I don’t care two hoots what a presenter’s views are, or their sexuality, or their taste in crisps – as long as it does not affect their job.
‘Ah but’, says the non-discerning bigot, ‘don’t you realise that this will affect his ability to present the news?’
Why? Is he going to be presenting news items on the creation of the world? Will he be asked to comment on that?
This kind of reporting shows British journalism at its very worst. The theological illiteracy in the various reports shines through in a depressing fashion. None of the journalists even bothered to ask what kind of creationist Dan Walker may be. They don’t seem to be aware that every single Christian, Muslim and Jew who actually believes in God is a creationist.
This may come as a shock to the British journalistic community but those who believe in God tend to believe that he created everything. The question – which apparently they have neither the intelligence or the courtesy to ask – is what kind of creationist is Mr Walker? There are Christians who are theistic evolutionist creationists, old earth creationists and young earth creationists. On the basis of one statement from a spokesperson, many journalists made the assumption that it was the latter that was being spoken of.
And why is this news at all? Who cares? He is a TV presenter! The only people who care are those who want to introduce American style culture wars into the UK, and who view creationism as a bogeyman which enables them to vent their anti-religious prejudice and feel self-righteous while doing so.
Imagine what would happen if we all applied such small minded judgementalism to our viewing? Should we stop watching Tom Cruise films because he is a scientologist? What about news presented by John Humphreys who is an atheist/agnostic? Should I stop watching Graham Norton because he disagrees with my views on sexuality?
Perhaps we need a ministry of information so that members of the media can be properly vetted to ensure that their thoughts, beliefs and words don’t upset Mr Myers and other journalists of a particularly sensitive nature.
Joking aside, there is a more sinister side to this. The mockery, faux pas outrage and inevitable social media abuse that follows this type of journalism, is no joke. It is the 21st century equivalent of the 19th century street mob. It is designed to intimidate and police the culture, to ensure that only one view on the current cultural shibboleths is ever permitted.
Robert Myers pointed out in his article that ‘The BBC’s mission to inform, educate, and entertain requires it to ensure that it handles news with impartiality, objectivity, and reason.’ Indeed. Perhaps Mr Myers and others who share his media mob mentality should make that their own mission.
There are those journalists who seek to inform, educate and entertain with impartiality, objectivity and reason. And then there are those who think that Dan Walker being a Christian who believes in creation is somehow a significant news item and worthy of their comment.
Let us pray that we would get a more serious, intelligent and balanced news presentation than this kind of prejudiced, trivial and ignorant drivel.
David is the Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland. He’s also the minister of St Peter’s Free Church in Dundee and director of Solas the Centre for Public Christianity.