In a 2008 interview with the former girlfriend of serial killer Steve Wright (the Suffolk Strangler), Burley was criticised for asking her whether if the couple had enjoyed a better sex life he would not have committed the crimes.
Images from 2008 show Burley appearing to strangle photographer Kirsty Wigglesworth outside the Naomi Campbell hearing, which a Sky News spokesperson explained by saying "Kay Burley was provoked by a hard hit to the face with a camera."
In February 2010, Burley apologised to guest Peter Andre who "fought back tears" after she aired comments by Dwight Yorke who criticised Andre after he volunteered to adopt Katie Price's first child (and Yorke's son) Harvey. Burley wrote in her online blog that Andre consequently "sobbed on my shoulder". Ofcom received 881 complaints from viewers, the majority opposed to the "intrusive" methods used by Burley; they found that Burley's interview was "persistent and probing" but not "bullying" or "intimidating". Later on that month, Burley was forced to apologise on-air for offending Catholics when she joked that US Vice President Joe Biden, who had ashes on his forehead to mark Ash Wednesday, had a "large bruise" that he had picked up from "walking into a door".
During the 2010 general election, Burley's interview with electoral campaigner David Babbs from 38 Degrees was criticised for "of bias and aggressive behaviour". Burley said, in part:
“ The public have voted for a hung parliament. We have got exactly what we voted for ... so you marching down past Westminster today will make no difference whatsoever. ... Why don't you go home and watch it on Sky News? ”
Ofcom rejected any complaints over Sky News coverage of the event, despite receiving 2,800 complaints. Burley was subsequently heckled by protestors while reporting from College Green, who continuously chanted "sack Kay Burley", prompting Burley to say "Lots of demonstrators shouting 'fair votes now' – not sure what they mean by that" and "They don't like The Sun, they don't like us, they don't like Rupert".
In September 2010, commenting on the News International phone hacking scandal, part of an exchange between Labour MP Chris Bryant and Burley went viral, whereby Burley asks Bryant to cite information claiming that phone hacking was "endemic" in other newspapers. Bryant did, accusing Burley of being "a bit dim" and saying:
“ ...the Information Commissioner produced a report which if you had listened to the debate earlier yourself then you would know, or if you had read that report then you would see that he referred to more than 1,000 cases in various different newspapers. I think it was something like 800 – I've not got the figures with me now – 800 incidences in the Mail alone. ”
Burley also falsely claimed that if he had changed his PIN, Bryant would not have been hacked. Bryant responded in an article for The Independent, saying that "My PIN had nothing to do with my phone being hacked. Someone phoned Orange, my mobile network provider, and tried to pretend to be me in order to gain access to my voicemails". Bryant has since asked on air for Burley to apologise over the interview.
On 5 October 2012, Burley was accused of insensitivity after she broke the news of the probable death of missing five-year-old April Jones live on air to volunteers who had been assisting in the search for her. The interviewees were unaware that the case had become a murder inquiry.
During the 2015 general election, Channel 4 and Ofcom received more than 400 complaints against bias in their treatment against Labour leader Ed Miliband in favour of Conservative leader and Prime Minister David Cameron, including a "town hall" part of the programme which Burley moderated. Burley repeatedly questioned Ed Miliband about his relationship with his brother David, at one point telling him: "Your poor mother".
In June 2015, Burley was criticised through social media for her interview of Nick Varney, the Chief Executive of Merlin Entertainments. This followed an accident on the Smiler ride at Alton Towers, which led to injuries for 11 of the 16 passengers. Responses to her behaviour dubbed it "disrespectful to everyone involved" and an "outright attack". In response, Burley tweeted "For those concerned I was hard on Alton Towers boss, he'll get over it. Not sure those on his ride will be so quick to recover". Her interview with Varney began a negative reaction over social media, prompting 1,816 complaints to Ofcom and also led to over 55,000 signatures on a petition to have Burley sacked. Ofcom declined to launch a formal investigation into the interview.
In March 2015, Burley repeatedly asked Cerie Bullivant of CAGE how he felt about the beheading of Western hostages by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. When Bullivant left the interview as he believed Burley's question to be "inherently Islamophobic and racist", Burley retorted that it was "nonsense", and told Bullivant to "get over yourself". This prompted 57 complaints to Ofcom, but no action against Burley was taken.
Burley caused further controversy when, in response to the November 2015 Paris attacks, she tweeted a photograph of a Golden Retriever dog, to which she had added, "Sadness in his eyes #parisattacks".
In 2018, during an interview concerning Boris Johnson's remarks about the burqa, Burley drew criticism when she used as an example the lack of visible facial expression of war hero Simon Weston, who had received severe facial injuries in the Falklands War.