Nowhere were the variable standards of the media establishment shown to better effect than when Evan Davis, one of the hosts of BBC Newsnight, found himself under attack for being guilty by association. He had allowed two people who he claims not to have recognised take a selfie with him. They turned out to be Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen, the deeply unpleasant principals at the time of far-right group Britain First.
It looks bad, because it is bad
It looked bad then, and still looked bad when the incident was exhumed this week. So what did The Great Man have to say for himself? “Over two years ago, I was walking in Kennington when two people who I didn't know jumped out of a van and said ‘can we have a selfie?’ That is a not very remarkable event. So I said yes and smiled with them as I ordinarily would”.And what happened after that?
“An hour later, I'm at the local flower show … and I got a call from my editor ‘we have a W1A situation’. And it was explained to me who was in the photo and how it was used … So I clarified in a tweet (or thought I had clarified) that I had merely posed for an innocent selfie. But for avoidance of doubt, I did not know who they were. (This was pre Brexit, pre -Trump)”. They were still the head people in Britain First, though.
But after Newsnight’s coverage of what has become known as Wreathgate - with Davis in the chair - others were not so sanguine. So replies like “We understand that Evan. Nobody thinks you are with the far right. We all know what happened. We just want you to understand what it feels like when lies and smears based on a deliberately misused photo or poor journalism are used against you” were typical. And there was more.
“So @EvanHD feels aggrieved that a photo is being used to damage him, as he claims he didn't recognise the people, but expects Corbyn to know exactly who may or may not be buried in a graveyard in a foreign country and with Arabic inscriptions … You might have been able to pass it off as a mistake if your mate Nick Robinson hadn't done EXACTLY the same thing. This is obviously a pattern. How many more of your colleagues support far right extremists Mr Davis. How many Mr Davis”. And more.
“Kettle calling the pot! JC gets this sort of thing day after day and you are complicit, I will ask you again! Are you a far right racist! No! Well are you a far right racist, never mind the answer! I will ask you again, are you a member of Britain First! Feel familiar? … The man from @BBCNewsnight @EvanHD claims he didn’t know the far right leaders of Britain First because the photo he posed for with them was pre trump.... that’s irrelevant Evan, did you pose for a photo with the far right Evan, yes or no, yes or no... it’s a simple question”.
And more. “Well the pictures confirm it. Bit like the wreath laying - you are guilty of associating with then far right, then you are far right. Live and die by the sword”. Oh, and Gobby says WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO RESIGN, MR DAVIS?
Will Evan Davis get the hint? Or is the Wreathgate parallel not obvious enough? After all, he wouldn’t be complicit in the application of double standards, would he? Just saying.
Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by adding to its Just Giving page at