Evan Davis Advocates For His Think Tank At Your Expense

I hope everyone enjoys this brief segment on Today with Evan Davis. He discusses the new report from the Social Market Foundation which is highly critical of the Department of Work and Pension’s Work Programme to get the long-term unemployed back to work.

Now, normally I’d say that any organization which has “Social” anything in its title is Left-leaning. I’d also generally say that any organization which states that they are not in favor of free markets but rather open markets under the guiding hand of government (a step away from fascist corporatism) is Left-leaning. But they have George Osborne and a couple of other non-Leftoids on their board and as associates, so they get away with the “independent” label and I can’t complain that Davis should have described the foundation as Left-leaning when he introduced its director.

(Yes, I know the clip I’ve linked starts just after Davis mentions the Foundation, but I’ve listened to the full programme and there was no qualifier of any kind.)


I can complain that there was something else missing from Davis’ introduction of the group, something that calls into question his very presence at the mic on this topic: Evan Davis is one of the board members of the Social Market Foundation.

Davis has even co-written a pamphlet for the organization about the pros and cons of gay marriage. Yet no mention at all that of any association with the group, never mind that he’s now on the board.

So the Social Market Foundation criticizes a scheme by the Conservative-Led Coalition, and one of their board members uses his position at the BBC not only to bring it up but to actually question the Government Minister in charge. The director of the SMF gets his say first, but then isn’t involved in any debate with Grayling. Only Davis challenges the Government, without mentioning his conflict of interest. And no challenge at all to the SMF director’s statement. His challenging questions to Grayling come off as advocacy for the SMF position.

At the very least, the Today producers should have made Davis recuse himself and had Justin Webb take the SMF’s side against the Government.

Your license fee hard at work.

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8 Responses to Evan Davis Advocates For His Think Tank At Your Expense

  1. Roland Deschain says:

    A properly-briefed Government Minister would have known this and brought the point up.  I haven’t been able to listen to the clip, but can I assume, based on the uselessness generally observed in current Government Ministers, that he did no such thing?

    That’s not to excuse Mr Davis, who should not even have needed a producer to see that this is wrong.


  2. George R says:

    When BBC-NUJ is being biased, it says it is being ‘impartial’.

    ‘Daily Mail’ (two years ago):

    “Today programme’s Evan Davis on board of ‘political’ think-tank”

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1205275/Today-programmes-Evan-Davis-board-political-think-tank.html#ixzz1VlumFSDN


  3. Louis Robinson says:

    So let me get this right:
    1. The BBC knows about Davis’ involvement in SMF. The fact was published TWO YEARS ago in the Daily Mail.
    2. He is allowed to conduct an interview with a member of the SMF without disclosure.
    3. NO PRODUCER OR EDITOR questions the appropriateness of this?
    Where is the oversight?

    There is one other explanation – and I am not joking with this suggestion: over time the staff of a program changes. Perhaps none of the young “informed” journalists working on the Today program two years ago are still there, replaced since by a new slew of young bright-eyed graduates who in 2009 were still up at Oxford reading Proust and not the Daily Mail.

    Anyway you cut it…it was wrong.


  4. David vance says:

    Excellent catch, David. I hope those in the BBC so quick to email me earlier today will now respond with an explanation re total lack of disclosure. That seems a FAIR request – I’m waiting. 


  5. DJ says:

    Like I keep saying, half the time with the BBC you don’t even need to get into the politics, it’s just a plain lack of basic journalistic ethics. 

    That’s the real kicker: they just don’t care. The Fulchester Bugle wouldn’t allow such an outrageous conflict of interest, but, then again, they actually have to convince people to buy their paper.


  6. cjhartnett says:

    Evan and the like are just rather ugly gargoyles for the rotting liberal paddle steamers of choice for the pleasure “cruisers” up on deck.
    No doubt you can rent them for parties like you can Shakira or Jedward! Radio Rentals for hire.
    Prospectuses c/o BBC(subcontracted offshoot with a zany name) Enterprises…not a word I associate the the State Stiff n Sniff that is the BBC!
    Jedward would be much better value for the taxpayer that any pairing of the Krankies/ Waldorfs and Statlers currently being run to seed at the Beeb!


  7. Reed says:

    Let us know what they say, David. There should have been, at the very least, full disclosure.