For the past couple of years Telegraph staff have kept track of the internal bloodletting and embarrassing insider secrets recounted in remarkable detail in Private Eye. Eagle-eyed reporters have noticed a pattern. While he has a reputation in the office for being an all-powerful control freak who always gets his way, in the Eye editor Chris Evans is almost always portrayed as an ignorant, innocent party who is far from the scene of the crime.
Take this well-informed Eye nugget about the Telegraph’s infamous election day email urging readers to vote Tory, for which the paper was fined £30,000. Even though Evans’ name was on the email, the Eye write-up generously portrays him as an innocent bystander “without a political thought in his head“, and instead names and shames two other Telegraph journalists, as well as Murdoch MacLennan and Aidan Barclay, as being responsible.
Then there was this curiously briefed story about the Telegraph’s positive coverage of UKIP. The Eye’s piece makes clear that talking up UKIP definitely isn’t Evans’ idea, in fact it is Evans who has been “keeping at bay” UKIP supporter and Telegraph owner Frederick Barclay. Evans is referred to as an “idiot“, but it’s Sir Frederick who is the true villain of the piece.
This Eye story, again very well-informed, derides the decision of Telegraph execs to cut back the Saturday paper. MacLennan and the Barclay brothers are named as the guilty parties, but who was it who bravely tried to fight back against the cull? Chris Evans, of course, alas his efforts were, according to the Eye’s top source, sadly “swept aside”.
What about this Eye hit piece on former Sunday Telegraph editor Ian MacGregor, who is dubbed a “laughing stock” whose job was really being done by – you guessed it – Chris Evans. MacGregor is portrayed as a shameless lackey of Aidan Barclay’s business interests. Who was the man standing up to him? Evans, once again.
Whoever the Eye’s mole is, it seems they are keen to make sure Evans escapes blame for calamitous decision making, as his rivals in Victoria are publicly machine gunned one by one…