[Update at end of post]
Private Eye magazine noted a problem for the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph: “Hacks at the Daily Telegraph are increasingly horrified by their main political cartoonist ‘Bob’, aka Bob Moran - not so much for his cartoons as for his noisy presence on Twitter, where he has become a hero for Covid sceptics and anti-vaxxers”.
Since then, Moran’s Twitter feed has kept up the offensive. He Retweets Laurence Fox, Kathy Gyngell, and Claire Craig. He mutters ominously “I can no longer pretend that these people are political adversaries or opponents in a debate. We are at war against the most disgustingly immoral ideology ever conceived. The worst version of humanity imaginable. And they are its remorseless cheerleaders. They are the enemy”.
Maybe the enemy is Health Secretary Sajid Javid? After Javid had told that vaccination had saved 123,000 lives in England alone, Moran ranted back “It's saved however many lives your idiot scientists 'predicted' would have been lost. Based on totally insane modelling. You could claim it's saved a hundred billion lives and you wouldn't sound any more deranged than you do now”. Or perhaps there was some other enemy?
Well, we began to see who that supposed enemy might be after Rachel Clarke, who you can tell as she’s a doctor, Tweeted “Why do you employ a man who openly abuses NHS staff, [Telegraph]? This is targeted harassment & you appear to condone it”. The Tweet mentioned had come from Moran. And it had violated the Twitter Rules.
But the lesson for Moran went unlearned as he frothed “Why do you employ a woman who promotes disgusting ideologies, without moral or scientific justification, which lead to the deaths of children, [NHS England]? This is pure, unspeakable evil and you appear to condone it”. That’s nailed-on, bang to rights defamation, that is.
So Dr Clarke has tagged the Tel’s CEO, just to keep him in the loop. “Dear [Nick Hugh], a cartoonist employed by your newspaper has just openly defamed me, an NHS palliative care doctor, on this platform. I intend to pursue this legally - it's appalling. But how can you, who describe yourself as father of 3 & husband … allow such abuse & hate?”
And she has decided to call in the lawyers. “OK [Telegraph], enough. You employ this man, who is openly slandering me, an NHS doctor, on Twitter. This is hateful abuse. [Bob Moran], I suggest you think carefully about whether you want to keep this tweet up. You've just defamed me & I'll be talking to a lawyer”. Also, the Tweet has been screen shotted.
She’s also tagged in Javid and the CEO of NHS England: “Dear [Amanda Pritchard], [Sajid Javid] & [NHS England], I am alerting you to the hate, abuse and - in this case - open defamation that frontline NHS staff experience for advocating for Covid vaccination, mask wearing & social distancing. It's vile & we'd really appreciate your support”.
As well as telling the wider Twitter community “I have never asked anything like this before. But [Bob Moran] - a cartoonist employed by [the Telegraph] - has just openly defamed me, an NHS palliative care doctor, as well as incited hate & abuse. If I sought to crowdfund legal action against him, might you be willing to help me?” I might just.
Bob Moran could finally be the subject of laughter. As he is taken to the cleaners.
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[UPDATE 1625 hours: Press Gazette has brought bad news for Bob Moran. After noting the Twitter exchange between him and Dr Clarke, the article tells "Press Gazette is not repeating the entire Twitter exchange for legal reasons" before letting readers know "Press Gazette understands that as of early Tuesday afternoon the Telegraph is planning to suspend Moran".
Too wacko even for the Tel. That's a seriously low bar]