Evening Standard lowers itself to a bully’s station
The Jan Moir outrage continues to bubble, with the Daily Mail’s Irish edition distancing itself from the London paper’s columnist this morning, and some of the media’s smarter minds putting to the test Moir’s claim that the fury over her column was actually “heavily orchestrated”. Not like the Mail to orchestrate any campaigns, of course, oh no sireee.
Friday’s regional news version of online outrage – the anger over Tube station worker “Ian from Holborn” being caught humiliating a passenger in front of a platform full of people – has meanwhile, become last week’s dead pixels, with, one presumes, his bosses getting ready to quietly dispense with his services or move him somewhere where he can’t call paying customers “divs”. Which would all seem fair enough. Except… oh look, an orchestrated campaign against him!
Evening Standard, Friday 16 October – Tube man suspended for ‘little git’ rant at trapped passenger: A Tube worker has been caught on camera abusing an elderly passenger, calling him a “jumped- up little git”. The employee lost his temper when the man politely complained about getting his arm stuck in a door for several seconds as he tried to leave a train. Mayor Boris Johnson said he was appalled by the incident. TfL today suspended the worker while it launched an investigation.
Splashed all over the front page of the later editions following the video being passed all around the internet, and Boris’s press officer deciding to intervene on Twitter.
Evening Standard, Monday 19 October – I’m an easygoing Jedi, says Tube worker in abuse row: A London Underground worker accused of launching a foul-mouthed tirade at an elderly passenger describes himself as an “easygoing” type. Ian Morbin, 25, was filmed at Holborn station calling the man a “jumped-up little git” after the customer complained about getting his arm stuck in a Tube door…. On his Facebook profile, which has since been taken down, Mr Morbin describes himself as an “easygoing guy”. The customer service assistant writes: “My future will be in either the driving of Tube trains or trucks. I’m often mistaken for unfriendly because I tend to be quiet, but don’t assume that means I hate you, or that I’m bored!” Mr Morbin says his religion is “Jedi” and his interests include “hauntings”, clubbing, rock music gigs and trucks.
Basically, nothing new has happened, but the Standard managed to peek at his Facebook profile (they weren’t the only ones) and discovered the guy’s a bit of a geek. The Pulitzer Prize is on its way, guys.
And then it goes on… this, I’m reliably informed (the ES is now barely-available in SE London), is today’s early front page lead:
Evening Standard, Tuesday 20 October – Angry passengers: Sack the rudest worker on the Tube: Passengers called today for an abusive Tube worker to be sacked after more commuters came forward with complaints about his behaviour.
As if they hadn’t on Friday?
BBC employee Andrea Lee told the Standard she now avoids the station after Mr Morbin — who claims to be an “easygoing Jedi” on his Facebook profile — once screamed at her: “You’re my f***ing problem.”
Ms Lee, 26, had complained about his treatment of another elderly passenger but said Mr Morbin turned on her angrily and “started screaming and chased me down the platform”.
The “really frightening” incident last month reduced her to tears. She said: “I work in customer services and there’s no way that somebody like him should be working in a job where he has to interact with the public.”
Security officer Liam Felton, 29, said he was told to “walk under a bus” by Mr Morbin earlier this month.
I do wonder if all these concerned citizens had complained to Transport for London before going running to the Standard. And, hold on, I could have called the Standard under a false name, and told them he’d insulted my mother. This isn’t news reporting at all, it’s a campaign to get a man sacked. I had to deal with two rude twerps on the electrical counter at Waitrose in Canary Wharf the other day, but I’m not going to devote blog post after blog post to trying to get them fired. But then the Evening Standard has never liked Tube workers, and here’s a good chance to extend hostilities.
Sure, it doesn’t look as if Mr Morbin is particularly suited to the pressures of dealing with irate punters day in, day out, but the Standard’s massively over-reacting to a single incident that’s only been partially captured on film. Ian Morbin hasn’t killed anyone, he’s not stolen millions of pounds, he hasn’t injured anyone, he’s just, it seems, acted like an idiot and been filmed doing it. This is like trapping a fly under a glass and watching it until it runs out of air and dies. This isn’t responsible reporting, it’s a witch hunt. Even more so, when you open your website pages up to comments like these…
Of course, the stupid thing is that this campaign could make it harder for London Underground to dismiss him – he’s well within his rights to claim he’s been harrassed by the media. Even if Tube bosses were to allow Morbin back onto the platforms – and it’s their call, not the Evening Standard’s – the paper’s campaign would make it impossible for him to do so. How much would it cost London taxpayers to find him a new role, or to train someone new to replace him?
“We will remain the only London newspaper committed to a tradition of high quality journalism,” Standard editor Geordie Greig said when it was announced the paper was
withdrawing from south-east London going free. If his idea of “quality journalism” is picking on an easy target again, again, and again, then the Evening Standard is clearly in worse trouble than I first thought.