Culture Clash

No Tears for Piers

January 01, 2013

Multiple Pages
No Tears for Piers

Does anyone still watch CNN, or as I call it, That Irritating Background Noise at the Airport?

When news breaks, most folks hurry to the Drudge Report or FOX News (if ten years’ worth of ratings are any indication).

Last week was arguably CNN’s most embarrassing since that time last May when one of its former execs was caught “putting dog feces in a neighbor’s mailbox.”

In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, CNN’s Piers Morgan found a cause: gun control. Now some Americans want him deported. And…

Oh, sorry: You’re wondering who Piers Morgan is.

After cadaverous human punch line Larry King finally retired from his 9PM slot on CNN, many assumed that homegrown known quantities such as Anderson Cooper or Ryan Seacrest would take over.

English guy Piers Morgan got the gig instead. If Americans knew Morgan at all, it was as that other Limey talent-show judge and a winner on Donald Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice.

“Piers Morgan is clearly auditioning for his next gig, on a stage built with the blood and bones of dead children.”

CNN kept stressing Morgan’s journalistic chops; he was the one-time editor of News of the World and the Daily Mirror, after all.

The average American doesn’t know what a “red top” is or realize that the now-defunct and disgraced News of the World was the British National Enquirer but with Princess Margaret taking on the role usually played by Bigfoot and Morgan serving as Eavesdropper in Chief.

Before that, Morgan abused his lofty position at the Mirror to do some insider trading, for which his wrist was merely slapped. He wasn’t so lucky after publishing hoax photos of British troops allegedly torturing Iraqi prisoners—that stunt cost him his job.

Yet Morgan keeps getting new ones, his stint as King’s replacement being the latest and greatest.

At least that was the idea. He signed a three-year, $8-million contract with CNN, but Morgan’s ratings aren’t impressive. He draws half the viewers of Sean Hannity and Rachel Maddow in the same time slot.

With his contract up for renewal this year, Morgan must have been itching for attention, maybe wishing for one of those nigh on unimpeachable “moral panics” of the sort that keep those British tabloids in business.

Along came Adam Lanza.

Morgan immediately took to Twitter, calling for #GunControlNow, assuring followers he was “praying for the children” and, weirdly, claiming one can purchase an AR-15 “at a supermarket in America.”

On his December 19 show, Morgan called the director of Gun Owners of America a “stupid man” for stating—as evidence seems to suggest—that higher gun ownership equals lower crime rates.

All that prompted someone to launch a petition via the White House website calling for Morgan’s deportation, the logic being that he presumably swore allegiance to the Constitution when he moved to the US but is now trying to undermine that document’s Second Amendment.

While claiming to be ignoring this prank, the same man who titled his memoir Don’t You Know Who I Am? keeps Tweeting about the growing number of signatures on the petition. (It’s gaining on 100,000.)

(A counter petition insisting that no one in the UK wants Morgan back has far fewer signatures.)

Weirdly for such a brave, outspoken soul, Morgan has been mute regarding the curious case of his media colleague and fellow gun-hater David Gregory, who a) recently broke a few gun laws by brandishing an empty ammo clip on television and b) sends his kids to a school staffed with armed guards.

Instead, Morgan doubled down and proposed “amending the Bible.”

With his contract renewal a crapshoot, Piers Morgan is clearly auditioning for his next gig, on a stage built with the blood and bones of dead children. He’s cannily positioning himself for martyrdom, serving up a scolding history lesson in the Daily Mail on Sunday:

I’m just the latest target, the advantage to the gun lobbyists being that I’m British, a breed of human being who burned down the White House in 1814 and had to be forcefully deported en masse, as no American will ever be allowed to forget….America’s unique fondness for guns pretty much got cemented by hatred of us Brits and the War of Independence….I can spare those Americans who want me deported a lot of effort by saying this: If you don’t change your gun laws to at least try to stop this relentless tidal wave of murderous carnage, then you don’t have to worry about deporting me….I would…seriously consider deporting myself.

Shortly after Morgan joined CNN, fellow broadcaster Adam Carolla was asked to assess King’s replacement, whose new show was already faltering. Carolla’s instant-classic rant became a minor YouTube hit and is more entertaining than anything Morgan’s ever done.

Carolla bellowed:

Who’s Piers Morgan? We should’ve run you outta here….Who decided we had ‘Chubby-Guy-In-His-50s-From-England-Who-We’ve-Never-Heard-Of’ Fever?’

Carolla then served up an eerily prescient modest proposal that would likely attract far more than 100,000 signatures, not to mention rare bipartisan enthusiasm:

We need to send Ted Nugent to London to annoy them.


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