Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Will Not Even Liberals Mourn Piers Morgan’s Departure From CNN?

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No tears, apparently, are being shed for Piers Morgan (shown). After three years of his arrogant hectoring, lecturing, preaching, and screeching, CNN finally decided to pull the plug on Piers Morgan Live and let the rude and annoying Brit join the Obama unemployment lines. Even liberals, it seems, are glad to see him go, perceiving that he’s done their causes more harm than good with his obnoxious penchant for insult and sanctimonious posturing.

David Carr at the New York Times remarked, “There have been times when the CNN host Piers Morgan didn’t seem to like America very much — and American audiences have been more than willing to return the favor.” Carr is being overly charitable; it wasn’t merely that “there have been times” that Morgan “didn’t seem to like America very much.” It was pretty much an all-the-time demand by the hypercritical Brit that America be remade according to his “progressive” dictates. Morgan particularly rubbed his American audience the wrong way with his fixations on racism, homosexual rights, and guns. Especially guns. Morgan turned his anti-gun fixation into a crusade, in which he rudely attacked his “guests” in fits of name-calling, saying, for instance, to Larry Pratt, the executive director of Gun Owners of America, “You’re an unbelievably stupid man, aren’t you?” It was vintage Piers Morgan.

Well, it backfired. Morgan admitted as much to the Times. “It’s been a painful period and lately we have taken a bath in the ratings,” he told Carr. “Look, I am a British guy debating American cultural issues, including guns, which has been very polarizing, and there is no doubt that there are many in the audience who are tired of me banging on about it.” Yes, very, very tired, by all indicators.

“Mr. Morgan’s approach to gun regulation was more akin to King George III, peering down his nose at the unruly colonies and wondering how to bring the savages to heel,” noted Carr. “He might have wanted to recall that part of the reason the right to bear arms is codified in the Constitution is that Britain was trying to disarm the citizenry at the time.”

Carr added, “We don’t look for moral leadership from CNN, or from a British host on a rampage.” This rebuke is noteworthy in that it emanates from the Times, which has been on the anti-gun rampage since long before Piers Morgan landed on our shores. 

Eric Wemple at the Washington Post indicted Morgan for “pettiness,” “general unpleasantness,” and acting “boorishly.”

“There are a couple of problems with being a jerk,” Wemple noted. “Given the absence of a coherent worldview on Morgan’s show, the allure defaults to the host and his personality. If that personality isn’t compelling, people probably won’t tune in. And bookings get harder to pull off, too. How many displays of rudeness could Morgan propagate till celebrities and politicians start saying no, thanks?”

Wemple says that Morgan’s demise at CNN was “inevitable.” 

Over at NPR, media correspondent David Folkenflik noted that Morgan “didn't give the sense and the feel that he really enjoyed or admired his new country and his viewers, his fellow Americans.”

“And so,” commented the liberal journalist, “when he's hectoring them on gun rights, even for people who might have some sympathies for where he's coming from, they felt that this is a guy who's just lecturing us as opposed to this guy who's advocating a point of view held by many Americans.”

Former Naderite and current Slate/MSNBC commentator David Weigel wasted no time with subtlety. His column headline on February 24: “Shut Up, Piers: Thank goodness Piers Morgan Live is dead. Finally.”

Weigel said that after the news broke that Morgan’s CNN stint was over, “I searched Twitter to find how his fans were taking it. This was a mistake. Really, who was a Piers Morgan fan? Have you ever met one? No, reaction to CNN’s scheduling news ran the gamut from suppressed glee to running-naked-through-the-streets glee, from gun lovers declaring victory over the 'Brit' to nonpartisan journalists reminiscing about Morgan’s finest ethical lapses.”

Weigel sees Morgan’s primetime show as “a marriage of checkout-line hype with complete pointlessness."

Zack Beauchamp at the ultra-left Think Progress, in a 2012 column entitled “Why Piers Morgan Is Terrible, In Five Interviews,” summed up Piers Morgan Live thusly: “Piers’ 9 PM hour has been a ratings mess and a trainwreck, a perfect storm of substanceless, venal chatter glued together by Morgan’s uncanny ability to make everything about him.”

Even His CNN Staffers Cheered His Demise

Finally, although more in the “gossip” category, since it hails from anonymous sources, comes this report from the New York Daily News, headlined “Piers Morgan Live staffers actually happy CNN canceled show: sources.” The subtitle to the piece declares: “One insider says the bombastic Brit was 'always such an a------- to people working for him' — especially the makeup girls. Confidenti@l hears Morgan's bad attitude and low ratings led to the show's demise.”

“His own co-workers are glad he’s getting the boot,” says the Daily News story. “Staffers at Piers Morgan Live are actually relieved that CNN has canceled the show, sources tell Confidenti@l.”

“The makeup girls suffered the worst — he was rude and belligerent,” according to the Daily News source. “The general feeling is Morgan didn’t show any respect to anyone working under him — the people who were trying to make him look good.”

It is not difficult to believe the Daily News report; Piers Morgan exudes arrogance, an unappealing sense of superiority and self-importance. When interviewing “the great and the good” — Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Warren Buffett, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — he turns into a fawning, obsequious sycophant, failing to ask any of the obvious probing questions. On the other hand, when interviewing those of lesser stature with whom he disagrees, he does not hesitate to descend into bullying, haranguing, and insulting, calling them “gutless twirps,” “idiots,” and worse. 

Still, Morgan has his delusions of grandeur, telling the Times’ David Carr, “I’d like to do work — interviews with big celebrities and powerful people — that is better suited to what I do well.” His own hopeful musings notwithstanding, it is doubtful that American audiences will ever consider this self-absorbed, offensive, British tabloid "journalist" ready for prime time.

Photo of Piers Morgan: AP Images

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