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Piers Morgan’s deserved fall from grace

Here’s why the CNN gig didn’t work out: Morgan was too rude. A lot of Brits go to America and presume that a) all Americans are fake and b) they’ll appreciate someone explaining to them what’s wrong with their country. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Oh, Americans can take criticism – which is why Christopher Hitchens and John Oliver flourished out there. But they’re not “fakes” and they don’t like being told by foreigners that they’re “messed up”. Who would? Americans are, nine-times-on-ten, honestly nice people who appreciate good manners. Be polite to them and tell them how much you like their country before you offer any spiky observations about their (often) bizarre way of life. In other words, act like a polite guest would. Not like the jerk who turns up uninvited to the party, helps themselves to a beer from the fridge and starts asking the host why his kids are so fat.

To rudeness, Piers added arrogance. Take the guns debate. When the Sandy Hook massacre happened it was right for Morgan to broadcast about it and, as a Brit, he was entitled to raise questions about America’s gun laws. But he acted as though no one had ever thought to discuss the subject before. Like, ever. He tried to make gun control his own personal crusade, to “school” the Americans on law and order. And he displayed a crass insensitivity towards issues such as the importance of the Constitution or the American tradition of self-reliance. The scale of his ego was extraordinary. No US liberal has ever managed to challenge their country’s fundamental respect for gun ownership. Why did he imagine that a guy with an English accent – the accent of George III no less – would succeed where Bill Clinton, Teddy Kennedy or Barack Obama had failed?

To put it more succinctly, Piers Morgan is a supercilious tosser. Quite why CNN bosses imagined he would be a hit in the US is beyond me. And even Tim Stanley’s article, linked to here, is a bit patronising. Americans do indeed have their oddities, but so does every national grouping. The mark of a good journalist is to understand them thoroughly first.

Morgan is also an example of why the idea of a common “Anglosphere” culture has its limits. He might as well come from Mars, as far as many people are concerned.

43 comments to Piers Morgan’s deserved fall from grace

  • PeterT

    He might as well come from Mars, as far as many people are concerned.

    I always thought so and I’m British.

    Anyway, not a bad few weeks all in all, with Morgan being fired and Crow kicking the bucket.

  • Paul Marks

    The real problem with Mr Morgan was not his rudeness (there is a market for that) or even his arrogance – it was his crass ignorance of the subjects he concentrated on. He did not know anything about “Gun Control” in Conn, or any other State.

    He is also a socialist (an ex editor of the socialist Daily Mirror newspaper) – but of a British sort. He tried to appeal to ordinary people (in Britain many socialists have been ordinary people) – not understanding that in the United States socialism is a doctrine of the elite (Ivy League people with trust funds). There is a market for socialism in America – but among the elite, and Mr Morgan did not market himself (could not market himself) to the intellectual elite.

    Sadly CNN seems to have learned nothing – and is actually turning further LEFT.

    Stations such as CNN do not seem to care about ratings – but why should they?

    Due to “bundling” – people who do-not-want CNN still pay for it.

    For example to see Fox News I get CNN “free” – i.e. even though I do not want CNN I still pay for it (and, to add insult to injury, my sat provider tells me I am getting CNN “free”).

    Whilst this system (both on sat and on cable) remains – so with pointless television stations such as CNN.

    Only when most people are able to pay for just want they want (not with what they do NOT want flung in “free”) will CNN go.

  • lowlylowlycook

    I’m no expert in the business of cable media, but I’d be surprised if CNN’s ratings don’t enter into the negotiations between them and the cable providers not to mention ad revenue.

  • Americans are, nine-times-on-ten, honestly nice people who appreciate good manners.

    The Americans, particularly from the south and even more particularly from Texas (where they are supposed to be dumbass rednecks) are probably the most polite people in the English-speaking world. One of the things the left never acknowledged about Dubya was that he was unfailingly polite and had impeccable manners. These things matter, IMO.

  • I’m so sad at this unwelcome development. The worthless bastard will probably move back to the UK :(

  • Carnwennan

    ‘Morgan is also an example of why the idea of a common “Anglosphere” culture has its limits’.

    I don’t really get this inference. Morgan is now considered a weapons grade bell-end on both sides of the Atlantic, how is that any kind of limit on our shared culture.

  • M. Thompson

    If he moves back to the UK, will he face charges for the things he did as an editor?

    Yeah, and whole idea of being impolite to the audience, just doesn’t make sense, unless you’re Don Rickles, where the schtick is that you’re mean in public.

  • Rob

    Arrogance, condescension and ignorance very often travel together.

  • RRS

    “fall from grace”

    What “Grace?”

    When will the airport terminals and waiting rooms change channels?
    Those are the only sustaining ratings sources for CNN.

    Oh! and Tim Newman, thank you for your observation on Southern social habits in the U S. As one raised there, beginning ninety years ago, in that extensively segregated period in the “Old South,” it is gratifying that others appreciate what that culture has produced. And, to some large extent, that culture derived directly from England where it could be found again as late as the early 70′s.

  • Tono-Bungay


    Quite why CNN bosses imagined he would be a hit in the US is beyond me.

    Never underestimate the power of a British accent in America, George III variety or otherwise. No fooling.

    I’m pretty sure the idea on CNN’s part was that Morgan’s British accent would excuse a lot in the way of obnoxious behaviour, not to mention that Americans have a lot of respect for “foreign experts” (or “outsiders;” you choose) when it comes to commentary on American culture. Also, when you come from a foreign country and walk around in the US, you can get away with a great deal that a native cannot because you’re from a different culture and Americans are generally good about making allowances for that.

    I also suspect a fair number of Americans are perfectly aware of just how odd they look when viewed through the eyes of the outside world and can take a joke.

    That said, like anything else, redeeming qualities like a British accent and a fresh perspective only go so far and, even though a man (or, indeed, an entire country) might smell bad at times, there are ways to tell a man/country they smell so as to evoke an at least somewhat positive reaction (as opposed to an entirely negative one).

    Anyway, deserving or not, I do have a sneaking sympathy for the fellow, as there’s no greater shock for a man than his learning that he’s not half as clever as he thinks he is. With any luck, he’ll use this opportunity for some Serious Self-Reflection and comport himself in a non-tosspot manner in the future.

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    I’m normally a fairly tolerate guy, but Morgan gets on my nerves. Largely I’m concerned that he’ll give Americans the impression that all Brits are monumental douches. It has long been an ambition of mine to emigrate to one of the gun-friendly parts of the US, and I worry he’ll poison the well for me, so to speak.

    He is the living embodiment of the sneering, mother-knows-best, right-on, public-school, bien pensant, left-wing, “child of privilege whose convinced he’s a man of the people”, peculiarly British variety of ultra-authoritarianism.

    He’s everything I’m opposed to, wrapped up in one smug little package. He perfectly epitomises everything I hate about Britain. To turn Britain into utopia overnight, all you need do is subtract everything found in Piers Morgan, wherever you find it. He’s the Platonic form of everything that’s wrong with this country.

  • veryretired

    Wouldn’t know this guy if I tripped over him. I don’t watch CNN much, or any cable news, for that matter, because most of what they broadcast is speculation, rumors, and trivial sensationalism.

    We are observing the spectacle of a great and powerful enterprise committing slow suicide for the sake of an ideological commitment.

    Several other members of the legacy media are joining them in this self-immolation. It is passing strange…

  • Eric

    I’m not surprised Morgan fit right in with the leftists at CNN. They think their mission isn’t so much to inform their customers as to educate their customers, in the “I’m going to tell you what to think and if you don’t agree you’re an idiot” sense.

    I am surprised anyone would think a guy who’s pretty much loathed in his native land would be a good bet for his own show in the US.

  • APL

    “Americans are, nine-times-on-ten, honestly nice people who appreciate good manners.”

    The exact opposite of the creep Piers Morgan, by the sound of it.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Oh, Perry, I do sympathize. Still, chin up, my dear. God sends us these things to build character. :( :(

  • Nick BTF! Gray

    Julie, that begs the question- what parts of his character don’t you like? Perry probably thinks he’s perfect now, and doesn’t need building. Still, perhaps this will simply test his character, and prove to the rest of us what a wonderful person he is.
    As for Piers Morgan, why not send him to Scotland, Labour’s heartland?

  • jdm

    Just before arriving here, I happened to see Pat Condell’s A society of cowards and veryretired’s comment seems to be lacking scope. I think we are observing the spectacle of a[ll sorts of] great and powerful enterprise[s] committing slow suicide for the sake of an ideological commitment.

  • Tono-Bungay


    Wouldn’t know this guy if I tripped over him. I don’t watch CNN much, or any cable news, for that matter, because most of what they broadcast is speculation, rumors, and trivial sensationalism.

    I think CNN has become a victim of the 24-hour news cycle that it helped to create 35 years ago. :(

    Anyway, yes, the ratio of hard news (i.e. facts) to speculation, rumour, and gossip fobbed off as news is depressingly low on CNN, as anyone who has ever been stuck in any sort of waiting room for an extended period can tell you.

    (As an aside, my idea of Hell is simply an enormous waiting room with CNN blaring away on television sets scattered throughout the place that have been cranked up to concert hall volume. Perhaps I’m guilty of setting the bar for intolerable circumstances too low?)

    Of course, TV is largely about selling ads, so I suspect that CNN is a dream come true for advertisers regardless of the programming content; the salesdroids that go around flogging advertising airtime for it can pretty much guarantee a large captive group of eyeballs for the folks anxious to create anxiety in other people and compel them to buy things they don’t actually need.
    As RRS pointed out earlier in the comments, airport terminals and waiting rooms aren’t likely to change channels anytime soon.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Oh dear, Nick, Perry’s character is already as near perfection as mortals’ characters are allowed to come. But ongoing training IS necessary if one is to keep in shape, you know.

    As to what to do with Piers, why not simply install a bunch of pilings to hold him up, and then tie boats to him?

  • Richard Thomas

    When people ask me about him, I say I left the UK to get away from people like him.

  • Laird

    “Largely I’m concerned that he’ll give Americans the impression that all Brits are monumental douches.”

    A reasonable concern, given that all most of us know about Brits is Morgan and Simon Cowell.

  • Julie near Chicago

    And Quiller. And, of course, Bertie. I would include the Messrs. Baggins & Co., but I have to exclude them on minor detail that, technically, they aren’t British*.

    And, oh yes, Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean. :>)))

    *Although being born on British soil and of distinctly British parentage, in what sense exactly are they NOT British?

  • AngryTory

    as a Brit, he was entitled to raise questions about America’s gun laws.

    Of course he wasn’t – or at least not the way he did. The right to own, carry, and use any man-portable weapon in the US is a constitutionally protected right. He deserves as much respect as if he was a Yank going over to the UK to insist the English should give up football and watch gridiron instead.

    the “Old South,” it is gratifying that others appreciate what that culture has produced.

    knowing you will be shot for offending your hosts tends to produce politeness. Just another advantage of the US, especially the gun owning (and more importantly, gun using) South.

    he’ll use this opportunity for some Serious Self-Reflection and comport himself in a non-tosspot manner in the future.

    get a grip. There’s only one language communists / loyalists/ intellectual terrorists like Morgan understand. Only one.
    But at least in the US it is constitutionally protected. There’s a reason why Morgan never even visited the South – it would have been a one-way trip.

  • John K

    Angry Tory:

    It wasn’t so much that he questioned US gun laws, but that he treated any American who believed in the right to keep and bear arms as a knuckle dragging moron, and was then surprised that they tended, on the whole, to hate him back.

  • There’s a reason why Morgan never even visited the South – it would have been a one-way trip.

    An irresistible-urge-to-nitpick alert: wasn’t he working in Atlanta?

  • PeterT

    Here’s an idea. Lets raise a few hundred grand through kickstarter with the objective of paying for an advert in US media apologising for inflicting Piers Morgan on them. Sounds doable.

  • CharlieL

    Thanks for the thought, PeterT, but just knowing you on the other side of the pond hold the same opinion of Mr. Morgan as do we is more than sufficient.

  • Tono-Bungay


    Here’s an idea. Lets raise a few hundred grand through kickstarter with the objective of paying for an advert in US media apologising for inflicting Piers Morgan on them. Sounds doable.

    Hmmmmm. I wonder what a “Brits for Guns” group might do in the way of furthering Anglo-American relations? [muses thoughtfully]

    A few hundred grand would buy quite a lot in the way of political influence these days, what with American politicians being some of the most reasonably-priced politicians in the world (Will Rogers once asserted they were the best that money could buy).

    Anyway, if his corporate masters have picked up the Clue Phone and intend to keep him out of the limelight (e.g. he’s made CNN’s exciting new Antarctic Circle correspondent), Mr. Morgan will likely be forgotten by the end of summer (if it takes even that long).

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    There is already a “Brits for Guns” group to be found here.

    I was a member for a while under the handle “Scottish Voluntaryist”. Nice enough folk, but I don’t see their campaign going anywhere.

    When it comes down to it, Britons want authoritarian governments because it makes them feel powerful by proxy (even though the effect on the individual is exactly the opposite).

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    Sorry I butchered that link. It should read

    http://www.armbritain.com/

  • Tono-Bungay


    There is already a “Brits for Guns” group to be found here.

    What I had in mind was more a lobbying group for ex-pats living in the US who didn’t want to endure the same thing in the US that they had already experienced in the UK (i.e. de facto disarmament of the civilian population, with the expected result).

    Sorry I wasn’t clearer about that. :-[


    I was a member for a while under the handle “Scottish Voluntaryist”. Nice enough folk, but I don’t see their campaign going anywhere.

    I’m not suprised. Call me Mr. Cynical, but for me, the Tony Martin case was an unmistakeable sign that gun rights and the right to self-defence were dead and done for in the UK. I mean: stand around in the dark and try to work out whether a) the people who’ve broken into your home for the umpteenth time are merely there for the portables (again) or b) this time they’re there to rape and kill you and yours? No thank you; if you break into someone’s home, you deserve everything you get, full stop. Any society that sanctions home invasions and treats criminals with more consideration than it treats victims is doomed to extinction, as far as I can see; I can only hope that I’m looking at it all wrong.

    The only practical hope, in my opinion, is for people who understand how guns really work (i.e. the social aspects of gun ownership, not the mechanical aspects of the guns themselves) to move to the US and make damned sure the same thing doesn’t happen there.

    Just as you say, Britons have, by and large, chosen an authoritarian form of government, one that is supposed to protect them from the predators. Only it hasn’t worked out that way simply because even authoritarian governments can’t be everywhere at once (though it’s not for lack of trying in the UK, certainly; wave to the camera, everyone!). That’s assuming, of course, that they view their subjects as worthy of protection, as opposed to being mere bank accounts with legs who exist only to be fleeced at will.

    Personally, I can’t see the point in sticking around and trying to change minds when it’s obvious that the system that’s currently in place is exactly the one that the voters asked for. That is not to say I’m not filled with admiration for people willing to grit their teeth and stick it out: I am. It’s
    just that I myself am not temperamentally suited to standing around and patiently explaining to people why the system they willingly support works contrary to their own interests, that’s all.

  • “I’m pretty sure the idea on CNN’s part was that Morgan’s British accent would excuse a lot in the way of obnoxious behaviour…”

    Americans don’t mind plain-spoken Brits — Simon Cowell is tolerated, Jeremy Clarkson is welcomed, even though both take potshots at the U.S. all the time — but you have to be really careful that it doesn’t step into rudeness. Clarkson in particular skates close to the line, but to be honest, most of his jabs are at American cars and trucks — which, if we’re honest, are fair game.

    But there’s a REALLY fine line between “plain-spoken” and “rude”, most especially when it comes to our Constitution. Having some supercilious twerp lecture us on guns, for example, is unacceptable. The LEft always says “we need to have a conversation about guns” which, translated means, “Shuit up while we scream at you and take your guns away.” In actual fact, what Morgan et al. don’t realize is that we’ve already had a conversation about guns, and like most things American, we leave it to the market to do the talking. When the likes of Ruger and Smith&Wesson can’t keep up with demand for their products, you can be sure that Americans are indeed having a “conversation” about guns, and that conversation is, “talk all you want, but I’m going to buy more guns”.

    When Barack Obama came to power, my very first act was to buy an AK-47 and 5,000 rounds of ammo for it. As it turned out, I was just one of the first. The minute government starts talking about gun control, Americans buy more guns. That Piers Morgan missed that significant feature of the American character speaks words about his ignorance and his condescension.

    We take our Constitution seriously, some parts more than others. But the part we take REALLY seriously is the Second Amendment.

  • I don’t think that I’d give up on the Anglosphere quite yet. Jackass is a job description throughout the English speaking word, even if it’s spelled Prat or Tosser.

    The difference is that American Jackasses/Prats/Tossers don’t get past the screen. A certain type of Englishman – coincidentally someone who looks and sounds like Piers – gets a leg up on jobs, chicks, arguments you name it in the US.

    My brother is young enough to have picked up a rather plummy English accent (I was already set in my Oklahoma brogue when we went to English schools) and he always says that having his accent was worth ten IQ points and a million dollars at the job interview or pickup bar.

    Of course it doesn’t last so milk it for all it’s worth.

  • Achillea

    I can make a guess at CNN’s thinking. It probably went something like this. “Simon Cowell is rude, has a British accent, and is popular. This Morgan guy is rude and has a British accent, therefore he will be popular, too.” Which overlooks the fact that Cowell usually at least seemed to know what he was talking about. Morgan, on the other hand, obviously had his head so far up his ass he’d have to unzip to brush his teeth.

  • Cowell almost always knows what he is talking about, which is the entertainment business, both US and UK. Also, he is not a journalist, but a judge in a talent show. And, I never found him rude – at worst, direct and blunt, which in fact what makes him popular, despite the protestations to the contrary. Lastly, I never found him to be anti-American either.

    As to Piers, if it were not for airport waiting rooms, who cares and why? Still, good riddance.

  • Fred Z

    Downton Abbey first aired on ITV in the United Kingdom and Ireland on 26 September 2010 and on PBS in the United States on 9 January 2011.

    Morgan began hosting Piers Morgan Live on CNN on 17 January 2011.

    He looks and sounds somewhat like Hugh Bonneville.

    I wonder if the silly putzes at CNN got them mixed up.

  • llamas

    KduT’s comment reminds me that Jeremy Clarkson famously despises Morgan, to the extent that he once punched him in the face at an awards function in the UK, over a story that had appeared in the Daily Mirror, of which Morgan was then editor.

    If Clarkson thinks he deserves a good smacking, he must be a real tossed. That’s quite a move for the goalposts. I like Clarkson ‘s TV persona but there’s no denying his rude and offensive side.

    Second all other inputs about the effects of a plummy BBC accent in the USA – for a man, anyway. The effect is more pronounced in the South.

    llater,

    llamas

  • Nick BTF! Gray

    You sometimes see libertarian ideas leaking through in the most unlikely programs. I remember a ‘New tricks’ episode where pro-gun viewpoints were presented, supposedly by ice cream companies! ‘Brits for Guns’ might have a bigger home audience than you think…

  • walter

    His problem was the one most non-americans have, he didn’t understand our relationship to the constitution.

  • Richard Thomas

    I think it’s time for a British pro-firearm agenda also.

  • Tarrou

    Well, I as an American have a great love for british entertainment. I don’t mind the accent, and I can take good-natured ribbing of my country just fine. I’ve been all over the globe, and if you can’t laugh at yourself, you don’t get far. We get it though, Brits hate guns, boo dee hoo. It goes without saying, or we wish it would, because some of them seem so determined to remind us. The thing is, we disagree. And the optics of the guys who we kicked out for trying to take our guns coming back around for another go two hundred years later is pretty poor. Brits couldn’t take American guns when they had the preeminent military in the world. Now that the geopolitical boot is on the other foot, it seems like sour grapes to whine about it.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Au contraire! Mr. Morgan in 2011:

    “I’m Not One of the 1%, Really I’m Not!”

    DON’T JUST READ ALL ABOUT IT — SEE THE (SHORT) VIDEO, HERE!

  • Julie near Chicago

    PS. Mr. Morgan should be forgiven at a minimum two months’ demerits, for making a fool out of — well — don’t want to give it away. ;>)