One if by land, two if by sea and three if by departing by plebiscite. In the case of Piers Morgan, the British is leaving CNN, by the democratic process of declining audience. A prime time television show, even on cable, cannot survive with an audience in fractions of its competitors at Fox and even MSNBC (which has it’s own issues of accruing an audience any larger than that attending a good football game).
For Morgan, as for so many other decisions by media geniuses, the question that comes to mind is always, “Who thought THAT was a good idea?” The runup to his success, replacing the venerable most married man in America Larry King, included a time as editor of the Mirror in the U.K., until he was dismissed over the publication of pictures of Iraqi prisoners being tortured by British soldiers. The photos were false.
Replacing Larry King? It’s not like he was stepping in for Murrow or such. The fate of the Fourth Estate didn’t rest in his hands. But even a tacit handing of the torch to someone who crashed his career in journalism by putting British troops at harm should have been reconsidered. He followed journalism by hosting a couple of talent shows on either side of the so-called Pond. Perfect. Because those two qualities, failed ethics and gameshow host, are just the qualities I’d seek in someone to place in the chair of objective interviews. It really builds credibility.
But Morgan didn’t let a lack of credibility stand in his way of alienating an American audience. He lectured us on gun control and football.. although his form involved a round ball and a great deal of disdain heaped on our gridiron sport.
Those pompous tirades rose to the point of a challenge. He went public with a challenge to America to change our gun laws, or he would self deport. Neither happened. The vote was conducted by the viewers. An audience of a few hundred thousand is not enough to support the cost of a broadcast.. or Morgan’s ego. It was a clean kill for Jeff Zucker to pull the plug.
Morgan seemed to enhance the worst of the pompous Brit that reminds us why we are different, rather than alike. Americans love much that is British.. a new love of the new Royals, James Bond, the Beatles and stilton cheese.
But not Piers Morgan. I raise my Guinness to toast his departure.