Ethics Dunce: Piers Morgan

Hoping to someday be as professional as Larry King.

Hoping to someday be as professional as Larry King.

I know, I know.  It is hardly worth the effort to point out that Piers Morgan is an unprofessional, biased and narrow-minded hack who has accomplished the impossible and managed to make Larry King seem like the late Tim Russert by comparison.  Morgan’s recent demonstration of his ethical and intellectual deficiencies as an interviewer, however, is too extreme to ignore.

Morgan was interviewing Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America regarding the Newtown massacre and discussing possible measures to prevent such tragedies. Angered and frustrated by Pratt’s insistence that eliminating so-called “gun-free zones,” such as the one where the fatal shooting took place, and arming teachers would do more to prevent future such tragedies than tougher gun laws, Morgan suddenly resorted to name calling and insults, such as…

  • You are talking complete and utter nonsense….
  • You’re an unbelievably stupid man, aren’t you?…
  • What a ridiculous argument. You have absolutely no coherent argument whatsoever. You don’t give a damn, do you, about the gun murder rate in America. You don’t actually care….
  • It’s complete nonsense….
  • I know why sales of these weapons have been soaring in the last few days. It’s down to idiots like you….
  • You are a dangerous man espousing dangerous nonsense, and you shame your country.

This is neither professional interviewing nor legitimate debate. It is would be bullying under any circumstances, but for the host of a CNN interview program, Morgan’s words are badges of ineptitude, incivility and incompetence. Pratt, whose proposal is certainly self-serving, unrealistic and flawed (though no more unrealistic and flawed than what Morgan was advocating), managed to be civil and measured throughout, even while Morgan was haranguing and insulting him.

Morgan has plenty of company. In the aftermath of the most recent mass murder by a disturbed outcast, the arguments of anti-gun advocates have frequently consisted of appeals to pure panic and emotion rather than to deal analytically with a complicated problem. Piers Morgan, however, is not Code Pink; he is nominally a journalist. His job is to illuminate and explore, not to insist that he’s right, spew invective and hold his breath until he turns blue. An intelligent interviewer would confront Pratt about the obvious difficulties in his plan, not rely on irrelevant differences in the gun violence levels in the United States and Great Britain. A professional interviewer would have the skills to plumb the shallowness of Pratt’s remedies with probing questions, rather than suddenly snapping and calling his guest—that’s guest, Piers— names. An interviewer with honesty and integrity would have conceded that Adam Lanza’s attack would probably not have been prevented by tougher gun laws, since his own efforts to buy a gun were blocked by existing laws, and he obtained the weapons belonging to  his mother, who was a legal and responsible gun owner. A fair and objective interviewer  would have also conceded that in this case, a trained teacher or principal with a weapon and a marksman’s eye would have been handy to have around. That wouldn’t require him to accept Pratt’s Wild West solution, but it would have shown that he was capable of analysis and thought, both commodities that routinely elude Morgan.

Finally, an interviewer who wasn’t a witless, arrogant ass wouldn’t have felt that the best way to win an argument was to by-pass reason and just start insulting a guest because he didn’t agree with him.

Here is the video.


Source: Reason

23 thoughts on “Ethics Dunce: Piers Morgan

  1. “Adam Lanza’s attack would probably not have been prevented by tougher gun laws, since his own efforts to buy a gun were blocked by existing laws, and he obtained the weapons belonging to his mother, who was a legal and responsible gun owner.”

    If she had been a responsible gun owner she would have had her guns locked away where nobody, including her psychiatrically ill son, would have been able to get hold of them.

      • I’ll second that.

        My dad had plenty of firearms and I knew where they were.

        His firearm education for me had some initial instructions:
        Don’t point a gun at anything you aren’t willing or need to shoot.
        Don’t hand anyone a loaded weapon.
        This isn’t a toy.

        Those lessons were once in a blue moon. Because the more important lessons had nothing to do with firearms:

        Respect everyone else
        Value everyone
        Protect the weak

        Then he followed all those lessons up with unquestionable personal morality, consistency and quality father-son time.

  2. And yet, no leading figure in the ‘ethically’ guided mass media will seriously call him on his conduct.

    They’ll pay lip service by noting in passin an ‘unorthodox aggressive style’ or some other hand wave.

    • To be fair, nobody called Larry King on his conduct either, and he was unprepared, out-of date, pandering, and hopelessly inane when not covering celebrity fluff. What made King tolerable is that if he had illusions of ability, he didn’t show it. Morgan is arrogant and really doesn’t know what a fool he is. I think Larry at least suspected.

  3. I’ll be even more fair. There’s a lot that the mainstream media pulls that will never be called out by anyone in the mainstream media.

    I will say about the only from Larry King that amused me was the 3rd party debates.

    Jill Stein “I want everything to be free, especially education. And go marijuana!!!”

    Virgil Goode “We don’t like immigrants and we love levitical law!!! No marijuana!!!”

    Rocky Anderson “I’m a democrat that doesn’t like wealthy campaign donors, which is why all my votes will go to Obama and I don’t have enough money o pay my campaign staff, my loving wife… Who may or may not vote for Obama…. Oh yeah, go marijuana!!!”

    Gary Johnson “why am I on stage with these loons? I really really want everyone to just do what they want. But I won’t promise anyone any handouts….why aren’t y’all listening to me anymore? Uh… Go marijuana!!!”

  4. Jack,

    Just curious if you’ve seen this appalling article/news report. I know you and I are probably in disagreement on the gun control issue, but there’s something terribly amiss when parents go on television, label mentally ill people a “public health threat,” and openly fantasize about killing their 13-year-old son, but still manage to find the time to defend guns. If only they would defend their child as well!

    • I agree, Joe. I see little difference between these parents and Lisa Long. A doctor would be obligated to keep the details of their son’s problems confidential, and they should feel the same obligation. Now the 13 year old has a video he can always watch where his parents tell the world how crazy and dangerous he is.

  5. What I don’t understand is why Pratt sat there and took that abuse. In his place, I’d have knocked his lousy block off… right on national television. Interviewers have the right to ask hard questions, but they also have the obligation to ask them fairly AND to show respect for a guest who’s observing common civility. Morgan is cruisin’ for a bruisin’. The sooner the better, too.

      • Why? It’s one thing to discuss issues like gentlemen. It’s another to come on a set expecting to do his, only to be subjected to a savage verbal attack by some expatriate marxist who wants to grind his axe on your face. A host has responsibility for his conduct as well as the guest. Morgan tried to slander Pratt before the entire nation with lies and deceit. Pratt is more of a gentleman than I am, I guess. Damn straight, I would have kicked his butt. Right on the air. One good turn deserves another.

    • That one sounds like it will just depress me, like “Falling Down.”

      I had never realized that Joel Murray was one of Bill’s brothers, but I knew he had at least two performing siblings. John, who looks like Bill, plays Bill’s brother in “Scrooged.” Bill’s older brother, Brian Murray, plays Bill’s father in “Scrooged,” plays the MC of the groundhog ceremony in “Groundhog Day,” used to do the “Weekend Update” on SNL, and has been in more movies and TV shows than Bill.

      • Oh, Morgan is toast. His ratings are in the toilet, he’s a British chauvinist, one of these days his shady past will finally catch up to him, but most of all, he’s just not likable. Larry was an amiable dunce, but he was a very nice man, and you could forgive a lot. I’ll bet Morgan doesn’t last the year.

        • With all due respect, Jack, I’ve heard that one before. His very aura of “controversy”- plus his unrelenting advocacy of a prime leftist cause- will not only attract him followers, but make him unassailable- if history is any guide. If his network takes him off the air now, they lose face among their own prime viewing audience. Maybe later (much later) they can ease him out on one excuse or another, but I’d think that they’re stuck with him for the forseeable future. I’d like to think that you’re right, though! Even so, he’d probably be replaced with someone no better.

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