“Should CNN Fire Piers Morgan?” It Should, But It Can’t.

If only.

If only.

In the wake of the tsunami of criticism directed at CNN talk show host Piers Morgan for his anti-gun rantings, particularly during his interview with Gun Owners of America president Larry Pratt, Slate posted a Quora response to the question, “Should CNN Fire Piers Morgan?” from internet entrepreneur Mark Rogowski, who begins his answer (summary: “no”) with the rejoinder, “For what? For having an opinion?”

No, Morgan should be fired for allowing his opinion to lure him into thoroughly rude, unprofessional, abusive and inappropriate interview practices, which a major news network like CNN shouldn’t permit, endorse, tolerate or risk recurring. That’s why.

CNN can’t trust Morgan not to disgrace CNN, because when presented with a position he doesn’t like but also doesn’t have the wit or facts at his disposal to challenge, his interview technique is likely to devolve into insults and name-calling, as his session with Pratt did.

“…If he should be fired, it’s because CNN could make more money in his time slot doing something else, not because he called some guy stupid,” Rogowski argues, making it clear that he also thinks Pratt is stupid, so Morgan’s incivility and abuse practices are okey-dokey. Whether or not Pratt is stupid isn’t the issue. I think Michele Bachman is stupid. I think Joe Biden is stupid. But if I’m the host of a news interview program, I have to be civil and fair to them, and if I set out to show they are stupid, I better be able to do it professionally and not in the manner of a playground bully, which is what Morgan did to Pratt. Does Rogowski not believe that a material deficit in professional standards is sufficient cause to fire a high-profile employee in any industry? Apparently so.

Yet CNN can’t fire Morgan now, even though it should. The reason is the same reason that Slate published Rogowski’s commentary: the existence of a hypocritical petition in which ignorant conservatives and gun enthusiasts are calling for Morgan to be not just fired but deported, not because he is an embarrassingly incompetent interviewer (after all, we would also have to deport Al Sharpton, David Letterman, Savannah Guthrie, Chris Matthews, Steve Doocy, Matt Lower….hey, wait a minute…!!), but because he dared to attack the Second Amendment. If CNN fired Morgan now, it would appear that he was being dismissed for expressing an unpopular opinion, and that CNN was compromising its integrity as a news organization. If the mouth-foaming gun nuts had only avoided signing a silly petition that rejects the First Amendment in order to protect the Second, CNN would be professionally and ethically obligated to treat Morgan like the hack he is, and sack him (not that they would).

Like the incompetent employee who can’t be fired because he was immunized by becoming a whistleblower, Morgan is the beneficiary of one of those workplace ethical anomalies in which an employer would be perceived as unethical by doing the right thing, and thus dares not do it. The incompetent worker’s firing would be seen as retaliation for his whistleblowing, just as Morgan’s firing would be taken as proof that CNN will sacrifice integrity for popularity, and will punish honesty if it generates too much criticism. Once the petition made Morgan a symbol of journalistic independence, his incompetence became secondary.

Morgan’s critics, by focusing on the content of his remarks rather than his amateurish method of delivering it, ensured that CNN and its audience will be stuck with him for a long, long time.

11 thoughts on ““Should CNN Fire Piers Morgan?” It Should, But It Can’t.

  1. Hey, watch it. MOST of us didn’t sign that petition. What about OUR conduct? Shouldn’t it count for something?
    Morgan is rude, biased and a bully. Since he was hired and because of CNN’s unprofessional behavior I’ve convinced all of my doctors’ offices and other medical waiting rooms (I’m a retired guy and transport a lot of sick people to appointments) to stop running CNN on their TVs. THAT’s much better than signing a stupid petition.

  2. I watched the interview when it aired and I was very shocked and surprised by Piers’ conduct and lack of professionalism. It’s a real shame that he has provided his opponents with such easy ammunition. His conduct undermines the more effective arguments being offered by others on gun control. His actions will server as confirmation that “the crazy lefties are trying to take our guns away.”

    Even more ridiculous is fact that the nuttier of his opponents seemed to have completely missed the boat by creating this petition. If your read on CNN’s predicament is correct, they’ve essentially handed him a ‘Get out of Jail Free’ card.

    Despite that, I am not 100% sure firing him would be the right move. But I’d certainly like to see him apologize, up his game, and move on.

    • He’s also a dirtbag, Yardley. As though we have to import them for lack of enough domestic ones! However, am I to understand that the primary basis of your objection is that Morgan’s conduct will adversely affect the campaign to overturn the Bill of Rights? That’s along the lines of Monica Lewinsky’s father, whose first reaction to his daughter’s seduction and nationwide humiliation was his worry that Clinton’s re-election chances would be hurt. What comes first, Yardley? Moral outrage… or political expediency? If the latter (as it seems) then you are a True Blue Statist.

  3. I am not aware of any campaign to overturn the Bill of Rights. Was that hyperbole?

    That aside, it is possible to feel moral outrage (emotion) and recognize political expediency (logic) simultaneously.

    • I’m assuming this comment is in replay to SMP, because there is nothing in the post about “any campaign to overturn the Bill of Rights.” By the way. Morgan has only refused to apologize, but has doubled down. He now suggests that the criticism directed at him is due to anti-British bias, because students in the US are indoctrinated to hate the Brits because they burned Washington during the War of 1812. Someone should tell him that average American doesn’t know when the War of 1812 was, much less who fought in it and what happened.

    • Because, Yardley, when you effectively eliminate the 2nd Amendment, you effectively eliminate the Bill of Rights. When you do that, the Constitution (what’s left of it) falls apart.

      Also: I wasn’t aware that Morgan had had the additional gall to actually charge his critics with anti-British bias. That’s taking a page out of Al Sharpton’s book! It’s also as deceptive and belittling as it gets. It wasn’t long ago that then-Prime Minister Blair, addressing a state dinner with President Bush as host, mentioned the burning of Washington, concluding with a perky “Sorry”… to immense laughter. Since those times, America and Britain fought three world conflicts together for freedom. It’ll take more than British and American socialists- like Morgan himself- to drive us apart.

        • That’s just my point, TGT. The entire Bill of Rights is in jeopardy. It’s really a package deal, when you look at it. Eliminate even one provision- either by legislative dismissal, judicial redefinition or executive decree- and it all starts to fall apart. And when the Bill is functionally dead, the Constitution becomes pointless.

  4. In my opinion, I think he is exploiting the situation only to build good relations with the government so that they will not support deporting him back to Briton to face phone hacking charges.

  5. I agree with your article. I simply stopped watching his show. And therefore, I don’t watch CNN just to avoid his appearance. Not because I dislike CNN, but because I am embarrassed by his methods and how he refuses to have a real honest discussion. I could go on. Hopefully more people will exercise their freedoms and find better programming. But they are free to watch him also. Oh well

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