Buh-bye Piers Morgan
Piers Morgan will no longer enjoy CNN's best time slot (9 PM Eastern) in which to harangue Americans over their provincial ways, and especially their attachment to the right to bear arms. The haughty former tabloid journalist from the UK is leaving the failing cable news network, his own ratings a dismal last place, behind even MSNBC.
In a surprisingly candid piece in the New York Times, television critic David Carr interviews Morgan and confirms his departure from the network. It becomes apparent that Morgan's anti-gun crusading is the key factor in his departure:
"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," he said. "That's run its course and Jeff and I have been talking for some time about different ways of using me."
Later, Carr himself reflects on the cultural bubble both he and Morgan occupy, and how it alienates them both from the American mainstream:
In a sense, Mr. Morgan is a prisoner of two islands: Britain and Manhattan. While I may share his feelings about the need for additional strictures on guns, having grown up in the Midwest, I know that many people come by their guns honestly and hold onto them dearly for sincere reasons.
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. 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.
He regrets none of it, but clearly understands his scolding of "stupid" opponents of gun laws was not everyone's cup of tea.
"I'm in danger of being the guy down at the end of the bar who is always going on about the same thing," he said. He added that he was sure there were plenty of people in the heartland angry "about this British guy telling them how to lead their lives and what they should do with their guns."
Could such reflective language indicate that some in the elite media are starting to realize the folly of constantly imposing their own views on the public? Could elitism start to be tempered by actual respect for the audience they serve? Don't hold your breath. But Carr seemingly finds it easier to thinks such subversive thoughts when the object is a non-American who spectacularly flopped:
In the current media age, no one is expected to be a eunuch, without values or beliefs, but Mr. Morgan's lecturing on the evils of guns have clanked hard against the CNN brand, which, for good or ill, is built on the middle way.
We don't look for moral leadership from CNN, or from a British host on a rampage. Guns, along with many other great and horrible things, are knit into the fabric of this country. There are folkways peculiar to America that Mr. Morgan is just learning, including the fact that if you want to stick out, you first have to work on fitting in.
If only Pinch Sulzberger and Jill Abramson would take this advice!