Normally I’d be tempted to just add this as an update to the previous post, but it’s just too delicious not to highlight on its own. As Duane wrote in his GR post, Piers Morgan went from his embarrassing display in his interview with Ben Shapiro to lamenting about Shapiro’s “intransigent” performance with Mark Kelly afterward. Eric Wemple at the Washington Post confirms that Shapiro wasn’t intransigent — he was just a lot smarter than Morgan and beat him at his own game:
And Piers Morgan struggled to find the appropriate strategy for dismissing Ben Shapiro, editor-at-large of Breitbart.com and a foe of extraordinary polemical agility. He started in on Morgan by contending that the CNN star had exploited the dead children of Newtown …
Patented outrage spilled from Morgan: “How dare you.” And then the conversation took a turn for the better, as Shapiro cornered the CNN host on a central disconnect of the ongoing gun-violence debate: Proposals are floating around to redo the ban on assault rifles, something Morgan supports. But Shapiro wonders ….
Wemple then excerpts Shapiro’s challenge to Morgan on handguns. Murders by rifle are relatively rare, more rare than murders by knives, for example. Most murders by firearm involve handguns — so why isn’t Morgan backing a handgun ban, too? Wemple cuts out the best part of Shapiro’s pushback, though:
SHAPIRO: This is what I wanted to ask you, Piers, because I have seen you talk about assault weapons a lot, and I have seen Mark Kelly talk about assault weapons. The vast majority of murders in this country that are committed with guns are committed with handguns, they are not committed assault weapons. Are you willing to ban handguns in this country, across this country?
MORGAN: No, that’s not what I’m asking for.
SHAPIRO: Why not? Don’t you care about the kids who are being killed in Chicago as much as the kids in Sandy Hook?
That’s the exact kind of argument that Morgan uses on his guests, but can’t handle when used back on him. Wemple points out that Morgan seemed completely unprepared for his own tactics to be used on himself, and for Shapiro’s preparation:
Where Jones proved needy of a background screening, Shapiro was rational and on point. Where Jones failed to directly address Morgan’s points, Shapiro went right at them. Where Jones monologued, Shapiro got through his points quickly and shut up.
All those skills came in handy as Morgan tried to trap Shapiro by noting that Ronald Reagan had supported curbs on assault weapons:
MORGAN: One of the great right-wing presidents of modern times agreed with me.
Shapiro’s priceless retort: “So?”
It’s what happens in a battle of wits when one side is only half-armed. In truth, it doesn’t take “extreme polemical agility” to beat a poorly-informed journalistic bully like Morgan … but it certainly helps.
Update: As Twitchy reports, the whining continues.
Update II: In a more serious vein, Michael Moynihan perfectly captures the dishonesty of Morgan and his entire approach:
None of this should be surprising, coming as it does from a disgraced former tabloid editor and ex-talent show judge. Indeed, a quick look at Morgan’s oeuvre, which includes stints at the News of the World, which was shuttered during the phone hacking scandal, and the Daily Mirror, from which he was fired for publishing fake photos of British soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners, and one understands that Morgan is incapable of nuance. Take his description of supermodel Kate Moss, whom he dismissed as a “drunken, foul-mouthed, ill-mannered, paranoid Croydon girl with a cocaine- desecrated hooter and spots.” Her ex-boyfriend Pete Doherty, former guitar player in The Libertines, a seminal British post-punk band, is a “filthy talentless junkie who can’t sing.” They are funny lines, for sure, but one needn’t rush to YouTube to discover that Morgan is even more contemptuous of Second Amendment enthusiasts.
This is not an argument about the wisdom of owning an AR-15 or the judiciousness of outlawing certain high-capacity clips, but of the silliness of the Drudge and Morgan-style debate, which has abandoned reason for moral outrage. To disagree with Piers Morgan is to argue in bad faith, to be opposed to common sense, to be an uncaring, unfeeling tool of the gun lobby. Former CNN host Larry King, who Morgan replaced in 2011, told the Huffington Post this week that the show was now “all about the host,” where “the guest becomes the prop to the host.”
The Leveson Report on phone hacking in the British tabloid industry noted that in 2003 Morgan sent an email to a police officer who had complained about a story in The Daily Mirror, shrugging that “fame and crime sends most of the usual rules out of the window.” Morgan is himself famous, and has now taken it upon himself to adjudicate the complicated issue of crime—the thorny issue of America’s gun culture—by having shouting matches with paranoiacs like Alex Jones and Jesse Ventura. And in the process, he has, as promised, tossed the rules of responsible journalism out the window.
Nothing on his resumé indicates Morgan ever cared about “responsible journalism” in the first place.
Update III: Jim Treacher compares Morgan’s Twitter feed after the Alex Jones appearance and after last night’s train wreck. Don’t be surprised to find a heapin’ helping of hypocrisy.