Long walk off a short Piers

Long walk off a short Piers

by digby

People are starting to wonder why nobody's asking CNN's Piers Morgan about what he might know about this Murdoch scandal since he is a former editor at News of the World. Think Progress reports:

A CNN spokesperson confirmed the lack of coverage to Ad Week last week, “saying that the network hasn’t covered the matter because Morgan has not been officially called to testify in England.”

Morgan himself did address the issue on Monday, telling a CBS talk show that neither he nor his former publication have broken any laws.

The allegations are especially troubling given this passage from Morgan’s 2005 book, The Insider: The Private Diaries of a Scandalous Decade:
Apparently if you don’t change the standard security code that every phone comes with, then anyone can call your number and, if you don’t answer, tap in the standard four digit code to hear all your messages. I’ll change mine just in case, but it makes me wonder how many public figures and celebrities are aware of this little trick.

As Ad Week notes, “Morgan has been sounding a fairly sympathetic note about Murdoch.” In the CBS interview, he said, “I’m not going to join the Murdoch bashing. I’ve always been a big admirer of his. He gave me my first break in journalism. He made me editor of [News of the World] when I was 28 years old.”

And there's this, which I wrote about earlier, from a radio interview that Gordon Skene caught over at Newstalgia:

I have a lot of sympathy for the people at the top because I don't think they had a clue what was going on. And I think it's one of those situations where until you know exactly what the scale of the problem is it's very hard to deal with it.

But what I do find stomach churning was your mate Hugh Grant on here the other day.A guy who has used the media. This is my problem with all the phone hacking victims. They've all used the media over the years to feather their nests, buy their houses flog their movies, sell out their concerts and now they're squealing like little pigs ove them edia and I just think it's perspective time again.

The Guardian is leading the charge on phone hacking. They believe it's wrong for any newspaper to publish material that has been gained unlawfully and yet the Guardian was the newspaper that published Wikileaks, which is openly an illegal form of material that's been acquired illegally that was very dangerous to many parts of the security services and the armed forces. They knew that and willfully published it and their arguments is well it was all in the public interst. Really? Colonel Ghadaffi's lovers? Which is one of the Wilileaks revelations? That's in the public interest?

There is no difference. It is sanctimonious, hypocritical bilge by the Guardian by the BBC -- sorry, they've piled in too -- by stars like Hugh Grant. The BBC, in my experience when I was a newspaper editory, you break a big juicy story, a big old scandal, and then what would happen is the Guardian and BBC the next day would say, "there are disgusting revelations in the Daily Mirror or news of the World so repellant that we are now going to talk about them for the next 20 minutes" and in the case of the Guardian we are going to run 17 pages.

You can't have your cake and eat it. If the BBC and the Guardian feel so strongly about this pruriant form of journalism then they should never cover it again.

He's right about the mainstream media being perfectly happy to run with scandals, but I think he's rather purposefully missing the point. Hacking into celebrities' answering machines is criminal. Hacking into crime victims' answering machines is just sick. And turning it all into a backscratching exercise with the police is a threat to a free and democratic society.

Yes, the Ghadaffi lovers story exposed in Wikileaks was not really a matter of national interest. But "big juicy scandals" of the tabloid variety are hardly the main thrust of Wikileaks. And as far as I know, Wikileaks hasn't been blackmailing politicians with threats to expose their dirty personal laundry if they refuse to play ball. (It's possible, but I haven't heard of it.)

Piers Morgan is a prick. And sooner or later CNN is going to have to deal with this. At the very least the celebrities who are his bread and butter should ask themselves if it's worth whoring themselves out to someone who clearly has no respect for them whatsoever. He apparently thinks that if you use the media to sell something you've completely given up your rights.