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Oct 062014
 
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by Kyle Drennen — October 6, 2014

Appearing on Monday’s NBC Today, ex-CNN host Piers Morgan kept up the anti-gun crusade that caused his ratings to plummet, denouncing his colleagues in the press: “I wish more American media people, American news anchors stood up.

 Because so many of them privately to me would say, ‘I love what you’re doing. Keep going, it’s really important.’ But I never heard that on air. And I think there’s a certain moral cowardice in the media in America that needs to be addressed about guns.”

Co-host Matt Lauer began the interview by asking Morgan if he had spent the five months since being fired from CNN in March “thinking about what went wrong.” Morgan argued: “Yeah, I mean, not a lot went wrong from where I sit. I had a fantastic time at CNN.” He explained: “…you had the two big gun massacres in Aurora and Sandy Hook and something inside me just exploded, I guess. And then for the next year, it became a kind of war of attrition on air between me and the NRA and the gun lobbyists and the show changed as a result.”

 

 

Lauer followed up: “So this wasn’t – it was about ratings because people started to turn away, but it was because you became an incredibly polarizing figure in this country. Do you have any regrets about that?”

Morgan replied: “I don’t, actually….I couldn’t see, for me, how a great country like America – and it is a great country. Great people. How you could let 20 first graders be shot dead in their classrooms and the reaction would be absolutely nothing? So I don’t regret standing up for trying to affect change.” At the end of the exchange, Lauer suggested a possible comeback for Morgan: “Are you coming back to TV?…Do you want to get back on the air and talk about these things?”

morgan gun control

Morgan joked: “Well, I’ve been tapped up for your gig [as Today co-host], obviously.” He then gushed over Lauer: “No one could replace you. You’re the best at what you do in the business and I really believe that.” Responding to the question, Morgan declared: “I would love to be back on American television. It’s great to be back in here….I’m itching to get back in the game.”

Meanwhile, Morgan promoted his latest job as editor-at-large of Mail Online, the website for Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper: “Mail Online is an extraordinary website, I mean it has 60 million visitors a month in America alone. It’s the biggest English-speaking website in the world. If you don’t know it, it’s a bit like you on the Today show. It’s addictive, a little pleasure.”

On his former employer, Morgan professed to Lauer: “I had a great time at CNN. And it’s a great company….A lot of great friends there, wish them all the very best.” However, as recently as Thursday, Morgan blamed Anderson Cooper for not being a good ratings lead-in and in May trashed his predecessor Larry King as a “constant poisonous twerp.”

Here are excerpts of Morgan’s October 6 appearance on Today:

7:40 AM ET

MATT LAUER: We’re back now, 7:40, with Piers Morgan. For three years he hosted his own primetime show on CNN. Now he’s taking on a new adventure as editor-at-large for the news website Mail Online. Piers, welcome back. Good to see you.

PIERS MORGAN: It’s great to be here.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Piers Morgan One-On-One; New Role for British News Personality]

LAUER: It’s been a while. March is when you said good-bye to your viewers on CNN. winner-piers-morgan

MORGAN: I have spent five months with my cricket bat back in England.

LAUER: Have you spent five months thinking about what went wrong?

MORGAN: Yeah, I mean, not a lot went wrong from where I sit. I had a fantastic time at CNN. Amazing news organization. But I went in there to do big interviews with big figures and I did many of those for the first two years. And what then happened was you had the two big gun massacres in Aurora and Sandy Hook and something inside me just exploded, I guess. And then for the next year, it became a kind of war of attrition on air between me and the NRA and the gun lobbyists and the show changed as a result.

LAUER: So this wasn’t – it was about ratings because people started to turn away, but it was because you became an incredibly polarizing figure…

MORGAN: Yeah.

LAUER: …in this country. Do you have any regrets about that?

MORGAN: I don’t, actually. You know, in Britain, we had our own Sandy Hook in the mid ’90s at Dunblane, 16 young children were killed in their classroom. And we banned all guns, assault rifles, assault weapons, handguns, all got banned. And I couldn’t see, for me, how a great country like America – and it is a great country. Great people. How you could let 20 first graders be shot dead in their classrooms and the reaction would be absolutely nothing? So I don’t regret standing up for trying to affect change.

LAUER: It’s interesting you bring this up. So I tweeted on Friday, which I don’t do that often. And I tweeted, “Gonna catch up with Piers Morgan in our studio.” Wow. I mean, the reaction on my Twitter.

MORGAN: I’m sensing praise?

LAUER: There were some people who said “Good, love him. Welcome back.” But then there were people, Piers, who came in there and the anger was palpable in their tweets. And the feeling I got from it was, especially when it was like the gun issue, was how dare this outsider have such a critical eye on the United States. Am I close?

MORGAN: Yes. And I totally respect that. And I understand that having someone – like Jay Leno, a good mutual friend of ours, said to me, “Look, it’s like you’re going to Germany and telling them they can’t speed on the Autobahn. They may know that it’s dangerous but they don’t want to hear that from you and they definitely don’t want to hear it from your accent. And I accepted that having a Brit guy trying to reform gun law in America-

LAUER: Somebody else could have gone on the air and said what you said and gotten away with it or not had the same negative impact?

MORGAN: I wish more American media people, American news anchors stood up. Because so many of them privately to me would say, “I love what you’re doing. Keep going, it’s really important.” But I never heard that on air. And I think there’s a certain moral cowardice in the media in America that needs to be addressed about guns.

(…)

LAUER: Are you coming back to TV? I know you’ve got a busy job now. Do you want to get back on the air and talk about these things?

Remember this wonderful moment?

Remember this wonderful moment?

MORGAN: Well, I’ve been tapped up for your gig, obviously.

[LAUGHTER]

LAUER: When?

MORGAN: No one could replace you.

LAUER: Not true.

MORGAN: You’re the best at what you do in the business and I really believe that. I would love to be back on American television. It’s great to be back in here. I did a couple of weeks co-hosting with Hoda, who I know will be watching and missing me. Yeah, I’d love it.

I had a great break to clear my head. I mean, I had a great time at CNN. And it’s a great company run by Jeff Zucker, who used to obviously run the Today show and NBC. A lot of great friends there, wish them all the very best. But yeah, I’m itching to get back in the game.

Mail Online is an extraordinary website, I mean it has 60 million visitors a month in America alone. It’s the biggest English-speaking website in the world. If you don’t know it, it’s a bit like you on the Today show. It’s addictive, a little pleasure.

[LAUGHTER]

LAUER: You end with a flourish. Piers Morgan, nice to see.

MORGAN: Matt, great to see you.

LAUER: Thank you very much for being here.

 

via Piers Morgan Condemns ‘Moral Cowardice’ of Media Not Being Anti-Gun Enough.

 

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