“How could you let 20 first graders be shot dead in their classrooms and the reaction would be absolutely nothing,” said former CNN anchor Piers Morgan, on Monday, during an interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer. “So I don’t regret standing up for trying to affect change.”
A few brief thoughts…
I am of the opinion that Morgan failed to make it on American television not only because he was an aggressive advocate for tougher gun laws but also because of the way he treated those who he disagreed with when they came on his program to represent an alternative view.
Allow me to explain. I believe that by and large the mainstream media is anti-gun. I don’t have any study to quantify this claim, but I’d be willing to bet that upwards of 65 percent of the personalities one sees on TV are in favor of rolling back the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens in one way or another.
Sure, they’re not all outspoken about it, as Piers was, but they do from time to time express their perspective.
“The second thing you do is, if you buy a gun, you have to register the gun — just like you have to register your car, alright,” said Fox News host Bill O’Reilly last year while appearing on David Letterman. “Now, people say ‘Oh, slippery slope, they’re gonna come–. Hey, this makes it easier for the government to take a thug who has a gun that’s not registered and put him in jail for 10 years.”
O’Reilly favors mandatory gun registration. But he’s still on the air, with insanely high ratings. In fact, his show the “The O’Reilly Factor” is typically billed as the “number one cable news program.”
Now, I singled out O’Reilly just to show that he is one of many, and perhaps not the first talking head that comes to mind when one thinks of pro-gun control media personalities because of his constitutional fidelity on various political topics. But the difference between O’Reilly, the many other news hosts who are sympathetic to strengthening gun laws and Morgan is that for the most part they (a) treat guests on their shows with deference and (b) have a genuine interest in the fair and free exchange of ideas — Morgan did not do either.
Consider this indelible exchange he had with Larry Pratt, the executive director for Gun Owners of America shortly following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut:
Pratt wasn’t the only pro-gunner that Morgan browbeat. He was unfair and condescending to many others, often shouting them down when they wanted to make a point to challenge Morgan’s zealous anti-gun dogma (the notable exception to this rule was Alex Jones, who screamed at Morgan during his appearance on the show in what was a very memorable moment).
It’s this type of rude behavior, I believe, that ultimately led to Morgan’s demise. Americans are tolerant folks, willing to give someone a chance even if they don’t agree with them on every issue. But when one starts to not only sound like an ass, but act like one as well, that’s when they begin to tune out.
Morgan’s moved on to a new job as the editor at large for the Mail Online, the website for Britain’s Daily Mail. If he’s learned anything from his stint at CNN, hopefully it’s to treat people with respect.