It’s an old saying in the TV business: “the numbers don’t lie”. That is certainly the case with CNN’s highly unpopular sinking flagship program, ‘Pier Morgan Live’, pulling in modest viewer numbers comparable to another Nielsen-busting foreign hit, al Jazeera America.
Piers Morgan is the latest British TV anchor to be shown the exit door, after the humiliating meltdown and implosion of MSNBC’s Martin Bashir only a few months ago.
According to David Carr, a columnist for America’s paper of record the New York Times, what annoyed Americans the most about Morgan was his prig British accent. Carr explains:
“When something important or scary happens in America, many of us have an immediate reflex to turn on CNN. When I find Mr. Morgan telling me what it all means, I have a similar reflex to dismiss what he is saying. It is difficult for him to speak credibly on significant American events because, after all, he just got here.”
“Old hands in the television news business suggest that there are two things a presenter cannot have: an accent or a beard. Mr. Morgan is clean shaven and handsome enough, but there are tells in his speech — the way he says the president’s name for one thing (Ob-AA-ma) — that suggest that he is not from around here.”
Yes, there’s nothing worse than getting a stiff lecture on American value from a millionaire British carpet bagger. Like an old pair of basketball shoes, the stench of it just lingers. It’s a shame that Americans just couldn’t seem to connect with this avatar, who was meant to be the latest ‘big thing’ but ended up being just the latest in a long line of overpaid, and over-valued talking heads (which shows you how out of touch CNN execs really are).
Like his countryman Bashir, Morgan was desperate to ingratiate himself and win the love of as many Americans as quickly as possible, so it was natural that a foreigner with a shallow understanding of his new environment might reach for the easy play towards America’s liberal left – not so risky seeing that a democratic regime is in power and CNN’s traditional role of always backing the ruling clique. Like with Martin Bashir, this move backfired badly, and like Bashir, Piers Morgan was handed the golden Rolex and then kicked to the curb.
TWEETING CRICKET: Morgan thought Americans would eventually embrace his beloved Cricket.
Journalist Carr confirms one of Morgan’s awkward obsessions:
“There are other tells as well. On Friday morning, criticizing the decision to dismiss a cricket player, he tweeted, “I’m sure @StuartBroad8 is right and KP’s sacking will ‘improve performance’ of the England team. Look forward to seeing this at T20 WC.” Mr. Morgan might want to lay off the steady cricket references if he is worried about his credibility with American audiences. (His endless trolling of his critics on Twitter did not exactly help, either.)”
Morgan has been forced to eat humble pie, and conceded: “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”.
That was about the most genuine statement he’s made since arriving on American shores. Better late than never.
Maybe there’s still hope for him yet.
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