There have been times when the CNN host Piers Morgan didn’t seem to like America very much — and American audiences have been more than willing to return the favor. Three years after taking over for Larry King, Mr. Morgan has seen the ratings for “Piers Morgan Live” hit some new lows, drawing a fraction of viewers compared with competitors at Fox News and MSNBC.
It’s been an unhappy collision between a British television personality who refuses to assimilate — the only football he cares about is round and his lectures on guns were rife with contempt — and a CNN audience that is intrinsically provincial. After all, the people who tune into a cable news network are, by their nature, deeply interested in America.
Ah, yes, the good old NYT. Americans are intrinsically provincial, since they are only interested in a country with more subcultures, more vibrancy, as many people, and a longer history as a democracy than anything their beloved “sophisticates” of Europe have on offer.
Crossing an ocean for a replacement for Larry King, who had ratings problems of his own near the end, was probably not a great idea to begin with. For a cable news station like CNN, major stories are like oxygen. 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.
Well, that, and he hates us, of course.
Mr. Zucker, the former chief of NBC, inherited Mr. Morgan from Jonathan Klein, his predecessor, but it is now his problem to fix. In the year he has been there, CNN has introduced promising shows around the edges and will be unveiling documentaries along the lines of the very successful “Blackfish” to run on Thursday in the 10 p.m. hour.
Which brought this bit of drollery from Roger Ailes:
[Zucker] had a big hit with a whale one night [the documentary Blackfish]. I guess he’s going to do whales a lot. If I were Discovery, I’d be worried.
Hell, I’d assume that even Discovery’s ratings would crush Piers Morgan’s. I particularly enjoyed the Times’s weepy wrap-up:
In the current media age, no one is expected to be a eunuch, without values or beliefs, but Mr. Morgan’s lecturing on the evils of guns have clanked hard against the CNN brand, which, for good or ill, is built on the middle way.
We don’t look for moral leadership from CNN, or from a British host on a rampage. Guns, along with many other great and horrible things, are knit into the fabric of this country. There are folkways peculiar to America that Mr. Morgan is just learning, including the fact that if you want to stick out, you first have to work on fitting in.
Yep, those evil guns and their bitter-clinging American owners have just claimed another victim.
So why am I weeping, too? Those are tears of joy, that’s why. Because Piers Morgan’s approach to guns in America is not one whit different than that of the Times. If he’s getting crushed, they are, too.
There is a silver lining in all this, though. Apparently CNN plans to keep Morgan in some other capacity, which means he’ll likely be around destroying the company’s ratings and repulsing viewers for years to come.