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Saturday 6 August 2011

Desmond’s Blazing Trousers

As the runaway train that is Phonehackgate shows signs of dragging in other media outlets to join Rupe’s troops in the spotlight, some very convenient subjects for knocking copy have emerged. Top of this list right now is the appalling Piers Morgan, mainly because he is not backward in coming forward, and is no longer scrabbling around the dunghill that is Grubstreet.

This last means that the usually iron rule of “dog doesn’t eat dog” no longer applies, especially as Morgan now occupies the 9pm Eastern slot at CNN, and does America’s Got Talent, which means he has become too big for his boots as well. So he is now fair game, especially for those who would rather the attention of the public were directed somewhere else.

But at the empire of Richard “Dirty” Desmond, there is a problem: the few remaining hacks can’t just lift a story from yesterday’s Daily Mail or Telegraph if they want to look original. So those at the Daily Star have gone directly for Plan B: if in doubt, make it up. And make it up they have: yesterday’s edition splashed on a story that Morgan has had a new show put on hold.

No other paper has hit on this news, so it has to be concluded either that Des and his droids have secured a rare exclusive, or that this is a pile of fresh and steaming bullshit. But let’s not leap to judgment (unlike the Daily Star): is there a sliver of evidence in the house? Morgan himself isn’t impressed, but apparently not surprised, which figures, given his past as a tabloid editor.

Where would this “new US telly show” be fitting in at CNN? Although the network has just canned the 8pm Eastern In The Arena, it has not hesitated to move its top rated host Anderson Cooper into that slot. A new show for the 7pm Eastern slot is already lined up and starts next month. There is no mention of any further airtime being given to Morgan.

Moreover, Morgan’s schedule is already well filled juggling the CNN show and America’s Got Talent. Where would he get the time for another programme? And if Morgan is no longer in favour at CNN, why is his show being plugged right now on the channel’s TV site? There’s a certain aroma creeping in here.

As former Daily Star man Rich Peppiatt pointed out at the time he said goodbye to the Desmond empire, the paper makes rather a lot of its exclusives up. And whatever Piers Morgan may or may not have done is no excuse for inventing a story about him. Which is exactly what the Daily Star did yesterday.

PolitiFact would rate Nigel Pauley’s steaming pile as Pants On Fire.

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