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Wednesday 10 August 2011

Morgan Fights Back

[Update at end of post]

Not surprisingly, Phonehackgate has been pushed off the radar by events on the markets and in the streets. So one guest appearance on the Conan O’Brien show might have gone unnoticed, that by the appalling Piers Morgan, who posted CNN’s highest primetime ratings on Monday last.

The phone hacking business had to come up when O’Brien quizzed Morgan, and the former Daily Mirror editor was characteristically less than backward at coming forward, re-stating his assertion – which I posted on recently – that Heather Mills, who has gone on Newsnight and accused a Mirror executive of hacking her phone, then ringing her and bragging about it, was at it herself.

Morgan cites once more the divorce papers in the case of Mills and Paul McCartney, and therefore maintains his position that it was her who hacked McCartney, and by inference that the message he heard was at least supplied by her, if not played by her.

However, unless the discussion went further than the ground covered in the video, the other accusations levelled against Morgan – the Sven’n’Ulrika affair, for instance – were not raised by O’Brien. But it’s an interesting snippet, nevertheless.

[UPDATE: the Guardian’s Nick Davies has been over in the USA this last week, and in an interview with Adweek he had this to say about the questions facing Piers Morgan: “I think the journalists who worked at the Daily Mirror under Piers would say that there was a lot of illegal activity going on, and so the question is whether or not there’s evidence that Piers knew about it. And I think he’s certainly under pressure, because the issue has got such a profile, some of the journalists who were doing illegal things when he was editor are beginning to talk. But we mustn’t prejudge it; you have to build this thing out of evidence. If some celebrity comes forward and says, “Well, I’m sure I was hacked,” that isn’t evidence. You have to prove it to us. Similarly, there was a little bit going on in Britain last week where Daily Mirror journalists were talking off-the-record to television programs, and television programs were saying, “We’ve got a source who says...” Well, all right, but it’s a bit weak. I don’t think anybody should be sacked or imprisoned without decent evidence. So there’s every reason to ask questions of Piers, but we need to see evidence”. The emphases are mine – Paul Staines should take note]

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