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Sunday 19 February 2017

Piers Morgan SHOULD NOT Host Awards

[Update at end of post]

The Royal Television Society advertises itself asAn educational charity promoting the art and science of television”, and one of the ways in which it promotes that art and science is to give awards to the great and the good of the industry in recognition of their past achievements. The next RTS Programme Awards will be held on the 21st of March, and will be held at the Grosvenor House Hotel on London’s Park Lane.
So far, so routine, but then came the announcement of this year’s host: the duty will be carried out by former Screws and Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan, now a three-mornings-a-week co-host of ITV’s Good Morning Britain and presenter of Life Stories, an ersatz successor to This Is Your Life, but without the surprise, or the Big Red Book. The RTS no doubt has its reasons for inviting Morgan to host, but they would do well to reconsider.

Whatever Morgan’s qualities as a presenter - and inveterate and shameless promoter of Himself Personally Now - he has been a party, knowingly or otherwise, to some deeply disturbing and regrettable episodes in the recent and not at all distinguished history of print journalism. Not least among these was the use of information gained via phone hacking for stories on actor Nigel Havers and his then wife, who was battling cancer.

As the Guardian reported last year, Havers “accepted undisclosed damages from Mirror Group Newspapers after its journalists intercepted his voicemails for stories about his grief as he nursed his dying wife … Mirror journalists and private detectives working on their behalf had targeted him between 2000 and 2004 … The claims concerned stories and investigations by reporters from the Daily Mirror, the Sunday Mirror and the People”.

Morgan edited the Daily Mirror during that period. It gets worse: when he gave evidence to the Leveson Inquiry, Lord Justice Leveson concluded that his evidence was “utterly unpersuasive … This was not, in any sense at all, a convincing answer … he was aware that [phone hacking] was taking place in the press as a whole and that he was sufficiently unembarrassed by what was criminal behaviour that he was prepared to joke about it”.

Leveson observed “In my view, the evidence which the inquiry has received, viewed in the round, strongly suggests that phone hacking was a practice which, over the period from the late 1990s to the arrest of Mr Goodman and Mr Mulcaire in 2006, was occurring within the industry on a more than localised basis. To speak only of rumours being rife underplays the extent of the understanding and knowledge”.

On top of all that, as Steven Nott, who has started a petition asking the RTS to reconsider appointing Morgan as its awards hosts, has hinted, the former editor has other form to consider. While giving evidence to the Culture, Media and Sport committee in Parliament, he claimed “I have worked in Fleet Street for 15 years … I have never known standards to be higher than they are today”. At around the same time, one of his journalists was tapping Steve Whittamore for a Police National Computer search on one of the committee’s MPs.

Morgan’s Daily Mirror also used the services of Jonathan Rees of Southern Investigations notoriety. There will be more on all of that coming soon, but in the meantime, the petition can be signed HERE. The RTS should think again about using Piers Morgan’s services.

[UPDATE 1750 hours: Piers Morgan has now announced that he has withdrawn as host of the RTS Programme Awards, so that has to be, even if in very small part, a VICTORY.

He has told "I was recently invited to host the Royal Television Society Programme Awards. As someone who has worked in British and American television for most of this Millennium, on a variety of shows, I thought it might be fun and agreed to do it without any fee". Soil the bed, get your nanoviolins out, and pity the poor multi-millionaire!
But do go on. "After my role was announced, a campaign was started to have me banned". No it wasn't, well, not in the case of this post. Not hosting is not the same thing as a ban, but good to see Morgan is as good as his idol, Combover Crybaby Donald Trump, at playing the victim and telling everyone else that they are the intolerant ones.

In conclusion, he has said "I have no wish to serve as an unnecessary distraction from award winners whose hard work and skill should be celebrated without any of the silly noise this campaign has generated ... So, I am now withdrawing from hosting the evening". This is the suspicious part.

Morgan would not normally shy away from attracting flak - he thrives on it. So it appears to have been one of two things - either the decision was taken for him, or there is something coming down the track that will not look good for him. We may find out sooner rather than later]


Alan Clifford said...

“I have worked in Fleet Street for 15 years … I have never known standards to be higher than they are today.”

Oh how true.

But the "height" is at sewer level. Which is the proper place for metrognomes like Moron.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I know, let's report this to Ofcom. Surely they will do something?

Nope. I doubt that.

Ask yourselves why and then you'll see what is so ,so wrong.

Steve Woods said...

"As someone who has worked in British and American television for most of this Millennium..."

It certainly feels like you've been polluting TV screens on both sides of the Atlantic for a thousand years, Piers!

A.Robot (Mrs) said...

If he hangs around for a few more Trump sackings he could be in with a chance of getting Sean Spicer's role. Start practising the gum-chewing, Piers ..............

rob said...

"......... something coming down the track that will not look good for him. We may find out sooner rather than later]"

If nothing beforehand the next series of the podcast Untold Daniel Morgan murder should prove interesting with possible references to Piers.

Sorry no spoilers!

Anonymous said...

I understand his Real Time with Bill Maher appearance was pulled last week by Sky Atlantic. I don't believe it has been rescheduled or made available on demand. Something sneaky going on there.....