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Friday, 20 July 2018

Sun Betting Service FLOPS

It seems like only yesterday that News UK launched its owndigital betting and gaming platform”: “The launch is backed by a multi-million pound marketing campaign across print, digital, radio and TV. Ambassadors Ian Wright and Matt Chapman will promote the brand … The initiative is the latest addition to The Sun's stable of sport and entertainment products, which includes The Sun newspaper and website, Dream Team fantasy football game and Sun Bingo”, told Newsworks in Summer 2016.
Yes Becky, you'll have to get off your arse and work a little harder

And look who was on hand to promote it! “Rebekah Brooks, CEO of News UK said: ‘This is a hugely significant juncture for News UK and The Sun, marking the start of an era where new brands and revenue generating streams are being created on the back of the strength and much sought-after reach of The Sun. Sun Bets is set to be a game-changer in the online betting world and to those asking if it will be a success, the simple answer is YouBetcha.’” So how did Sun Bets fare after its launch?

Not so well, as Racing Post reported last year. “Heavy losses at Sun Bets pushed Australian giant Tabcorp into the red in 2016-17 as their start-up bookmaker, a joint venture with News UK, owner of the Sun newspaper, reported losses of A$47.6 million (approximately £29m) … Launched in August 2016, Sun Bets' operating loss dragged Tabcorp down to an overall loss of A$20.8m. The firm also wrote down the value of its Sun Bets assets by A$20.7m.” Oh dear! And what of Sun Bets this year?

It was bad news. “Sun Bets, the ailing bookmaker launched less than two years ago by the publisher of The Sun newspaper and Australian gambling giant Tabcorp, ceased trading on Thursday – although the brand may yet be resurrected … A message on the firm's website on Thursday told customers they should withdraw their funds immediately, although account holders were reassured by email that their funds were safe”.

Another Super Soaraway Currant Bun failure! So what did the Sun have to say about this latest little local difficulty? Well, nothing. Not a sausage. Zip. Zilch. Nil. Nix. Nada. Bugger all. And Sun Bets could only manageTabcorp UK Ltd has ceased providing gaming services on behalf of Sun Bets. Please withdraw any funds you may hold with us immediately. For more information, please view our FAQs”.
So “the start of an era where new brands and revenue generating streams are being created on the back of the strength and much sought-after reach of The Sun” turned out to be a false dawn. And the claim “Sun Bets is set to be a game-changer in the online betting world” was just Propagandist rubbish. The reality is that the Sun is in serious decline and Tabcorp’s experience will merely warn off future business partners.

Rebekah Brooks is going to have to try a lot harder if she wants to pull News UK out of the kind of terminal decline that would not survive after Rupert Murdoch either loses interest, or shuffles off. That means spending less time yakking to her pals from the comfort of her 13th floor eyrie, and applying herself to actually dealing with business.

Otherwise The News Building won’t be The News Building for long. That is all.

BBC New Politics Dawn - MAYBE

The BBC has vanquished all comers when it comes to Sunday politics shows: Sky News’ offering, whoever is hosting, attracts fewer than 100,000 viewers, Robert Peston’s ITV show is ending - or, at least, ending on Sunday morning - thus leaving the field mainly to The Andy Marr Show™ with Sunday Politics to come.
Jo Coburn - will still be there at lunchtimes

But economies have to be made, and so Sunday Politics ends this weekend - for good. Regional politics programmes will follow Marr, but not to rub salt in the Sky News wound, oh no. And Daily Politics will be replaced by a new and different, honestly, offering. And it is there where we need to consider the devil in the detail.
Still caning the competition

BBC editor of live political programmes Rob Burley has not only sent an email informing colleagues of the changes, he has been brave enough to make it more generally available. Politics Live, the new weekday offering, “will be a modern, conversationial and accessible new political programme broadcast every weekday lunchtime from our Westminster studio at Millbank”. So what is going to be different, then?
Boasting a new set, the programme will draw its inspiration from programs like NBC’s [?] Morning Joe … It will feel informal and unstuffy, with a panel of politicians, journalists and other interesting people from national life”. Hold it right there.

Morning Joe, the breakfast offering from MSNBC [pedantry point], succeeds for a variety of reasons. One is the politics background and contacts book of hosts Joe Scarborough, a former Congressman, and Mika Brzezinski, whose father Zbigniew was national security advisor to the Carter administration in the late 1970s.
Morning Joe: Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski

Another plus point for Morning Joe is the roster of pundits and guests, from resident-pundit-cum-co-host Willie Geist to all the academics, press representatives, and “names” who appear on a more or less regular basis (wonder if Tina Brown was fashionably late when she last appeared? One for Rob Burley there).

And that is where the BBC will stand or fall in mimicking this concept. Morning Joe effectively has three co-hosts, along with a number of guests in the studio - guests who are seriously knowledgeable (think New York Times, not New York Post).
Morning Joe: Willy Geist (2nd left) with guests - will the BBC try this format? Could be a difficult one to pull off

If the Beeb follows the spirit of Morning Joe, it will clear out the tired and indeed tedious succession of Westminster bubble bores, lobby group representatives and tabloid press makeweights - replacing them by guests from the real world, including getting people who know their subject on areas like the environment, transport and economics.

That would mean throwing out the IEA, CPS, ASI, TPA and the rest of the Astroturfers. It would mean climate change being discussed seriously, rather than making it a denialist shouting match. It would mean talking HS2 and Crossrail 2 with knowledgeable people, not a careerist from Conservative Home. It would mean no access merely on the basis of appeasing the press barons or political parties.

Those of us who have worked in IT have a tired but true maxim which illustrates the Beeb’s problem, whatever the format: Garbage In, Garbage Out. You have been warned.

Katie Hopkins Flirts With Libel AGAIN

The far-right in the UK seems to have gathered the wagons in a circle around the case of Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, and in particular his being in jail following a second contempt of court within a period of 18 months. The rogues’ gallery has also been swelled by many from other countries - well, those who don’t get themselves barred because of their bad behaviour, anyway.
Viewers may still want to look away now

So it should surprise no-one that pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins has leapt aboard this particular bandwagon, talking well but lying badly about Lennon, his campaigns, and his alleged predicament. She has combined this activity with doing her part to demonise the established print and broadcast media, and now the two have come together as she has veered perilously close to landing herself with another defamation action.
Pausing only to show her support for actual Nazis for being abusive to the BBC - “Excellent work by #identitarians. Well done lads” - without mentioning that several of their number are on trial in Graz right now, and that the Identiarians are also Islamophobic and anti-Semitic, Ms Hopkins gets right down to trashing the media.
First on her hit list was Peter Walker of the Guardian. “Bless this boy. Facts really aren’t his thing”. And what had Walker done wrong? Actually, he had done nothing wrong. He reported that Lennon was only appealing his custodial sentence, and then when the latter’s legal team made it clear that they were going to additionally appeal the contempt of court, he corrected himself. This is called journalism.
That change from Lennon and his lawyers had also come too late for The Secret Barrister, not that it mattered to Ms Hopkins: “Poor Walter Mitty, facts just aren’t their thing. #TommyRobinson appeals charge AND sentencing. The confusion sits with you, honey bunch”. Getting quite on her high horse, isn’t she? But there was a problem, and it was called reality. Condemnation of her own facts problem soon followed.
A Tweeter called Victoria put it directly. “In all due respect, @BarristerSecret tweet is dated 17th July, this pinned tweet of yours Hopkins is dated the 18th July, you also claim that Tommy is only appealing SENTENCE, you work for Rebel huh and like Ezra he too thought it was just sentence”. Indeed. Ezra Levant of Rebel Media, and Hatey Katie herself, originally thought it was only sentence Lennon was appealing.
And The Secret Barrister had bad news for someone who dumped Mail Online with a thumping legal bill, and then dumped one on herself, for libelling others. “1/ Robinson’s spokesperson stated he was only appealing the length of the committal … The ‘confusion’ arose from his late change of instructions …  2/ Tell me more about ‘facts’, Mrs ‘Three Libels’ … 3/ Be careful calling people ‘Walter Mitty’. You don’t want to make it four”.

Ouch! Ms Hopkins has gone all quiet on that front since those replies came in. Perhaps the rest of her family would rather still have a roof over their heads for the foreseeable future and have prevailed on her to stitch her North And South.

Katie Hopkins is veering close to the libel line again. It’s only a matter of time.

Sajid Javid Defames Jeremy Corbyn

Tory MPs veering across the defamation line in their efforts to smear Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn seems to be increasingly popular: first there was the singularly unpleasant Ben Bradley, the accidental MP for Mansfield, who was eventually forced to retract his claim that Jezza had been a paid Soviet spy, and make a significant donation to a local food bank (that meant it hurt). And now has come Sajid Javid.
The Home Secretary decided yesterday that he would climb aboard the bandwagon attempting to make capital from a confrontation in Parliament apparently engineered by veteran Labour MP Margaret Hodge, where she made a number of allegations against Corbyn which for some reason she has been loath to repeat outside the Palace of Westminster. Javid, ever the political opportunist, sensed an opening.
Labour had, it seems, decided to take action against Ms Hodge, which is their business. Javid decided it was his business, too: “Margaret Hodge’s family were murdered in the Holocaust. Instead of listening to her, Corbyn chooses to condemn her. How on earth can he claim he doesn’t have a problem with Jews? #disgraceful”. Excellent non sequitur there. But then he got suckered by another Tweeter.
What was in the Tweet to which Javid then replied is not known - it, and its author, have since vanished. But we do know what the Home Secretary said in reply: “How can you even question the Holocaust. Please think carefully about what you are saying. Don’t be misled by Corbyn”. There is only one inference that can be taken from that Tweet: that Corbyn is a Holocaust denier. Sajid Javid was in deep doo-doo.
One Tweeter tried to gently move the Home Secretary in the direction of saying sorry and deleting the offending claim. “Are you implying that Jeremy Corbyn has in any way suggested that the Holocaust is not real? Think carefully before you reply”. Whether he chose to do so is not known - as there was no reply.
And the Tweet remained intact. PR man Mike Hind also tried a little gentle persuasion on the MP for Bromsgrove. “That 'Muhammad_S_85' account you just used to imply that Jeremy Corbyn denies the Holocaust has now disappeared. You should really delete this public smear on the basis that it relies on a tweet from a banned account. After all, you are the Home Secretary of the United Kingdom”. No reply to that, either.
The Tweet stayed up. Perhaps the band played on, too. Judy Hamilton was not impressed. “The fact the Home Secretary responded to an account that’s now banned is bad. What is far worse is that it seems he used it as an excuse to accuse the Leader of the Opposition of fooling people into believing there was no holocaust. This is disgusting behaviour for a [Secretary] of State”. Had the vanished account been banned? Oh dear!

Sajid Javid, in taking no action to delete a Tweet making a highly defamatory suggestion about the Labour leader, has left himself open to not merely highly adverse comment, but yet another of those legal actions that Jezza will win, and he will lose.

Say sorry, Home Secretary. And get ready to make that food bank donation.

Thursday, 19 July 2018

The Press Hearts Sir Cliff BUT

Yesterday was a big day for Harry Webb, more usually known as Cliff Richard, still able to attract legions of older fans who can readily remember the words to songs such as Congratulations (the UK’s 1968 Eurovision entry, which lost to the Spanish, a feat he repeated in 1973. Hello Iain Dale). They were singing those words outside the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand as Richard won a landmark privacy case against the BBC.
As the Beeb itself reported, “Sir Cliff Richard has won his privacy case against the BBC over its coverage of a police raid on his home … High Court judge Mr Justice Mann awarded an initial £210,000 in damages … The singer claimed the BBC's reporting of the 2014 raid, which was part of an investigation into historical child sex allegations, was a ‘serious invasion’ of privacy. He was never arrested or charged”.

The BBC’s costs could run into millions; our free and fearless press, therefore, was in rapture at the news - but only up to a point. The Corporation’s legal correspondent Clive Coleman explained why this might be: “The judge found it was not merely the BBC's use of helicopter pictures which breached Sir Cliff's right to privacy. The simple naming of Sir Cliff as a suspect in the police investigation amounted to a breach of his privacy”.
There was more. “It means, going forward, people who are suspects in police investigations, save in exceptional circumstances, are entitled to reasonably expect the matter is kept private and not covered by the media”. And the press, many of whose pundits laid into the BBC when it first broke the story, are now saying more or less the same thing, which proves they would have run the exclusive, had they been given it.
Hence even the Guardian telling “Media freedom ‘under threat’ after BBC loses Cliff Richard privacy case”, while the Mail first told readers “TEARFUL CLIFF: BBC HEADS MUST ROLL” before ordering Stephen “Miserable Git” Glover over the top to claim “The BBC behaved idiotically. But [it’s a big but] I fear the judge’s ruling could let Police raid your home at 4am without facing public scrutiny”.
Similarly, the Mirror proclaims “INNOCENT STAR WINS BBC BATTLE” and then asks “Is a good day for Sir Cliff a bad day for Justice?” and the Sun thunders “CLIFF WINS £5 MILLION BBC PRIVACY CASE” and declares “Ruling Threatens To Gag Free Speech … It’s not funny … we can’t talk anymore”, proving that at least one employee at the Baby Shard bunker is old enough to remember when Richard was still making hit records.
Thus the hypocrisy: the Sun and Mail condemned the Beeb for naming Richard, but they would have done the same thing, had they had the story first. Their talk of “free speech” today shows that they want to be able to name suspects again. And what none of them want you to know is that this very subject would have been examined by Part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry, which our less than free and fearless Government has binned.
Privacy is one of those things that the press defends through the deployment of injunctions - hello Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks - but does not want anyone else to have. So they can name suspects before charge and not really - honest - suggest to their readers that They Done It. Privacy is for paedos, as one of their luminaries once put it.

The press likes to see the BBC suffer. It likes to see the little people suffer rather more.

Tory Pairing Deception Unravels

Julian Smith, who has for some reason been appointed as chief whip by the Tories, has significant previous when it comes to acts of stupidity: his idea that “As part of its reporting of national security issues, The Guardian has not denied sending the detailed family and personal information of our security agents across borders” was typical. The Guardian’s editor had not denied being Fred West’s patio-building accomplice, either.
Mmmm, "resignation" ... that's a big word

So it should have come as no surprise when Smith attempted to be jolly clever over this week’s close votes in the Commons, only to be caught with his trousers well alight amid calls for him to resign. His deception concerned pairing, and specifically the pairing of some Tory MPs with MPs from Labour and the Lib Dems who were absent from Parliament because they were in the later stages of pregnancy.
Those MPs could not vote; their Tory pairs would also not vote, even though they may be in Parliament at the time. One of the Tory pairs was party chairman Brandon Lewis, who was paired with Lib Dem Jo Swinson. Lewis voted twice on Monday evening. Ms Swinson was unimpressed. “Just how low will your govt stoop @theresa_may? When @andrealeadsom delayed proxy voting motions, she *assured* those of us who were pregnant that we would be paired when necessary. Today your govt broke that agreement - @BrandonLewis paired with me but voted. Desperate stuff”.
Times deputy political editor Sam Coates then claimed that Smith had “told MPs to defy pairing deals”: “Mr Smith summoned Brandon Lewis, the Tory chairman, from a meeting to Parliament as a crunch vote on customs approached, witnesses claim … The chief whip is understood to have told Mr Lewis that the later votes were going to be close and he needed him to vote. This breached the pairing deal with Jo Swinson … The Times has been told of two other Tory MPs told by Mr Smith that they should vote”.
What that meant was spelt out by the Sun’s deputy political editor Steve Hawkes. “This would mean that the PM misled the House and Tory Party chair Brandon Lewis lied”.
Labour deputy leader Tom Watson went further. “Tory chief whip told three MPs to defy ‘pairing’ deals on crucial Brexit votes according to today's Times. If true, this is despicable behaviour which makes politics even more inaccessible for women. If true, Julian Smith must resign, or be sacked”. Ash Sarkar of Novara Media went one resignation further.
Yesterday, Theresa May said at PMQs @BrandonLewis had made an honest mistake when disregarding his pairing arrangement with @joswinson. Now, it emerges that MPs were instructed to do so by the chief whip. She lied outright to Parliament. Resign”.
The Tweeter known as Devutopia was on the same page. “Only two conclusions are possible from the Tory pairing scandal story below: 1) Theresa May lied to Parliament at #PMQs (yet again) OR 2) The Tory Chief Whip lied to her and he must resign Either way, May must explain what she knows”. Dead right she must.
Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas concurred. “These are very serious allegations. The Tory chief whip @JulianSmithUK and the Prime Minister urgently need to come before MPs and explain themselves. And, if the allegations prove well-founded, Smith should be sacked”. This shaky Government just got a whole lot shakier.

Facebook Welcomes Holocaust Denial

One of the most insidious tendencies of the far-right is going beyond anti-Semitism - which in itself is inexcusable - to downplay or deny the Holocaust, the Shoah. Approximately six million Jews, two-thirds of Europe’s Jewish population, were systematically murdered by the Nazis between 1941 and 1945. The killing intensified after the Wannsee Conference, overseen by Reinhard Heydrich, in early 1942.
The Nazis also systematically murdered hundreds of thousands of Roma, millions of ethnic Slavs, as many as two million ethnic Poles, and many others. The events which led to the Holocaust, the methods used, the numbers murdered, all were well-documented at the time, with many of those records surviving the war, despite attempts by retreating Nazis to cover their tracks. It happened; we should not forget that it happened.

Despite that knowledge, there are Nazi sympathisers who want to pretend it did not happen, and, worse, propagate the idea that it did not happen. So what Facebook’s CEO said yesterday has alarmed many: “Mark Zuckerberg defended the rights of Facebook users to publish Holocaust denial posts, saying he didn’t ‘think that they’re intentionally getting it wrong’”. Have I got news for him. That’s exactly what they are doing.

There was more. “He said Holocaust deniers were ‘deeply offensive’, but ‘I don’t believe that our platform should take that down because I think there are things that different people get wrong. I don’t think that they’re intentionally getting it wrong … It’s hard to impugn intent and to understand the intent. I just think, as abhorrent as some of those examples are, I think the reality is also that I get things wrong when I speak publicly.’

The Guardian’s report also notes “Last year, the Guardian reported on internal Facebook moderation documents which suggested that the company flouted Holocaust denial laws except in countries where it was likely to be sued or prosecuted.”
Zuckerberg then issued a clarification: “I absolutely didn’t intend to defend the intent of people who deny [the Holocaust]. Our goal with fake news is not to prevent anyone from saying something untrue - but to stop fake news and misinformation spreading across our services”. But saying something untrue is what leads to Fake News.

And we know where this leads: “On Wednesday, Facebook told reporters at its Menlo Park headquarters that it would be taking down misinformation used to provoke physical harm, rather than just de-ranking it in the news feed … The announcement was spurred by outbreaks of anti-Muslim violence in Sri Lanka. One of the triggers for the violence was posts spreading misinformation about the Muslim community”.

Denying the Holocaust may not immediately lead to violence. But it sets the narrative off down a slippery slope, which ultimately leads there. Denying the Holocaust assists rehabilitation of Nazism and other kinds of authoritarian rule, creating the conditions for it all to happen over again. Next time it may not be Jews, but the act of erasing the Holocaust means that a next time becomes less a probability, and more a certainty.

Small wonder Zuckerberg finds himself plastered across the front page of the New York Daily News today. A Jewish man with ancestors from Germany, Austria and Poland letting the Holocaust Denial genie out of the bottle. We live in worrying times.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Tommy Robinson And US Interference

Today, the appeal by Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, against being given a custodial sentence after pleading guilt to his second contempt of court in 18 months, was heard at the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand. The case was heard before Lord Burnett, the Lord Chief Justice, and not, as had been trailed, Lord Justice Leveson. Judgment was reserved and is expected later this month.
Thus the normal functioning of the English legal system, but even before the hearing, there had been moves to interfere in that process, precipitated by a representative of Combover Crybaby Donald Trump. Yes, you read that right.
As Reuters has reported, “Sam Brownback, the U.S. Ambassador for International Religious Freedom, complained to the British ambassador in Washington D.C. about the treatment of an English right-wing activist who is in jail for disrupting a trial … Brownback raised the case of the activist known as Tommy Robinson in a June meeting with Sir Kim Darroch, Britain’s Ambassador to the United States”.
Just imagine the reaction of those in the USA if someone from the UK had protested the treatment of a US national in jail there. The report continues “Brownback raised the jailing of Robinson during a meeting with Darroch that covered a range of ‘religious freedom issues’, the British official confirmed earlier this week”. Religious freedom? Whatever.
But the idea of a “religious freedom” angle on Lennon’s case, bizarre though it was, was not nearly as wacko as what followed. “Brownback told Darroch that if Britain did not treat Robinson more sympathetically, the Trump administration might be compelled to criticize Britain’s handling of the case”. Lennon is s serial criminal. Why the interest?
With considerable restraint, the report adds “Reuters was unable to determine why the top U.S. official responsible for defending religious freedom would try to intervene with the British government on behalf of an activist who has expressed anti-Islamic views”. Well, indeed. Religious freedom does not appear to be high on Lennon’s agenda.
Small wonder that pundit Mehdi Hasan observed “I want to say I’m astonished but…”, while the BBC’s James Cook noted “One of many remarkable things about this, if accurate, is that it implies the US thinks that is a) possible and b) acceptable for the UK government to interfere with a judge’s ruling”. It isn’t, and it isn’t.
It wasn’t about religious freedom either, as Miqdaad Versi of the Muslim Council of Britain pointed out: “Here is a picture of Sam Brownback - the US ambassador threatening the UK as he lobbies for the imprisoned far-right anti-Muslim Tommy Robinson - with Frank Gaffney who is ‘one of America’s most notorious Islamophobes’ (SPLC)”.
Ignorance of this country’s laws concerned the likes of Victoria Freeman: “Number of staggeringly stupid people who don’t realise Robinson actually put convictions at risk with his interfering in justice is amazing”. And Sunny Hundal spoke for many: “This is mind-boggling. Trump's team are now lobbying for a far-right thug. Threatening to interfere in our judicial system. This really takes the biscuit”. All this and Steve Bannon, too.

This interference on behalf of the Islamophobic far right is bang out of order.

Piers Morgan Scoop IS RATINGS FLOP

And so it came to pass that the interview granted to former Screws and Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan by Combover Crybaby Donald Trump was splashed across the pages of the Mail on Sunday, pushed for all it was worth on the Monday morning edition of ITV breakfast offering Good Morning Britain, and finally aired as a stand-alone item on the same channel after the main evening news that day.
The hype had been unrelenting; the promotion of the meeting, and of course that of Himself Personally Now, by Morgan had been incessant. So when the ratings came in yesterday, expectations must have been high in ITV land. But the figures did not lie: an audience of just 1.2 million showed few were bothered.
Hence the spin: after Mark Jefferies of the Mirror declared “Full time ratings score in millions on Mon night: Love Island 3 Piers Morgan 1. Piers, The President and Air Force One had 1m and a 12% share at 10.45pm and #LoveIsland had a loyal 3m and 15% share at 9pm, so he was well beaten by the show he hates on all fronts”, Morgan blustered “But my show aired nearly 2hrs later, at 10.50pm, so this is an utterly meaningless comparison. If it had aired at 9pm, I'd have comfortably beaten Love Island”. Yeah, right.
Ian Hyland tried another angle. “Ratings. Looking like just over 1m for Piers Morgan's Donald Trump interview on ITV last night. Which means almost 5m of Piers's loyal Twitter followers deserted him”. What say The Great Man? “Half my followers are not in Britain. And this, as you know, was a perfectly good rating for a show airing at 10.45pm. The Trump interview also did a big number for us on @GMB in the morning - 21.5% share”.
So fewer than half the BBC audience size, then. And most of the rest of his Twitter followers are only there to take the piss. Wouldn’t anyone speak up for him? One Tweeter reassured Morgan he would have beaten BBC Newsnight. That cheered him up. “Yes. My Trump special got double @BBCNewsnight's ratings despite airing 20 minutes later”.
But we still didn’t get the crucial number, which is ITV versus BBC1, not BBC2. And when he told another of those Tweeters unhappy at his propensity to shout at interviewees as a means of willy-waving and self-promotion “Watch the BBC then”, it was a dead giveaway. Because when his Trump grovelfest was on ITV, that is what most people did.
Lorna Cooper of BBC Radio 5Live had those numbers. And they made dismal reading for Morgan and his self-promotion bandwagon. “Ratings: Piers Morgan's interview with Trump drew 1.2m for ITV. Over on BBC1, a repeat of HIGoNFY garnered 1.5m viewers”. A repeat beat him. Or, as one Tweeter pointed out, “Wow, even after 20 years, Ian Hislop owning Piers without even trying”. No wonder he was so defensive.
Worse, it was a smaller audience than for his previous Trump grovelfest. All of which means you can have the access, along with the plaudits of more easily impressed media people, but in the real world, people aren’t interested in him - or Trump.

Still, if ITV are daft enough to pay him, he should worry. Or as Trump might say, SAD!