Today’s cult of celebrity by association - which means those who are Slebs because they know other Slebs - has one supreme exponent, and that is former Screws and Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan, still labouring under the pretence that only he is responsible for increasing the ratings of ITV breakfast offering Good Morning Britain, and labouring under the further pretence that he can ever get those ratings above the BBC competition.
Morgan wants the world to know that he is so famous, and indeed so disgustingly rich, that he can justify telling the organisers of I’m A Celebrity that he will only go on the show if they pony up five million used notes first. He is so well-connected and loud with it that he not only secured an interview with Cristiano Ronaldo, he filled his Twitter feed with plugs for the interview, and otherwise banged on about it ad infinitum, and indeed ad nauseam.
On top of all that, The Great Man is never backwards in coming forwards to not only offer his opinion on any subject that he knows nothing about, he also wants the world to know that his opinion is, more or less, equivalent to absolute fact. So it is that he has weighed in on the Whipps Cross University Hospital row from earlier this week.
That row kicked off after alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson was confronted by a concerned parent whose seven-day-old daughter had been admitted to the hospital after falling gravely ill. Omar Salem did not make any secret of his political affiliation, but that did not discount the fact of the matter: his daughter was very poorly and he was not happy about the hospital’s clear lack of resources.
But what mattered to Morgan was setting up a diversion. And so it came to pass that he told his adoring followers “This ludicrous sack Laura Kuenssberg campaign just about sums up the pathetic, fact-devoid, hysterical tribalism that now infests political debate. You can’t get more impartial, or superbly professional, than [Laura Kuenssberg] - so leave her alone, you ignorant bug-eyed bullies”. No thanks, I don’t want to look over there.
Ms K has recently been carpeted for her lack of impartiality, and her pointing out Salem’s Twitter handle, which resulted in him receiving all manner of abuse, much of it racist, is a matter of record. But on went Morgan: “Strident pro-Labour anti-Brexit activist (by his own bio admission) grandstands with Boris to score cheap political points rather than be with his sick child. Pathetic”. If Morgan had been in that position, he’d have been strident, too.
Does being “pro-Labour” discount the fact that his child is unwell? Does “anti-Brexit” do likewise? No and no. Salem has been “with his sick child”, as Morgan puts it, for some time. His taking a couple of minutes to make sure someone who could do something about the state of the NHS got the message is hardly desertion.
Piers Morgan is being far more “strident”, as he puts it, in his partiality than Salem. He is prepared to back any fellow journalist, no matter how badly their standards slip, and no matter how far he drifts off to the right - and drift off to the right is where he’s at right now.
Condemn a Prime Minister who just suspended democracy? Advocate for better NHS resourcing? Nah. He’s all right Jack. He goes private, and he don’t care.
Piers Morgan is a disgrace to his profession. But you knew that already.
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