Those who look in regularly on Zelo Street will remember the occasion when Evan Harris, former Lib Dem MP, and more recently press regulation reform campaigner, appeared on the ITV breakfast offering Good Morning Britain and did up co-host Piers Morgan like the proverbial kipper. Dr Harris, as those of us who know him well can testify, is utterly unflappable; Morgan is not. One kept his calm; the other lost it totally.
Piers Morgan lost his rag ...
Now, Morgan has lost it again, and again, it is Dr Harris who has calmly skewered him. Worse for the former Screws and Daily Mirror editor, this latest meltdown leads directly on from the warning Dr Harris gave him on GMB. As I said then, “Harris … reminded Morgan that the Mirror, under his editorship, had been involved in phone hacking on a significant scale … [he] surmised that Morgan was either incompetent, or had been complicit”.
So when actor and campaigner Hugh Grant mused “You used to care so much about what actors said that the paper you edited hacked Nigel Havers phone for years while his wife was dying of cancer”, Morgan would have been best advised to think before replying. It seems he did not. “No journalist who worked for me at the Daily Mirror has ever been charged with or convicted of phone-hacking”. Cue Evan Harris.
“That is carefully-worded bull-shitting, but ultimately deceitful. A journalist at the Sunday Mirror pleaded guilty to hacking phones under your editor-in-chiefness and two more of your group’s news editors who went to NotW under your mate Andy Coulson also pleaded guilty there”. Come on Piers, let’s have a bit of the old wit, then. “I was never Editor-in-Chief of the Sunday Mirror. Just another of the many lies you obsessive weirdos perpetuate about me and phone-hacking”. We’re on to the abuse already.
... while Evan Harris did not
Dr Harris had Morgan exactly where he wanted him. “You were appointed Editor-in-Chief of the Sunday Mirror, when [your] protege, and proven phone-hacker, Tina Weaver was appointed its editor in 2001. That is FACT. Stop lying. Stop covering up. Have the guts to admit hacking, as yr ex-employer already has”. What say Piers? “Nope, that’s a lie. I was never appointed Editor-in-Chief of the Sunday Mirror, as a simple request to the company for confirmation would have established. So stop spreading fake news, Dr Pinocchio”.
True or Bluff, Evan? “I have 4 sources (none of which is a voicemail message or a blagged phone bill btw). Here is just one. From your biography”. Ouch! Still there, Piers? “Your 'source' is an unauthorised biography I had nothing to do with? Give it up, Dr Pinocchio, you pathetic lying twerp”. Is the wrong answer, as he soon discovered.
“Am not lying - that's defamatory - [you] [should] withdraw; 2) If you'd had a hand in biography or authorised it, people [would] set *less* store by it; 3) [Your] being in overall charge at [the] Sunday Mirror is only a tiny part of the evidence against [you] as [you] know; 4) But here's more evidence on that”. And so there was.
Piers Morgan could have responded with calm reason. Instead, he resorted to abuse, and will no doubt find solace in the encouragement of his fellow Old Media pals.
Anyone might conclude he has something to hide. I’ll just leave that one there.
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