Piers Morgan's Cynical Media Strategy... That Works
How the left props up the most extreme example of their opposition to advance their own radical agenda.
Piers Morgan had a problem. And so did CNN. As much as the network loved the constant drum beat about America's "violent gun culture" from their imported prime time star, Morgan had himself become a lightening rod for attacks and the personification of urban, liberal elites lecturing the rest of America about what kind of guns they really "need" – if they need them at all.
Morgan's abrasive and dismissive interview tactics against anyone who came on his show to defend the 2nd amendment was not playing well with the handful of viewers outside of Washington's Beltway and Manhattan's Upper West Side. There was even a movement, symbolic though it may have been, to deport the British ex-patriot on the grounds that he was acting in a way that was subversive to our founding document:
We demand that Mr. Morgan be deported immediately for his effort to undermine the Bill of Rights and for exploiting his position as a national network television host to stage attacks against the rights of American citizens
The fact is, Piers Morgan had not only called for gun control; he called for a repeal of the 2nd amendment to better reflect England's gun laws as well as a repeal of parts of the bible he disagreed with. These positions of Morgan's are seen by most Americans as extreme and radical, because they are.
And that was Morgan and CNN's problem.
So they did what the left always does. Whether in the media or in the halls of government or in Hollywood, the left has learned that, to make their own radical views appear to be reasonable and moderate, they must juxtapose themselves against the most radical and extreme representation of the opposition they can find.
Enter Alex Jones.
Alex Jones is a controversial, abrasive, sometimes hysterical talk show host who dwells in the outer-reaches of the American political conversation. He has subscribed to some of the most dangerous conspiracy theories centered around the 9/11 truther movement and even has suggested that the American government was behind the Oklahoma City bombings.
This is the man Piers Morgan used to rehabilitate himself.
Alex Jones went on Morgan's show and he did what Alex Jones does: he made headlines with over-the-top hyperbolic, volatile statements delivered in an over-the-top, hyperbolic way. It was great television, but at the end of the day, it served to make the refined and civilized Morgan look like the sane man in the room. And that was Morgan's goal.
Unlike the past two weeks of media coverage from the conservative media on the internet, talk radio and Fox News, the Alex Jones interview was largely ignored or, if mentioned, Jones was not defended. Because, if a website or radio host were to attack Morgan for his approach with Jones, they would be susceptible to the charge that they "defended Alex Jones, that conspiracy nut."
The fact is, Jones made some very good points on the program – points that Morgan couldn't debate. But no one noticed, because of Jones' hysterical performance. Threatening that “1776 will commence again if you try to take our firearms” will always get more attention than the fact that there's been a 20% crime reduction in the past 9 years in America and the violent crime rate is up 300% in England since they banned firearms.
Piers Morgan is able now to pivot to his audience and say, "What do you say America, are you on my side, or on the side of this guy who thinks the government is behind 9/11?"
This was a brilliant media play by Morgan, if not a despicably cynical one. Just look at what happened when he had the "non-Alex Jones" type guests on to debate the gun issue.
He proved he couldn't hold his own against sober and articulate defenders of the 2nd amendment. When he had John Lott on his town hall program, he called the author of "More Guns, Less Crime" a liar. When he had Gun Owners of America executive director Larry Pratt on, he called him an "unbelievably stupid man."
Yes, there's something about the logic-based arguments in favor of gun ownership that brings out the Alex Jones in Piers Morgan.