CNN host Piers Morgan decided he wanted his show to focus more on “news”–and devote his program to advancing an anti-gun agenda–after watching the first episode of The Newsroom, the fictional Aaron Sorkin drama on HBO that has been resoundingly criticized for portraying Tea Partiers as terrorists.
In an interview with the Guardian, Morgan said the program was a “trigger point” for him, and he decided to make gun control a more central focus of his show after “watching Jeff Daniels’s character, Will McAvoy, making a frustrated outburst about passionless television reporting in the first episode of The Newsroom.”
Morgan’s show had focused more in the past on topics with which he was more familiar than American politics–like celebrities–before the host became a crusader for more gun control.
“I had been talking about the guns thing from almost the moment I’d come on air,” he told the Guardian. “Then, after Aurora, the movie theatre massacre, came Sandy Hook. I was incredibly, embeddedly passionate and angry and emotional about it. You can’t not be.”
Morgan continued by saying he thought gun problems in America are getting “worse and worse”: “You do read about crazy people doing crazy things; that’s the whole point of the campaign. But at the same time it’s such a huge problem and it’s in a country I love, and I just see it getting worse and worse.”
He then again praised Jeff Daniels’s character for inspiring him:
It goes back to the need for a clear voice. Watching the first episode of Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom was the trigger point. Jeff Daniels’ character is bored in his job, ticking time, hasn’t got a clear voice, then he suddenly explodes about the state of America, and it transforms his show. I said to my producer it was really interesting because you can see the awakening of a passion and a voice. It made me think: what do I feel really strongly about, and it was guns. It all bubbled up very naturally.