Unexpected names appear on short lists from time to time, but few were as surprising as Piers Morgan’s, which somehow squeaked its way into the running to replace the retiring Larry King’s on CNN’s prime-time evening show Tonight and then inexplicably beat out the competition. On the announcement of such, Americans who pay attention to these things might well have asked themselves, “Who?” To British observers, however, so stupefying was the choice that one could not help but wonder aloud if Morgan had lobbied for the position solely in order to get himself out of England. Across the Atlantic, his name rather lives, to put it delicately, in the mud.
Back in the old country, Piers Stefan Pughe-Morgan is best known for publishing in the Daily Mirror a set of photographs that ostensibly showed British soldiers abusing prisoners in Iraq but turned out to be actually “calculated and malicious” fakes; for his bellicose and often objectionable appearances on various British television shows (the most notable being a spat with satirist and Private Eye editor Ian Hislop on the political comedy show Have I Got News for You); for making himself hostage to fortune (he was widely mocked when, having suggesting that President Bush was “an idiot to fall off” his Segway, he then did exactly the same thing on television, breaking three ribs); and, overall, for a brazen self-confidence that enjoys a complicated and unequal relationship with his actual abilities.
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