Fresh off on an intense argument with the Executive Director of Gun Owners of America Larry Pratt Tuesday night that resulted in CNN host Piers Morgan calling him “ an unbelievably stupid man,” Morgan held a special edition of his show “Piers Morgan Tonight” on Wednesday called “Guns in America” that focused solely on gun violence in the U.S.
In a rarely used technique, Morgan shot the special, which included a panel of high-profile personalities including CNN’s chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour and alternative medicine guru Depak Chopra, in front of a live audience. Seated in the front row of the audience was economist, current FOX News contributor and author of “More Guns, Less Crime” John Lott, who Morgan eventually called on to join in the debate. However, in predictiable Piers Morgan fashion, before Lott could mutter two sentences, Morgan jumped in and began berating Lott, calling him a liar.
“Every place, that guns have been banned, murder rates have gone up. You cannot point to one place – whether it’s Chicago, or whether it’s D.C., or whether it’s been England, or whether it’s been Jamaica…,” Lott eeked out before Morgan bit his head off.
“I’m sorry, but that’s just a complete lie. It’s a complete lie. In Britain … The gun murder rate in Britain is 35 a year, average. You need to stop repeating a blatant lie, about what happens in other countries,” Morgan said, as Lott respectfully tried to continue making his point. But Morgan would not allow it and lashed out at the guest, “No, you’re not going to get away with this. You lied about it the other day. Thirty five gun murders a year in Britain, eleven to twelve thousand in America. Stop lying, because what you say drives Americans to defend themselves.”
“You don’t even understand simple math,” Lott finally says.
The heated exchange between Morgan and Lott continued until Amanpour jumped in and began to debate Lott using facts instead of name calling, though she never really allows Lott to make his point, either. The segment ends when Morgan cuts off Lott again, telling him, “With respect you’ve had your say.” As Morgan solicits Chopra for this thoughts Lott attempts to buy more time by pointing out that he deserves a response to Morgan’s claim that he is a liar, but Morgan moves on to Chopra anyway.
The negative attention Morgan received from his petty
interview dressing-down of Pratt the evening before clearly did not make Morgan think twice about his tendency to throw childish temper tantrums on air. Rather, it seems Morgan was encouraged by the fiasco, as the clip of him shutting down Lott was proudly displayed on the homepage of the show’s website today. It is one of only two clips from last night’s show on the homepage, and the portion in which Morgan calls Lott a liar is transcribed, proving that Morgan cares less about having a reasoned debate about “Guns in America” than he does about making himself the most watched ‘Evening Newscaster in America.’
Morgan’s plan appears to be working. The bombastic newspaper editor and reality TV star turned broadcaster has managed to drag his ratings up from the depths of viewership hell to ratings that are beating out every other evening broadcaster – not only at his network, but also at FOX and MSNBC. Unfortunately, while Morgan’s show has managed to climb it’s way to the top, his journalistic integrity was not.