Why, you ask?
Well, let me back up a minute. Those who have been watching the ‘tube the last few days, despite the holidays, might have noticed a “mini scandal” regarding a supposed “walk off” of Ron Paul when subjected to a hostile round of questioning by CNN’s Gloria Borger. After shuffling through a variety of perfunctory attempts at mild “gotcha” questions, Borger went to that old trope, the handful of politically-incorrect (mildly racist, perhaps) statements that one or more anonymous authors injected into the “Ron Paul Report” newsletter in the 80s.
Getting into it a bit with Borger, Paul sternly answered the question, saying (as always) that he disavowed the statements (which he didn’t see at the time they were published), and pointing out that CNN always seems to “forget” his answer — but Borger persisted. The interview was winding down at the point the topic was raised, and Paul was trying to move on, but Borger would simply not stop asking increasingly inane variants of the question.
It was clearly within Paul’s right to end the interview at that point; Borger was in the wrong for overstepping her journalistic integrity by trying to “trap and hold” the interviewee. He didn’t “walk off”; he ended it rather calmly, after MORE THAN ADEQUATELY responding to the line of questioning.
What happened then? Well, of course, CNN displayed their journalistic neutrality by editing the entire interview down to just the final question about the newsletters, making Paul simply look impatient and evasive.
It is obvious this is not the case from watching the full segment, which places the egg squarely on Borger’s face.
Because of this subterfuge, I suggest the Paul campaign fire back at CNN for whatever it can find regarding their lapses in publication and staffing, and demand that they “return” all monies earned or otherwise derived from these things (apparently there is no time limit here — go back to when CNN was founded; nor is there any redemption available by accepting responsibility and apologizing). I figured I’d start.
It didn’t take more than a few minutes of Googling to find a whopper.
Did you know that Piers Morgan, host of CNN’s “Piers Morgan tonight”, is part of the News of the World/NewsCorp/Rupert Murdoch phone hacking scandal? I didn’t. I think this fact might need to see greater light:
James Hipwell, a former journalist at The Daily Mirror, a tabloid edited by Mr. Morgan until 2004, now says that phone hacking was “endemic” at the paper. “Piers was extremely hands-on as an editor,” Mr. Hipwell, 45, told the British newspaper The Independent in an interview published Saturday. “I can’t say 100 percent that he knew about it. But it was inconceivable he didn’t.”
Now, you might think that Piers Morgan might have somehow honorably responded, legitimately dismantling the accusations. But that is not so. Instead, he attacked the accuser’s credibility on an unrelated matter:
Mr. Morgan challenged Mr. Hipwell’s credibility, pointing to the fact that he is a convicted felon who went to jail in 2006 for 59 days for buying stock in companies before touting them in a Daily Mirror column, then selling the shares when the prices rose. Mr. Morgan himself was accused of profiting from the sale of one company’s stock based on the column, but said he “was cleared by both internal inquiry and external legal investigation.” Mr. Hipwell “lied repeatedly during the various investigations into the scandal — both about me and about other colleagues,” Mr. Morgan said. “He is not a credible witness.”
Fantastically (you can’t make this stuff up), Piers Morgan himself was just as much a part of the charges, but (as he points out above), he was “cleared.” It turns out, him being cleared of these charges is a scandal in its own right:
In an e-mail, Mr. Hipwell replied that his lawyers thought his case and Mr. Morgan’s had been “identical” and that they were surprised that Mr. Morgan was cleared. “No one has got to the bottom of why this happened,” he wrote.
That is an unusual response. Normally, the target of a distractionary ad hominem attack replies along the lines of “that may be true, but that is in the past, and we’re talking about something else today.” The fact that Hipwell instead questioned the basis for Morgan’s riposte suggests to me the rabbit hole goes deeper.
So it looks like Piers Morgan ain’t pure as the driven snow, though he certainly appears to have been “touched by an angel”.
Now, even if Morgan didn’t even know about the phone hacking (unlikely), we can see that his manner of responding to the Hipwell accusation was totally corrupt. That alone should cast a pall on his credibility.
CNN shouldn’t let a crony like Morgan host a major show. Paul and the public should demand he be fired, and CNN “return all monies” earned from Morgan’s show.
That’s for starters. Anyone else have any other CNN lapses that should maybe receive a second look, now that CNN evidently cares so much about what we might term “indirect responsibility”?
Update, 2012-01-04: A friend kindly directed me to this blog post, which does more digging on CNN, and Borger in specific:
… hit job specialist Gloria Borger is married to Lance Morgan. Morgan is according to the web site of his employer, Powell Tate,”chief communications strategist at Powell Tate in Washington, D.C. He specializes in developing and executing communications strategies for public policy debates, crisis communications and media training.”
So who might be the clients of Powell Tate, where Borger’s husband is “chief communications strategist and crisis communications” adviser? Just about every part of the military industrial-complex that Ron Paul wants to shrink or shutdown.
There’s more. Imply from it what thou will.