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Perhaps Piers Morgan gets it now. He didn’t used to. Ever wondered why our founders and framers felt it necessary to have our First Amendment? A post from a favorite British writer, Brendan O’Neill, Editor of a terrific blog, Spiked, may help.
For those who don’t follow Great Britain’s rather interesting media culture, Piers Morgan – you will remember him succeeding the late Larry King’s then-highly popular show in 2010 for about three years – has become the Isle’s top-rated morning host of “Good Morning Britain.” Make that, “had.” He was pushed out yesterday after being, shall we say, less than impressed with Meghan Markle’s appearance in a highly-celebrated interview with Oprah.
I’ve resisted writing about the two-hour CBS interview, even though I eye-rolled my way through it. You can see my admittedly intemperate reaction that I posted on Facebook below, in response to a friend’s query. But the Piers Morgan angle is one Americans might want to pay some attention to. There are lessons and red flags here, as if we need them. Even one US Supreme Court Justice, Samuel Alito, suggests free speech and religious liberty are under attack in the US. After all, our free speech rights are being trampled for many of the same reasons. Especially, but not exclusively, on college campuses.
Reportedly, over 40,000 people filed complaints with Britain’s official media regulator, Ofcom, which launched an investigation. Seems Morgan may have run afoul of “harm and offence” rules. One of those filing an official complaint was none other than the Duchess of Sussex, one Meghan Markle, US citizen and resident of California. Morgan stormed off the set after his co-host took issue with his comments. He never returned.
Morgan wasted little time to issue his own statement about his departure from ITV. It is priceless.
Don’t feel too bad for the 55-year-old Morgan. He’s paid seven figures to write columns for The Daily Mail. Also, this may represent a bit of a metamorphosis for Mr. Morgan, who hasn’t always been a fan of our First (or Second) Amendments.
Great Britain does not have a First Amendment. Neither do the other Commonwealth nations, for that matter. The penultimate paragraph in O’Neill’s post sums it up nicely, but you really should read the whole thing:
It took a very long time for Brits to win the right to criticise royalty. To blaspheme against gods, to speak freely. Yet now a woke form of treason is being rehabilitated on the back of the veneration of Holy Meghan, with the threat of cancellation hanging over anyone who doesn’t think Britain is racist, doesn’t think taking the mick out of Meghan for eating avocados is racist, and doesn’t think we all need to supplicate ourselves before St Meghan and the cleansing rituals of critical race theory.
I’m no lawyer or Constitutional expert. But I do know that one impetus behind James Madison’s push for it was preserving the right to political dissent, which includes the freedom to criticize the government and government officials. Perhaps even a Duchess. (If we had such a thing. Thank God and the framers that we do not.)
What does that have to do with the Meghan-Hostage interview? Nothing, I suppose, but also, everything. We do not have an official government media regulator like Ofcom in the US (yet, although Facebook and Twitter are trying to play that role).
There is a movement afoot in Britain, thanks to their Adam Smith Institute, to restore and rebuild their eroded free speech rights. I hope they are successful.
In the meantime, Americans may want to stand up and salute Piers Morgan on this one occasion and look around their own backyard and deal with the censors and cancel-culture troops who are working overtime to quash speech – and people – they don’t like. Hopefully, Mr. Morgan has learned his lesson about the value of Free Speech as well.Published in