Blood, Sweat, and Piers

Piers Morgan rose from Britain’s tabloid swamps to fill one of the most coveted chairs in TV news, replacing Larry King at CNN in 2011. In the U.K., he’s seen by many as a publicity hound. In the U.S., his problem is being seen at all.

  1. Piers Morgan, testifying before the Leveson Inquiry in London late last year, had just withstood two hours of uncomfortable questioning about phone hacking—a practice the 46-year-old tabloid editor–cum–TV star described in the first of his three memoirs as the “little trick” of listening illicitly to other people’s voice mails. When the questions were over and he was free to go, Morgan couldn’t resist a closing statement, a last word. He told the presiding judge, Lord Justice Leveson, who has been leading the government-ordered inquiry into the unethical and often criminal behavior of Britain’s press, that he felt “like a rock star having an album brought out from his back catalogue of all his worst-ever hits.”

    To those who know him, it was predictable that Morgan would liken himself to a rock star, even after he had been made to seem like the audio version of a Peeping Tom. Morgan has made his career through a combination of fawning over and feuding with celebrities of all stripes. Judging from a recent tour of his home turf, London journalists view him either with a certain admiration (for his sheer ability to survive and for his acknowledged solicitude as a boss) or, more commonly, complete disdain (for his journalistic methods, his extravagant self-promotion, and his apparent lack of redeeming social purpose). “Every once in a while, one of us writes a story we hope will get him fired from CNN,” a British editor told me recently. So far, the efforts have come to naught,...