How the Anti-Revival Backlash Reignited Piers Morgan’s Career


LONDON—Woke has reignited Piers Morgan’s television career.

You might well ask: So what?

Well, it’s exciting that the woke thing – the hyperawareness of societal issues, especially racism and social justice, driven bonkers by censorship in every way – has sparked a rebound that’s not of its own spring from Fox TV. Many ordinary people, even progressives, have fallen foul of these neo-behavioural dictates, especially when applied to the historical transgressions dug out by the reviling mob. Infinite apologies.

Does anyone remember “It’s Pat,” the adenoidal social maladjustment from the sketch comedy “Saturday Night Live,” where the humor revolved around others’ inability to determine the character’s gender? Can you imagine playing gender identity for laughs now? The retroactive criticism led a chastened Julia Sweeney, who starred as Pat (straight in a big-screen movie that bombed) to wonder aloud on her solo show a few years ago: “My God, what? did I do? Was I the Al Jolson of androgyny?

It’s hard to get every foot right all the time and, really, I don’t care. I’m on board to respect everyone’s individuality, to use the preferred pronoun, to always be mindful of the persecution trans people face, and to try to ensure that they can live a dignified life – although I separates me from the issue of trans women competing with cis women in sports at all levels above elementary school. But that’s a topic for another day.

A growing number of people, the hitherto overwhelming silent majority, have had their bellies full of toxic repudiation for an alleged offense as slight as lamenting the eradication of the very word “woman” from our vocabulary. Again, this is not about gender self-identification. Again, I don’t dispute that. Rather, it is language, the fundamental purpose of which is to communicate clearly. Ask Divine Miss M, Bette Midler, whose career first flourished as a gay-friendly performer performing in New York bathhouses, and who became the latest victim of trans radicalism, crucified for putting warned in an interview in the New York Times when women are “stripped of our rights over their bodies” in trans-inclusive language like “giving birth to people.” Oops, there’s another TERF – trans-exclusive radical feminist.

Let’s TERF grass, for starters.

Anyway about Morgan going from tabloid editor to boob tube he’s been riding that wave of fed up for quite a while and it’s a big part of his new chat show in evening, “Piers Morgan Uncensored”. It hit the airwaves in April with the launch of TalkTV in the UK (and Fox Nation in the US), a network owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch, for which the former tabloid editor Unrestricted is paid a whopping $63 million over three years. Not bad for someone who was famous by CNN as a replacement host for Larry King, after anchoring the program for just three years.

Earlier this week, Morgan had the sublime singer Macy Gray as a guest. Last year, Gray was lambasted for suggesting the United States design an updated national flag, ditching the stars and stripes for a version that better reflects the country’s diversity. So she knows of the pitchforking phenomenon.

On this occasion, Gray addressed the subject What is a woman? “I’ll say this and everyone will hate me, but as a woman, just because you’re going to change roles doesn’t mean you’re a woman. Sorry. For example, if you want me to call you “her”, I will because that’s what you want. But that doesn’t make you a woman, just because I call you “her” and just because you had surgery.

(Most trans women, of course, don’t go through sex reassignment under the knife.)

Think of her comments as you see fit, but one can both accept gender self-identification and see the value in what she said next: “Being a little girl is an epic book and you can’t have it just because you want to be a woman. It’s the truth and I don’t think you should be called a transphobe just because you disagree. There’s a lot of judgment and throwing throwing stones at people for just saying what it is.

Yeah, she got bombed. Cue his hit song “I Try”.

Gray said nothing afterward, merely insisting in a statement that she had been grossly misinterpreted. “I have nothing but love for the LGBTQ+ and transgender communities, I’ve been a supporter since day one. I don’t hate anyone. I respect everyone’s right to feel good about themselves and live their own truth. .

But Morgan could practically be seen salivating during the discussion of the controversy that would inevitably ensue.

It’s much sharper than it was on CNN, more in tune with the British zeitgeist. The program’s opening visuals feature a pulsing blue brain alongside slogans such as “woke madness” and “snowflake society” and “the whole world has gone mad!” His first show drew an audience of 400,000, likely due to Morgan’s much-vaunted ‘get’ – a two-part ‘world exclusive’ with Donald Trump, in his first TV interview since leaving (having been ripped off the fingers) of the Oval Office.

Morgan couldn’t have asked for a better inauguration. The president has had a tantrum over Morgan’s unsweetened “fact” that Trump lost in a free and fair election and he continues to beat the big lie. Pre-telecast teasers claimed Trump left in a rage. This is actually not true and the former president accused Morgan of “illegally, misleadingly” editing the “tedious interview”. Trump may have left the set, but he was back in place for the second half.

It’s the tactic of the tabs, the fake “gotcha”. But since that first broadcast, ‘uncensored’ ratings have plummeted, last week to just 32,000. So maybe Brits aren’t so fascinated by anti-revival after all, tired of outrage and culture wars, or they just got tired of Morgan.

He, of course, stirred up his own storm last year while co-presenting ‘Good Morning Britain’, after falling out with a co-host over his relentless rampage of the Duchess of Sussex, this on the heels from Meghan and Prince Harry’s tell-all interview with Oprah. Morgan is a celebrity sucker; he and Meghan were friends when she first ventured abroad, before meeting her prince. Apparently Meghan “dropped” Morgan like a radioactive piece of plutonium during her romance with Harry and Morgan has never forgiven her.

As he took a powder from the live program, Morgan chatted, “OK, I’m done with that, sorry, no, I can’t do that.”

Morgan has deft interview skills, most recently getting from Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone that “I’ve never met a person of color that I didn’t like” and that using the N’c word is like being rude about weight”.

He also had a great time with Boris Johnson’s melodrama this week.

Rupert Murdoch has lavished cash on “Uncensored” as his network’s flagship show, but he’s unlikely to tolerate a bust for long.

Perhaps Morgan’s alarm clock is putting viewers to sleep.

Rosie DiManno is a Toronto-based columnist who covers sports and current affairs for The Star. Follow her on Twitter: @rdimanno


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