Friday night on Bill Maher’s show, an Aussie comedian flipped off Piers Morgan and several times told him to eff off. People on the left noticed and celebrated this. And it got me thinking about why some people so dislike Piers Morgan. Here I am going to offer a fact free-speculation on that.
What do I know? I am adamantly biased on this issue. So many of you might want to skip this.
For Americans, I think one reason to dislike Piers Morgan is that he sort of looks like the British generals who lost the American revolution. Ignore the hair. Amiright?
But the real reason, I think, is that he presents as a fake-balance, centrist weakling, which for liberals is far more irritating than a rabid right winger. With the mouth foamer, you can trust that he actually believes what he is saying or is at least trying lying in order to have an influence on the external world.
In contrast, among professional centrists, the objective is not to communicate anything useful about the world. Rather, the objective is to maintain their market share as the arbiter between the two extremes, the guy who can “rise above” or be “aloof to” politics. This requires saying often, a pox on both houses, which just frees politicians to be scoundrels. If the pox is always on both houses, then why bother with decency?
This is obviously an unfair generalization, which I am asserting — perhaps not even correctly — that liberals make. There are some sincere centrists out there: you just don’t seem them much on TV. I am talking here about what irritates liberals, fairly or unfairly, about fake-balance, centrist weaklings.
I am not going to offer much evidence of this. That is too much work. In this post, I am going only for truthy.
But take a look at the video capturing the heated exchange between Morgan and the comedian embedded in this Salon article. I would highlight two things. First, Piers Morgan is pretty clear that he does not even disagree with the lefties who are being “hysterical” about Trump. Rather, he just wants to maintain his market share as somebody who maintains a level-headed pose around the whole issue. If you are on the left, as I am, that looks weak; and it is certainly irritating, because the cost of it is to radically under-react to Trompe and to encourage others to do so as well.
Second, notice how the comedian totally loses it after Piers Morgan says “you are losing your audience.” There, Morgan is telling the leftie comedian not that he is wrong, but that he is failing to appeal to the lazy preconceptions of the viewers. And he presents as the “adult in the room” while doing this. I am surprised the leftie comedian did not jump across the desk.
The correct response to that would have been that market share is irrelevant, that we are not political consultants, and that at this early stage it is important to identify what is actually going on. But the comedian got irritated, descended to Morgan’s lever and crushed him with market share. How illiberal.
Earlier in the show, Bill Maher had a heated exchange with Piers Morgan over the appropriateness of Presidente Trompe defending Putin by asking rhetorically, “You think our country is so innocent?” Here Maher and the other liberals on the show really blew it by allowing Morgan to back them into claiming that America is somehow uniquely virtuous. Morgan won that exchange, IMV, by successfully posing as the sober and fact-based one who knows that America is very imperfect.
The correct response would have been to say that obviously America is not innocent, but that it is inappropriate for Trompe to imply that diplomacy should be a global race to the moral bottom. America is supposed to aspire to do better, not join the worst of class.
Of course, this is easy to say when you are not on stage being recorded, but instead Sunday morning quarterbacking from the family room.