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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Piers is out of bullets

Awww. How am I going to get through the day without a condescending British twit to lecture me on the evils of guns?

There have been times when the CNN host Piers Morgan didn’t seem to like America very much — and American audiences have been more than willing to return the favor. Three years after taking over for Larry King, Mr. Morgan has seen the ratings for “Piers Morgan Live” hit some new lows, drawing a fraction of viewers compared with competitors at Fox News and MSNBC.

It’s been an unhappy collision between a British television personality who refuses to assimilate — the only football he cares about is round and his lectures on guns were rife with contempt — and a CNN audience that is intrinsically provincial. After all, the people who tune into a cable news network are, by their nature, deeply interested in America.

CNN’s president, Jeffrey Zucker, has other problems, but none bigger than Mr. Morgan and his plum 9 p.m. time slot. Mr. Morgan said last week that he and Mr. Zucker had been talking about the show’s failure to connect and had decided to pull the plug, probably in March.

Crossing an ocean for a replacement for Larry King, who had ratings problems of his own near the end, was probably not a great idea to begin with. For a cable news station like CNN, major stories are like oxygen. When something important or scary happens in America, many of us have an immediate reflex to turn on CNN. When I find Mr. Morgan telling me what it all means, I have a similar reflex to dismiss what he is saying. It is difficult for him to speak credibly on significant American events because, after all, he just got here.

What an odd story. A cable news audience is "inherently provincial" because its members are "deeply interested in America"? And, gosh, what do you know, major stories are like oxygen for a news outlet, and all us rubes want to hear somebody who knows America explain it to us instead of some guy who just got off the boat. Of course, this story is in the New York Times, which tends to look on anything not on the East Coast with amused disdain, but still. I don't think I like being insulted by the Times any more than I like being insulted by Morgan. Well, I would be insulted if I ever watched CNN. I don't seem to have that "immediate reflex" to turn to CNN when big things happen. Anybody who ever saw "Deep Impact" knows that MSNBC is the real deal with the savvy reporters who can get the truth out of President Morgan Freeman.