Morgan has long been a critic of Markle and received international attention this week by abruptly walking off the show’s set in a sharp exchange with a co-host Alex Beresford. Beresford was critical of Morgan’s remarks: “I understand that you don’t like Meghan Markle, you’ve made it so clear a number of times on this program, a number of times. And I understand that you’ve got a personal relationship with Meghan Markle, or you had one. And she cut you off. She’s entitled to cut you off, if she wants to.”
That set off Morgan who interrupted and declared “OK, I’m done with this.” He then stormed off.
Since Markle described psychiatric (and potentially suicidal) problems during her time at the palace, Morgan’s remarks were taken by some as dismissive of such crises. Morgan seemed to recognize that when he returned to the set and state:
“Let me just state for the record on my position on mental illness and on suicide. These are clearly extremely serious things and should be taken extremely seriously and if someone is feeling that way they should get the treatment and the help they need every time. And if they belong to an institution like the royal family and they go and seek that help they should absolutely be given it. It’s not for me to question if she felt suicidal, I am not in her mind and that is for her to say. My real concern was a disbelief frankly … that she went to a senior member of the royal household and told them she was suicidal and was told she could not have any help because it would be a bad look for the family. If that is true a) that person should be fired and b) the royal family have serious questions that need to be answered.”
After the show, Morgan was effectively fired. ITV issued a statement that “Following discussions with ITV, Piers Morgan has decided now is the time to leave Good Morning Britain. ITV has accepted this decision and has nothing further to add.” This followed a complaint from Markle. Consider that complaint for a second. She filed a complaint because a media personality said that he did not believe her. ITV then later showed Morgan the door.
One can clearly disagree with that take but one would think that the matter would be left to broader debate. However, people immediately reached out to Ofcom to demand punitive action against Morgan for expressing his views. By that I mean, over 41,000 people. Ofcom then announced a formal investigation “into Monday’s episode of ‘Good Morning Britain’ under our harm and offence rules.”
The Ofcom Section 2 rule is undefined and subjective:
To ensure that generally accepted standards are applied to the content of television and radio services so as to provide adequate protection for members of the public from the inclusion in such services of harmful and/or offensive material.
Generally Accepted Standards
2.1: Generally accepted standards must be applied to the contents of television and radio services and BBC ODPS so as to provide adequate protection for members of the public from the inclusion in such services of harmful and/or offensive material.
2.2: Factual programmes or items or portrayals of factual matters must not materially mislead the audience.
(Note to Rule 2.2: News is regulated under Section Five of the Code.)
2.3: In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context (see meaning of “context” below). Such material may include, but is not limited to, offensive language, violence, sex, sexual violence, humiliation, distress, violation of human dignity, discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the grounds of age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation, and marriage and civil partnership), and treatment of people who appear to be put at risk of significant harm as a result of their taking part in a programme. Appropriate information should also be broadcast where it would assist in avoiding or minimising offence.
Morgan also attached to a picture of former Prime Minister Winston Churchill with his famous quote, “Some people’s idea of [free speech] is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone says anything back, that is an outrage.”
I have written for years on the crackdown on free speech in France, Germany, and England though hate speech laws and speech regulations. As many on this blog know, I am unabashedly against limits on free speech and have opposed most public and private forms of censorship for decades.
My problem is with the investigation which is based on the same type of sweeping, generalized language used to curtail free speech in the United Kingdom ( here and here and here and here and here and hereand here and here and here and here). Much of this trend is tied to the expansion of hate speech and non-discrimination laws.In the United Kingdom, free speech continues to be eroded, including speech directed at political and social issues like the death of George Floyd or “misgendering” during interviews We have also seen this type for ill-defined language used to regulate advertising.
Rather than speak out against Morgan’s comments, tens of thousands of people demanded that the government punish him — and silence him. It is working. He was effectively fired and he is now going to be subject to an investigation. People have developed a taste for censorship and we have seen how that taste becomes an insatiable appetite. That is why this is not Markle or Morgan. It is about free speech and the free press.
151 thoughts on “Piers Morgan Put Under Investigation After Saying That He Didn’t Believe A Word Of Meghan Markle’s Interview”
Speaking of free speech …
“The Kentucky Senate votes to make it a crime to insult a police officer, boost “rioting” penalties 22-11″
This bill was put forth by KY Republicans, headed by Sen. Danny Carroll, a retired police officer.
I expect it will be quickly challenged and parts of it ruled unconstitutional.
“The … law makes a person guilty of disorderly conduct — a Class B misdemeanor with a penalty of up to 90 days’ imprisonment — if he or she ‘accosts, insults, taunts, or challenges a law enforcement officer with offensive or derisive words, or by gestures or other physical contact, that would have a direct tendency to provoke a violent response from the perspective of a reasonable and prudent person.'”
The master Demonkraut Progressive Manifesto, verbatim copied from their Handbook which I stole from a Progressive: “We hate the 1st Amendment and instead champion totalitarian States like China that reprogram imprisoned male political enemies ala the Uighurs while Chinese police get to rape the Uighur wives. That’s my ideal. Till we get there, me and my Demonkraut buddies lie and say we “like the 1A” but it’s certainly fine for any private citizen or company to insure that anyone not towing the Demonkraut political line looses their job, looses their home, and starves to death or preferably me and my Demonkraut friends beat him into submission and if he dies along the way that’s a freebie, icing on the cake which we have and eat it too. All modern Tech companies and esp. all social media are so far on board.”
She’s not even American or European. As one of them, the idea that plunder and destruction from within would not be the result of their marriage is ludicrous. And she’s such a horrendous one of them, i.e. not as subtle as the rest of them would like, her sister warned what was to happen and her own father did not attend the wedding.
It’s par for their course.
The point is not Markle or the former Prince or even Morgan, it is that the police in the UK now investigate ‘thought’ crimes under the guise of looking into “non-crime hate incidents” (NCHI), an offensive ‘imagined’ in 2014 by the College of Policing, which records a “victim” and a “suspect” and goes on the record of all those accused of an NCHI which can be accesssed by potential employers. The rub here is that an NCHI is any comment or “incident” or tweet or whatever “perceived” to be “motivated by hostility or prejudice,” and it can be reportd by the “victim or any other person.” So tweeting the words to a song can get you interrogated by police who worry about your thoughts and your intentions, as happened with Harry Miller and a few others between 2014 and 2019, judging from data that show thirty-four police fources registered 120,000 NCHI complaints. Think Jesse Smollett or Meghan Markle.
CoP is a quango, a quasi-nongovernmental institution. There are 1,162 of them in the UK, employing 714,430 people, and they run the gauntlet from the BBC, which reported on Morgan’s comments to Ofcom, which is investigating Morgan. Quangos are not responsible to the voters; they exist to perpetuate themselves.
So what is freedom of speech? There are those who like to argue that anyone exercises that freedom must be ready for the consequences, but if free speech is punished regularly, it’s not free, is it? Justice Knowles, who threw out the Miller case, argued that it is “the right to say things” offensive to “right-thinking people” and to publish things which offend even “well motivated” governments and judges. Does that also mean the right to tweet something that offends the CEO of Twitter or post something the Zuckerberg finds objectionable? Of course it does, and those who rationalize censorship are little more than self-righteous hypocrites. Meghan and Harry can say whatever they please, but so so can Piers and Harry Miller, because if there is only freedom to speak without consequences for some, there is no freedom of speech at all.
“if free speech is punished regularly, it’s not free, is it?”
Punished how? With opprobrium? Yes, that’s still free speech.
“Does that also mean the right to tweet something that offends the CEO of Twitter or post something the Zuckerberg finds objectionable?”
No. Twitter and Facebook are private companies, and they can regulate speech on their platforms consistent with their terms of service.
“those who rationalize censorship are little more than self-righteous hypocrites.”
Nonsense. We simply understand that the 1st Amendment is a constraint on the government, not on private companies.
Piers Morgan walked off the set in the middle of a broadcast. That action — not speech — is an acceptable reason to end his contract.
“Punished how? With opprobrium? Yes, that’s still free speech.”fir
Did you read my post? By having the police visit you, by having an NCHI on your ‘record,’ and, yes, by being fired after a ‘mob’ objects to what you said, or brought before a judge by someone who was ‘offended’ (whether or not the victim). This is the stuff of 1984 and Brave New World, not a western republican government. By this standard, we would not know who Tom Paine was; he would have been pillored by the right-thinking and his writing banned and burned.
“No. Twitter and Facebook are private companies, and they can regulate speech on their platforms consistent with their terms of service.”
Yes, this is the argument that those who wish to suppress speech have made for the past four years or so, but it is bogus for a number of reasons. First, Twitter and Facebook are effectively monopolies, so they are also the ‘public square,’ and pretending that one can go elsewhere was proven the misdirection it was when the tech overlords took down Parler, which was actually allowing free speech. Second, they are formally platforms, not publishing, and they enjoy protection from lawsuits because of that status, but by suppressing some speech and not other speech, they are acting as publishers, ‘editing’ what they allow on their platoforms. Third, because they do not honor their terms of service, which are deliberately vague, so hate speech from the left is fine, but from the right. Fourth, and I do not expect you to grasp this, but hope you at least try, freedom of speech is not a cultural value that underpins all other rights and freedoms, so to argue in narrow legalistic terms (even on this blog) is evading the issue. If Twitter can suppress speech Dorsey & cpy. do not like, and Twitter has an effective monopoly, it is inflicting severe damage on American culture.
“Nonsense. We simply understand that the 1st Amendment is a constraint on the government, not on private companies.”
No, hypocrites is the correct term. Morgan was correct to post Churchill’s remark about ‘some people’ who believe free speech means they can say what they like, but if someone dares to challenge them, that is an outrage. Indeed!
“Piers Morgan walked off the set in the middle of a broadcast. That action — not speech — is an acceptable reason to end his contract.”
Go back and review the segment. He was under no obligation to sit and be insulted by the guy who reports the weather (did I get that right?). He was being harangued, but I guess you approve of that free speech. His walking off was an understandable protest to a very rude colleague who would not shut up. But I guess you approve of haranguing in the name of social justice?
I’m done. You have my opinion. I have yours. Think I’ll keep mine.
My apologies for the typos, especially the “not” — free speech is a cultural value (no idea how the ‘not’ slipped in there).
Turley has frequently shown how free speech is being punished, and one of the few places it is allowed is now under attack. So a link to Glenn Greenwald on Substack, which is under attack by what McWhorter calls “the Elect” precisely becaue it provides a “platform” for McWhorter, as well as Weiss, Greenwald, Sullivan, Taibbi, and others who no longer can practice their craft freely owing to those who believe ‘private’ business has a ‘right’ to suppress speech . . . .
Re: Greenwald, the juxtaposition of these two tweets of his is pretty striking –
Yes, I did read your post, but when you referred to “punishment,” you seemed to be referring to the US, not the UK, as the paragraph that referred to “punishment” also referred to Justice Knowles. Thanks for clarifying. I agree that I wouldn’t want our 1st Amendment to be modified to make the kind of stuff you mention in the UK legal in the US.
“this is the argument that those who wish to suppress speech have made for the past four years or so, but it is bogus for a number of reasons.”
No, it isn’t bogus. Yes, they’re effectively monopolies, but the much healthier solution to that is to break up the monopolies.
“the tech overlords took down Parler,”
They didn’t. They told Parler that it would have to arrange its own applications in order to make money.
“by suppressing some speech and not other speech, they are acting as publishers”
And the government is free to tell them that they’ll be treated like publishers when they do so.
“they do not honor their terms of service”
A claim you’ve provided no evidence for. If people think this, they can start a class action suit.
“if … Twitter has an effective monopoly …”
Again, the solution to that is to break up these huge companies that act like monopolies. That’s a much healthier solution. Elizabeth Warren, for example, has been advocating that they be broken up for quite a while. I agree with her.
“He was under no obligation to sit and be insulted by the guy who reports the weather”
I bet if we looked at his contract, we’d find that he was, in fact, obligated not to walk off the set in the middle of a broadcast, even if he felt harangued. For goodness sakes, Morgan says similar things about others. If he can dish it out, he should be able to take it.
Or maybe there was something in his contract that resulted in him leaving. This article makes it sound like it was a mutual agreement because the company wanted him to apologize and he didn’t want to –
“I guess you approve’
Don’t guess, if it’s important to you to know, ask instead of guessing. My view is that it’s actually irrelevant whether I approve of the speech. As far as I’m concerned, the real issues are things like whether Morgan abided by his contract, whether it was a mutual decision rather than him being fired, etc.
“We simply understand that the 1st Amendment is a constraint on the government, not on private companies.”
As I have in the past, I agree with you about 1A and private companies. However, that principle does not apply in the Morgan case. Ofcom is a government agency — and that is censorship.
When An old guy said “Justice Knowles, who threw out the Miller case, argued that it is “the right to say things” offensive to “right-thinking people” and to publish things which offend even “well motivated” governments and judges. Does that also mean the right to tweet something that offends the CEO of Twitter or post something the Zuckerberg finds objectionable? Of course it does, and those who rationalize censorship are little more than self-righteous hypocrites,” I interpreted that as him talking about Twitter and Facebook, not Ofcom.
Thanks for the clarification.
This, though, I don’t agree with:
“Again, the solution to that is to break up these huge companies that act like monopolies.”
Just as it is wrong for the government to use preemptively its police powers to control speech, so it is wrong to use that power to control market choices. A company, such as Facebook, earns a large market share due to the choices of management and customers. It does not lose its right to property or to exist simply because the government arbitrarily declares that it’s “too big.”
Success in the marketplace should be praised, not punished.
Thanks for confirming that Progressives as a rule are against free speech as a personal ideal, that in fact you hate free speech as a personal ideal. You must love the Uighar situation in China: Muslims are re-educated in prison while Chinese police rape the prisoner’s wife.
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