CNN host and former News of the World editor Piers Morgan has been silent on the phone-hacking scandal that has led to the closure of his former paper and imperiled the media empire of his old boss, Rupert Murdoch. He broke that silence last night during a segment with Vanity Fair contributing editor Vicky Ward, formerly a reporter at the Murdoch-owned New York Post. In the process, Morgan somehow managing to defend Murdoch against an on-going "witch hunt" by members of the press, profess his own innocence, and issue a quasi-apology for any illegal behavior that may or may not have occurred during his time as a Fleet Street tabloid boss.
Under the circumstances, it's tough to imagine Morgan doing better. The Daily Beast's Lloyd Grove's analysis that "Not since Eliot Spitzer found himself awkwardly anchoring a segment on Rep. Anthony Weiner’s sexting has a CNN host been so compromised and conflicted" is spot on. Morgan's two successors as News of the World editor--Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson--have both been arrested. Members of the House of Commons are calling on Morgan to be questioned. British political blog Guido Fawkes, meanwhile, says Morgan "knew" a 2002 scoop about an affair between reality TV performer Ulrika Jonnson and Sven-Goran Eriksson, who at the time was the manager England's national soccer team, was obtained by hacking into Jonsson's voicemail. That allegedly happened at The Daily Mirror, the non-Murdoch tabloid Morgan edited from 1995 to 2004 after leaving News of the World.