There are two types of people who are happy that Piers Morgan Tonight is over: gun rights activists who didn't like the way he talked about guns, and transgender rights activists who didn't like the way he talked about transgender women. Both groups think they're part of the reason — if not the major reason — his show was cancelled. Either way, both groups are glad to see him go.
Gun Rights Activists
David Carr, who broke the story for The New York Times, made the argument that low ratings contributed to both CNN and Morgan deciding to end the show. Carr suggests those ratings were the result of Morgan being a jerk ("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," he writes), Morgan being too exotically British for his "intrinsically provincial" audience and, in the second half of the piece, guns:
Mr. Morgan’s approach to gun regulation was more akin to King George III, peering down his nose at the unruly colonies and wondering how to bring the savages to heel ... He regrets none of it, but clearly understands his scolding of “stupid” opponents of gun laws was not everyone’s cup of tea.
Carr's story was a "cheery start" to National Review's "Daily Jolt" news roundup. In "Pier-ing Into the Abyss of Cancellation," Jim Geraghty outlined exactly why there's no love lost between Morgan and conservatives. The issue wasn't that he was too British, or only talked about British issues, but that "he kept communicating to an American audience why he thought their country was so bad." Morgan was called out on his views many times with no change, which is why Geraghty closes with this dig: "And he never changed. Instead, viewers changed the channel."
And as conservatives celebrated his demise, there were plenty of Revolutionary War jokes:
Once again Americans use guns to beat back the British. #SoLongMusket— S.M (@redsteeze) February 24, 2014
As for Morgan's replacement, some conservatives suggested people like Ben Shapiro, the editor at large at Breitbart, who had explosive fights with Morgan. Last month Shapiro appeared on Morgan's show and accused him of bullying the right on guns by "standing on the graves of the children of Sandy Hook."
As for what Morgan will do next, the #NextPiersMorganJob has a few unhelpful suggestions:
door-to-door gun confiscator #NextPiersMorganJob— Anthony Bialy (@AnthonyBialy) February 24, 2014
Transgender rights activists
Morgan's views on guns are well known, but his recent interview with Janet Mock, a transgender woman and activist, sparked outrage on the left. Mock first visited Morgan's show to promote her new book, when Morgan made a point of referring to her as "formerly a boy." Mock argued that she was born a baby and assigned a gender that was different from they way she lived her life. "That's a lot of nuance, and it's difficult to get across in 30 seconds," Mock told Morgan on the show.
More than anything is was Morgan's tone that upset the transgender community and allies. He insisted that he was an ally and felt "attacked" because Mock said he was insisting on a gender binary.
Awoken to hordes of astonishingly abusive tweets from @janetmock supporters accusing me of 'disrespect' - seemingly oblivious to the irony.— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) February 5, 2014
Morgan was very, very upset by the whole thing:
I fear I am now a victim of 'cisphobia'.— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) February 5, 2014
Whether you think Morgan handled the initial interview well or not, the idea of "cisphobia" — fear of and discrimination against people who identify with the gender they were assigned at birth — is ridiculous. Just because you think you're a supportive ally, as Morgan did, doesn't mean you're doing a good job. So with the news that Piers Morgan Tonight was no more, the transgender rights community wondered if this more recent transgression (Mock was interviewed in early February) might have been the last straw for CNN:
Why do I feel like Piers Morgan's show being cancelled has something to do with his interview with Janet Mock?— Sharon Ezeamaka (@SharonEzeamaka) February 24, 2014
@PiaGlenn I think he prefers to make it seem like gun nuts took him down. It's a more noble fight.— allisonkilkenny (@allisonkilkenny) February 24, 2014
And transgender rights supporters are also offering replacements for Piers:
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.