Watching Piers Morgan getting, I think the appropriate term is “owned”, by weatherman Alex Beresford on Good Morning Britain and his subsequent walk off the set was one of the most enjoyable things on TV last week.
And the best part is that it will live forever on YouTube. It will be an automatic inclusion in compilations of TV hosts from across the world throwing a strop.
Morgan is broadcasting Marmite, there’s no in between, and for six years, until his departure on Tuesday, that had worked very well for the show, even if there were times when it looked like he was just spouting off for the viewing figures.
He revelled in being disliked, arguably even more than receiving audience support. Without the journalistic talent of an Andrew Neil or even a Jeremy Paxman, he opted for the role of pantomime villain, which has made him very wealthy thanks very much.
But his undoing on this occasion was in letting his personal rancour towards the Duchess of Sussex get the better of him.
Meghan Markle is Morgan’s kryptonite. When it comes to her, all pretence of journalism goes out of the window and his dislike for her governs his opinion on any story she is involved in.
One of the first directives I have given to the many journalists who have worked under me over 35 years has always been: report the news, don’t make the news.
Last week, Morgan stepped over that line and instead of a journalist holding someone in power to account, which is what we’re there for, it was down to a weatherman to call the former tabloid editor out for his petulant outburst and in storming off he merely showed that while he can dish it out, he certainly can’t take it.
It’s not the end for Morgan, he’s still got his ITV contract and people like him always land on their feet so expect to see him on your screens again soon.
The fallout from the Prince Harry and Meghan interview continued with Ian Murray, executive director of the Society of Editors standing down on Wednesday after a completely misjudged statement denying the couple’s claim of racism in the press resulted in National Press Awards host Charlene White withdrawing her services and a number of nominees saying they no longer wished to be considered for an award.
For the press to hold others to account we have to accept that we are accountable and when I see a Mail columnist on Question Time dismiss some of the things that have appeared in tabloids about the Duchess of Sussex as a game of heroes and villains that nationals play with royals, I am frankly sickened.
I have made my own opinion of the not-so-royal-anymore couple clear in previous columns, but when a photo story of a pregnant Duchess of Cambridge can talk of Kate gently cradling her baby bump yet a similar photo of pregnant Meghan in the same paper is accompanied by “can’t she leave that bump alone?” it’s difficult to see that as a game of heroes and villains.
With others references to her being “straight outa Compton” and gangsta, I think certain tabloids have a lot to answer for.
Then we have the shocking news that Meghan likes avocado, which carried the headline: “Is Meghan’s favourite snack fuelling drought and murder?”
Finally, with campaigns encouraging people to speak out on mental health, regardless of whether you’re in the Piers Morgan camp or not on Meghan’s revelations to Oprah Winfrey we all have a responsibility to take anyone’s claims about mental health seriously.
Irresponsible doesn’t even begin to cover it.
Stupid TV quiz answers of the week
Two from the same bloke on Friday’s Tipping Point:
Q: In 1855, which nurse began the British Hotel for sick and injured soldiers of the Crimean War?
A: Marie Antoinette?
Q: In which city was JFK assassinated in 1963?