Piers Morgan has said many people want the BBC to be more like the American podcast giant Joe Rogan – and be willing to explore more “roads of debate”.
The interview with BBC’s Ros Atkins also saw him talk about his departure from Good Morning Britain, cancel culture – and go on to say that the BBC “has its own problems” when it came to reporting the facts. And he said he would “love” to have JK Rowling on as a guest on his new talk show.
Morgan told the BBC’s Media Show that “a lot of people would criticize the BBC for refusing to ever go down” the “roads of debate” Joe Rogan sometimes does – “because they believe they have the truth”. The US stand-up comedian and UFC commentator has been accused of spreading misinformation ‘during the Covid-19 Pandemic.
However, Morgan said: “We know in the pandemic that scientists have changed their own minds many times, whether it be about the efficacy of masks, whether it be about the ability of vaccines to prevent transmission. I myself have changed my view about coronavirus. many times. “
The comments come ahead of the launch of his new show Piers Morgan Uncensored for Rupert Murdoch’s new TalkTV channel. He told The Media Show’s Ross Atkins: “It’s a show that defends free speech. It’s a show that I think will uphold the pillars of democracy in a time when society is, I think, under more threat to free speech and freedom of expression than I have known it in my lifetime. “
Regarding his time on Good Morning Britain, he said “I felt the show was on fire”, saying it created “a national debate about whatever the issues may be … The sadness to me was ITV had always been unbelievably strong in protecting my right to express my honestly held opinions to the end – and then suddenly they lost their bottle “.
On leaving the show, he claimed the Duchess of Sussex had written to ITV’s chief executive, Dame Carolyn McCall, “demanding my head on a plate”. “I was told, either you issue a public apology for effectively disbelieving Meghan Markle, because I had disbelieved what she had told Oprah Winfrey, or I had to give up the show that I loved.”
“If they (ITV) had defended my right to free speech, then I wouldn’t have been asked to apologize or leave my job. Ofcom later came back and defended my right to free speech.”
When questioned about concerns raised by Ofcom and MIND about dismissing Meghan’s claims she was having suicidal thoughts, Morgan doubled down and said there was “not a shred of evidence” that Meghan had asked the Royal family for help – or to support her over “either. of the two racism claims “.
On cancel culture, he said he’d “love to get JK Rowling” on his new show, and said the author “has been appallingly vilified and there has been a massive attempt to cancel her – it’s been unsuccessful because she’s extremely wealthy”.
“The abuse that has been meted out to her for effectively defending women’s rights has been a complete disgrace,” added Morgan.
Discussing Kathleen Stock, a university professor whose views on trans issues sparked anger among some students at the University of Sussex, he said: “Do people like Kathleen Stock lose their jobs for having an honestly held opinion, and is that right in a democratic society. ? Do you want to see university professors … driven out of their jobs by a bunch of students? “
Atkins asked Morgan if he would have on a guest on who suggested vaccines against Covid didn’t work. Morgan replied: “Yes. Because I’d want to expose that thought process, which I think has been extremely dangerous. I’d want to expose them with facts.
“There are a lot of people who think this and they’ve been encouraged to think it by a lot of nonsense on the internet. I would let them set out their stall, tell me where they’ve heard this, why they believe this – and then damn them with facts. “
Asked would he put someone on air to challenge unproven claims that the drug Ivermectin could be used to treat Covid, Morgan said: “Joe Rogan did that on his show and it was very interesting. He discussed it at length with Dr Sanjay Gupta from CNN. and it was a really interesting debate about which of these theories, which have got a huge following now around the world during the pandemic, which of them have any merit or not.
“I think a lot of people would criticize the BBC for refusing to ever go down these roads of debate, because they believe they have the truth. And yet we know in the pandemic that scientists have changed their own minds many times, whether it be about the efficacy of masks, whether it be about the ability of vaccines to prevent transmission. I myself have changed my view about coronavirus many times. “
And he was quick to defend Fox when a BBC presenter said it was a network “with a long track record of saying things that are not rooted in fact”. Morgan responded: “Do you feel as uncomfortable about the time I’ve spent at CNN, given the way that CNN has gone in the last few years? Given their obsession, for example, with Russian collusion?”
“CNN is the BBC of the States in many ways; it’s a network people look at and say everything they say must be truthful and factual. For two years they spun a load of old baloney about Donald Trump being in cahoots with the Russians to fix. the 216 election. It turned out to be nonsense. “
“The BBC has its own problems, as much as you all like to put your halos on and say ‘Oh Piers, how can you work with these ghastly people?’ – I look around the BBC sometimes and think …. hmmm, Martin Bashir. It’s a bit awkward for everybody, isn’t it?
He also said he thought the editorial standards at Fox news were “pretty high” and he was “very happy” to work there.
The interview can be watched here on iPlayer.
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