There is a Manchester-based stand up comedian who goes by the name of Smug Roberts. His real name is Andy Wilkinson and his nom de gag was given him by his friends who used to call him a ‘smug bastard’.
I can only think that Piers Morgan didn’t adopt it as his stage name – because it was already taken. It would certainly suit him.
I had no idea who Morgan until he shot into the public eye as the editor who sanctioned the publishing of the fake Iraq War torture photos on the front page of The Mirror in 2004.
I said at the time that any idiot, even this one, could tell that the photos were a set-up for all sorts of reasons and Morgan then spent the best part of a fortnight trying to justify his dangerous incompetence.
He remained smug throughout and he argued that while the photos weren’t technically true, they were representations of the sort of thing that might go on, at least now that he’d put the idea in the squaddies’ heads.
Morgan became a serious liability for The Mirror, not least for putting the lives of troops in danger, and he was was sacked. That should have been that – Morgan consigned to the dustbin of idiocy and incompetence – but in that perverse way of celebrity, he became famous for being infamous.
Morgan began to appear on tv and in print as a ‘friend of the famous’ and far from being contrite, his smugness had shot to a whole new level.
It was quite a relief then when Morgan left the UK to take his brand of creepy-crawliness to US, replacing Larry King on CNN’s 9pm chat show slot in January 2011.
All of this is by way of explaining my sense of schadenfreude when I read this weekend that the latest figures show that Morgan’s ratings have plummeted. In a country of 300 million people, his prime-time slot could draw just 446,000 viewers and only 129,00 in the critical 25 to 54 demographic. (I remember being one of those once)
I suppose it’s only a matter of CNN’s patience or his green card running out before Piers gets the bum’s rush and returns to the UK. Unless Al Jazeera have a slot for him.